Brutus vs The Benevolent

After my dreams of starting a world class management institute became a reality, with a humble beginning in a school premises, I was determined to get the best faculty in order to build up good quality management education. While the AICTE, levied stringent norms for recruitment of faculty, I was in a rebellious mood, to thwart bureaucratic-demanded qualifications for such appointments, in order to get the best teaching staff.

Anyone who had good academic qualifications and was passionate about teaching was appointed as faculty. I engaged one such engineer for teaching QT (Quantitative Techniques).An advantage was that he was available for lectures for the entire day and so he not only taught the Balaji Institute of Modern Management (BIMM) which was called Indian Institute of Modern Management (IIMM) in those days but also at the other three sister management institutes. He received a handsome monthly remuneration and we shared a very cordial relationship.

One fine day, he approached me for admission for his nephew. I went through his CV and found that the boy did not fulfill the minimum requirement of 50 per cent marks, required for admission into the post graduate management programme. Although I do not give importance to ‘marks’, and believe that maintaining the quality of students is more important,it is mandatory for me to comply with the required norms. I expressed my inability to consider the candidate and the matter ended there; or so I believed.

However, this gentleman who was teaching in almost all classes began a vitriolic campaign against the institute, during his lecture periods. This cunning retaliation by him, put confusion in the minds of students, leading to a few students even leaving the institute. I had an insight into the depth to which he had stooped only when a parent came to meet me. He was visibly agitated and said to me, “Sir, my three children have studied in your institute and all of them are doing exceptionally well in the industry. However, my fourth daughter who has now taken admission, is in a dilemma and so she has called me here. On the one hand, her brother and sisters are saying that she is in the best institute, which I also whole-heartedly endorse; but if your own faculty is degrading the institute and is encouraging students to leave it, what should I do as a father?’’

I was shocked at what I heard and carried out some inquiries. It was confirmed that the gentleman has been maligning the institute for quite some time. I removed him from teaching assignments instantly. Thereafter, he continued his mud-slinging campaign against the institute and filled peoples’ ears with nasty stories. I chose not to react, keeping in view my position and because of my principle in life that actions should speak louder than words.

Recently, last year, we organised an Alumni Meet and invited Ms Kiran Bedi as chief guest. A few student managers went to the airport to receive her. This gentleman happened to be at the airport and identified my students by their uniform and by the placard they were carrying for her. When Ms Bedi landed at the airport and was being received by the student managers, this gentleman had the audacity to call out to Ms Bedi and take her aside, away from the crowd. Claiming to be an activist, he spoke a few harsh words about the institute and demanded that she should not keep the engagement. He even threatened to protest in case she did not do so. The student managers were naturally agitated and worried. When Ms Bedi sat in the car along with them, she comforted them by saying,“Please don’t get disturbed. I know Bala Sir. When I accept any invitation, I do a thorough research. I will be there tomorrow at the scheduled time, for the function.’’

When my student managers informed me about this incident, I thought I should not embarrass Ms Bedi by receiving her when she comes to the institute and yet I realized that I cannot avoid the function, as I was the one who had invited her. She was received by all the directors and as she climbed up the staircase leading to the auditorium, I stood there along with others, in an insignificant position. She noticed me and called me towards her and enquired about my health and we got engaged in a discussion on many other issues. When we reached the auditorium I maintained the protocol by taking the corner seat on the dais. She insisted that I sit next to her. The function went off very well and I appreciated her for her dignity and the faith she reposed on me, without even broaching the topic of the gentleman in question.

This incident is a good introspection for students and researchers of behavioral science. One personality rises above pettiness and embraces magnanimity. The other, develops a vicious mindset and turns against the person who provided him the golden opportunity to pursue his passion of teaching; in effect, turning against society. was happy to note that Ms Bedi was chosen for political leadership, as politicians should possess such qualities in order to win faith of the people. So what if she could not win the election in Delhi? That she was considered for leading a national party is a big honour in itself.

Dr (Col.) A. Balasubramanian