BOOKS BANTER : Q&A with Prof Sathya Saminadan on the launch of his book

BOOKS BANTER : Q&A with Prof Sathya Saminadan on the launch of his book

The Deception Moment

Please tell us a little about the book and the genre?

“The Deception Moment” is a Sci-fi thriller. It is about a mission the protagonist Devavrat Deshpande, a Retired RaW officer, takes up knowing a minor slip in the assignment would lead him to execution. Concomitantly he was undergoing a personal depression which was rising above him from time to time. Would Devavrat be able to come out of the challenges and complete the assignment successfully? Is the bottom-line of the story.

Is it set in India?

Yes, it happens in Mumbai. But wait, you have a twist in that. You should be reading the book to know what I’m referring to.

We do not hear much about contemporary Indian science fiction, what’s the inspiration behind penning down this manuscript?

The biggest inspiration for me to pen down this book is our Indian epic ‘Mahabharata’. If we put away all the religious colours aside, Mahabharata talks beyond time for that age. All the latest scientific advancements these days like Surrogacy, Human farming, DNA manipulation and cloning or the atomic advancements were mentioned in Mahabharata. Being an ardent fan of the epic, I took all the inspiration from that. 

When did you start working on the book and how does it feel now that the book is released?

I have been doing research since 2017 to write this book, as it involved a lot of scientific and logical explanation for many sequences in the story. But I started to write the book in the middle of 2019 and completed it by early 2020.

How has the experience been juggling the role at IFMR GSB and moonlighting as an author?

I wanted to be an author even before I became a professor. Writing was my childhood passion. I have been publishing stories, summaries and articles in magazines since my college and school days. Writing is something which I do during the relaxing time from the demanding job.

Are you working on another book at the moment or is it parked for the future?

Yes! The next book of mine is a political thriller. I have completed it and am looking out for the best publisher around.

Prof Sathya Saminadan is the Assistant Professor, Marketing at IFMR GSB.  An educator and author, Prof Sathya is also an alum of IFMR GSB.

About Prof Sathya Saminadan R S

Post Completing MBA from IFMR, he garnered 19 rich years of work experience of which 10 years he was in the industry and 9 years in Academia. His initial career started with a Pharmaceutical Company as Sales representative and he later moved to aviation industry and later into banking sector.He has had a vibrant career growth, starting as a Sales Executive to Assistant Vice President. He has been a part of every marketing department which included Sales, Training, Digital Marketing and Product strategy. He was heading the branches in a bank, leading a holistic team of managers who were responsible for revenue and broadening the market.

During 2010 moved to Great Lakes Institute of Management as lecturer for marketing as move towards the passion of becoming a teacher. Prof Saminadan, Completed his PhD in Digital Marketing in alliance with search and purchase behaviour of the consumer from the University, SCSVMV – Kanchipuram. He is associated with more than a dozen colleges in Chennai and outer as a visiting professor and to name a few, IIT- Madras, LIBA and SRM.

He was awarded as the best teacher for the year 2016 by the International Business Conference committee, Goa for his contribution towards teaching and research in the area of Marketing. He has been a committee chair on many occasions for managing an event, conference, department and institution building exercises.

Prof Sathya Saminadan have also published several research papers and some them have been widely recognized among the research community Reach him at [email protected]

Take Two- Diversity Dialogues

Take Two- Diversity Dialogues

A veteran from the area of Strategy and Management, Prof Shobha Das,  Area Chair – Strategic Management, IFMR GSB, got on a Zoom call with an Ethnomusicologist, Prof Sumitra Ranganathan, Senior Assistant Professor of Music, SIAS. What followed was an exchange from worlds intersected, in stark contrast yet drawing the parallels.

Prof Shobha and Prof Sumitra got together for a special exchange of ideas and perspectives on the occasion of International Women’s Day, tracing the similarities and differences in their lives as academics and as women from diverse fields. Paving the way for an interesting dialogue, Prof Shobha Das drew attention to how arts and management are considered to be siloed as two different worlds but yet share deep commonalities. In agreement Prof Sumitra explained how this is innate to the consciousness at Krea, how habits of the creative mind come together in almost all domains.

Drawing on her life as an academic, Prof Shobha spoke about how academia is synonymous with her identity, more so than being a woman. Academia has allowed her to explore, interact with different people and learn about things, about how it affirmed there is no ‘me’ in academics.  While Prof Sumitra pondered on her identity at the intersection of arts and academics, her journey from being a theoretical physicist to the  world of IT and finally to the shift in academics, and how it made the most sense in a space such as Krea University. She expressed how she felt closest to home in academia, where the active churning rarely stops, and spills over.

“The artist in me expresses it in this way, my shift into academics happened following a song, it was a beautiful dhrupad I learnt from the Maharajas of Bettiah, composed by them. And following that song is how I decided I will do my PhD in music and then I made a transition and there I have stayed ever since.”

Prof Sumitra expressed her amazement at women artists from traditional communities who have always had to manage their time and demands made at them as a person. Prof Shobha drew the analogy to the field of management, to what is labeled ‘The Great Resignation’ in the post pandemic era.

“More women have resigned than men because women have realised if now they go back to the workplace, all things they have adapted to will feel astray. The onus is on them to now continue the new role but apparently the men aren’t that affected by the change in role because they probably were able to partition it still and continue to do so. The Great Resignation is greater for the women, post pandemic. We will have even fewer women in the workforce.”

Continuing the thread, Prof Sumitra spoke about the pressure women face as caregivers and how it comes into play when she seeks employment, cloaked as questions and qualms. Prof Shobha pointed out how the top 500 Fortune Companies in the United States had 8 percent women as CEOs and the top 500 companies of NSE had 5 percent as CEOs and the buck didn’t stop there, a study by IIM-A showed that the gender pay gap increased as women climbed the ladder instead of the other way round. This led to contemplation over the takeaways from the pandemic on how to bring women back to the workforce, of the awareness and the solutions.

Prof Shobha stressed on the fact of inability to delve deeper into metrics, incentives and motivation to keep higher education equally excitable for men and women. On how if one lesson from the pandemic is accessibility, the other is a question on digital divide. In Prof Shoba’s words, “A chakravyuh we need to emerge from.”

Retracing a Mnemonic for woman empowerment, something she had coined for an event in the year prior, Prof Shobha expanded STREE- Support The People Who Are Around You, the women and community members. Talk about the people and what hardships they have, stories are never hidden. Raise awareness in every forum you can. Educate yourself and others of opportunities available for women. Empower women, put power back in their hands.

Prof Sumitra added how there is a huge opportunity to bring the quality of a woman that is associated with the aspect of ‘care’ to the classroom. A need to feminise the workplace, to bring in the idea of care to the classroom where everyone cares for the other, making space differences and acknowledging that they come from various backgrounds and do not face the same challenges, to inculcate the ethics of care into enabling students, workers and colleagues.

The short conversation concluded with a pause, refraining from a full stop. With a promise for future collaborations, exchange of novel ideas and building of continuous bridges.

Please click here to view the engaging dialogue.

Books Banter: Q & A with Prof Bishnu Mohapatra on the launch of his book, Buddha aur Aam, Hindi translation of selection of his poems from Odia

Books Banter: Q & A with Prof Bishnu Mohapatra on the launch of his book, Buddha aur Aam, Hindi translation of selection of his poems from Odia

What is the underlying idea that binds this selection of poems together in Buddha aur Aam?

The title of this poetry volume is taken from a poem evocative of the subtle and sublime force of personal faith and devotion, kept alive in times of great disenchantment.  The poems are largely taken from the first four volumes of my poetry. Many of my poems seek to re-enchant our world, by reflecting on contemporary realities through a gaze that seeks out nature’s mystery in the most unlikely of places. Memory as a weave of remembering and forgetting, as a means of understanding our place in time, is also a recurring theme in many of my poems.

What is your relationship with the Odia language and why is writing in it, particularly special?

Odia is my mother language.  It is not just the language that I learnt to speak, read and write in first, but it is also my emotive language, the language of my memory and also the language of my sensorium. 

The metaphors and the presence of nature that dominate my poetry were imprinted in memory from my childhood; the feel of wet leaves under my feet at the riverbank, the creaking of insects at night, the light of glow worms, the songs of jatras, the lament of the cuckoo, all of these were carved into my imagination in the language of the land where I was born. 

Writing poetry in Odia and doing my social science and academic work in English has given me two vast and diverse landscapes which speak to each other, and enrich each other.  Each language carries with it its own life-world, its own inner resources.  Even after living more than four decades outside Odisha, my love for Odia and its rich tradition of literature, lives and thrives inside me.  Writing poetry in Odia enlivens a connection between place and time, and moves me beyond ‘here’ and ‘there’, ‘now’ and ‘then’, to the unknown place where metaphors take shape and make meaning.

How do you work closely with a translator in a manner that the spirit and essence of your work is captured in its truest form? Why is that process so important?

I am also a translator, although I rarely translate my own poetry.  I have translated and published Pablo Neruda’s poetry into Odia and my translations of Rilke’s poetry is to be published this year. I believe that translation is also a form of interpretation, of transposition, and that the translator carries from one language into another not only the essence of the poet’s expression, but also a little bit of of themselves.  I tend not to interfere much with the translator’s work as the process of translation has its own integrity.  I am grateful to my translator Dr Rajendra Prasad Mishra for his careful and dedicated attention to carrying my voice along with his into the Hindi translation.

In the world we live in, why is reading poetry crucial?

For me, poetry has always been more than a form.  It is a way to un-conceal the world, without revealing all of its mystery.  Recently, some of my poems were published in an anthology ‘Singing in the Dark’ – a collection of poems from across the world written during the pandemic related lockdown.  What were poets writing about during these uncertain times? Why are we reading more poetry about this time?  Poetry has the capacity to hold that which cannot be understood, while signalling us towards a multitude of possibilities.  A poet’s expression is always an indication, a nudge, a glimpse towards a larger vision.  The human condition and its striving towards its hidden own possibilities is what makes reading poetry essential.

Prof.  Bishnu Mohapatra, Professor of Politics, Krea University

Reach him at: [email protected]

BOOKS BANTER : Q&A with Prof Bharath Sethuraman on the launch of his book

BOOKS BANTER : Q&A with Prof Bharath Sethuraman on the launch of his book

Proofs and Ideas: A Prelude to Advanced Mathematics

Prof Sethuraman, could you tell us what was the inspiration for the book?

Most people view mathematics as a formidable edifice built using reams upon reams of mysterious symbols, decipherable only to the chosen few who have dedicated their lives to it. While this view has partial justification, it fails to capture the essence of the subject: mathematics is a beautiful subject, full of the most delectable patterns, many of which can be appreciated by anyone who has studied the subject in high school. It is an arena for play, for exercising our creativity. It can bring joy. It can evoke a deep sense of wonder. All it requires is patience and a willingness to push our minds to their furthest.

Why is this book the need of the hour?

Unfortunately, a lot of school mathematics is geared towards getting students ready for the applications of mathematics to physics and engineering, and this essence of mathematics is lost among all the symbol pushing and manipulation needed. Therefore, this essence needs to be re-captured when studying for a degree in mathematics, for there, one has to go beyond mere symbols and get down to the heart of the subject.

What is the premise of the book?

This book focusses on some core ideas that are needed for studying mathematics, ideas that are quite accessible to anyone with exposure to high school mathematics. For instance, how do you show that given any six arbitrary natural numbers, the difference of some two of them must end in 0 or 5? Or, how do we capture the fact that the kind of infinity represented by the natural numbers is the same as that represented by the rational numbers (the set of reduced fractions), but is different from the kind of infinity represented by the real numbers (the numbers represented by lengths along a line)? The ideas behind these are all simple and yet deep.

How do some ideas in the book find expression in the Krea curriculum?

I have used the material in this book for the Core and Skills course at Krea “Mathematical Reasoning,” and have also used it for the required mathematics department course “Discrete Mathematics” (soon to be re-named as Introduction to Proofs and Mathematical Thinking).

When did you start work on the book and how do you feel now that it is officially launched?

The project started several years ago at my previous university, California State University Northridge, where I designed the text for their version of the Introduction to Proofs course. While the core was conceptualized and developed there, much of the book was written after moving to India, and in particular, the last portions were written at Krea (and used for courses here). It was delayed by Covid (and my own laziness), but I am glad that it is finally out.

About Prof.  Bharath Sethuraman

Professor of Mathematics, Krea University

Prof. Bharath Sethuraman has nearly thirty years of experience as a mathematician and a teacher. He received his B.Tech in Mechanical Engineering from IIT Madras, but switched to pure mathematics and obtained his Ph.D. from the University of California at San Diego. He held a permanent position as mathematics faculty at California State University Northridge for over twenty-five years, teaching undergraduate and masters level students, many of whom came from less privileged backgrounds, and many of whom were first generation college learners. He has also taught at other universities in the US and in India, including at IIT Bombay, Indian Statistical Institute Bangalore, and Azim Premji University.

Besides being a committed teacher, Prof. Sethuraman has been active in research, working primarily in the fields of algebraic number theory and algebraic geometry. Prof. Sethuraman has been the recipient of several research grants from the U.S. National Science Foundation, and of other research and teaching grants from various sources.

Prof. Sethuraman has written three books for undergraduate students: Rings Fields and Vector Spaces, A Gentle Introduction to Abstract Algebra, and Proofs and Ideas: A Prelude to Advanced Mathematics. Outside of academics, he enjoys traveling, cycling, reading, and music.

Reach him at: [email protected]

Krea University Faculty Receive Prestigious Ramnath Goenka Award for Environment Journalism

Krea University Faculty Receive Prestigious Ramnath Goenka Award for Environment Journalism

Sri City, January 6, 2022: Prof. Aniket Aga (Associate Professor of Anthropology & Environmental Studies) and Prof. Chitrangada Choudhury (Associate Professor of Practice in Environmental Studies & Public Policy) from Krea University have won the Ramnath Goenka Award for Excellence in Journalism in the ‘Environment, Science and Technology’ category. The Awards aim to celebrate excellence, courage and commitment, showcasing outstanding contributions every year.

This prestigious annual event in the Indian media calendar pays tribute to Print, Digital and Broadcast journalists who maintain the highest standards of their profession despite political and economic pressures, and who produce work that generates and sustains public trust in the media and impacts the lives of people.  The award in the ‘Environment’ category acknowledges exceptional contributions to public awareness and understanding of environmental issues, science and technology.  

Prof. Aga and Prof. Choudhury had reported two articles on illegal herbicide-tolerant GM cotton seeds and an associated complex of lethal chemical inputs like glyphosate which are sweeping through biodiversity-rich Adivasi farms of Odisha’s Eastern Ghats, radically altering a fragile ecology, and food and knowledge systems. Their two stories titled ‘Sowing the seeds of climate crisis in Odisha’ and ‘Cotton has now become a headache’ along with a broader climate change series published by the People’s Archive of Rural India (PARI), were named for the award. 

Prof. Aniket Aga is interested in science and technology studies, democratic politics, and agrarian studies, and works on questions of environmental justice, food democracy and sustainable agriculture. His first book ‘Genetically Modified Democracy’ examining the ongoing controversy over genetically modified (GM) food crops in India is recently out from Yale University Press & will be published in South Asia in early 2022 by Orient Blackswan. He is especially keen to work with students from disadvantaged groups, including Dalit, Bahujan and Adivasi students and students from rural backgrounds.

Prof. Chitrangada Choudhury is a multimedia journalist and researcher. Her reportage on the environment, social justice and rural, in particular indigenous communities, has been cited for multiple awards including the Sanskriti Award (2008), the Press Council of India’s National Award for Investigative Reporting (2015), and the Lorenzo Natali Journalism Prize twice (2010 & 2018). She is a Founding member of The People’s Archive of Rural India, an Editorial Board member of Article 14, and a Senior Research Associate at the Centre for World Environment History, University of Sussex.

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