Ahmedabad: One girl found him “cute”. Another thought he was a “genius”.
These were no ordinary girls—they were students of business management at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A). And the he in question was the Dalai Lama who delivered on Friday a lecture on ethics and business at the school which is considered India’s best business school by several people.
The world’s most revered Buddhist was in his element: he playfully tweaked the impressive moustache of chairman of the school’s board of governors Vijaypat Singhania, admitted that he knew nothing about business (“If you ask me to run the business, it will collapse in a week,” he said), and defined his own brand of economic belief as Buddhist Marxist.
Capitalism has the narrow connotation of simply making profit, he added, while Marxism is worried about delivery and distribution of that profit to the last man in society.
The Dalai Lama also had some insight on how companies should manage people.
“Both employer and employee must have a relationship based on trust and openness. And trust would come if employee thinks of organization as his own and employer shows warm-heartedness, compassion and forgiveness,” he said.
The theme of the Dalai Lama’s speech: that a business and economy devoid of compassion can never bring prosperity and peace. Only a peaceful mind, he said, can lead to healthier individuals and society at large.
The Dalai Lama spoke for only 10 minutes and said he would prefer to spend more times answering questions.
There were the expected questions on India, China, and the cause of independent Tibet and he provided his usual response — that he and others like him wanted more autonomy for Tibet in an effort to preserve Tibet’s local culture but were not averse to being part of China.
The Dalai Lama is the latest in a series of off-mainstream-business speakers IIM-A has been inviting. Last year, it invited Union railways minister Lalu Prasad to speak about the turnaround he had effected in the government department.