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The First Princi.pal is a story waiting to be told. Meandering through the life of Dr. PS Mani Sundaram, it captures anecdotes of mixed flavour to highlight the genius of one of independent India’s foremost institution builders. Princi gave Regional Engineering College, Trichy (now National Institute of Technology) the distinction of consistently featuring among the top 10 Engineering colleges for 50 years running. His was a professional career that had to beat the odds of functioning under India’s political and bureaucratic regimes of the 1960s and 70s. Not only did he measure up to the challenges, his astute administrative sense made sure he did so in style.
A charismatic leader—administrator par excellence, pragmatic visionary and academic entrepreneur—he upped the ante of India’s higher education. Besides driving the astounding success of REC, he laid a solid foundation for Bharathidasan University as its first Vice Chancellor. His foresight has seen it grow from strength to strength in the three decades of its existence. Today the Bharathidasan Institute of Management stands tall as one of India’s premier Business Schools, rubbing shoulders with the IIMs.
2014 marks the Golden Jubilee of REC Trichy’s founding and a fitting occasion for a tribute to the great man.
Wow, what an amazing Valentine’s weekend! Thankfully “The Consortium of Red-faced, Jobless and Retrograde Men of India” ( male counter to the Facebook group “The Consortium of Pub-going, Loose and Forward Women”) was kept in check to allow India’s youth to celebrate Valentine’s day.
Vikram Kirloskar (left) – Launch of the new TOYOTA INNOVA.
But that aside, I had a blast. My friend Vikram Kirloskar, Vice Chairman of Toyota Kirloskar Motors, invited us to the most memorable evening with Jagjit Singh, the Ghazal Maestro. His satin voice had everybody spellbound for a riveting two hours. In Vikram San’s words – “It is Toyota India’s heartfelt gesture of gratitude to our customer ‘family'”. The event was fraught with simplicity and genuine warmth. I wish some people would take lessons from Toyota and especially from Vikram on humility and the natural way to live and work.
How business can ‘flow along’ with such warmth. And to top it, to be immersed in such soul-stirring music. What more could I have asked for. My take away was that the “Toyota way” goes far beyond shopfloor efficiencies and product quality. It is a statement of life and living.