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Published : Tuesday, 22 September, 2015 04:22 PM
“Life is a privilege and to waste it would be wrong. In living this privileged life, you must accept responsibility for yourself, always use your talents to the best of your ability and contribute somehow to the common good.”– Dr. Verghese Kurien.
XLRI- Xavier School of Management very recently organized the 2nd “Dr Verghese Kurien Memorial Oration on Sustainable Development” in memory of the Founder of AMUL Dr. Verghese Kurien, otherwise known as “the Milkman of India”.
The oration was delivered by Mr. Bunker Roy, Founder and Director, Barefoot College, Tilonia, Ajmer.
The event began with the welcome address by Prof. Madhukar Shukla, Chairperson of XLRI’s Fr. Arrupe Center for Ecology & Sustainability and convener of the oration. “We decided to institute this oration to create a platform to listen to and learn from thought-leaders, social entrepreneurs, development sector professionals and policy makers who have made significant contribution to the idea of an empowered, prosperous and sustainable society. The oration is to commemorate the memory of Dr. Verghese Kurien and needless to say there is no better model of sustainable development both in terms of his life and legacy than Dr. Kurien”, Prof. Shukla said.
Delivering the oration on the topic “The 21st Century Gandhian Model to Sustainability”, Mr. Bunker Roy shared his inspiration and experiences to the students and presented his unique field of work – The Barefoot College – a college that has adopted the Gandhian ideas into its lifestyle and work ethics, holding it true and relevant universally even in the 21st Century and how it had lead millions of village people across the world towards a life of dignity and sustainable development.
He talked about the participating villages creating a Village Energy and Environment Committee which determines the rates the villagers will pay for the solar panels and identifies which of the poorest residents of the town will go to the college for training. The students received 6 month training program learning about solar panels and storage batteries before returning home where they now maintain and repair the systems.
Quoting Alvin Toffler, while sharing his experiences to work among the rural people, he said, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn”.
Inspiring the students with his educational works in villages, he said, “If anyone wants to live and work in a village, there is one thing you must have- your sense of humour. You have to go through an unlearning process where you are coming as a human being first. The only way to gain respect is actually to show that you can go down to their level and become a human being and live with them and work with them.”
Answering to the students’ questions, he said, “Change comes out of conflicts, not violent conflicts but non-violent conflicts of approaches or methods. Solution does not come from outside, it comes from within itself.”
In his address, Fr. E Abraham, S. J. Director of XLRI said, “Dr. Kurien’s remarkable life and achievements are an embodiment of his faith in the ability of the common man to exercise control over his destiny. We decided to institute this Annual Oration to commemorate Dr Kurien’s legacy - because his life and work exemplifies the model for a responsible management leader, combining business skills with the larger good of the society and nation-building.”
Reminiscing his association with Dr. Kurien, Fr. Abraham also shared some anecdotes on Dr.Kurien’s momentous career and his extraordinary leadership skills, “XLRI’s relationship with Dr. Kurien goes back to over 23 years. I personally had an enriching association with Dr. Kurien and was greatly inspired with his strategic foresight and single-minded determination in executing his vision for the dairy sector and more importantly in helping raise the living standards of millions of rural milk producers across thousands of villages in India”.
The event was also graced by Ms. Meagan Carahan Fallone, head of global strategy and development at Barefoot College, besides Fr. E Abraham, S. J. Director of XLRI and Dr. Pranabesh Ray, Dean (Academics), XLRI.
XLRI is a premier, private management institute in India founded in 1949 by Fr Quinn Enright, S.J. in the ‘steel city’ of Jamshedpur (www.xlri.ac.in). Over the last six decades, the institute has grown into a top-ranking business management school of international repute with a wide portfolio of management programs and research publications. Its alumni are spread around the globe and have demonstrated responsible business leadership in their organizations. XLRI continually strives to contribute its mite to the professional growth and management of numerous organisations and institutions across industry sectors.
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