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Fireside Chat

By Geeta Mehrotra
April 2024
Fireside Chat

India’s Road to Transformation: Why Leadership Matters

Dr. Jagdish Sheth, Co-author Prof. Gyanendra Singh

On a spring Saturday morning, March 16, 2024, an online session was packed with several dignitaries of India and various universities, along with family and friends of the authors for the historical launch of the book: India’s Road to Transformation; Why Leadership Matters. The book was written by Dr. Jagdish Sheth and Prof. Gyanendra Singh and published by Vibrant Publishers.

Ms. Kritika Padode Bhandari led the discussion by welcoming all those present as well as recognizing the various dignitaries on the chat. She then briefly introduced the book co-authored by Dr. Sheth and the late Prof. Singh.

A moment of silence was observed to mourn the loss of Prof. Singh and condolences were conveyed to his family and friends.

A well conducted Fireside Chat by Kritika and Prof. Sheth left the audience filled with anticipation for those who had not yet read the book and a feeling of a morning very well spent for all.

What was the inspiration and vision that led to the writing of this book and what was the initial conversation between the two authors that steered them in the direction they chose? What was the experience of meeting Prime Minister Modi like and what are the attributes that make him fit the template of a transformative leader as depicted in the book? What determines the future of India as it strives to become one of the three most powerful countries in the world along with the United States and China?

Dr. Sheth shared that “Gyani” (Prof. Singh) was his former student and friend who wanted to write a book with him. It started out as a book on product management as product categories was Gyani’s specialty. However, because they both travelled to India quite often and shared an interest in it’s growth it led them to more fully explore the role of leadership. Managing a nation is much more comprehensive and complex than the management of a large company or even a conglomerate. They recognized that every nation is a global enterprise because they have diplomatic presence all over the world.

Gyani was a brilliant writer and made it an easy read for large audiences. Dr. Sheth encouraged him to focus on human potential rather than agricultural or industrial resources of the country. They studied biographies of transformative leaders such as: Abraham Lincoln in the U.S, Mrs. Margaret Thatcher in the U.K and Mustafa Kemal in Turkey. They also researched the transformations of Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea and China. Their conclusion was that it takes 4-5 years to reform a nation, but it takes at least 15 years to transform it.

Dr. Sheth met Prime Minister Modi when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat. He was invited to conduct a seminar for the Chief Minister and his cabinet on how to position Gujarat as a global business hub, similar to the work he had done for the government of Singapore. Prime Minister Modi has the same characteristics as other transformative leaders:

During the Chat, Dr. Sheth discussed India’s spectacular growth. Democratizing education through new education policy “NEP 2020” and women empowerment. Most importantly, Indians now have positive self-image, and the world is recognizing the power of India’s talented people. The G20 Summit was a well-organized and executed event. The G20 Summit 2023 was also an extremely organized and executed event. India is no longer perceived as a country of roaming cows and snake charmers.

In conclusion, the book was showcased by those present to officially proclaim the launch.

The program concluded with Dr. Sheth giving words of thanks and gratitude for everyone’s support with the highlight being the ever present and lifelong support of his wife, Mrs. Madhu Sheth.

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