I am writing this post mainly with an eye on my friends in the university who rarely look beyond the politicians while lamenting the country’s plight. Next time they talk to me about these luminaries, I’ll ask them to read this post.
Most of what I have written is widely available on the internet. Please note that I am merely quoting what is popularly available. The stories mentioned here are stale (3-4 years old) but you’ll find it very fresh and palatable if you have not heard of it before!
I have a list of people I dislike. In that, Shiv Khera, Arindam Chaudhuri and A.K. Mishra (a ‘self-styled success guru’ for UPSC Civil Services Exam) jostle for the top slot. For the uninitiated, Shiv Khera is “an Indian motivational speaker, author of self-help books, business consultant, activist and politician,” to quote Wikipedia. More on him, in a minute.
UPDATE: JUNE 2011—Caravan Magazine article by Siddhartha Deb
The Caravan Magazine published “Sweet Smell of Success: How Arindam Chaudhuri Made a Fortune Off the Aspirations—and Insecurities—of India’s Middle Classes”, was written by Siddhartha Deb, a contributing editor at The Caravan and an accomplished writer and university professor based in New York (Adapted from The Beautiful and the Damned: A Portrait of the New India, forthcoming from Viking Penguin in June).
As expected, IIPM has sued the Caravan magazine; Read the Caravan’s response here.
Click here to read the full article published by some blogger. The article is about 10,000 words.
Read about it on Medianama
“Professor Arindam Chaudhuri”
according to his own website is a “management guru, economist and philosopher.” His business school, Indian Institute of Planning and Management (IIPM), is one of the most advertised items in India. His clarion call “dare to think beyond the IIMs” is taken not with a pinch of salt but with a handful of salt, to coin a phrase.
However, in my circle, I still find people who are not aware of how this institute was vehemently exposed in the year 2005 by its own student(s), by Rashmi Bansal (IIM-A alumnus, editor of a popular youth mag JAM, and a popular blogger) and by the blogging community!
Those who are interested in knowing the nuts and bolts of the exposé should visit this Wikipedia entry and follow all the hyperlinks there. Also, do not forget to visit this OJR story and this Desipundit link: IIPM Blog Wars Redux.
Also click here to read how in June 2009, Careers 360 an Outlook magazine venture has proved that IIPM and Arindam = Fraud!
In the year 2008 the UGC had put IIPM in its list of ‘fake universities’. IIPM’s honour was of course restored with legal intervention! In late August 2010, UGC published notices in all major papers informing IIPM is not recognised by the UGC.
Back to Shiv Khera
To begin with, let me give the devil his due! He recently caught the public imagination as a crusader against the indiscriminate reservation, period.
I am posting here a popular critique of Shiv Khera with some of my own observations. So, don’t expect bouquets; you’ll find them aplenty on the internet.
I have not read Shiv Khera and neither do I intend to. I, however, have seen his book ‘You can win’ and it is a mosaic built from a fine cut paste job! It is a best-seller, just the same (and freely available for download on Scribd or eSnips).
I have seen his quotes with the TM (trademark) signs. He publishes his own quotes as ads in newspapers like the Indian Express and Pioneer exhorting the public to change the politicians and whatnot. In campus lingo, such self-promotion is called IC (Identity Crisis)!
In the JNU campus in the past, his quotation ads have defaced the electricity boxes near Godavari bus stop, the notice boards of Kaveri hostel and other public places.
I recall once I had even written him a letter on how his sticker ads (election campaign) were defacing the cover page of my newspapers and therefore “he was a part of the problem” for me and others!
When his ‘CountryFirst’ was launched, it was on the front page of the Hindu newspaper! Never heard of it since!
He loves to be in the limelight and does not miss any chance to grab it and is aware of his criticisms(“pompous fraud”). He uses his oratorical (demagoguery) skills to his full advantage.
He has visited the JNU campus on many occasions and addressed public gatherings thanks to his association with the popular Youth For Equality (hereafter YFE).
When he was visiting the JNU campus, I was under the impression that his infamy will reach JNU before he will and the left-wing student bodies will cover the campus with posters and quotes of his intellectual misdeeds.
I, however, was surprised to find that not many people even knew of the most popular criticism against him (discussed below). I had even suggested my friends in the YFE not to get a man like him aboard who would do more harm than good to the cause.
Now the most damning indictment of Shiv Khera. Shiv Khera is a plagiarist, a cheat; he used another person’s work and passed it as his own. The matter was settled in “25 Lakh Rupees” (Kaavya Vishwanathan was not so lucky!). Read below to know:
I am quoting here from the article ‘You Can Steal And Win’ published in the Outlook magazine in July 2004 (visit the website to read the full story):
“It was a flattering offer for the retired railway official and author of two small forgotten books when management guru and million-copies-selling author Shiv Khera invited him to work together last month.
Just what he meant by “working together” struck 70-year-old Amrit Lal only when he was out of Khera’s posh condominium in Singapore.
Flicking through the book Khera had given him as a parting gift, Freedom is Not Free, Lal discovered sentence after sentence lifted from his own book, India-Enough is Enough, published nine years ago. “It was like seeing a priest coming out of a whorehouse,” is how Lal decribes his sense of outrage at the “lift and shift robbery”….
All night, Lal scoured through the 223-page book Khera had gifted him with a personal inscription “To Mr Amrit Lal-Let’s together make the country proud.” He discovered, to his rage, at least 34 instances where sentences and even paragraphs from his own book-a 177-page crusade against corruption-had been lifted almost verbatim.
What shocked Lal was Khera’s negligence about readapting the material he had pinched. References to Americanisms like prairie chicken, Hudson River, Calgary Towers, Harvard University studies pop up at regular intervals, and at one place, as Lal points out, Khera even refers to America as “our nation.”
“Even an acronym I had coined, RNI, he has stolen as a subtitle. I had used a verse by Iqbal in my book which Khushwant Singh translated specially for me into English. Khera passes it off as his own…
“Even in his bestselling You Can Win, it’s 73 per cent anectodes and jokes (82 anecdotes, almost all of them unacknowledged, in 290 pages). The rest is quotes (90) and one-liners and poems (13) of which five are not acknowledged.”
I’ll conclude by quoting from some comments on the said Outlook article by the readers:
- “People like Khera are a shame to India. They are the wolves in a sheep’s clothing. They know how to mint money by fooling people…” M.S. Sodhi, Singapore
- Khera is a cheap type person who steals original literary works of other, lesser-known authors and presents them his own. He is best suited to be a politician in India….SKDONWEB, Bangalore
- I had the chance to listen to Khera in Bhopal once. We got in after much jostling and pushing to hear the wise man. I came back feeling cheated. He pranced on the stage all evening, repeating one-liners he had memorised to mesmerise people. He turned out to be nothing more than a conman. Manju Dhall
Phew! That was almost 1500 words!
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