Skip to main content

Why addressing Dalit, human rights, racism, combatting corruption 'makes MBA holistic'

Sandeep Pandey
By Rishabh Bansal* 
When you envision a typical MBA student, especially one hailing from a prestigious institution like the IIM, various thoughts arise – from accounting, economics to finance. Considerations encompass placement rates, lucrative compensation packages, and industry giants like Tatas, Big 4, MBBs, and other influential firms.
These thoughts are not entirely unfounded, for they mirror the aspirations that drive the youth of the nation to strive vigorously during their rigorous two-year tenure at the college. However, amidst this prevalent capitalist focus, one vital objective behind the establishment of these institutions often goes overlooked: the intent to foster a positive, enduring influence on society.
While the curriculum largely gears towards equipping future leaders with the tools to amass wealth through their expertise, it often neglects a critical aspect: the study of socialist movements and their role in shaping a more holistic-worldview.
This is where an elective course in the second year takes centre stage – "Transforming Social Movements" (TSM), led by Prof. Sandeep Pandey. Unlike any other course at the institute, TSM stands apart. It entails a series of 20 sessions meticulously designed to delve deeply into a wide spectrum of social movements across the globe, transcending geographical boundaries.
Topics encompass movements advocating for dalit rights, combatting corruption, upholding human rights, and addressing racism. Furthermore, the course takes an academic approach to dissecting the factors contributing to the success and emergence of such movements.
Yet, it is the nature of assignments that sets TSM apart. Departing from conventional submission of reports, these assignments necessitate tangible engagement with the real world and its people, aiming for genuine impact.
There are two components: a group project, in which each team chooses a pressing social issue and actively contributes to its advancement; and an individual project, requiring personal connections with individuals from lower socio-economic backgrounds, to alleviate specific challenges.

Driving a social cause

For the group assignment, various endeavours were undertaken, ranging from fundraising for marginalized communities to hosting screenings of socially relevant films, followed by discussions with the producers. In my case, our group directed our efforts towards addressing manual scavenging and sanitation issues.
Visiting the Jogrimatanichali community near the Sabarmati riverfront exposed us to deplorable living conditions resulting from open defecation and a lack of proper sanitation facilities. Immersed in their struggles, we recognized the gravity of the issues beyond what we had read in newspapers. Our responsibility to intervene effectively became evident, given our position. We compiled a report and submitted it to the AMC, eagerly awaiting their response.

Making an individual impact

For the individual project, I chose to assist a daily-wage worker contracted by IIM-A to aid in procuring Ayushman Bharat cards. Establishing a personal rapport through activities like cricket and village visits offered a humbling experience.
I gained insight into his arduous daily commute of nearly two hours each way and learned about his family and his journey, starting at IIM-A at a mere age of 16/17. The culmination of our interactions was my delivery of the Ayushman cards, an action that elicited immense gratitude and had a profound impact on his life.
What struck me as truly remarkable was that despite my initial apprehensions, the experience was far from awkward. On the contrary, he greeted me with boundless enthusiasm, eagerly showing me around and extending his utmost hospitality. His warm gesture even included an invitation to spend the night, ensuring my comfort at every turn.
He took immense pride in displaying his living conditions, inviting me for future visits. His generosity extended to treating me to the region's renowned street food – the pav omelette. Through these interactions, I came to realize the lasting impact our connection had on him and his family. What might have seemed effortless on my part held immense significance to him, underscoring the profound value of our interaction.
Numerous instances akin to this abound, showcasing students' commitment to helping raise fees for economically weaker section students and sustaining projects beyond the course duration. Alumni maintain connections with the families they assisted, exemplified by a former participant supporting a woman in her pursuit of a B.Ed. degree, then further assisting her fundraising for an M.Ed.

Learnings

Collectively, these anecdotes spotlight how TSM has transformed hundreds of lives, empowering them to forge a better path. The palpable and lasting effects underscore the necessity of management education evolving beyond the confines of capitalism, imparting to students the potency of effecting change using the ample resources at their disposal.
As a participant in the course, I strongly advocate for the integration of similar programs across educational institutions. These courses provide students with the unique chance to tangibly engage with social issues, fostering a profound sense of empathy. Such experiences are pivotal in moulding future leaders who possess a holistic understanding of societal challenges, ultimately contributing to their growth into more compassionate and effective leaders.
---
*Student at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad

Comments

TRENDING

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

BSF should take full responsibility for death of 4 kids in West Bengal: Rights defender

By Kirity Roy*  One is deeply disturbed and appalled by the callous trench-digging by BSF in Chetnagachh village under Daspara Gram Panchayat, Chopra, North Dinajpur District, West Bengal that has claimed the lives of four children. Along the entire stretch of Indo-Bangladesh border of West Bengal instead of guarding the actual border delineated by the international border pillars, BSF builds fences and digs trenches well inside the Indian territory, passing through villages and encroaching on private lands, often without due clearance or consent. 

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Don't agree on domestic subsidies, ensure food security at WTO meet: Farmer leaders

Counterview Desk  The Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements (ICCFM), a top network of farmers’ organizations in India, in a letter to Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce and Industry, has asked him to “safeguard food security and sovereignty, even as ensuring peasants' rights" at the 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO MC 13), to take place from 26 to 29 February 2024 in Abu Dhabi.

Students, lawyers, professors detained in Delhi for demonstrating in support of farmers

By Our Representative  About 25 protestors, belonging to the civil rights network, Campaign Against State Repression (CASR), a coalition of over 40 organisations, were detained at Jantar Mantar for holding a demonstration in support of the farmers' stir on Friday. Those detained included students, lawyers and professors, including Prof Nandita Narain and Prof N Sachin. 

Solar energy funding dips 9% in 2023; 2024 'kicks off' with US$1 billion investment

By Lakshmitha Raj*  Solar energy tech companies have already secured slightly over US$1 billion in funding in 2024 (till Feb 7, 2024) after total funding into Solar Energy companies in India fell 9% to US$1.55B in 2023 from US$1.7B in 2022. A total of 39 $100M+ rounds have been closed till date, with Delhi leading the city-wise funding, followed by Gurugram and Mumbai.

Social justice day amidst 'official neglect' of salt pan workers in Little Rann of Kutch

By Prerana Pamkar*  In India’s struggle for Independence, the Salt Satyagraha stands as a landmark movement and a powerful symbol of nonviolent resistance. Led by Mahatma Gandhi, countless determined citizens walked from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi in Gujarat. However, the Gujarat which witnessed the power of the common Indian during the freedom struggle is now in the throes of another significant movement: this time it is seeking to free salt pan workers from untenable working conditions in the Little Rann of Kutch (LRK).

Sharp 61-85% fall in Tech startup funding in India's top 'business-friendly' States

By Rajiv Shah Funding in Tech startups in top business-friendly Indian states has witnessed a major fall, a data intelligence platform for private market research has said in a series of reports it has released this month. Analysing Tech startup data of Telangana, Maharashtra, Delhi NCR, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala, Tracxn Technologies Ltd , the Bengaluru-based research firm, finds that except for Kerala, funding witnessed a fall of anywhere between 61% and 85%.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Jallianwala massacre: Why Indian govt hasn't ever officially sought apology from UK

By Manjari Chatterjee Miller*  The king of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander, apologized in July 2023 for his ancestors’ role in the colonial slave trade. He is not alone in expressing remorse for past wrongs. In 2021, France returned 26 works of art seized by French colonial soldiers in Africa – the largest restitution France has ever made to a former colony. In the same year, Germany officially apologized for its 1904-08 genocide of the Herero and Nama people of Namibia and agreed to fund reconstruction and development projects in Namibia. .