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CEO’s Message


The uniqueness of Indus, and the Indus legacy, is founded on liberal education. Traditional education believes in preparing a child to score high marks in examination, get a good college placement, pursue a career (not withstanding that jobs are becoming obsolete), and be successful. Liberal education, on the other hand prepares a child for life, to be future-ready. To be future-ready is to be startup-ready - a Startup-You.

To be Startup-You and be innovative, is a combination of academic excellence and innovation. They are not mutually exclusive. You cannot one without the other. This is the 21st Century learning model.

CEO’s Message


It took Covid 19 to remind the world that, online teaching, learning and working is not a substitute for classroom teaching, but an alternative. The present pandemic has shattered this glass-ceiling. Regrettably, most teachers continue teach online they way they taught offline. This is the gravest default that will lead to irreversible consequences when children become adults. Even from a neurological perspective, it is unsound and unhealthy, because the plasma medium is vastly different to the paper medium.

Online learning is empowering, because it helps a child to take responsibility for her / his learning. Moreover, unlike classroom teaching, a teacher can effortlessly personalise the learning of individual students.

The greatest gift of online learning is in developing competencies. This is because it emphasises non-linear learning through self-learning and greater imagination which inevitably leads to creativity and innovation. We should welcome this big shift, as it will afford children greater opportunities to be innovative - the only way to succeed in the future.

The future of learning will be blended - a mix of online and offline learning. Likewise, the future of work too will be a healthy blend of work from home and office. This future has already arrived and children and parents should adapt readily.

CEO’s Message


Everything will change in a post-Covid 19 world, and schools will be no exception. Given the heightened and protracted state of uncertainty, coupled with chaos and ambiguity, all corporations, governments, businesses, schools, and even individuals, are in a war zone. Everyone has to be startup-ready! Only the innovative will survive. Indus will be at the forefront of this change.

The purpose of education at Indus has been re-calibrated. When the student graduates s/he will be startup ready.

To be startup ready is an intrinsic part of our innovation culture: a triad of
(1) the Startup School for 42 students from grade 9-12 in each of our schools;
(2) each teacher to be a Mini Principal for 10 students; and
(3) teachers to be encouraged to be intrapreneurs.


If you want your child to be an entrepreneur and succeed in the post-Covid 19 world, Indus is the right place for her/him to be.

In the post - Corona world


In the post-Corona world, children will need more than leadership competencies to survive and succeed. They will also need to possess an entrepreneurial-mind. As a result, the existing purpose of education – to prepare a child to succeed in a future that is uncertain, has been re-calibrated and re-imagined as being future-ready.

To be future-ready is to be startup ready.

Graduating students should be capable of giving employment rather than seeking employment. Keeping this objective in mind, we are superimposing a Startup School with effect from the next session. 30 students from Grades 9 to 12 will be selected in each Indus School, and trained by the best entrepreneurs and venture capitalists in the city. This will be free for the first year. We shall be sharing the details soon.

(This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

Covid 19


We must look upon Covid 19 as a great blessing to humanity. We are under going a life-altering crucible experience, an episode that is a great disruptor of the present world social order. At the end of the day, Covid 19 will force us to be innovative. Innovation is the only vaccine against any pandemic, against any difficult situation in our life and workplaces. Those who are not innovative will not survive – they will have no economic and political value.

So let us look upon the present pandemic as a great opportunity to become innovative.

(This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

Corona is a message for the education systems of the world


Every individual, family, state and nation is going through the most difficult phase in recent memory. However, in this moment of a humanitarian crisis, we should look upon Corona not only as a scourge, but also as a blessing: a reminder to each one of us that we need to reset our lives - slow down, and re-connect with ourselves. A reminder that there is more to life than money, pleasure and power. A reminder that the greatest gift parents and teachers can give their child, is to help them find a purpose, to give meaning to their life and work. A reminder that, if children do not remain innovative, they will not be able to re-skill themselves continuously.

Corona is a message for the education systems of the world; that education of the heart and mind is more important than education of the head alone. Corona is a cry for return to humanness, a quality we had virtually forgotten.

Corona is the reset button in the life of every person, every nation.

Corona will change the world permanently – the way we live, the way we care for each other, the way we work, we think, we live, we parent, we teach. Education too will change, and its contours are staring at us.

The purpose of education will be to prepare a child for a future we do not know, a future that is increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous.

Teachers will teach the child, and not the subject alone. Teachers will now become human.

There has to be a pronounced shift in education of the heart (emotions and competencies) and mind (spirituality), and not the head alone.

Schools, corporations and businesses have realised that Internet gives them the capability to work efficiently from home. Coronavirus has made online education go viral. This will increasingly become the norm. Our children should be ready for blended learning, the emerging new learning environment – a combination of online classes by teachers, and school-based learning.

Children must use technology to take ownership for their learning. They can no longer remain passive learners, and expect to be spoon-fed. Lifelong learning and entrepreneurial competencies will ensure their happiness and success.

By the time children graduate from school they should be future-ready; college may be too late.

Indus is committed to this commitment of transformation, through Artificial Intelligence, innovation, courage and resilience.

(This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

Lifelong learning and developing a philosophical mind


Most innovations, from the wheel, the flint, to the self-driving car, are as a result of imagination and curiosity. This is why curiosity is unique to human beings.

At Indus, curiosity, innovation, lifelong learning and developing a philosophical mind, are, therefore, part of the leadership and innovation curriculum. It’s not surprising that a one-unit increase in curiosity leads to a 34% increase in creativity.

We will go even one step ahead. Curiosity by itself does not lead to sustainable innovation. Children must know how to think.

(This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

Books inspire us to be human


You are what you read. You can identify the character and personality of an individual by the books that he/she reads. This is why books are an extension of man’s consciousness and nervous system.

Books inspire us to be human. They give us a:
  • Higher purpose and meaning to life that makes us self-aware – aware of who am I.

  • Multiple perspectives in life.

  • Values.

  • Ability to unlearn and relearn.

  • Focus and mindfulness.

  • Indus focuses a lot on deep reading; and, therefore, deep learning, as it prepares us for all challenges.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    World is going through challenging times


    Although the World is going through challenging times, it is also an excellent opportunity to reinvent ourselves. With our increasing emphasis on education of the heart and mind, and not the head alone, I have no doubt that we will be prepared for all challenges.

    Climate change is a serious threat and has arrived at our doorstep. Indus is going to address this challenge in an innovative manner like it has never been done before. I will share our strategies and plan after the New Year.

    I wish all members of the Indus community – teachers, parents, students and staff, a very Happy New Year. May God bless you all!

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    Education must prepare children for a future


    Education must prepare children for a future we do not know, a future that is unstable, unpredictable and ambiguous. But equally, we must also prepare them to deal with global challenges like climate change, rising inequalities, and the struggle between man and nature.

    These are scientifically well documented, and the warnings are clear. Yet we are doing nothing about them except talking and talking. In order to grapple with these challenges, children need greater autonomy and empowerment.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    We are living in the 4th Industrial Revolution


    We are living in the 4th Industrial Revolution. This age is characterized by deep disruptions by AI, machine thinking, bioengineering, big data and IOT.

    Schools face a huge challenge! How do we prepare children for a future we do not know, a future that is volatile and ambiguous? While innovation will be the master competency to reskill oneself continuously, children will urgently need a philosophical mind, grounded in ethics.

    At Indus, we will make this ‘philosophical beginning” by introducing an ethical curriculum based on Reverence for Life, that all life is valuable.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    The 4th Industrial Age is characterized by VUCA


    The 4th Industrial Age is characterized by VUCA; AI, machine learning; and obsolescence of jobs, technology and even knowledge. Future citizens will, therefore, have to possess innovative competencies to reskill and reinvent themselves.

    The 4th Revolution is the Age of Innovation. Leadership is our central idea – a human-centred approach to leadership philosophy. This model will be reinforced by the design thinking process for education of the head, heart and mind.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    Increasingly distracted world


    In an increasingly distracted world, IQ and EQ alone are not determinants of success; it is focus. This is the ability to pay undivided 100 % on any one task without being distracted.

    In my experience, focusing on one’s goals is the Prozac for improving one’s attention. People don’t like to be specific in their goals, because specificity is considered to be a condition for failure. And failure is, indeed, painful. Specificity is not merely the wordings of the goal statement. True specificity originates from goals that arise from one’s vision; and vision in turn is derived from purpose.

    Enemies of fulfilment of our purpose in life is procrastination and broken focus.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    One step higher than whole-education


    At Indus, we believe that holistic education (one step higher than whole-education) is the only way to prepare children for a future we do not know. This is why the role of the teacher is to teach the child, and not the subject alone.

    The holistic approach to education challenges the assumption that, learning is a cognitive activity for economic benefits. Consequently, holism is based upon the following concepts:
    1. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Do not see the world and the child as separate parts, because we are interconnected, and have responsibilities towards each other.

    2. Education must help the child to discover her potential.

    3. Every child is unique. This uniqueness arises when her potential is unlocked – her passion, her creativity, and her higher purpose in life.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    Innovation is the only way to succeed in a future


    Innovation is the only way to succeed in a future that is volatile and uncertain. Being innovative demands high levels of energy.

    At Indus, we prepare teachers and students to manage their energy and not their time. We possess finite energy, and that has to be directed towards achieving one’s vision, one’s goals, one’s vital tasks.

    Energy does not diminish with age or circumstances. Energy declines when we have nothing to live for. A higher purpose is, therefore, an essential requirement to sustain one’s energy and intrinsic innovation.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    Higher Purpose

    Our higher purpose is the source of our divinity; our innovation; of being good and doing good; being happy, and making others happy.

    Without a higher purpose, innovation is not possible. Therefore, if students and teachers are not driven by a higher purpose, a school’s culture of innovation will remain a pipe – dream. 

    Our Beliefs


    Our beliefs are good substitutes for pursuing a higher purpose. 

    Beliefs are truths arrived at by individuals experientially. They are ethical and pro-life, and the individual has to be a practitioner. In case he is only inspired by the beliefs, he must build his capacity to export it to others for the common good. Only then will meaning arise. 

    The following steps must be taken :

    Step 1 : Inspired by the beliefs either as a witness or through deep-reading.

    Step 2 : Seek clarity on relevance and concept of the concerned beliefs.

    Step 3 : Conduct a SWOT on what capacities are needed.

    Step 4 : Practise it at work and in one’s personal life.

    Step 5 : Once the individual is confident that he is ready to influence others :

      • Set a vision.
      • Write down challenging goals.
      • Make an implementation plan in work and life.
      • Create meaning to life.

    The future has arrived - a future where knowledge


    The future has arrived - a future where knowledge, jobs and technology are getting outdated rapidly. This has immediate implications for lifelong learning and continuous re-skilling – a personal responsibility in the 4th Industrial Age. Those who are not lifelong learners are illiterates.

    Lifelong learning is not only about new skills and competencies, but learning about oneself – Who am I? Why am I here? In which directions am I moving? Therefore, education of the heart and mind, and not the head alone, assume great importance.

    This is our endeavour @ Indus; to develop our teachers and students as lifelong learners.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    The Indus Training and Research Institute


    The Indus Training and Research Institute (ITARI) is the only of its kind in the world. ITARI has been designed with the help of the Birmingham City University, to conduct pre-service training of teachers in international education, and even in-service training.

    ITARI ensures a steady and continuous supply of highly motivated teachers into Indus Schools and Early Learning Centres. These teachers are trained in pedagogy and leadership for the 4th Industrial Age, with pronounced abilities to train the heart and the mind of the students, and not the head alone.

    The special ability we are instilling in ITARI teachers is to teach the child, and not the subject alone.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    In a volatile and uncertain world


    In a volatile and uncertain world, innovation is the #1 leadership and spiritual competency. While most people are creative, only a few – just a few are innovative. There is a big difference between creativity and innovation and creativity.

    To be creative is to come up with original ideas. This is a god-given gift and is part of the human DNA. On the other hand, innovation is the application of ideas and one’s imagination, to either solve problems creatively, or transform organizations and society. About 1% leaders have this ability.

    The good news is that you can become part of the 1%, because innovation is learnable. To be innovative, one must develop a separate set of companion competencies, particularly empathy, critical-thinking and risk-taking.

    There are many ways to acquire these competencies. However, the experiential approach is practical and sustainable, i.e.:
    Deep reading

    Community service

    Challenging goals


    Make a beginning!

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    A fair number of students


    A fair number of students remain unproductive as they are unable to select and focus on their critical few – the 20%. Consequently, they end up frustrated and stressed out, and underperform in their examination. Successful students never lift their eyes from their 20% – specific academic goals or key result areas. Given that there is a deluge of information available on the Internet, a lot of which is fake news, the challenge is formidable.

    Setting a challenging goal is not enough. There must be a detailed plan in place to achieve the goal. This is where most students lose out. Goals without plans are meaningless.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    Obsolescence – jobs, technology and knowledge


    Given the rate of obsolescence – jobs, technology and knowledge; rapid change; and acceleration, we are living in a world that is increasingly becoming VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity).

    We are finding it extremely challenging to:

    Adapt to this phenomenon

    To pause, and reconnect with ourselves

    Be innovative to re-skill and reinvent ourselves

    Prevent early burnout.


    Adaptability is the greatest challenge we face; it is more relevant than Intelligence Quotient. Of the Future 500 companies in 1955, only 61 (or 12 %) remained in 2014. 88 % were bankrupt, merged, or financially unviable. Today’s life expectancy of Fortune 500 is 15 years. Only those who are best in what they do will survive.

    Of the several methods of becoming adaptable, the master strategy lies in pursuing a higher purpose in life.

    Everything around you and beyond you will change. The one thing that will not change is the vision. Vision is derived from purpose. Most live their lives as a series of events, accidents and reactions. Fulfilment and the ability to lead through VUCA will come from purpose for someone or something greater than ourselves. It is the purpose that gives meaning; and meaning in turn gives us a vision. Without a vision we may perish.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    Indus in leadership as well as pedagogy


    2019 will be a defining year for Indus in leadership as well as pedagogy. Given that the purpose of education is preparation for a future we do not know, education of the heart and mind, and not the head alone, will assume significance.

    Around mid-2019, all Indus schools will be organizing a 2-day leadership fest based on folk traditions of India and aesthetics. Indus students and folk artists will collaborate in this initiative. The fest will be based on the concept of thinking global and acting local. It will also evaluate the relevance of traditional Indian leadership models in modern context.

    We sincerely hope that, with greater student-autonomy in taking responsibility for their learning, our students will acquire the requisite leadership competencies to improve their academic rigour.

    Wishing all teachers, parents and children a very happy New Year!

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    Leadership and spiritual competency


    Innovation is the #1 leadership and spiritual competency. To succeed, in the past millennium we relied on a combination of analytical and emotional intelligences, based on knowledge and past experiences. In the 4th Industrial Age we need a new type of intelligence – innovative intelligence to succeed and be competitive.
    Future intelligence = innovative intelligence

    innovative intelligence = Human intelligence+ Artificial intelligence

    This intelligence will enable us to:
    a. Reinvent ourselves continuously because of the obsolescence of knowledge, of jobs and technology.
    b. Gain insight into problems we yet do not know.
    c. Operate through uncertainties, ambiguities and complexities.
    d. Work collaboratively as teams to first define and then solve problems creatively, and figure out new possibilities of doing things.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    In the 4th Industrial Age


    In the 4th Industrial Age, educating the heart (emotional intelligence) and the mind (spiritual) has become more important than educating the head (knowledge about).

    Consequently, teachers and students must develop the book reading habit to improve their quality of thinking and learning. This is the best antidote to digital addiction, as well as the only way to expand our consciousness, the only way to beat algorithms and computers.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    Reskilling by Teachers


    The reskilling revolution has arrived.

    In a VUCA world driven by technology; and characterized by knowledge and job obsolescence, the challenges are unique. All plans for investment are dependent on reskilling oneself continuously – upskilling, re-skilling, and re-re-skilling again and again. Current skills are getting outdated every five years. Re-skilling is, therefore a financial strategy - a survival strategy, and primarily a personal responsibility.

    Individual readiness strategies and investment plans must be in place now, and teachers must work on them from this very moment. The grand strategy will be to become lifelong learners. This will involve:

    Learning about yourself: Who am I? Why am I here?

    Ownership for self and professional growth

    Developing entrepreneurial competencies, especially innovation

    Deep reading followed by application of concepts and ideas.


    There are several types of investments – property, real-estate, gold, stocks and shares, bonds and fixed deposits. We invest for improving our quality of life, to reduce taxable income, for higher education, marriages of children, for retirement, for starting and expanding business, whatever. The time has now come for us to invest in knowledge – our time, money, resources and hope.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    Academic year with one key resolution


    The new session for 2018 - 19 has commenced. We start the academic year with one key resolution: every teacher and student must set goals for improving their academic rigour and human potential.

    Challenging goals are the most powerful leadership tool for unlocking human potential and being happy. Einstein once said, “If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.”

    Those who set goals and write down plans, succeed in life, gain a competitive edge over others, and become good human beings.

    This is what we endeavour at Indus.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    Future schools will be schools of innovation


    Future schools will be schools of innovation. Innovation will be necessary for economic prosperity, coping with VUCA conditions, sustainability of the planet, self-actualisation and institutional legacy. From 1955 to 2017, only 60 of the original 500 Fortune companies are surviving. It is believed that, in the next ten years, about 40 percent of today’s Fortune companies will disappear. The reasons are obvious: no purpose, no vision, and no innovation.

    The renaissance for innovation must begin in schools. Schools of the future are schools of innovation.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    Asking Questions


    The innovation culture begins with asking good questions. It does not matter whether it is a country, an organisation, a family or an individual. Those who are afraid of asking questions or raising their eyebrows, can never be creative. It’s a well-documented fact that schools discourage asking questions.

    Children and adults who ask questions become better thinkers and better problem solvers. You start dying the day you stop asking questions as a child, as a student and as a citizen. You also stop being curious about life and the environment you live in.

    Between the ages of 2 and 5 children ask about 40,000 questions. Thereafter, they stop asking questions because our education system discourages children asking questions. Teachers and examinations want only answers. What they fail to realise is that one gets good answers only when one asks good questions.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    Developing academic rigour


    We believe that dataism is critical for developing academic rigour, achieving excellence, continuous development, and self-directed learning.

    We are in the process of creating greater data-mindedness in all teachers and our respective leadership teams. In the process, we will also be able to perceive progress and plan early interventions.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    The 4th Revolution characterized by Artificial Intelligence


    We have entered the era of the 4th Revolution characterized by Artificial Intelligence, automation, job obsolescence, volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity.

    The challenge in education is staring us in the face. How do we prepare children for a world in which 40 % of today’s jobs will disappear by 2035, by the time they enter the workforce? New jobs will require a totally different set of skills and competencies.

    We believe that our preparations must begin from the early and primary years. In this regard, parents will play a key role by:

    1. Stop over-protecting children, to enable them to think and act for themselves, and become risk-takers and innovation.

    2. Avoid providing instant gratification to children.

    3. Strictly regulating screen time to enable children to be:

    Be empathetic

    Engage the world around them

    Play with pets

    Read picture / story books even before they can read

    Be with nature

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    The 4th Industrial Revolution has arrived.


    The 4th Industrial Revolution has arrived.

    AI will render millions of jobs obsolete, and many will not have the skills for new jobs. Two-thirds of today’s primary children will be required to take up jobs that don’t exist today. So how do we prepare children to flourish and be happy in a future we do not know?

    The challenge for education is straight forward: how do we prepare children to compete with algorithms and computers. We do so by doing what computers cannot do, by educating the heart and the mind, the software that driver the hardware; and the brain. At Indus, we do this by focusing on:

    Developing an entrepreneurial mindset, especially innovation

    Practising the school’s core values of love, empathy, respect and discipline

    Tolerance

    Acceptance

    Beliefs based on faith and reason

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    What Machines Cannot Teach


    The 4th Industrial Age has arrived.

    AI will render millions of jobs obsolete, and many will not have the skills for new jobs. Need to reimagine school education. Two-thirds of today’s primary children will be required to take up jobs that don’t exist today.

    Today’s teaching is focused on content knowledge and not on application and innovation. If schools continue teaching the way they have been doing for the past 200 years, children have a bleak future. The machines will take over! They will have no economic value, and will be consigned to the useless class, or worst, biological waste.
    New knowledge must focus more on what what machines cannot teach. Machines are good in knowledge; human beings are good in wisdom. Therefore, the ‘soft’ curriculum should aim at achieving wisdom, innovation and an entrepreneurial mindset, comprising:
    Wisdom

    Value

    Believing in beliefs

    Independent thinking

    Team work or collaboration

    Entrepreneurial mindset

    Growth mindset

    Research mindedness and skills

    How to access credible information

    Art, music and sports


    This is what Indus will endeavour.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    The 4th Industrial Age has arrived


    The 4th Industrial Age has arrived. The changes in the next 5 years will be more than what we have experienced in the past 5000 years. Such will be the awesome rate of change and acceleration.
  • AI, automation, and new learning technologies will dominate every aspect of our life, our work, our genes, our bio-chemicals, our attitudes and our beliefs. 40 % of today’s jobs will become obsolete by 2030. Another 40 % will undergo major changes in roles, responsibilities and expectations.

  • Knowledge obsolescence will be rapid, and we will experience the diminishing importance of formal education.

  • Lifelong learning and reskilling will be a master competency to survive and flourish in the 21st century. Therefore, Learning How to Learn will be the # 1 pedagogy in the 21st century, a shift from a training culture to a learning culture. This will be our New Year resolution.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    Adapt and Innovate


    The speed of change and knowledge obsolescence is hurtling us into a future we do not know.
  • Where changes in the next 20 years will be more profound and unpredictable, than what we have experienced in the previous 5000 years.

  • Where VUCA are the most natural conditions of life.

  • Where the rate of acceleration will be awesome.

  • When AI and machine-learning will dominate our life and work.


  • We must ADAPT and INNOVATE; or else we will suffer from what Alvin Toffler calls “future shock”, the disease of change.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    Collaborative Learning Model


    85% of a teacher’s time is spent in routine tasks: preparation and delivery of content (4 out of 7 periods a day), formative and summative assessments, house-keeping and record-keeping chores. As a result, she finds it a challenge to spend quality time and personalize learning; to teach the child, and not just the subject. After all, that is her primary role.

    We intend to introduce teacher-robots in the near future; they will make the teacher more relevant than what they are today. This will be marked by complementary between human teachers and robots as shown below:

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    The Fourth Industrial Revolution


    A renaissance is already happening, and the education revolution has already arrived. Its contours are evident:
    Innovation is the # 1 leadership competency. Those who

    are not creative are illiterate. They will perish.

    Preparing students for jobs that don’t exist yet. About half of the teacher

    population may probably be replaced by Humanoid teachers by 2030.

    Coding, math skills and soft skills will be the lingua franca of the 21st century. Core curriculum will comprise of application of knowledge through creativity and interdisciplinary knowledge.

    Curriculum will move from content, to competencies, to application of knowledge.

    The medium is the message. Our nervous system is an

    extension of the medium we use. We will need bi-literate brains.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    Lifelong Learning


    Lifelong learning is a master competency in a world where knowledge is getting outdated every two years, and 50 percent of jobs today will not exist in the next twelve years. Such is the awesome rate of obsolescence!

    Lifelong learning is essential for prolonging our neuroplasticity, and becoming self-aware. Learning about oneself is a life’s journey and involves:
  • Unlearning and then re-learning.

  • Reskilling oneself at successive tipping points on our work and even personal life.

  • Acquiring transdisciplinary skills.

  • Self-directed and collaborative learning.

  • Deep reading.


  • The lifelong process should aptly begin by setting a personal vision, followed by challenging and interdisciplinary goals.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    Creativity


    The world belongs to creative people, people who give rebirth to themselves, who give meaning to life, who lead an examined life, who are happy.

    In 2010, IBM conducted a landmark study of 1500 global CEOs to determine what crucial competency was required to flourish in a VUCA World. The overwhelming response said creativity.

    Creativity is as essential as literacy. If you are not creative, you are illiterate. And if you do not have the desire or ability to unlearn and relearn, you are a liability to society, and even to your family! Period.

    Creativity cannot be taught because man is born creative. 98% children at age 5 are genius. However, as they advance in school and in life, the environment conspires to deprive them of creativity. The best and more effective way of sustaining creativity is by providing children a creative environment in class, campus, and in homes. Emotional intelligence, must therefore be a teaching objective.

    Creative is the only mantra for:

    Hope

    Happiness

    Survival

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    Becoming Outliers


    Every teacher is an R & D lab, wherein meaningful research is to be conducted in the domains of self-growth to become outliers. Extraordinariness and, uniqueness have to be institutionalized. There is no such thing as “once unique,” “always unique.” Uniqueness bestows innovation. These could be learning goals as part of lifelong learning, or on becoming an outlier.

    All teachers must pledge to be outliers.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    Experiential Learning


    There is common agreement that, experiential learning is the best form of learning. This belief is a half-myth, because our direct experiences – about 15%, are grossly limited. We need to access the experiences of others, mainly in the form of books. This lack of understanding is responsible for the illusion of knowledge.

    Human beings do not think alone, because human intelligence resides in the collective mind. We live in a community of knowledge comprising:

    Experts

    Internet

    Application of ideas to make a difference to us and society
    Deep reading for distilling new ideas and experiences of others


    Our quality of thinking depends on the quality of ideas. It’s not surprising that the history and evolution of man is the history of idea. Ideas are contained in the minds of several people; and we find them in their books. Deep reading (both in plasma and paper) is an excellent source for knowledge and practical intelligence.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    Peak Performance


    There is no straight forward definition of peak performance. It is not merely winning gold medals, out of turn promotions and hefty salaries; but the ability to pursue excellence in life. Peak performance is, therefore, not episodic, but a way of life to unleash our brain and body’s maximum potential.

    It is important to know that we are doing our best. Our best is not determined by output alone. It is whether we are walking the extra mile, and whether we experience flow. Flow is a positive state of mind characterised by total involvement in what one is doing, that one loses all sense of time, place and the past.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    Self - Reliance and Leadership


    The leadership process of unlocking a child’s potential must start at the earliest. Presently, our children are over-protected, and not exposed to risk and failure.

    The first and the most foundational and critical stage in a child’s leadership journey is self-reliance, the ability to be independent in thought, courage in expressing one’s point of view, exercising choice and trusting one’s abilities and efforts. Self-reliance is a philosophical concept that inculcates the ideals of individualism, develops a growth mindset and enhances creativity. History testifies that innovation is born out of self-reliance. It is, therefore, critical that parents and teachers encourage their children to take risks and not be over-protective.

    Training in self-reliance happens at home and in classrooms. The aim of fostering self-reliance in children should be fourfold: reducing adult dependency in learning and experimentation through self-directed learning, persuading risk-taking where it matters, encouraging children to experience what life is and not what life should be, and teaching self-sufficiency to make them more independent and confident to deal with difficult situations as they grow, and take hard decisions.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    Sports for Leadership


    It is common to hear people say that sports keep the body and mind healthy and fit. This is true.

    But more than that, sports also make us leaders.

    21st Century is an age that is complex and full of uncertainties. No one can say what will happen tomorrow and no one can solve all the problems on their own. They need the help of their team. Working in teams is a key requirement of today and in the future. Sports teaches us:

    a. That the team is more important than the individual. In life you cannot win alone. You need the support of your team.

    b. The principles on how to deal with failure:

    Welcome failure.

    Do not be afraid to fail.

    If your do not fail, you cannot succeed.

    Life is not about winning and losing; what matters is the effort you put in.

    Winning is a byproduct.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    Reading Habit


    1. To succeed and flourish in the 21st century, the reading habit is a must. Parents and teachers are mandated to ensure children go even beyond into deep reading, reading with the purpose of transforming oneself to be a good person, and being prepared for a future we do not know.

    2. We have entered the age of a-literacy wherein individuals are consciously exercising their choice not to read. The latest reading statistics from the US are disturbing. 33 percent high school graduates never read a single book after leaving school. And 42 percent college graduates do not read any book after graduation.

    3. The book-reading habit must start with teachers. The following book-reading strategies will help:
    Step 1: Daily goal of reading 20 pages for 8 months.
  • Keep a log and use a habit tracking app like catch.me.

  • Logs ensure accountability

  • Step 2: Always carry a book or a Kindle.

    Step 3: Select a particular time in the day to read – morning after exercise is preferable.

    Step 4: Eliminate distraction by muting the mobile.

    Step 5: Read liberal newspapers, watch selected videos, and read quality magazines like The Economist, Time and Wired.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    International Mindedness


    The 20th century was concerned more with knowledge about and scholarship. In the 21st century the emphasis has shifted to the application of classroom learning to solve real-life problems in a creative manner. The ability for such application is dependent upon the quality of one’s core competencies.

    Future teachers will not be teachers of literature, history, mathematics and the sciences. In order to fulfill their mandate of unlocking potential, teachers will henceforth:

    Become their students, and students will become their

    teachers through self-directed learning, thus narrowing down the

    present gap between teachers and students. This is the essence of

    lifelong learning.


    Not teach content. Instead, they will teach and practice the students in developing core competencies; using their subjects of specialization as a medium. For example, the language teacher will now primarily teach critical thinking, living with diversity and persuasive communication. Students will learn the language with some assistance from the teacher, some from self-directed learning, and the rest with the help of robot teachers. However, about 30 percent of content will still be taught by the teacher.

    Not teach physics and history, but teach students how to learn

    physics and history. This will be the #1 pedagogy in 21st century schools,

    the mega transition that must occur - from teaching, to how to learn.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    International Mindedness


    We need to redefine international education and international-mindedness, exemplified by the International Baccalaureate. First, an international syllabus is a leadership curriculum, and Indus goes well beyond the IBO mandate by incorporating the following four key features:

    a. Fulfill the purpose of education by preparing children to lead from tomorrow, a tomorrow characterized by uncertainty and volatility. To achieve this vision, cognitive competencies alone will not help. School education must imbibe critical competencies in a child such as critical-thinking, creativity, collaboration, persuasive communication, problem-finding and living with diversity. In the 21st century these competencies or life-skills are more important than academic achievements.

    b. From a leadership perspective, every leader is a teacher and every leader is a teacher. The role of the teacher has remained unchanged over centuries. They have a common role: to unlock human potential, theirs, and the students they are responsible for. This is, indeed, a formidable challenge.

    c. Localism is the rock foundation of international education, namely, act local and then think global. The millennial or me-generation, lack situational awareness, with total apathy about what is happening around them – their culture, history, traditions, community and society. It is localism that gives them a reference point towards international-mindedness. The failure in the classroom is because teachers do not practice students in using classroom learning to solve real-life problems. Everything is knowledge about and scoring high marks for entry into prestigious colleges and universities; not knowledge about, and knowledge to be.

    d. Innovation is the #1 leadership competency.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    Indianness


    In today’s day and age international schooling has very less to do with racial, and cultural groupings, having or having the IB syllabus, or being for-profit or non-profit. Of 112 IB Schools in India (2016) just about three or four IB schools teach the ‘IB Way’. In my view, international schooling must be re-defined as offering any curriculum that must serve two purposes:

    a. One, preparation for life that is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. Academic excellence alone will not fulfill this objectives. Academic rigour must be redefined to include critical cognitive and non-cognitive competencies like.

    Character

    Vision Innovation

    Empathy and compassion

    Critical and strategic thinking

    Collaboration


    b. Two, teachers must be capable of unlocking their potential, and that of the students they are responsible for. Most of us operate at 8-10% of our potential, the rest lies buried undiscovered. Our potential comprises our:

    Signature strengths

    Creativity and critical thinking

    Higher order emotions like love and compassion

    Talent

    Divinity – be good and do good


    c. Three, be local first before thinking global. In order to be innovative, we need to know a lot about our roots – spirituality, philosophy, science, history, customs and traditions. For Indian IB Schools, I will call this Indianness.

    I will use three words to desirable international schooling: unlocking human potential. In a strict sense, the focus is, therefore on the teacher and not on the syllabus.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    5 Golden Principles


    Every leader is different – no two leaders are the same. Irrespective of whether it is at home, in academics, sports, arts, business or governance, they share some common traits. These are the 5 Golden Rules you should remember.

    1. They have a clear vision of what and where they want to be, and in what time frame; and how to achieve their goals. Success is not a random occurrence. Your vision will ignite your motivation and unlock your potential.

    2. Success does not happen on its own, you need to set challenging goals. Challenging goals are goals that have a 50% probability of failure. What you become as a result of trying to achieve your goals is more important than achieving the goal. We must, therefore, welcome challenges as a means to learn and grow.

    3. Welcome failure. You only learn when you fail – failure is the first step for success. What is important is how you deal with failure. To deal with failure you need to have grit:
  • Tenacity – patience, doggedness and determination to hold on to long-range goals despite all odds
  • High motivation to accept failure, and continue working under severe pressure
  • Mental toughness. Life is about mind over matter
  • Bounce back after failure


  • 4. Visualise success every day with all your senses. Value the process of success rather than the outcome. This is controllable. What also matters is the effort?

    5. Deep reading, deep thinking, deep experiencing and deep learning.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    power of the digital revolution


    Notwithstanding the awesome power of the digital revolution, there is an urgent need to revive the habit of book reading. Deep reading is not restricted to text or digital reading. You need paper and plasma together to create a bi-lateral brain.

    The digital page helps in surfing – accessing knowledge, concepts and ideas. The paper page helps the reader to dig down and reflect.

    The revival of the book reading habit depends solely on the teacher. She must inspire the children to read, to think, to critique, and to apply the concepts in our lives.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    Continuous Growth


    The Japanese Kaizen Way or continuous growth is an excellent quality improvement model to go by. This is especially so for all-inclusive schools wherein we have student-intakes from varied academic background.

    The concept of continuous growth is founded on the principle of growth-mindset as opposed to a fixed-mindset. The latter believes that talent and IQ ae fixed at birth. Growth mindset, on the other hand, is based on the scientific belief that, man is born potential, and with the right environment and positive nurturing, an individual can discover his talent.

    In our scheme of things, a class teacher who brings about continuous growth in a student from say 50 to 55%, is a better teacher than one who has a student at 90 and remains at 90 or 92. The latter shows no growth.

    Continuous growth can be brought about by

    Concept teaching

    Deliberate practice

    Feedback and assessment for learning

    Personalized attention

    Hypothetical model of excellence to increase the class average

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    Life is to be a great teacher


    The best decision a teacher can take in her life is to be a great teacher.

    A great teacher having a calling, is a rare species these days. She is great because of her mastery in education. Her attributes are phenomenal:

    The ability to unlock a child’s potential.

    To liberate the minds of her students.

    Teach what Google cannot teach.


    We need great teachers to build character, creativity and risk-taking. This is what Indus and the Indus Training and Research Institute are working towards – our mission, our manifesto. It will be a long haul but the journey has started.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    The traditional model of leadership is Newtonian


    The traditional model of leadership is Newtonian; and this is why love, God and leadership are the most misunderstood words in all languages and cultures, this is also a primary reason why the world faces a leadership crisis. The Newtonian model of leadership was designed for a stable, predictable and hierarchical environment that could be controlled. This model is:

    a.Deterministic – based on laws of cause and effect. This is a Western scientific viewpoint which legislates that, the search for truth is based on reason, observation of facts and analysis, leading to principles. Consequently, the argument is straight forward: if you apply these laws, you can be a leader. Nearly all self-development books are deterministic. This explain why 95% of leadership books are written by people who are non-practicing leaders.

    b.Reductionist, namely breakdown complex problem into smaller and simpler parts, and then study them under a microscope within local conditions. This is unworkable as the sum of the smaller parts is less than the whole.

    Leadership at Indus is inspired from the scientific laws of quantum mechanics, complexity science and chaos theory. Quantum leadership is suited to today’s and tomorrow’s world, a world that is unstable, unpredictable, interconnected and messy world.

    There are 1500 definitions of leadership and over 40 concepts of leadership. Overwhelmingly, they are Newtonian, and aim at exercising influence on outcomes in relationship, friendship and decision-making.

    At Indus, we define leadership as the discovery of one’s potential, which in turn leads to transformation of the child leading to transformation. Transformation occurs when we are able to discover our human potential. We define potential by other names also.

    Self-actualization

    Happiness

    Self-awareness

    Motivation


    Regrettably, the large majority of humanity uses just about 5-10% of one’s potential. Most of it lies buried like the iceberg. Potential comprises:

    Talent

    Signature Strength and weaknesses

    Values

    Higher order emotions like love compassion and respect for life

    The divinity within us


    At Indus we believe that man must be what he can be. The leadership curriculum and the whole-education syllabus are designed to bring out the child’s potential; and we showcase this on Indus Day, Sports Day and the Leadership Summits.

    Leading for the future

    Leading from the future

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    More joy, more reality, more connectedness


    "…..More joy, more reality, more connectedness, more accomplishment and more opportunities for people to grow."

    New Year greetings are exchanged at this time; resolutions are made and there is widespread hope that all of the above will be achieved. Why are these wishes realistic and achievable? Because they are what constitutes human potential; what paves the road to self-actualization, for every human being.

    We wish for you this year, the good life: which we describe as :

    A growing openness to experience, allowing personality and self-concept to emanate from experiences that are rich, varied and challenging. This results in excitement, daring, adaptability, tolerance, spontaneity, and a lack of rigidity and suggests a foundation of trust. Existing codes and social norms may prevail, but openness to experience teaches one to trust their own sense of right and wrong.

    Freedom of choice – Young people must receive this gift from experienced and wise parents and teachers. They must believe that they play a role in determining their own goals and so feel responsible for their own behavior.

    Creativity – At school, when potential is just waiting to be released in order to grow, like a bud on the verge of blossoming, learners must feel freer to be creative. Conforming keeps them on the beaten path. Responding to their individual creativity encourages them to innovate and contribute. Confidence and self-belief are quick to develop

    Reliability and constructiveness – If children can be trusted to act constructively, they become independent and balanced individuals. They venture into new fields of possibility.

    A rich, full life is not necessarily an easy life, but it is exciting, it rewards you with finding your own treasure, your own potential. It keeps out all hope sapping negatives.

    To feel joy of achievement, disappointment (for that too is constructive), love and approbation of people around is our wish for you in the New Year. May it be a year of discovery, of exploration and of exploiting your true and unique potential!

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    Creating Leaders of Tomorrow at Indus


    In "The Pilgrim’s Progress", written by John Bunyan of the 17th century, the author calls upon the reader never to lose sight of one’s destination. In life and at work, in leadership, the destination is the vision of the school, of the individual. A leader must note:

    1. Never to lose sight of the destination – the vision.

    2. Knowledge is experiential and must lead to transformation.

    3. The spiritual quest is not just a solitary journey; you need the support of the community.


    Vision and purpose go hand in hand, the purpose that drives human motivation; not money, power or position

    The purpose of education, especially in an interconnected, uncertain and globalized world, cannot be mere academic excellence, or college placements, or career. At Indus we earnestly believe that the purpose of education is preparation for life. This will encompass:
  • Survival competencies for happiness, potential and being successful, like character, creativity, critical thinking, persuasive communication, resilience and reflection.

  • Bringing out the student’s potential.

  • Being an engaged citizen, one who participates in civic life, but pays back to the community.

  • The purpose of teaching and education is not merely to teach; it is to transform the child, to enable the child to realize her full potential – self-actualization. Teachers are, therefore, agents of change.

    (Talk to Teachers at the Beginning of New Session 2014-15)

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    What really is success?


    Success means different things to different people. But most people, (and even the dictionary), define success as winning - being rich, being famous, and being powerful. So success is all about a heady cocktail of money, power, and influence. Many people are inspired by wealth and extreme individualism, like that which was proclaimed by Ayn Rand in her novels, demonstrating that "selfishness is a virtue"; Gordon Gekko, Michael Douglas’ character in the film ‘Wall Street’ famously said "Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works." The economic collapse of 2008 can be ascribed to greed. The rampant corruption in India is also because of unlimited greed. As Milton Friedman said, “The business of business is business”.

    Mine is an alternative view of what success is. Wanting to be number one in whatever we do, winning the race should never be the sole objective. Life cannot be reduced to a rat race, because even the winner still remains a rat! Coming first, is a byproduct. What matters is the effort that one puts in. We should not be losing the race for want of effort.

    It does not matter whether we win or lose. What matters is how hard we fought for what we believed in. When we talk of goal-setting, the issue is not whether we achieved our goal or not. It is how hard we tried. What is more important is what you become in the process of achieving your goal. Success is becoming what you are capable of becoming.

    Success also means making other people successful and happy. In Zulu/Xhosa culture from Africa, there is a phrase, Ubuntu. When translated it means, "I am what I am because of who we all are." In other words, the very essence of being a human being is to be interconnected to other human beings. The Zulus say, "A person is a person through other persons."

    Therefore, to be successful in life, you need the close and intimate support of other people, the team. We win nothing on our own, unless we give support or take it. After all, we live in an inter-connected world.

    (This message for June, 2014 is excerpted from the CEO’s message at the Graduation Day ceremony for the Class of 2014-IB)

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    Lifelong Learning


    Lifelong learning is a key competency to survive and flourish in the 21st century. This is because knowledge is getting outdated rapidly. The greatest challenge is the process for re-learning, which involves unlearning and then re-learning. Unlearning is difficult, because our ego and personal experiences get in the way of unbiased, objective reflection. Unlearning can happen through cognitive dissonance and crucible experiences. These processes call upon our ability to think critically and to measure the applicability of the knowledge and experience we posses.

    Common to both these processes of change through cognitive dissonance and crucible experiences, is the art and science of reflection. If an individual cannot reflect, experiences are meaningless. I went to war in 1965 and 1971, but learnt nothing. Absolutely nothing. How many business leaders consciously reflect or know how to reflect? It is a process to be learned and cultivated. It is what liberates us from becoming static and hidebound. It is what makes us strong in the face of change.

    Dissonance can be caused by a book, offering contrarian views to what the reader believes in. A guru or friend or mentor can challenge your present views and provoke you to re-think. In the process she or he can get you to reflect. From a leader-perspective it is, therefore, very important to be surrounded by subordinates who are more competent, if not more than you are. From the leader-perspective you must be an avid reader and listener. As a leader, you will need a mentor. 

    A corollary to lifelong learning is learning about oneself. That is how self-awareness arises. It will firmly put one on the road to self-actualization. If leaders are not aware of their potential or their shortcomings, success and happiness will always elude them. Conversely, an unhappy negative leader cannot evolve, cannot inspire and eventually, cannot lead.

    The real self is dynamic and if a leader is true to herself and is a lifelong learner, who reflects and rebuilds experience and thought, there will be no dearth of future leaders, who will emulate and adopt such qualities of leadership.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    The Essence of a Good Human Being


    There is a fairly large number of young men and women out there in the world, who do not want to be either leaders or even followers. The political class and their lack of accountability, staggering corruption and lust for power and ill-gotten wealth, sends many a well- meaning youth in the opposite direction, away from leadership dreams and responsibilities. Systems and processes can replace leaders, such people believe.

    Many parents are wary of their children having aspirations of leadership, for fear that their focus should be on personal progress alone, which does not need creativity or social concerns or the desire to fulfil onself as a whole human being. There are no parents would not wish their children to grow into good human beings.

    The essence of leadership is to be a good human being. Good leadership is not demonstrated by a corrupt politician or an alpha male. True leaders have exemplars in the Dalai Lama and Gandhiji. They lead by example and principles. Both leaders valued peace and non-violence above all means of action.

    Rosa Parks, now deemed the first lady of the American Civil Rights movement, registered her protest against racial discrimination against the Afro American people in a non-violent way; by refusing to give up her seat in a bus in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955. Leaders may, at times have to go it alone. Nelson Mandela was armed with nothing but vision when he chose non-violence and persuasion in South Africa, when the majority of black people, including his wife Winnie, felt that freedom had to be gained at any cost, even through violence and loss. Gandhiji lived and acted by his belief that the principle of non-violence was more important than political advantage that accrues to a demonstration of violence.

    An academic institution and an educational one are different.The former prepares its students for a job; the latter prepares them for life. Human goodness is the foundation of self-actualization.

    The essence, soul and pre-requisite of good leadership is basic human goodness. Man is innately good, it is believed, as in the Hindu belief of aham brahmasmi. Man is not born evil; he can become evil because of circumstances. Being a good human is a common denominator for a believer, an atheist, a leader and a follower.

    Characteristics of a good human being include:

    Be good and do good. One must lead by example.

    The ability to love and be compassionate.

    Forgiveness, which steers clear of retribution.

    Leading an examined life of contemplation and reflection.

    Considering means as important as ends.

    Respecting all life, all beliefs and religions and believing in the brotherhood of man.

    Belief in non-violence or ahimsa.

    Following the middle path of moderation, harmony and balance.

    Despite individual differences, we can serve a common destiny, because no man is an island unto himself. We rely on interconnectedness with each other to succeed in life and be happy.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    The Transformers : Leaders for change


    Transformational leaders come in varied avatars. They can be statesmen, politicians, business leaders or scientists, or educators, but all display some common characteristics. The common factor is that they influence, motivate and inspire people. They do not use just the power of position, but their personal ”power” to lead change in people and in society.

    Transformational leaders become who they are through their personal visionary charisma, and their ferocious commitment to purpose. They are innovative risk-takers, they are authoritarian when they need to be, and they provide intellectual stimulation for their teams and followers by creating cognitive dissonance, inspiring and eliciting creativity. Such leaders encourage independent thinking, but keep for themselves the responsibility of decision making. Transforming others is never easy, it is a long process, requiring patience, risk taking, faith in others, and freedom from bias about people and issues. Transformational leaders do not mistake authority for power nor do they misuse their positional power. Transforming others is a leader’s goal; consensus is a milestone in achieving this.

    Leadership style is strongly influenced by culture. Indian culture lends itself to transformational leadership because there is a respect for hierarchy and a preference for action (Karmayog), personalized relationships and a universal respect for duty and obligation. Leadership therefore invests in a personalized rather than contractual relationship. Preference for action and very strong commitment to goals is or should be the hallmark of a leader, who transforms by example rather than rhetoric; adopts the path of a Karamyogi and shows a preference for action without personal gain, He/she considers duty and obligation to be the motive for change, action or protest.

    Leaders who make a difference lead by vision, by their conviction, even in the face of challenges and initial failures. Conviction is the power of the leader’s beliefs, his ideas and those of his team. Conviction has the power to draw a following, in spite of the rocky path that must inevitably be taken. The transformational leader races ahead and shows the way. Yet he is behind those who follow! His purpose is to win over people to his strategy, not to please and be popular! Being an effective communicator, such a leader engages his team, facilitates agile thinking and builds his followers, individual by individual.

    For this, leaders must be empathic by nature, easily accepting their group’s failure as a challenge to overcome, rather than a stumbling block. Sacrifices from such a leaders, both personal and aspirational, lie at the heart of achieving for the general or public good. The good news is that such sacrifice a rewards a leader in drawing others into her /his way of thinking and effecting transformation. Moreover, personal sacrifices strengthens a leader’s credibility, as they support his/her conviction. A great leader is a conviction leader, not a “Mr. Nice guy”.

    Decentralization of decision making and power, while it is the order of the day, requires a strong, transformational leader to retain at least twenty percent of such authority and power, to take crucial decisions, lead through situations of crises and conflict. He may be seen as domineering, authoritative, and a centralized thinker at such times; but he must be decisive and his subordinates must show faith in his quick decisions. Delegation is not a synonym for abdication.

    The leader’s intuition must provide the basis for strong and important decisions, in the absence of accurate or ready information. “Big picture thinking” of a leader, is required for decision making at such times. Detailed consultations are not always possible for lack of time and leaders must take strong decisions with or without consensus. Critical situations call for quick decisions and the group or the team should trust and back their leader when such decisions are to be made.

    What then, distinguishes a transactional leader from a transformational one? First and foremost, there is a great deal of personal transparency which the leader must have. He or she must be seen as a moral exemplar. Only if leaders possess this idealized influence can they bring together the diversity that defines any group of people, in a team, an institution or even a nation. Such a leader’s aim is to win the trust, respect and loyalty, without which there are often negative reactions to a leader’s strategy and decisions.

    A leader must bring purpose and meaning to the group and convey this not just by words, but by unflagging optimism towards the goal. Positivism brings strength to any work, project or mission and if the leader has it, the followers will have it. It is often called for in times of stress, failure and reverses. It infuses a mission or project with vitality and a predilection for success.

    So here we have it, the transformational leader must be many things in one person; a strategist, an achiever, an example, but even more of a facilitator and an engager. In addition he must be self-sacrificing, morally upright, driven by commitment, a strong believer in people and a cause. Only then can he take others forward towards change, improvement and progress.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    Empathy


    "Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around." 

     − Leo Buscaglia.

    Leadership has its roots in the human value of Empathy. This quality has been described as the ability and capacity to recognize emotional levels in both other humans and to a certain extent, animals. It is the first step in feeling compassion. It is the basic and ultimate requisite of a leader who is respected, loved and followed.

    Sadly, too many children grow up today, without this great cognitive/affective quality of empathy. In school years the connection is made between acquiring knowledge as the exclusive key to success. Cut-throat competition in academics and sports is perceived by most educators as a healthy indication of ability. The ability to reflect, to interact, to nurture is given the go by.

    But in the world of work, where human interaction is a huge part of the scenario, there is a frequent requirement of the ability to read and understand people and be in tune or resonate with others. Future success of organizations is seen as the collective work of the team and not the division of responsibility in a hierarchical context.

    Theodore Roosevelt’s quote, “No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care”, requires reflection by each leader. Each person has “empathy capacity”. Early childhood is the opportune period in life to bring out the best in caring and sharing. Nascent empathic skills need to be honed as early as infancy. This paves the way for becoming a good communicator, to be able to connect positively with others through speaking, through writing, movies and the arts.

    Human empathic skills do not make one a “softie” or an individual who cannot survive or rise above physical, academic or professional competition. In fact they are the facilitators of successful strategic planning. Leaders with a high empathic quotient, can and do identify with others or the masses whom they lead. They earn the credibility of those they lead without great effort because they genuinely feel and realise the reality of situations they have never been in themselves.

    An "energy empath" feels and is in sync with another’s highs and lows. Physical, intellectual and spiritual energy is infectious and is an essential ingredient of a leader’s charisma. Such leaders can reach out and transform the most anti-social, apathetic, ineffective people. They can appeal convincingly against violence or precipitate action.

    Empathic concern is appreciated and well received by the staunchest resisters to an idea or plan. Having at heart the welfare of others, even at a cost to oneself or one’s family rarely goes unnoticed. Ideally this implies experiencing and feeling another’s physical or emotional pain, another’s loss or deprivation, or the disability or inability of others. This is what lies at the root of inclusive education, which we practise at our Indus Schools.

    Human survival is under grave threat unless we explore and bring to the surface of our behaviour this unique innate resource, the quality of feeling with and for others. It is this lost quality that lies at the base of all conflict and violence, whether it is personal or perpetrated on a mass scale. It is this loss which makes humans stoop to base levels not ever known before. Empathy is what prompts outrage. In a true leader it should be a motivating force to action, to reform and to positive human and humane growth.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    Transformational Leadership


    Transformational leaders come in varied avatars. They can be statesmen, politicians, business leaders or scientists, but all display some common characteristics. The common factor is that they influence, motivate and inspire people.

    They are visionary and charismatic, they are innovative risk-takers, they are authoritarian when they need to be, and they provide intellectual stimulation for their teams and followers by creating cognitive dissonance, encouraging creativity and encouraging independent thinking.

    Leadership style is strongly influenced by culture. Indian culture lends itself to transformational leadership because there is a respect for hierarchy and a preference for action (karmayog), personalized relationships and a universal respect for duty and obligation.

    Transformational leaders lead by vision, by their conviction, even in the face of challenges and initial failures. Conviction is the power of the leader’s beliefs, his ideas. Conviction has the power to draw a following, in spite of the rocky path that must inevitably be taken. The transformational leader races ahead and shows the way. His purpose is to win over people to his strategy, not to please and be popular!

    Sacrifices from such a leaders, both personal and aspirational, lie at the heart of achieving for the public good.

    Decentralization of decision making and power, while it is the order of the day, requires a strong, transformational leader to retain twenty percent of such authority and power to lead a following through situations of crises. He may be seen as domineering, authoritative, and a centralized thinker at such times; but he must be decisive and his subordinates must show faith in his quick decisions.

    The leader’s intuition must provide the basis for strong and important decisions, in the absence of accurate information. “Big picture thinking” is required for decision making at such times, from the leader. Detailed consultations are not possible for lack of time and leaders must take strong decisions with or without consensus.

    Start-up organizations, like Indus, essentially need transformational leadership, which does require direction to be centralized. This does not detract from a leader being caring and considerate towards his people. It is, indeed a prerequisite of survival and advancement. It is what effects change, success and progress.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    Educating the Whole Child


    To survive, to succeed, and to be happy in a global world, students should be prepared to think and act creatively, to become critical thinkers, be enabled to solve complex problems and very importantly to communicate persuasively.

    A strong foundation in academics (although important) is not enough. There has to be a balanced approach, and a new approach to education. At Indus, this is happening through whole-education, but not at the cost of academic excellence. Whole education goals are not limited to success in narrow terms, in examinations and graduating from high school or college. It is geared to enabling and empowering a child to face life in a world he does not know and cannot imagine, a world beset by new challenges.

    Whole-education begins with our belief and understanding about the purpose of education. The purpose has to be relevant and deal with these challenges in society.

    Currently, the severest threat to our planet is sustainability we inhabit a world which is teetering on the verge of climate collapse and resource collapse. We live in times of uncertainty, chaos, and high speed change.

    Consequently, we need to go beyond narrow academic goals. At Indus we believe that education must: prepare children for life’s challenges, and reconnect them with Nature and Community.

    In order to fulfill the purpose of education, educating the whole-child is an imperative. Schools must be responsible for developing the child’s cognitive, emotional, spiritual and aesthetic personalities. In simple terms this means, synthesis of the Left and Right brain and harmony between the Head and the Heart. Such a symbiosis encourages the development of competencies that will help you to be prepared for all challenges: these are

    Character

    Curiosity

    Creativity

    Critical-thinking and problem-solving

    Compassion

    Collaboration
    6Cs


    Traditionally whole-education is usually described as “co-curricular” activities… These are planned and directed from top-down. For greater meaning, whole-education should also be bottom-up, or student-centric, with innovation and critical-thinking as their driving force. Wholeness can be achieved by addressing and catering to the needs of the whole child, not just the student or the school-goer.

    We must ask ourselves these questions:

    Are we going to leave a creative legacy for everyone to admire and emulate?

    Can we identify a problem in the school or neighbourhood community and provide a solution?

    At the end of the day, whole-education must make a contribution to the wider community. Today, more than ever, “No man is an island, entire of itself…."

    Educators and parents cannot and must not ignore this fact. They must nurture children to be the sustainers and healers in society. The Whole Child has the potential to overcome and to take on these roles.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    The Face of Sustainable Leadership at INDUS international Schools


    Tomorrow’s challenges are already at our door. The clash of civilizations, religious wars, genocides, armed conflict, nuclear proliferation and crashing markets are now becoming less relevant. The new realities are staring us in the face:
  • The struggle between the underprivileged and the privileged over our planet’s fast depleting resources.

  • Climate collapse, where there has been irreversible damage already.

  • Resources collapse; our consumption exceeds production and renewal, five times over.

  • To make matters worse, competition is at an all-time high. Children are growing up more self-oriented and ruthlessly competitive. They need to be sensitized and taught survival competencies. Under such circumstances, schools must become the engines of change. Learning and teaching must evolve into leading for sustainability. New curricula must have, for their objectives, leadership and whole education. These will create survival skills in learners.

    Students must be sensitized to the vital values of compassion and becoming pro-poor. They must be motivated to innovate, to find solutions, to develop ideas, design and use technology to meet the challenges of living. Education must alter its vision from “preparation for life” to “preparation for sustainability of the planet”. Children and youth must think, not of “my life” but “our Life”. This focus will still centre around leadership and education, as we have always done at Indus.

    Raising the emotional quotient, (EQ) of our students is crucial, and the only way in which we can sustain what we have and what is left of resources and human potential.

    Ignorance, greed and indifference must give way to knowledge, to altruism and concern for the oppressed, the underserved and needy in our societies. This then, is the new meaning and context of leadership. Our love for our planet and its bounty must express itself in ways that are real, that are deserving of provision for today and tomorrow.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    Leadership through Music


    It may not be a coincidence that the nation that produced the greatest tank commanders also produced the largest number of the greatest music composers in Western classical music. I speak of Germany, ofcourse.

    This is the genesis of the idea of Leadership through Music. At Indus, music is not for aesthetics and accomplishment only, but for development of leadership as well.

    In its most decanted form, music is spirituality, and comes next to meditation. Devotional music in nearly all religions are forms of prayers that connect the devotee to God, and help in self-awareness. Devotional songs are prayers set to music and abound in all religions –
  • Bhajans, like those composed by Kabir, Meera, Tulsidas, and Surdas.

  • Sufi Quawwali.

  • Church hymns like Amazing Grace, Abide with Me, and Let There be Light.

  • African-American gospel music and the Blues.

  • Baul music, a fusion of Sufi Muslim and Vaishnava Hindu tradition which greatly influenced Rabindranath Tagore.

  • Music has been used successfully for political mobilisation of large masses of society against injustices such as India’s freedom struggle, the civil rights movement in the United States, the Vietnam War, and apartheid in South Africa.

    Music goes beyond emotions and spirituality. Research findings conclusively prove that music makes us smarter, because it improves mathematical and memory skills, develops empathy, and improves language skills. It may be of interest that in Ancient Greece, music was a part of the mathematics curriculum, because music and mathematics are based on the language of numerals.

    Musical training has a positive impact on education. Neuroscientists have established that music and language share the same neural networks, and musical training, especially instrumental, enlarges parts of the cerebral cortex that are centres of high brain function.

    Music is also known to refine our emotions, make us more aesthetic and empathic. In its wider sense, aesthetics is the ability to see beauty in ugliness and good in the bad.

    Scientific evidence supports the hypothesis that, man is wired for music and is born musical. Music is an intrinsic part of human instinct. Musical training can, therefore, be effectively used for leadership development, especially in the fields of mindfulness, empathy, aesthetics, critical thinking and spirituality. It is no surprise or chance, therefore, that music at Indus is part of leadership training.

    Music enhances leadership training by developing and refining leadership skills like creativity, discipline, coordination and collaboration, and above all, humanness. Music is a powerful tool that unites the mind, heart, and soul of an individual.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    Student Engagement


    As a facilitator, the teacher challenges, questions, and stimulates the students in their thinking, problem solving and self-directed study. Is this really happening?

    The current scenario in almost every school, in every society will reveal that students of any age are showing a sharp decrease in the quantum and quality of learning. Decreasing attention span, aversion to reading any kind of text, poor articulation and vocabulary, and lack of interest and relative indifference to matters academic are symptoms of general and widespread disengagement.

    In the blame game played by parents and teaching, the current generation of young students are losing out to boredom, indifference, ennui, lack of purpose or goals and is heading for failure in the ability to lead useful, productive and fulfilling lives. It is up to the teaching community to seek and apply the cure for this increasing malaise.

    This challenge must be taken up by addressing very seriously and thoughtfully, the 3 domains of cognitive, emotional and behavioural learning. For here it is that the beliefs and values of young people are formed, their motivation and feelings grow and mature, and their habits and skills take shape.

    We notice that often, students are unresponsive to the best of teachers. Such teachers have a solid academic background, a scholarly temperament and all the right attitudes to steer their students towards academic success. Then why is engagement not taking place? Clearly the answer lies in reflecting on what else students require to become engaged, involved and responsible for their own learning and growth. Teachers must take note of the fact that students respond not so much to text as they do to images. Learning can no longer be a passive activity, but different and varied strategies must be used to deliver knowledge content. Inquiry rather than unquestioning acceptance of the teacher’s wisdom is the order of the day in a learning environment.

    The Indus Schools are guided by the firm belief that continuing professional development (CPD) for teachers is essential for student and teacher growth and achievement. Teachers are facilitators of student engagement. They must strive to develop new skills and interests. Theirs must be a dynamic academic and social personality, so that students can be drawn to them as inspirers, confidantes and role models.

    Active learning strategies must be planned and practised by teachers. The reading habit must be exemplified by teachers and encouraged in students of every age. Teachers must be able to match reading materials with individual students and identify significant gaps that might require a change in instructional strategy. Students are not bored with everyday learning because of the emphasis on creativity, relevancy, and a hands-on approach.

    The teacher also is required to act as a guide--a role that incorporates mediation, modeling, and coaching. Often the teacher also is a co-learner and co-investigator with the students.

    Teachers must be excellent communicators, and develop one on one relationship with their students. Learning must be personalized, within a culture of rigorous and relevant learning. Sensitivity in a teacher will allow him/her to pick up on differentiated needs in all 3 domains of learning. Communication will be established and used with ease and effect. An emotionally safe classroom must be created and preserved.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    Number 1 International School in India


    In September of 2012, Indus Bangalore was announced the number 1 International School in India, having moved steadily from position 3, to second , to # 1 in 2012. Indus Hyderabad came 11th in this category with Indus Pune 13th. IELC Hyderabad was #1; and IELC Bangalore ranked 3rd in the category of schools providing pre-school education.

    Growth is a habit at Indus.  Whether we add to our student numbers, establish more institutions, or invest in the number and quality of teachers, it cannot be denied that we have "walked the talk". In other words, we have extended our goals, we have stretched our horizon and we have as several teams, worked assiduously to gain the accolades that have come our way, year after year.

    Our collective pride is great and justified. We celebrated with much happiness and felt gratified that everyone’s effort, however large or small, had paid off. This was an indication of the strength behind our goals and to our learning from year to year. In November, at the celebratory dinner in Bangalore, we recognized the commitment, dedication and hard work of people who have been with the Indus family since inception or near it. There are scores of others, too many to name, who came after them and have contributed very significantly too.

    It takes firm resolve to continue to succeed as well.  When accolades come our way at Indus, and many have, especially in the recent past, many ask, “what now?”  Where can we go after we have reached the top?  After being declared the most respected and admired International School in India, what more can we do?

    But then, we always believe that success is not a destination, it is a journey.  So our journey must continue.  Having celebrated and enjoyed our successes, we get up and get going. There is work to be done, records to break, other heights to conquer.

    It is creditable to meet several of the 14 parameters of excellence, we must create new ones. The challenge is in seeking newer, higher goals; the joy is in the climb to achievement.

    Effort is what is needed; effort is the only thing that counts. Effort has always got us where we wanted to be.

    We can overcome, we shall achieve, we must continue to excel!

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    Moral Imagination


    This evening I wish to share with you the scientific and ethical idea of moral imagination for children. This is a key missing ingredient in leadership development especially in young minds. Moral imagination is a personal belief of the child and her world view that:
  • Man is innately good.

  • Character will always beat brains.

  • Moral laws and principles guide society and our daily conduct.

  • All religions have their vision of the Golden Rule – Do unto others as you wish them to do unto you. The Golden Rule, the law of reciprocity, is the core of all religions, of spirituality, and leadership. It will help to bring back compassion on our personal agenda.

    There is nothing esoteric about moral imagination; it is a neuro-reality ? a reality based on the scientific finding that, the critical window for learning concepts and morality is in the primary years. Science and faith now agree that the moral foundation of a child is best developed in childhood.

    Therefore, parents and teachers have a great responsibility to develop and nurture moral imagination in children by the following important steps:
  • Reading, reading and reading that leads to ethical reflection and imitation of moral and spiritual values. Any reading will not do. If child’s imagination is going to be crammed by Pokémon, Tin Tin, and Terminator, that will become her aspiration. Any reading may improve language and vocabulary, but it may not develop the moral imagination. Reading, followed by reflection, has to be specific. Lists of books like Lord of the Rings, that arouse moral imagination, have to be drawn up.

  • We seldom help children to reflect on what they read. Even adults find reflection difficult. To read without reflection is as good as not reading. This is an area where parents and teachers need training on how to assist the child. To reflect. To enable a child to make sense of what she has read, the moral concepts have to be identified and explained with examples. Thereafter, they have to be made relevant in the daily life of the child.

  • Give them a first-hand experience of the world and experiential values through community service. Once again, doing community service without follow-up reflection is meaningless.

  • Practicing the core values of the school must become a habit by strictly following certain do’s and don’ts and code of conduct. Habitability is the byword.

  • Music, dance, and art provide deeper and wider access to a moral world, and capacity for reflection.

  • Re-connect with nature as much as possible because it touches the depth of our spiritual lives.


  • Right from birth children start imagining what is good and bad, and what is right and wrong. Children tend to think in opposites, in black and white. Their character formation thus starts very early and, therefore, the importance of moral imagination. As such, teachers and parents have a heavy responsibility because moral imagination is an inspiration that elevates man from a base to a moral level.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    Leading with Diversity


    Our school has been named after the Indus River that flowed past my house in Leh, the capital town of Ladakh. As you all know, the name India is derived from the Indus River. This great river, the cradle of early civilization, symbolises diversity and internationalism as we understand what it means today.

    Originating in the Himalayas in Tibet, the river flows through Ladakh into Pakistan and merges with the Arabian Sea after a journey of 3180 kilometres. The River is home to the Indus Valley Civilization, the birth place of the world’s four great religions – Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism; and the confluence of Taoism, Confucianism, and Islam. Each of these religions has taught us unity, unity through diversity.

    Our children demonstrate through varied activities the gains of of whole-education and what it is to be internationally-minded. In essence, the two are part of one idea – the idea of diversity, the courage of being able to acknowledge and welcome the power of being different. The more similar we are the less international minded we will be.

    Internationalism is about diversity and not homogeneity; and about differences in perspectives, and not similarity. Internationalism is not restricted to cultural and religious difference; rather, it is more about different mind sets and different world views. Diversity is about building teams that are heterogeneous and not homogenous, team members who are a collection of individuals with different backgrounds – thinkers, doers, organisers and networkers.

    The plays, music, and dances which our students perform from time to time, have great significance for diversity leadership, that has been necessitated because of globalization. With hierarchies crumbling and the world become flatter by the day, diversity is a reality. As 21st century leaders, we are practitioners of diversity leadership. Diversity in thought is driving innovation and greater business growth.

    Diversity is not merely living with different cultures. Diversity is more about living harmoniously and working with four distinctive generations.

    Diversity is acknowledging that women now form our future work force. It may surprise many to know that women make up 75 percent of the consumer base and 50 percent of the talent pool. They control $12 trillion of the total $18 trillion in consumer spending. Their distinct gender traits like empathy, networking, and the power of relationships are key competencies for 21st century leaders.

    Indus day is an affirmation to our commitment to whole-education and inclusivity, but not at the cost of academic excellence. It is also an endorsement of our belief in the essentials of being human – purpose, meaning to life, relationships, reason combined with faith, empathy, and the ability to exercise choice.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    Celebration Speech on 15 September 2012


    Indus, Bangalore recently celebrated an extraordinary phenomenon, it has been ranked as the best international school in all of India within a short span of nine years. The ascent has been breath-taking and spectacular. Mountaineers conquer peaks to conquer themselves and cleanse their inner self. That is the sensation and exhilaration that prevailed at our celebration.

    Success has come not because of sprawling campuses; or because of reputation. We were competing with international schools as old as 150 years, with larger campuses, well proven systems and processes, and decades of branding.

    I offer three explanations of how this came to be.

    First, this evening’s celebrations is a vindication of the purpose of education we espouse at Indus. We believe that schools must prepare students to deal with the challenges of a future we do not know, a future that is uncertain, turbulent, and unpredictable. We believe that the purpose of education is also to create engaged citizens who think global and act local. Localism is a pre-condition for globalism. We cannot become world citizens at the cost of losing our cultural identity.

    Second, the school redefined what success is. Each one of us is capable of becoming much more than what we are, provided we put in the effort. The question we must ask of ourselves is that did we give our best? Success is therefore not winning; success is the effort we put in. Winning is a by-product. The only competition is with ourselves. Indus Bangalore is, therefore, not competing with 150 other international schools in India; it is competing with itself. That is what excellence is about. That is why success is becoming a habit.

    Third, coming Number 1 in India is an affirmation of Mrs Sarojini Rao’s dynamic leadership. She is the game-changer with powerful leadership qualities. A role-model for teachers and students in all Indus schools, she leads from the front with very high visibility, and lays down exacting standards. Also compassionate and empathic towards the poor and suffering, She has inspired her team to give their best, and to accept nothing but the best and this is most commendable.

    The daunting thought that looms large in everyone’s mind is that having come first, how does one sustain this kind of success? I say to Mrs Sarojini Rao and her gallant team, that this is least of your worries. The question is not how will we sustain our ranking? The question is: did we give our best. In the end it is the effort that matters. In life what matters is not whether we won or lost; what really matters is how hard we tried. Did we stand-up for the values and cause we believed in?

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    The RTE: A big step for India, a giant leap for Indian children!


    Two years ago, the Indian Legislature of India brought in a new law that would herald change in the lives of many children and adults. The Right to Education became law and some underprivileged and underserved children became the beneficiaries of an education that might mean liberation from grim poverty through education; good, not so good or not good at all. But education was to become the transformer in their lives, when they could receive free education between the ages of 6 and 14. Children, who could not dream of anything, could now join their more fortunate counterparts in other parts of society and enter and study in proper schools. The dream lay in their path!

    The implementation of this law has been tardy, at best. It was not met with spontaneous or genuine acclaim. Schools, particularly unaided ones, object to the speed with which they were required to provide free education and all requirements to avail of it, expressing their indignation at the terms of the bill and the manner of implementation. Unaided privately managed schools have been vocal about how “unfair” the bill is to private edupreneurs who start and run schools with a vision and purpose, but cannot risk huge losses in supporting an increasing percentage of their student population, which is unable to pay for anything. These people and institutions feels that it would make better business sense to shut down their schools and move into some other industry.

    Flip to the other side and the picture of a fully literate, numerate and educated India, in this very millennium, comes into view. This seems a very distant dream indeed! But realities cannot be created without dreams. Social justice has been a long time coming to the Indian populace

    There are anomalies and even absurdities in the Act. There is lack of clarity, ambiguity, and justified doubt in the promises of subsidies or payments from the government/ governments. But everyone, barring none, should join in this major effort of the powers that be, to bring to every child in primary classes and every youth in middle school that golden world of opportunity that comes only to the educated and the literate. Can there be any doubt about the need for education to empower, to equalize opportunity and to steer democracy in the right direction?

    Our social orientation at Indus has always envisaged reaching out, servant leadership and “acting locally. We will welcome the fortunate few, these 25% who will have a share of what is rightfully theirs. Problems are huge but none which cannot be overcome. I t can be said we preempted this need for action in the spirit of social justice and equity. Our Indus International Community school has doubled its capacity and enrolment this year. We will welcome the mandated “25%” with open arms and hearts with sensitivity. Payback time is upon us! Let us embrace the challenges with hope and positivism.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    Motivating Students


    Lack of motivation and enthusiasm is common in classrooms over the world. While the cause of obvious symptoms like the utter lack of intrinsic motivation, to distractions, to decreased empathy quotient and extreme individualism, may lie in our changed family environments and values, learning is not being affected in the way it should. The collective results could be disastrous for the future.

    These challenges must be met by changing our mindset. Teachers must be the change agents. They must acquire and update knowledge on a strong base of pedagogy and deliver it in context a relevant to their students. Teacher dispositions must improve very deliberately in order to ignite young minds. By “dispositions” we imply that intrinsic motivation must be fused with engagement with the school vision. Success must be redefined in order to inspire and motivate.

    How can teachers and schools motivate? Experience demonstrates that the carrot and stick approach does not work. Nor does the principle of higher rewards for better performance. External motivation fails to motivate on a sustained level. The resultant use of short cuts and unethical behaviour are to be consciously avoided.

    Intrinsic motivation within the student is a reflection of a teacher’s disposition, which exemplifies intrinsic motivation within herself. The fountainhead of this is Purpose, the why of who we are and why we do what we do. It is the golden key to self-actualization or happiness.

    The levels of purpose which a student cultivates through the reflection of a teacher’s dispositions is: life, which transcends one’s work and organization. The second level pertains to the profession, which transforms the child and the third level is the school, which prepares students for the life of an engaged citizen.

    The all-important 5 Cs which prepare students to be engaged citizens are Character based values, critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and communication which is convincing and persuasive.

    Teachers must constantly revisit and re-examine the purpose of their consciously chosen profession. They have the formidable but rewarding task of transforming children they teach through their own sense of purpose and motivation. Whatever it takes, the path of mindfulness, meditation, reflection or even dissonance, the teacher of today is charged with the responsibility of finding the pathway to fulfill the purpose of her life.

    Autonomy of task, team and time, a prime requisite of teacher motivation, must be fused with accountability. Schools must provide and support this autonomy.

    Student-driven learning (through the new practice of flip teaching) aided by technology and the spirit of enquiry is bound to strengthen student motivation.

    Collaborative learning feeds the desire to learn by contributing important inputs to a task, which in turn feeds motivation. Peer tutoring works the same way for students and affects their learning disposition in a positive way.

    Re-examining the meaning of success, we conclude that it is ultimately the unfolding and realization of one’s full potential. Once that is understood and grasped by teacher and taught, motivation will increase and progress will come about, in the measure required to meet the goals of success in every sphere of life.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    Student Motivation


    "The tough problem is not in identifying winners: it is in making winners out of ordinary people." K. Patricia Cross

    Motivation should create a desire, a need for participation in learning. It affects the cognitive processes. Motivation enhances performance and this feeds self-esteem, and this in turn strengthens the desire to learn deeper, better, constantly and consistently. Motivation directs student behavior towards particular goals. The challenge of student motivation is a pervasive and increasingly problematic barrier to personal student success and to the effectiveness of progressive schools and colleges, which look beyond just examination results. Today, teachers and parents “offer” education, but many students are not buying what is being offered.

    Ennui on the faces of most students, erratic attendance, un-submitted homework or assignments, teachers racing to complete programmes of work, this is the current scenario in schools, not only in India, but all over the world. There are too many competitors for a child’s or young person’s attention. But apathy and disinterest keep our students away from the rewards offered and assured through diligence, perseverance and self-belief.

    In our examination driven goals of teaching and learning we give priority to extrinsic motivation. This approach bases motivation on external factors; e.g. prizes, rewards, promotions, admission to the best colleges. Apart from creating stress in both teacher and taught, constantly teaching and studying for the test fails to motivate the large majority of students or to bring about real learning.

    Intrinsic motivation, on the other hand, requires conditions for creativity, innovation and the opportunity to solve problems. It is the surest path to excellence. Students who are intrinsically motivated perform well because they love the learning itself and enjoy every step it takes to achieve mastery. Here learning is the motivator and the reward itself. The rich environs of a school that encourages experimentation and freedom of thought and opinion feed motivation. For the long run, it is intrinsic motivation which gets students to set individual goals, which will sustain their interest and help them to understand and make sense of the world around them.

    Self- directed learning is the key to being intrinsically motivated and performing well. This task can no longer be just the teacher’s responsibility. Relevant content, stimulation of curiosity, prompt and positive feedback will enhance effort and energy. Being constantly involved in the learning process will bring about and enhance intrinsic motivation and a disposition for success. Therefore, each student becomes her own teacher!

    Goal setting and leadership are two sides of the same coin. For this reason, we believe that at Indus, students must use their inherent spirit of inquiry, their curiosity for finding answers to motivate them into becoming leaders. Greater active participation in the learning process through inquiry, discussion, debate and collaborative learning will point the way to successful learning.

    Activities such as athletic teams and musical and dramatic arts, which are mechanisms for feeling successful and making progress, are

    "extracurricular" activities rather than "curricular" ones. Parent involvement and interest must be regular and contributive, never demanding and unrealistic. Both parent and teacher must emphasize mastery and learning rather than grades. There is no magic formula required or available, genuine faith in each student or child and her potential is the greatest spur to involvement, effort and achievement.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    Whole Education


    Whole education can be understood only if there is clarity and unanimity on what the purpose of education is? For example, if the purpose is to provide good careers, then scoring high marks in examinations becomes the objective. At Indus, we believe that the purpose of education is preparation for life, to prepare students to succeed and be happy in life, and become responsible and informed citizens. The greatest challenge schools, teachers, and parents face is that, how do we prepare children for a future that is unknown, uncertain, and chaotic? One thing is clear: the 3 Rs, alone are not the answer. Although academics are important, but by these alone we cannot achieve this objective.

    The central idea at Indus is leadership. To be able to lead oneself effectively, a leader has to be self-aware. To be aware is not a game of SWOT analysis. To be aware is to be aware of the many selves each one of us possesses. Only an “aware” person can realize her full potential – to become what one is capable of becoming. “What a man can be, he must be.”

    Traditionally, whole-education is considered to be a mix of academics and extra-curricular activities. This is indeed a narrow understanding of this educational concept. In its wider meaning it encompasses four key aspects.
  • One, Whole-education, does not come at the cost of academic excellence. We realize that an individual’s cognitive capabilities play a key role in leadership, critical thinking, decision-making, problem-solving, logic, and reasoning.

  • Two, IQ by itself does not make a person successful. It is now a well established reality that IQ, per se, is responsible for just about 11 percent for our success in our lives. 89 percent comes from social, emotional, spiritual, and aesthetic quotients.

  • Three, science affirms that IQ is not the only form of intelligence. Human beings possess multiple intelligences – logical and mathematical, linguistic, musical, kinesthetic, spatial, inter personal, intra-personal, and natural. To be whole, curricula in schools need to develop these intelligences in a child to the maximum extent possible.

  • Four, whole-education is incomplete till a student possesses survival skills and competencies for the 21st century. These are character (this includes values), critical thinking; (asking questions, how to think, and problem solving), creativity; written and oral communication, and collaboration.


  • It is only through whole-education that a child can identify her passion. The biggest mistake most of us make is to go through life doing what we are not passionate about. We may have money; titles and fame; but life means much more than that.

    Life is always a balance between the head and the heart. The head is reason; the heart is whole-education, a whole mind. The head is like mathematics; it tells you how to go. The heart tells you where to go.

    I wish to congratulate Mrs. Sarojini Rao for her leadership and vision in designing whole-education in Indus. The journey has not been smooth because the biggest challenge has been to get the right balance between academics and non-academics. Indus is an all-inclusive school. We continue to keep balance; even as we extend our horizons, stretch our goals and add quality to our achievements.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    The New Thesaurus of Leadership


    There is a phenomenal change in the leadership we will experience in this century. The entire dictionary and thesaurus of leadership is being re-written. We have already moved into the age of the anti-hero. Heroic leadership was based on the notion that, a leader was expected to have all the answers and fix all the problems. But now the world is changing, a world characterized by complexity, by extreme interdependence, by flattening of hierarchy, knowledge obsolescence, and singularity. In the age of singularity, non-biological intelligence is becoming increasingly powerful and creativity is coming on centre stage. We are witnessing a new dawn of leadership.

    The first change, leaders have to be lifelong learners; they have to be empowered. Empowerment starts with you. In the age of lifelong learning, the responsibility for learning and leading must shift from institutions to individuals. You must become your teacher, your guru. Institutions will only facilitate. This is the whole idea of empowerment, namely, you are responsible for your destiny; you become what you can to become.

    There is a corollary to this – the second change. Leadership is an art and a science and has to be learnt like any other subject, for example, like medicine, engineering, architecture, business management, and music, whatever. Learning how to lead is more difficult because leadership is mainly experiential – study, practice, feedback, reflection, transformation. And the cycle continues forever.

    In the 21st century it is not enough to be an excellent financier, an excellent doctor, an excellent engineer, or an excellent manager. To be happy and successful, you will also need to be an excellent leader. Leadership comes with a heavy price. The training environment is going to be exhausting – leading through chaos and uncertainty, the steady erosion of personal and social and family time, making a difference to the marginalized, finding solitude for reflection, and lifelong learning. Are you prepared to pay this price? Because if you are not, then you will have serious problems in being happy.

    The third change is somewhat paradoxical. Organizations will hold an edge not because of strategy, money, and intellect. Although these are essential; the ultimate edge will come from collaboration, from teams. Teams hold the key. So we are going to see a shift from individuals to teams. Like in hospitals, IT Corporations, fire services, and IPL20.

    The fourth change. Creativity is the master competency of the 21st century – creativity in your specific profession and creativity as a leader. To survive and to be different one will have to be creative. I wish to remind you that creativity is not just about ideas. Ideas must lead to innovation and transformation. This is not easy as it will place unacceptably high demands on your time and energy. In such a scenario, where excellence is being sought in two domains – your profession and in leadership, the concept of work-life balance is a myth. If you want mediocrity, go for balance. If you desire excellence; then imbalance yourself. Unbalancing yourself is never going to be easy because if you are not able to manage imbalance, you are likely to wreck relationships at home and at work. Now that is not desirable. Thus, future leaders will have to master the art of how to manage imbalance.

    There is a fifth change. In a world that is becoming flat and globalized, the increasing challenge of sustainability inevitably leads to more complexity, uncertainty, chaos, and unhappiness. You cannot be creative or a great leader if you are not happy. Leadership is about happiness. Happiness will become the new metrics for measuring the well-being and progress of a nation, an individual, an organization. In the manner we have GDP and GNP; there will also be GNH or Gross National Happiness.

    Happy persons are:

    More creative

    More productive

    More sustainable in performance – personal, social and business

    Better in relationships

    More focused and improved academic performance

    Better health and less burnout

    You don’t have to go to a guru to learn how to be happy. Remember; you are your guru. Every single day:

    Jot down three things you are grateful for

    SMS a positive message to a deserving person or friend

    Meditate at your table for two minutes thrice a day

    Describe in your Moleskine the most meaningful experience of the past 24 hours

    Being happy is so simple!

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    Servant Hood


    At Indus we believe that the purpose of school education goes beyond academic excellence, although academics are important. We believe that schools should prepare children to succeed and to be happy in life. This involves imparting students with values experientially, character traits, and competencies like lifelong learning, living with diversity and critical thinking, to deal with the challenges of tomorrow – uncertainty, unpredictability, and chaos.

    Leadership is a science and an art and has to be learnt like any other subject in school. It demands the same amount of effort a student will require to achieve high scores in the Diploma Programme. Consequently, leadership training has to start as early as possible.

    Managing people and resources is a narrow perspective of leadership. In its wider meaning, leadership is mainly experiential, and is about managing one self. The most effective way in leading oneself is to serve first, and then lead. This is servant-hood, this is servant-leadership. You have to become a servant first before becoming a leader. All the great prophets, messiahs, and change-makers like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, and Mother Teresa, were shining examples of servant-leaders. My inspiration comes from four sources:

    A. Field Marshal Phillip Chetwode’s motto at the Indian Military Academy where I did my officer training:

    "The safety, honour and welfare of your country come first, always and every time. The honour, comfort and welfare of the men you command, come next. Your own ease, comfort and safety come last, always and every time."

    These words gave me a new understanding of leadership. As a military commander I received my first lesson in servanthood: my job was not to command; my job was to serve my country, my regiment, and my soldiers, in that order.

    B. The success I achieved as a corps commander in Ladakh was in winning over alienated sections of society into the mainstream, and thus bringing in stable peace in the region. In the process it is the people of Ladakh who made a difference to me! My second lesson: it’s not the achievement of the goal that really matters. What matters more is what you become in the process of achieving the goal. And that happens when you serve the people first.

    The novel, Journey to the East by the Nobel laureate, Herman Hesse. The story is about a mythical journey by a group of people on a spiritual quest. The travelers become completely dependent on Leo, their servant, motivator, and coordinator. One day Leo suddenly disappears leaving the group in total disarray, forcing them to call off the tour. Several years later one of the travelers meets Leo, who turned out to be the Head of the Order that sponsored the journey. As a servant, Leo built trust and helped people grow; as a leader, he showed them the way, the vision.

    Ubuntu, the African view of life, popularized by Nelson Mandela. Ubuntu is inextricably linked with servant-hood. Ubuntu is the essence of being human through love, compassion, and forgiveness. It means that I am what I am because of who we all are, namely, a person is a person through other people.

    Servant-hood is a credo of Indus.

    Servant-hood is possibly the most effective answer to meet the two huge and daunting challenges looming before us: a future that is unknown, and our planet’s sustainability, particularly poverty, climate change, and illiteracy.

    Parents become servant-leaders when they nurture the leader in their child and encourage a strong work-ethic in their homes. As starters, children should make their beds, fold their clothes, and polish their shoes. Teachers become servant-leaders when they teach the whole-child. By serving the community, students increase their awareness on social issues and injustices, and become responsible citizens.

    When I look back on life, I find greater satisfaction in having done something for the marginalized, than my personal achievements. I would wish the same for each one of you.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    Ideals on leadership in the 21st century


    It is customary on Indus Day to reiterate our ideals on leadership in the 21st century.

    The social philosophy in the past two centuries was shaped around the supreme position of the individual. There were three ideas that supported this thinking: the first was the power of reason as epitomized by Descarte’s famous statement, "I think, therefore, I am," This was followed in the latter part of the 20th century by Ayn Rand’s writings, especially the Atlas Shrugged. She argued that, the moral purpose of life is the pursuit of one’s self-interest; and therefore, man was his own hero. Atlas Shrugged has been the most influential book after the Bible. The third milestone has been traditional capitalism that questions altruism, and champions individualism, competition, free market economy, and consumption. But the information revolution, the knowledge economy, the challenges of sustainability, and a global economic recession, remind us that the rules of the leadership game have changed. That if individuals are left to their own devices, there is a danger of greed overtaking them.

    In a world that is flat, integrated, interdisciplinary, and networked, we must review the mantras of what success is and what happiness is. The ultimate edge organizations will receive is not through strategy, money, and intellect. Teams hold the ultimate key.

    The well-rounded leader is a myth because no two leaders have common characteristics. In today’s scenario teams can be well-rounded. Teams are replacing individuals as the standard currency for talent. The increasing complexity of problems requires high intensity collaboration, creativity, and interdisciplinary knowledge to resolve issues.

    As a result, it is not uncommon to see average teams achieving outstanding results, and above average individuals failing. There is a bottom line in leadership: leaders produce extraordinary results out of ordinary individuals. This takes time, effort, and leadership. Great leaders, like great Generals, go to war with what they have. Accordingly, leadership skills must change to accommodate this shift from individuals to team-building.

    The foundation of team building is trust. Trust arises out of a combination of three attributes – character, competence, and leaders being comfortable with their vulnerability. Trust is the glue that keeps teams together and energized.

    Oscar Wilde once said, If you are a gentleman nothing else matter. “If you are a gentleman nothing else matters, if you are not a gentleman, nothing else matters.” In my experience, character will always beat brains, and brains without character, is a no-brain. Character is the first leadership component of trust. Apart from the obvious aspect of having integrity, leaders who have character are role models, who live by the core values of Indus.

    Competence is the second element of trust. To be competent is to be able to deliver results by meeting organizational goals, and expectations of students, teachers, and parents. A competent teacher is a lifelong learner, a trans-disciplinarian, with clear understanding of the purpose of education – to prepare students to succeed in life and not examinations alone, and to be happy.

    Vulnerability is the third element of trust. Vulnerability builds trust. Leaders who practice vulnerability are emotionally honest about who they are, their shortcomings, their willingness to accept their mistakes, and ability to listen to negative feedbacks. They allow their teams to see their weaknesses; they are transparent. When leaders are invulnerable, when they wear a mask, they make trust impossible.

    We endeavour to build Indus into a great institution through trust. We believe that nothing, absolutely nothing, except trust and teams can build a sense of belonging and sense of ownership amongst parents, teachers, and students.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    Investiture and Beyond



    Beyond the impressive Ceremony of Investiture on Republic Day this year, the appointments to the Student Council at Indus International School are the first steps in the race of life. This race does not go to sprinters for the 100 meters, or those who look for a quick victory, but to those who have the stamina, the persistence and the endurance of the marathon runner.

    Life is not a 100 metres sprint: it does not assure success in terms of quick money and fame. Sprints are short distance races call for high bursts of speed and energy, with no chance for pause.

    The marathon winners are characterized by their stamina, endurance and mental robustness. Said Paavo Nurmi, the Olympic Gold medalist known as the “Flying Finn”, “Mind is everything: muscle--pieces of rubber…” Control of Mind over body is the essence of success here.

    Endurance, stamina and excellence depend on self-discipline of mind, thought, and action. The best dancers, teachers, engineers or scientists are the products of years of study, experience and reflection.

    Personal and professional goals set one on the right track and direct and motivate the leader. Goal-setting enables us to exercise choices, take decisions, and give us not only more control over our lives, but the ability to reflect, evaluate ourselves and improve ourselves.

    The Reading habit is indispensible and critical to the leader in the making and best cultivated early in life. It brings the experiences of great, successful people into our world. It facilitates the expansion of knowledge which feeds the competencies and skills which we need to thrive in this busy, transient world and the constant changes we must deal with.

    Making one’s brain smarter is really up to us, ourselves. The plasticity of the human brain is a fact, backed by a breakthrough in scientific research. This can and must be used to advantage, by constantly nurturing one’s mind through exercising and stretching its capacity to learn and imbibe new knowledge and skills. I.Q can be increased through deliberate pursuit of cognitive activity. This will lead to better academic performance, improved memory, enhanced creativity and the ability to detect and read patterns and analyze data.

    Mindfulness, reading, reflection, aerobic exercise and neural engage-ment are some of the brain activities recommended for leaders. The opportunity for leadership implies the need to train oneself. Leadership, success and happiness are another name for opportunity.

    (This is the essence of the message brought to newly elected Leaders of The Indus Student Council at Bangalore, by Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray (Retd.), CEO of the Indus Trust on the occasion of The Ceremony of Investiture on January 26th, 2012)

    Mentoring # 6: Mentoring is a Challenge in India…

    I am skeptical about my success in mentoring over the last six years. Those who have really benefitted will be around ten percent. For example, let’s take my last five blogs on mentoring. In the present group of 31 mentees, only six have responded. Their responses too have been partial with no cross-engagement of each other’s views.

    What is the reason?

    I attribute this to the absence of being able to invest quality time and resources on the self and in community. There is always talk about work-family balance but never about work and life balance. There is more to life than work and home. Life goes beyond, and encompasses the self, the community and even nature.

    Our hierarchical cultural structure has prevented this from happening. Investment in these two areas, however, comes with a price tag – it invariably creates turbulence in one’s relationships. Everyone is encroaching on the other’s space in the family. And mentoring is about transforming oneself. Transformation cannot happen by sitting at home and in the office.

    I want you to understand one grim reality: unless you transform yourself, you are not empowered.

    Mentoring # 5: Why Do You Want to Lead?

    When asked the question “Why do you want to lead?” the overwhelming answers I receive are, “I-oriented,” for example:

    Self-expression

    Know myself better

    Exercise knowledge

    Be happy

    Manage myself better

    Live rightly

    Face challenge

     

    My question is: do you not think that we have responsibility to a greater world? Are we existing only for ourselves? To be able to lead oneself is to equip oneself to lead others and make a difference.

    Mentoring # 4: Reconnect with Self and Community

    The word ‘self’ appeared for the first time in the Oxford Dictionary in 1573. In the field of psychology it was first used in 1870 in the Harvard University Press. With few exceptions, self in a Western sense derives its meaning from Descartes, “I think, therefore, I am.” Self in Western philosophy is about the mind, about reason – “I am my brain.”

    In sharp contrast, the concept of self in India has existed for 4000 years. It lies at the core of Indian spirituality, and is one of the routes to human salvation and self-realization. I believe it is also a fundamental principle of leadership, about leading one self first, then others.

    The Indian middleclass is a product of the Western education system, and it is, therefore, not surprising that in our daily lives we spend little or no time even thinking about the self. Very, very few individuals devote quality time on a regular basis for their emotional and spiritual growth. They are either unaware, or caught up in the daily grind, or are afraid of disturbing relationships. Consequently, we experience a lot of imbalance in our lives. I admit it is extremely difficult to get the balance right, and each person has to find her answers. But it is possible. I will welcome your views.

    How do we restore balance in our life? For average people like us, we need to reconnect with Nature and the Community. When you reach out, you reach in; the reverse seldom happens. We have to find time to invest in ourselves. There is no short cut.

    In addition, we should consider introducing the theoretical and experiential study of common essentials of all religions. We will then realize that Truth is one, although there are many highways that take us there.

    Mentoring # 3: You are the Problem…

    Teachers seldom consider themselves as leaders. If this did happen the education system would have reformed a long time ago.

    Most teachers say that while they intellectually subscribe to the idea of whole-education, they  are usually intimidated by the ‘system.’ Presumably, the system comprises parent expectations, as well as the aspirations of the student, to score high marks in examinations. Even the school managements push hard for results as they believe that this is the hallmark for excellence.

    I say, suppose all these impediments vanished this very moment, will you be able to deliver a whole-education curriculum? There is an uneasy silence and hesitation. Most teachers will say, “yes.”

    I continue. If a teacher has never practised whole-education and lifelong learning, for example, in her personal life, how will she deliver the programme? Most teachers will remain silent.

    Therefore, the problem is not the parent, the child or the management; it’s you. You are the problem and you are the solution.

    While the school can certainly manufacture crucible experiences, the difficult part is post-experience reflection. It is reflection that eventually brings about transformation. There is a need to have well-trained mentors who can facilitate this process.

    In my next blog I shall share my thoughts on how the lack of understanding of the concept of ‘self’ has contributed to gross imbalance in leadership development.

    India’s Metros are the Battlegrounds for Terrorists

    India’s metros are the battlegrounds for terrorists.  Terrorist attacks in any metro can cripple economy, force politicians to respond to the demands of terrorists, and provide media publicity. Kill one in a metro and you can scare a million. New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg, once said:

                “When you catch a terrorist and look at the map in his or her pocket,

                It is always a map of New York; it’s not a map of some other place.”

    Police and Terrorism

    I have always been of the view that, civil police is better equipped mentally and culturally to deal with terrorists, and even terrorism, than the military. Regrettably, the idea has taken firm roots in the police minds that, fighting terrorists is well beyond their competency. Many policemen also say it is not their role.

    There is a subtle difference between a soldier and a policeman, and we need to take this into serious consideration. For a soldier it is straight forward: it is to kill the enemy. Personally I do not agree with this mission because I feel that killing can never be an objective of any military force. “War-winning” cannot be the aim of war at least in the 21st century. The higher purpose of the military must be to “prevent wars.”

    In the context of terrorism especially, the role of the police is to prevent killing, to prevent crime.

    To deal effectively with terrorists, the police need the support of the people. That will be forthcoming provided three conditions are met:

    • First; the crime rate must be brought under control. Fighting terrorism cannot be at the cost of crime getting out of control. Moreover, effective crime management reinforces the confidence and trust of the citizens in their police force.
    • Second; you need adequate manpower. In metros, the ratio must be a minimum of 250 policemen for every 1,00,000 people. Currently, it is 142 and this is grossly inadequate.
    • Third; you need leadership. This is a vast area and will require a lot of discussion and understanding.

    Living With Homogeneity

    Undoubtedly, living with diversity or how to learn to live together, should be one of the pillars of school education. Most of the available literature on the subject is devoted to race relations, ethnicity, identity of immigrants, and active citizenship.

    I feel that there is a greater challenge on our hand – how to live with our own people – how to live with homogeneity. We face this problem in our families, in the organizations we serve, and in society. In India, for example, there is an insurgency in the North East, 35,000 to 40,000 persons have been killed in Jammu & Kashmir, and 32 percent of the country’s districts are under Naxal influence. Add to this the alienation of millions of Muslims and Dalits.

    I firmly believe, that before we start living with global diversity, we must first learn to live with our own people.

     

     

    Purpose of Education

    It has been often said that the purpose of education is to bestow reason. History debunks this.

    A nation known for giving the world many of the best philosophers, scientists, doctors, engineers, soldiers, and music composers, exterminated 6.5 million Jews. What happened to reason? Pol Pot, educated in one of the best universities in Paris, did the same thing in Kampuchia. What happened to reason? All the extreme ideologies in the 19th and 20th Century – Marxism, Fascism, National Socialism, Islamic fundamentalism, and Al-Jehad, were propagated by philosophers and highly erudite leaders. Again, what happened to reason?

    Reason is like mathematics; it tells us how to go. The heart tells us where to go. Educating the head without educating the heart may produce brilliant scientists, CEOs and philosophers, but who will use their brilliance for destructive or evil purposes.

    Schools must, therefore, have a social purpose that goes well beyond academics. Socialization must aim at value-education and bringing out the inner spiritual potential of the child.

    Some Thoughts on School Leadership


    1. Unless schools bring out the inner potential of a child and help her to become self-aware, she cannot lead herself. Leadership is the ability to lead oneself first; then others. School education must, therefore, have a social purpose; not merely academics.
    2. Leadership in schools will emerge only when students and teachers are empowered. In its fundamental sense, empowerment will occur when the responsibility for learning shifts from the teacher to the student. Will teachers allow this; because in a diminutive sense, it will be seen as loss of power. After all, empowerment is about exercising power over oneself, not others. This transition is not going to be easy. So how do we manage the process?
    3. Leadership will arise when schools move away from teaching skills to enable students to acquire competencies, especially:
      • Ability to become lifelong learners.
      • Ability to love and the capacity to forgive.
      • Ability to live together (with nature also) to include conflict-management.
      • Synthesizing vast amounts of data and making sense out of it. Transdisciplinary-knowledge is essential in this regards.
    4. Leadership will happen when teachers teach the child (whole-education) and not merely the subject.
    5. Principals and all teachers are ultimately transformational leaders, not instructional. They transform themselves, the curriculum, and the child.

    Primary Responsibility: Civil Police

    One of the primary reasons why India has not been effective against terrorism is because the civil police do not have a clear mandate, role and training to fight terrorism. Whatever strategy exists is police-centric because of the inability to distinguish between ‘terrorists,’ which demands armed action, and ‘terrorism’ that requires addressing the root causes of religious and political violence. The former is body-warfare; the latter is mind-warfare.

    26/11 has conclusively proved that the police, and even the National Security Guard, (NSG) are grossly wanting in mission clarity, intelligence, and training. It did not require 400 NSG commandos to take 48 hours to deal with ten terrorists! Then they are not commandos. I cannot imagine GSG 9, SAS or Delta Force deploying a battalion to snuff out ten terrorists.

    The civil police are mentally and culturally better equipped than the Army and para military forces (PMF) to fight terrorists and resolve the root causes of terrorism. This approach was largely responsible for success in Punjab and Meghalaya. Since Other Forces are tenure-based they lack continuity, and therefore, there is pressure on them to produce results through the ‘body-count’ game. Comparatively, these forces  lack empathy in ascertaining the emotions and feelings of the community. To make matters worse, they are wanting in local terrain knowledge, cultural sensitivities, and the inter-play of community problems.

    The police on the other hand enjoy the advantages of local recruitment, continuity, transfers and job rotation within geographic areas, and neighbourhood familiarity. Moreover, since they are stakeholders there is higher accountability of their actions. It is, therefore, not surprising that the police often enjoy greater acceptability and empathy of the locals than the Army or the PMF.

    Following on from this hypothesis, I believe that the role of the NSG should be restricted to surgical intervention in extraordinary situations such as hijacking of aircraft, ships and oil rigs; hostage rescue; nuclear, chemical and biological threats; vertical or submarine insertion; and counter-terrorist operations outside India. Everything else should be within the purview of the civil police.


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