Friday, October 21, 2005

Fortune covers India

First, Fortune Magazine has done a great piece on Indian business and businessmen, which even includes a full page pic of Vijay M and son. "One big blowjob for these businesses" a colleague pointed out, particularly noting that Kumar Birla had agreed to a photo-shoot (note: The young Birla is a particularly reticent person when it comes to photography). Yet, while some of the articles might seem a bit out of place, the issue is a must-read and a must-buy. And the photography is really amazing, I particularly like the long-exposure shot of Mumbai's CST.
And no they haven't covered the entire IIPM vs. Bloggers thing (though I was surprised to get a couple of mails from non-blogging friends in the US asking me about this). Yet, two large circulation business magazines, one general magazine and one sensationalist magazine are carrying the story, (hopefully for the latter two) in their next issues. Even though, Rashmi says that hopefully a major news agency might also pick up the story soon.
In this crazy hype about a B-School I made several mistakes. Firstly, I should have remembered that blogging doesn't pay my salary and while I should persue a cause I believe in, my first and primary responsibility is towards the organisation I work for. Which means I will blog slightly less (but because I'm going on vacation soon - to Delhi of all places - the post count might head up again). The Second mistake I made is to remember that my online and offline personas are different and that I should keep a well distinguished line between them. I am somebody in the physical world who has not just sedantary responsibilities (like producing the occasional story) but also also someone who happens to not live in isolation to oneself, by which I mean that my family is not inconsequential to the whole shabang. So I've just had this huge dose of responsibility drilled back into me, and I remember that I shouldn't act like a 18-year old anymore.
This means that I won't blog about 'inside information' that much, though I will talk about shady educational institutions with equally shady connections going forward. For example, during this whole thingjammy involving the Ponytail, while everybody carried on about what a 'fraud' man-star and man-star's daddy was, no-one quite explained the sources of funds for these guys, and those strange anonymous comments claiming to be the 'Middle Eastern patrons' of man-star. My assumption of an institute which moves from a dilapidated building in Delhi to seven new spanking new 'Towers' in seven cities in the space of five years is that it has to have some sugar-daddy or the other. However, while Thallasa Mikra's research has pointed out that man-star's daddy is not that rich (only worth Rs 22 lakh, or so he told the ECI) where on earth did the money come from. I once recall that a minister in the former government told me that a lot of NGO's in India were being used to funnel 'dubious funds' from the Middle-east into India. While not painting all NGO's with the same brush, he said that there are several NGO's, even educational societies with 'dubious' funding sources. So the Department of Income Tax, instead of taking out advertisements which loudly proclaim, "We know who you are" (ie: You have no rights to any privacy) they should go after all such educational institutions.
I attended a talk by Sir Howard Stringer, the Chairman and CEO of Sony Corporation. He is quite a guy, talking about the convergence between software (content) and hardware (electronics). Mentioned stuff about the importance of entertainment in people's lives, how Sony Pictures will enter Bollywood/Indian cinema - they have already signed one deal for distribution and marketing of a film. Not much talk about their hardware though. He is down in India for the tenth anniversary of Sony Entertainment TV, who are having a big birthday bash tomorrow at the Grand Hyatt. Seems like a good way to spend a Satruday evening!


thalassa_mikra said...

I completely agree with you with regards to not blogging "inside" information. But do use it in articles that you write :).

I would take comments about dubious funding for NGOs with a large dose of salt. NGO funding from foreign sources is highly regulated (through the Ministry of External Affairs), and given how politically sensitive the issue is, there is very little scope of dubious funding, especially from the Middle East. I mean politicians raise a furore over perfectly legitimate Vatican money going to church based NGOs.

However, what's highly dubious are some of the NGOs receiving this perfectly legitimate money. Last I checked a Hindu religious organization in Andhra Pradesh was the largest recepient of foreign funding for NGOs.

K said...

True, but money from 'religious' organisations is easily routed through into India. The previous government had an issue with 'dubious' funds flowing into madrassa's and the like. However, its not as if other religions are spared the tag of being free from either illicit or fundamentalist rfunding.
And education is a great way to route money into India

Shivangi said...

Dont remember whether i told you this or not, the institute banks with HDFC... I tried to find out what are the systems of loan that the banks follow because considering that ponytail-dad had a bank account of 22 lac, its highly probable that the insti was first set up with the help of some kind of loan, or so they would like us to believe... loans are granted against assets, but this guy just has a house worth 2 lac in Uttarpara which again, is shared with his daughter. In all likelihood, there was some kind of a 'mutual investor' involved with him. For a ordinary professor, being able to invest so much, or even taking that kind of a loan must've involved huge risk... Hence, theres got to be a mutual investor...

livinghigh said...

hmmmm... and de debate rages on and on and on. by de way, have u guys signed the bloggers online petitition on dis subject?

PS: was in de same room with u de other day, and before u proceed to think i'm deranged psycho (ummmm....!!!) let me hasten to add dat i meant de stringer thingy at de taj kal.

Shivangi said...

Well, thats where it ends I am afraid... Dont think this mutual investor would be listed anywhere... besides in banking transactions, that is. Banks, I dont think are allowed to discuss anything about their clients, let alone clients that have zillions stored... of course, all this again would be mere speculation.