Y S Rajan

(to be delivered at First Global Tibetan Professional Summit on 5-6 September 2010 at Dharmashala)



Your Excellency Prime Minister Prof Samdhong Rinpoche, you are an erudite  scholar as well, Your Excellency Kalon Tempa Tsering, Madam Youdon Ankatsang, Executive Director, Envision and other eminent participants

It is indeed a great honour for me to participate in this First Summit and deliver a talk in the presence of holy and enlightened persons and also addressing a wonderful community of Tibetan professionals spread around different parts of the world.

When many critical events took place in Tibet, I was a teenager.  I used to get some filtered information in the Bombay  newspapers. In the geography books, Pamir plateau used to be highlighted.  Later when I grew up, I learnt a lot more about Tibet and its people.  But still I am aware that my knowledge is extremely limited.

While noting the rich historical traditions of Tibet and the current existential realities which are continuing for over five decades, it is a daunting task to envision some broad contours of a future for those persons whose roots are traced to Tibet but who live in different parts of the world. Most of the young and middle aged professionals would not have visited the land of their roots.  Imageries of Tibet and its traditions are available to them only through written and spoken words and occasional audio visual materials brought out of Tibet by foreigners.

A question as to whether they will be able to visit the lands of their roots and as to how they will feel then, is one of most difficult one to answer.  One can only paint scenarios  which can range from cold analysis with lots of pessimism or cynicism on one extreme to various possibilities in the middle range with many ifs and buts, to fictions of optimistic imaginations.  Attempts in that direction itself can be a part of the knowledge and creative industry in which the Global Tibetan professionals (GTP) could be profitably engaged in, if done in moderation.



My inability to create such scenarios can easily be understood.  Therefore I attempt to address a future for the Global Tibetan Professionals (GTP) with the following factors in mind:-

a)THE COLLECTIVE: The Global Tibetan Professional Community (GTPC) will continue to exist for several more decades with its own distinct identity, though they are spread around the world.  Modern information and Communication Technologies (ICT) would help in a great way to have near daily contacts between them, thus strengthening the intracommunity bonds..  Also Tibetans are well known all over the world and welcome in most parts of the world especially due to the compassionate message spread by H.H. Dalai Lama.  There could be some small intermingling of other peoples in this community due to inter-marriage or adoption.   More importantly there would  be some syncretic adaptation with local communities. Therefore all the persons of the GTPC will not be in one single mould.  There will be a rich texture of global realities and global opportunities in their daily lives.  But the fact of keeping the community identity through several forums such as this summit as well as the use of modern fast transportation systems, will also preserve many parts of the rich heritage of Tibet.  One should bear in mind that this rich and hoary heritage is the real GLOBAL BRAND OF TIBET, symbolized of H.H. Dalai Lama and other venerable Tibetan monks.  One of the beneficial action, therefore, of GTPC should be to capture this heritage and display it in various parts of the world they live in.

Wherever they live in or whatever profession they are engaged in, all those who belong to GTPC should have some quality time allotted to this task – that is to keep up the community brand with adequate empathy with other peoples of the world.  It is a universal message from a particular community.

b)THE INDIVIDUALS: Even while the community identity is an important and strong factor for GTPC, being professionals living in different countries, there is also an equally strong force of individual choices.  Some may like to be engineers, some may want to be medical doctors or researchers or bankers or financiers, lawyers or some media persons or some architects or some artists or some in business management.  The GTP network website lists a whole set of them.   It is natural and understandable.  Such individual aspirations will,  to a large extent, have to be realized within the framework of opportunities available in the countries they live in. 

This reality makes it difficult to project a generalized broad brush vision for the future of GTPC’s activities.  When countries like Japan, Korea, Malaysia or Singapore project their vision for a future, or when we did the major national wide exercise Technology Vision for India 2020 through the organisation called Technology Information, Forecasting and assessment Council (TIFAC), assumptions can be made about some normative goals and develop the vision around it.  For example, rate of growth GDP can be assumed to around a band of rate of growth either desired or projected; some assumptions can be made about per capita food requirements etc.,  Since the GTPC does not live within a specific geographic area broadly under its control, it is difficult to make such normative assumptions.

An ideal method would be to capture the aspirations of and opportunities for the GTPC individuals living in different clusters in the world.  Then try to find in them the interconnections and common features.  That could  be a common vision.  On that can be superposed various new emerging global opportunities due to new technologies, businesses, and educational systems.  Some interactive studies can result in a Vision 2020 or 2030 that can be adopted by members of GTPC and for Tibetan Diaspora as a whole.



Vision is not a corporate plan; not should it be a Government Document.  It should be a challenging for the best of minds and yet inclusively realistic to attract the average.  In the following, I have attempted to outline eight mega tasks which collectively form a vision for the GTP’s.

In the  interim, I would suggest the following possibilities of technologies, business and other socio-cultural impacts of global developments on the lives of GTPC and how GTPC can use them to the optimal interest of GTPC and other persons from Tibetan Diaspora.  While doing do I have made an intuitive integration of the two elements, the COLLECTIVE of the GTPC and the INDIVIDUALS of the GTPC with the third element, namely, the newly emerging global opportunities in different parts of the world. These are not exhaustive lists but have been filtered judiciously through the integrative process referred to above.  I believe this listing will be useful in undertaking the major VISION 2020/2030 of GTPC suggested earlier.


Under this category I list various forms of literature, multimedia, cinema, music, art, dances, holistic well being life style practices, etc.,  While computers, audio engineering, visual arts, imaging technologies etc., will be utilized in this field, all these efforts should draw upon the rich Tibetan heritage of the past as well as its manifestation during the  recent times through H.H. Dalai Lama and other venerable monks and teachers who have made their mark in the world during the past 50 years.  Successful integration of these elements into the local cultures of the places in which GTP’s live can be the foundation of a thriving service industry.  It is not necessary that these industries, enterprises or academic studies or other efforts have to be exclusively done  with GT professionals or persons who trace their roots to Tibet.  They should however be the lead persons in terms of original creators or promoters or those who are CEO’s/COO’s/CTO’s etc.,


As distinct from technological research and development, some of the GTP’s may focus on fundamental and basic research in physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, astronomy, evolutionary biology, astrophysics, archaeology, earth sciences, neuro sciences etc.,  Well, one may ask a question as to what is something special about such areas for GTP’s?  In the whole world so many millions of persons pursue these areas and what is special which a small miniscule community of GTP’s can make some thing different or unique

I think that in addition to the usual rigorous processes of researches in these areas which are common to all, it is possible for GTP persons to make a special mark. I would strongly recommend that all of you read a book by Susantha Goonatilake “Towards a Global Science: Mining Civilisational Knowledge” by Vistaar Publications, New Delhi, 1999.  What I used to experientially feel during my career in science and technology in multicultural settings, he has given a great academic and scholastic foundation.  I consider it as a book of the 21st Century.  The great civilizational knowledge of Tibet and the way in which you are all culturally conditioned by that heritage, will open up new avenues for modern science. It is akin to what a great Indian mathematician Ramanujam did to mathematics.  Even other South Asian scientists subconsciously would have been conditioned.  So I feel that Tibetan culture and heritage may bring something very different in the scientific researches you may pursue. You have to periodically assemble and discuss about such an influence without  being ashamed of it or afraid of.

Even while you follow the narrow confines for the rigor of (Western) modern scientific methods, allow the intuition derived from your heritage to play a role.  I would think a few new Nobel Laureates will emerge from the GTPC, as the world today is ready to look at broader perspectives of life and accept diverse origins.

In order to be effective at a world level, the GT professionals working for such scientific research areas, may like to create a network within themselves.  Try to restrict  the pull of individuality to some extent in order to create a minimum critical size of GTP scientists in a particular domain/area/problem of research.  That will create clusters of GTP presence. Again, this need not be restricted to the exclusive cluster of GTP persons alone.  It may have others from the countries you work in.  It will also help newer ideas and help in citation indices, which are now important for scientific research papers.

If pursued carefully and vigorously by about 2025/2030 impact of GTP’s on some select areas of science may become visible worldwide. What topics/areas, you will choose, I hope, you will select post-this conference through a series of interactions.


Tibetan system of medicine has emerged as one of the alternate  medical system, popular with many persons outside those who have their origins in Tibet.   GTP’s can go well beyond that by researching further using some of modern bio-medical methods.   New science can be brought to the global forums especially through developed countries in which GT professionals live. Creating large chains of Medicare systems, pharma industries, industries of dietary supplements, assistive devices for exercises, etc., may turn out to be a challenging enterprise.  One may target a few billions of turn over in dollars within about a decade say by 2020.

Interesting creative industries supplementing audio/visuals, multimedia etc., for meditation and other such unique Tibetan practices aimed at better physical and mental health, may also become a challenging enterprise.  They could also provide  considerable intellectual challenges to GTP’s.

Brain research and broadly speaking neuroscience researches could be another branch of medical enterprise which hold special promise for the future.  If GT professionals  get into these research fields with some background of Tibetan spiritual and mystic practices, it is likely that by 2020/2030 many new neuro science research findings may emerge, probably revolutionizing the present concepts of cognition, consciousness, evolution etc.,

If a minimum critical clusters of GT professionals concentrate on select items from  the above areas along with partners from the regions in which they live, and yet keep the GTP network alive and active on the lines suggested earlier, Tibetan contributions to modern medical/neuroscience areas can become impact making by 2025/2030.


Let us now consider another important area of scientific activity.  Unlike in the past century, there are now many persons in the developed world (both rich persons as well as intellectual elites) who are ready to accept the possibility of having treasures of knowledge in the wisdom of old persons and old civilizations.  Capturing of traditional knowledge bases has not only become a good (acceptable) academic pursuit but is also seen to be having good commercial potentials.

This task is unlike the Vision 2020/2030  task (1) listed above which was to build TIBETAN BRAND and generate creative industries around it.  Tasks under (1) may not all be scientifically  rigorous or fully factually correct, as they are  meant to be a commercial or infotainment enterprise building on  brands, myths and icons.  The set of tasks meant under this heading (4) are meant to be scientifically  rigorous and academically challenging.  As such one may have to seek research grants from philanthropists and industries who see a long term stakes.  The studies have to be academically and scientifically rigorous while deriving information from ageing persons of Tibetan Diaspora.  The approach should be that of using a  â€œVaccuum Cleaner”.  That is, suck in whatever is available using audio, visual and multimedia.  If there are physical artifacts  or manuscripts available, capture them too.  It is not necessary that all that is talked by the old persons (men and women) and also others in different age groups who are ready to talk, have to be scientifically correct or academically rigorous.  The researchers should be able to capture as much as possible from them and sieve out later.   It is quite possible that industries/ business houses which support these efforts may like to have exclusive Intellectual Property Rights (IPR’s) on some of them.  Well, one has to adapt to the forces of modern market economics and capture as much as possible the knowledge of persons before they disappear from our midst. It is a great  challenge for GTP’s in terms of organizing such an effort, getting funding and get going fast.


Though this can be considered also as a subject of the creative industries using Tibetan Brand that is Vision 2020/2030 Task (1) I am placing it in a specific form which can make a great adventure, great business and a great integration of science, technology, arts, music, geography etc., (a truly multidisciplinary mix)

Modern satellite based remote sensing nowadays not only provides very high resolution pictures but also gives information on undulations of the terrain (like Cartosat data from Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)).  These data can be integrated with variety of other Geographical Information Systems (GIS). These integrated packages can have other sets of imageries – still pictures, video pictures taken in Tibet and nearby areas as well as inside the holy places, market places etc., superimposed on them.   The modern computer simulation methods of Virtual Reality can be used to develop a whole series of packages which can make the “viewer” go through various parts of Tibet in the virtual world.  Audio commentaries can give descriptions.  Chanting during particular rituals or functions can make the “viewer” to be a participant.  Those who are specialists in virtual reality will understand these processes.

Such packages can help to recapture the vivid imageries of Tibet for those who have their roots traced to those places but cannot visit personally.  Also it can be a great attraction for those who are interested in Tibet.

Even if some day in the future, it becomes easier to visit Tibet, these virtual reality packages can become a training ground for adventurous tourists and even serious researchers and scholars.

Those who do these virtual reality packages on Tibet may add Kailash, Mana Sarovar, Sikkim monastries etc., as an add on to increase the market for these packages.

If a project is started now, within about 5 years one can have excellent series of “Virtual reality” packages of Tibet becoming a major business.

Later the same set of developers and entrepreneurs can do it for other parts of the world, like Alps, Artic, Antarctic etc.,

Raising of funds for data collection, R&D and marketing is not an easy task.  Can GTP’s take it as a challenge and bank on the good will created so far to raise funds? Or make it a part of a big business group, who will then profit from it.


So far I had dealt with items in which groups of a few or several individuals can join and create a research group or R&D or a business.  They are not necessarily small items after they are  completed and later scaled up into major businesses or a scholastic or research endeavor or a service industry.  But initial start can be done with fractions of or a few or several tens of millions of dollars and further investments can be attracted after  successful demonstrations.

But some of GTP’s may at an individual or group level may like to have much bigger challenges, such  as space travel, building up new fusion power plant or a major project in defence or security.  But these projects are huge, requiring several billions of dollars.  Moreover such “big science” projects are still largely dependent on governments.  Even private sector efforts depend on government purchase of goods and services. Therefore I am not including them as a possibility, though I mention it as an item for the sake of completeness. 

So to a question as to the possibility of one of the Global Tibetan being in space for a long duration, the answer is difficult. While one cannot rule it out, one cannot visualize it as a tangible vision of GTP’s.

It is quiet possible that some of the GTP’s may participate in scientific researches like astronomy, planetary sciences, solar system studies etc., and also in plasma physics concerning fusion power.’’ Perhaps we may have to leave these to individual choices and contextual opportunities which may exist for some persons living in some countries.


Except for pointing out such  possibilities I am not again emphasizing or highlighting the following possibilities.

- Can a new music band arise out GTP’s causing ripples in the world as rock bands did at some stage of history?

- Can a new wave of movies being directed/produced by some persons or groups of GTP’s?

-  What about GTP’s creating a new wave in painting, dance forms etc.,?

One of the main reasons why I do not expand on these is because of my limited knowledge in these areas.  Some others may consider these possibilities and create a vision  2020/2030 task, as I have illustrated for other areas.

Other similar areas needing exploration for ruling out or accepting will be:

-              Can there be a new financial network of institutions created by  GTP’s which can impact world financial systems?

-              Can there be a new architectural school emerging out of GTP’s even over a period two decades or more?

I am mentioning some of these for the sake of completeness and also for others to give some thought to these items before ruling them out as possible direction for GTP’s or creating Vision 2030 tasks.


Another vital  task for GTP’s would be to preserve Tibetan language (I mean along with its script) itself from disappearance over a period of a few decades or more.  At the same time, there is also a need to enable it to evolve for meeting the challenges of the modern world by introducing new vocabulary and also by  making massive presence in the cyber world.

In addition, lots of e-enabled “learn by yourselves Tibetan” modules may have to be authentically introduced.  GTP’s can play a large role in this matter.  It is the very basis of maintaining an exclusive identity of a GTP’s or even GT (Global Tibetans),


The above given suggestions are specific for GTP’s taking into account various  possibilities, potentials as well as possible constraints.  Some of you may be interested in a broad brush vision of the future.  I had given on 12th October 2007 a convocation address at the Bharatidasan University, Thiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu ( India).  It was for graduating students who were around 21-22 years of age then.  I felt it is good for them to know what next sixty years are going to be and what actions are needed to be  taken by them now!

Good part of it is India-centric as I know India better than I know other countries.  But some of the general trends are derived from what is likely to be world over.  Good one year before the global melt down I have envisioned that India for about next 15 years (i.e. say 2012-2013 and may be 2015) is likely to have a cataclysmic fast growth.  Globally such a cataclysm is likely to be around.  Some countries like India may be growing and some developed countries shrinking rapidly; their cozy assumptions about standards of living and welfare standards are likely to have severe beatings.

Such situations pose special challenges for GTP’s. But their heritage of hardiness and H.H. Dalai Lama’s message of moderation may help them to win over many difficult situations.

I am not elaborating upon further details. I feel it will be good if GTP’s read that address and draw their own versions of next sixty years.  Many of you are still young to dream for sixty years.

The cited address can be seen in my website under the section Articles; it is titled “Next Sixty Years: Actions Now”.

WHAT NEXT?        

We have covered so far, a wide range of possibilities to identify Vision 2020/2030 mega tasks for the future for GTP’s. There are many challenges embedded in them.  Not knowing the exact distribution of GTP’s, in various countries, their interests, resources etc., many of these possibilities do not have  a reality check.

I would therefore suggest that GTP’s consider a number of ideas put forth in my talk, and internally debate about the applicability or otherwise of the ideas in the actual GTP context and their aspirations. If some of the ideas look promising, serious study groups or working groups could be constituted to analyze various scenarios and options.  While committees may operate at an apex level to finalise and decide on the paths for action, at the time of capturing various scenarios and options, it will be better to get inputs from a large cross sections of people even if they were not professionals.  It may also be useful to capture the views of others who are not  of Tibetan origin but are engaged with GTP’s in different parts of the world; that will help understanding the perceptions of others.

Modern methods of scenario writing, response to questionnaires, brain storming, select interviews, nominal group techniques etc., will be useful in such processes.  Depending on the resources, this exercise  can be big or medium sized.  The findings from such studies can help to arrive at a road map for the future options of GTP’s.  Perhaps this exercise can be conducted in about 6 months. Potential  funders can be approached thereafter for follow up actions.

I have gone through the whole process of national exercise for Vision 2020 for 2 years.  It is a great fun.  You will all enjoy it more because of modern fast ICT’s and inexpensive and speedy transport. If GTP’s have an event a year from now, then this road map  could be declared as Vision 2025/2030  ROADMAP for Global Tibetans.   A brief write up for large scale (popular) dissemination will be useful as a public information material.  In addition, detailed reports are required for specific follow up actions.

I hope I have been able to do some justice to the faith you have reposed on me through your invitation to this august gathering.  I would join in the prayers for a bright future for all of you who are here and other Tibetans who are not present here.

Thank you all


Y.S. Rajan is Dr. Vikram Sarabhai Distinguished Professor, ISRO, Bangalore. Views are personal.  Visit website



Mr. Arun Bharat Ram and other distinguished  panelists, eminent Vice-Chancellors, academicians, experts from industry, and other present here, it is great pleasure and privilege for me to share some ideas and interact with you at this inaugural session of the Universities of India 2010: A knowledge Conclave, 6th University-Industry council (UIC) organized by CII in association with AIU and Mindlogicx.

First of all, having been associated with CII’s UIC right from the beginning, it is gratifying to  note that four out of the six persons on the dais in this inaugural session are from Industry, holding top and important positions.  It is also happy augur that Mr. Arun Bharat Ram, an eminent industrialist and also coming from a distinguished family which has promoted quality education for generations, is sour Chief Guest and he also takes care of the National Education Council of CII from this year onwards. He is also an accomplished Sitar player learnt from the renowned maestro Pt.Ravi Shankar.


Let me now come to the main topic or theme of this Conclave. Knowledge is the key word.  Before discussing it, let me ask you a question. How many of you even imagined say 15 years ago or even 10 years ago, that 3 G spectrum a small tiny portion of electromagnetic spectrum will fetch the Government Rs. 67,000 crores in the auction.  Those who won expect to make many many crores of rupees in the coming years.  20 years ago in a FM radio the thick cursor used to indicate the turning frequency.  Now even a small part of it fetches a huge sum.  A very small part of frequency spectrum which is defined in terms of scientific and mathematical terminology, something which cannot be touched, seen, or felt by us, has become so precious and fetches money!  Much more than gold, platinum.


Yes, as human progress takes place in terms of KNOWLEDGE, the paradigm shift takes place LAND-LABOUR-CAPITAL and BEYOND.  To be sure we still need LAND – for any activity from our living habitat to making huge factories, R&D laboratories or a University.  But with modern knowledge, a lot can be packed into a small part of the land; a lot of agricultural production can be done in a small piece of land – much more than what we could do a century ago.  And the human capability keeps increasing.

We need LABOUR.  Though, many knowledge embodied machines have increased human capabilities and human productivity, still LABOUR is required even in the most advanced countries.

Then CAPITAL is also crucial for all activities.  Even to acquire, assimilate, disseminate existing knowledge or to generate new knowledge, lots of investments are required.

All the above three LAND-LABOUR-CAPITAL and the new factor KNOWLEDGE are all interdependent.


But still the expansion in the unuseable, unfeelable knowledge space is mind boggling.

Geostationary Orbit (GSO) which has a useable space of about 70 km radius cylinder at around 36,0000 km height from the earth is a great wealth generator.  It is a mathematical, physics based entity.  Today, it is regulated by UN related agencies and international agreements.  Don’t be surprised if they are auctioned in future!

In other words, the emerging paradigm is that knowledge (of Science and Technology, new business methods and therefore human/societal aspirations) opens up many esoteric subtle  (sookshma) areas wherein wealth generation is very much more than the earlier factors of production. 

The rate of knowledge useage is such that even in about a decade, things which were never foreseen before emerge as a great wealth generator and of large benefit to a large number of people.

-              Computer software itself is a classic example.

-              Many virtual businesses like Microsoft, Google, etc.,

-              Designs

-              Many creative industries

-              Many financial engineering packages.


In biomedical areas including in neuro sciences, totally new discoveries and knowledge domains may emerge. For example following a particular protocol of actions (some what like yoga or with some instruments/prophylactic medicines/nutrition) may prevent many known diseases. Similarly as Nature is also clever, many new unknown diseases/syndromes may emerge.  Perhaps Advisory Services with authentic knowledge sources, may become a new wealth generating business for the future.

As the number of old persons (senior citizens) is on the rise – in India it is about 110 million and will increase about 5 million every year – world over, new services may emerge around them.  It is not fore mere compassion alone but a number of old persons have life savings.

Also new methods of acquiring the experiential knowledge of old persons and applying them for practical uses, may emerge as new research and business area.

I don’t want to list all of them except for pointing out that the new opportunities will be much more in complex conceptual planes rather than the usual beaten (well known paths of LABOUR-LABOUR-CAPITAL – Even well known KNOWLEDGE)


That is where the importance of being with those who live in KNOWLEDGE SPACE most of their times becomes important.  Industry and Businesses have to seek the universities not for romantic commitment to knowledge nor as a CSR item!  It is a search for future wealth.  Therefore the approach should go beyond immediate questions of employability, solving some fire fighting issues etc.,  I say this to both groups from Universities and Industries.

Well we all need to address daily roti/nice daal or bread-butter-jam issues.  Also some beverages!

But U-I interactions should go far beyond to seek new areas of KNOWLEDGE SPACES which can emerge and be a rich source of wealth and mass applications.

If Industries prepare themselves for reaping such benefits for their businesses and if universities gear up to cultivate these NEW KNOWLEDGE SPACES along with Industry, India can really become a great source of HUMAN CAPITAL  and a Global Knowledge Hub.  Others around the world will rush to reap their benefits too.  There can then be virtuous cycles of wealth generation, mass applications and new innovations.


Talking of innovations, it requires not a one-track-mind of studying past success stories or failure stories.  There are now a number of well researched works which question  the efficacy of Harvard case studies for planning the future or choosing options for the futures.  It appears that really successful businesses or researches or even military operations have not  followed the case study approach.  Some study of the past and analysis like SWOT are useful.

But beyond that INTUITION has to operate. In the knowledge intensive world and for the new knowledge wealth generation, we have talked about, such intuitive strategies are crucial.

In order to create fertile ground for such intuitive jumps, it is essential to include creative humanities in the education even for engineering, science etc.,  Yes, we can include mythologies as well.  Indian languages are rich in them. Also music of various forms from India.

Another important element that would help in creative innovations which can open up new areas of wealth, is to look for more and more DIVERSITY.  The brand wagon types of businesses chase one business model.  It may succeed for sometime and then crash!!  Remember the recent developed country crashes and even the current EU crises.  India has diversity of all forms.  Let the education systems capture and nurture these diversities rather than attempting to imitate a few examples from India and abroad or by trying to “uniformise” under diktats from Delhi or State Capitals.

Diversity in education will open up many new knowledge areas.  If we sincerely do that others in the world, especially the developed world, will come to India to capture the benefits.

It can also lead to new researches and publications for which India will be noticed.  Currently even the best of our institutions are doing follower type research publications. A follower cannot reap full benefits as the FIRST MOVERS can


Lastly, but not the least while doing all these, let us not forget a fact that we cannot become a knowledge hub or great wealth generators, without having a large number of people having higher education even if it were not of excellent standards.  Life has its normal distribution or bell curve. The Gross Enrolment Ration (GER) in Higher Education has to go up to 40% very soon from the current level of about 11%.  This can be achieved by using the principle of DIVERSITY and using various INFORMAL systems of education (distance, on-line, modular approach to electives, on-the-job degree studies etc.,) as well using modern technological tools.  Such a broadening is necessary if we have to create peaks of excellence and also big businesses which can create wealth in new (and old) areas, at a global level.

Yes, India can become  a Global Knowledge Hub and huge reservoir of HUMAN CAPITAL to conquer “new knowledge mines of the future” if Industry (Business) and Universities (colleges) work together with the future in mind.

Keynote address delivered by YS Rajan at the CII’s 6th University Industry Council organized KNOWLEDGE CONCLAVE on 21st – 22nd  May 2010, BANGALORE.

A brilliant mind - a beloved teacher - Acharya Mahaprajna

A brilliant mind – a beloved teacher - Acharya Mahaprajna

-         Sudhamahi Regunathan

It is a struggle to find the right words to describe Acharya Mahaprajna. Either idolatry adjectives describe him best, like ‘the greatest saint’, “an apostle of peace”, ‘a supermind’ and so on. Or they fall wide off the mark and are tame semblances to the perfect picture. Acharya Mahaprajna referred to himself as an ascetic or a student of philosophy. So be it.

On Sunday the 9th of May 2010, Acharya Mahaprajna, the tenth spiritual head of the Terapanth Jain community left his bodily abode. The world lost a brilliant mind and the most twinkling pairs of eyes of his generation. Many people lost their precious teacher. He was ninety.

Nathmal, as his parents had named him, was the only son of businessman Tolaram and his wife Baluji. He was born on 14 th June 1920 in the village of Tamkor , Jhunjhunu district, Rajasthan. Even as Nathmal was playing with his friends, a sage passing through the village prophesied that this young boy would one day be a leader among men.

The little boy adjusted his pride possession, the gold watch and ran home, unaware of import of what the saint had said. A few years later destiny saw Nathmal initiated into monk hood on 18th February 1930.

In today’s world of wondering and whimsical morals, Acharya Mahaprajna’s challenge was to be still relevant as a custodian of high principles and purity of heart. If he was equal to it, it was not just because of his erudition but also because of his alert mind which was in step with the ever-changing world with clarity and curiosity, not to mention humour.

Acharya Mahaprajna combined in his detachment, the best of enlightenment with an almost naive romanticism. And yet as a leader of a community he could take all kinds of people in his stride.

While Acharyaji practiced a religion that is seen as severe and dry ...he was anything but that. A sensitive writer, he wrote in every genre ranging from poetry to philosophy imbuing his writings with a sensitivity that was polished and subtle. Using his strength of self restraint like a musician uses a moment’s pause in his choreography Acharyaji wove layers of meaning into his writings.

Acharya Mahaprajna wrote in Hindi, Sanskrit and Prakrit. Elegance and logic are central to his writing be it in their clarity of thought, choosing the right word, not to mention writing with an element of suggestion and not with aggressive assertiveness.

Nonviolence was his religion. He saw it as the only solution to the problems of today and has written many books explaining its role in creating a peaceful society. He has also unfurled the idea of nonviolence in many aspects: as the other name for diplomacy, as respect for fellow beings and so on.

Walking across the length and breadth of the country became Acharya Mahaprajna’s method of seeking the truth. His interaction with people of diverse backgrounds and beliefs made him further develop the Jaina philosophical principle of anekanta which says everything is relative; even truth. Extending this idea as his basis for peaceful co-existence, this social artist - a communicator; a private, often enigmatic person was nonetheless keen to be widely and clearly understood, so as to draw more and more people towards a harmonious way of life.

Acharya Mahaprajna’s urge to communicate was not born of self aggrandizement for it spun far beyond his writings. He developed a system of meditation to nurture and protect the spirit of human kind. The problem of the present generation which would be bequeathed to the future, Acharya Mahaprajna said would be one of emotional imbalances. To keep control over emotions was a contemporary interpretation of the Jaina dictum for detachment. How to manage life and your mind without needing to become an ascetic?

In answer to this question he developed a system of meditation called Preksha dhyan which though eventually led you to moral edification, ans could in shorter spells calm the mind to attend to day to day matters without stress.

That which makes a lasting impact on everyone’s mind after a meeting with Acharya Mahaprajna is his affability. He was deeply revered and respected by not just the disciples in his fold and community members but also by intellectuals and influential people from all over the country. Under his patronage, urged by Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam, former President of India, Acharya Mahaprajna founded an organization for unity of religions and enlightened citizenship. The spiritual leaders from nine different religions who came together on the occasion had no hesitation in accepting Acharya Mahaprajna’s leadership.

 When someone precious and deeply revered is no more, the happiest memories get recollected with regret bordering on sorrow. With Acharyaji there is a compulsive urge to fight such an expression. He gave so much so many people; he touched so many lives that one must be resolute, as perhaps he would have too, on treasure his influence beyond mourning.

So Acharya Mahaprajna lives on in many ways: first and foremost in the memories he leaves for those lucky enough to have known him or heard him speak, secondly in the system of meditation, preksha dhyan and thirdly in one of the most impressive and important bodies of work on philosophy and Jainism.