In front of the main New College entrance. Founded in 13th century, New College was then and still continues to be one of the largest Oxford Colleges. This was the first college to introduce the Quandrangle style of Oxford colleges. V. Isvarmurti studied the undergraduate course of PPE (Philosophy, Politics and Economics). In his times there lived in the college such eminent philosophers like H. H Price, A.J Ayer, Lord Quinton and others.
The Chinese language class of Prof Tan Yun Shan at Santiniketan. V.Isvarmurti (top right hand corner) was attending a 3 year diploma in Chinese language. Prof Tan Yun Shan was a contemporary of Generalassiamo Chiang Kei Shaik and Mao Tse Thung. Prof Tan established the Cheena Bhavan in the year 1921 and was a close colleague of Rabindranath Tagore.
Nothing in my life prepared me for an entrepreneur! No one would believe how I had changed or to use a current phrase, how I had re-invented myself!
This thought ran through my mind recently as I was glancing through the pages of any old book I edited when we launched the Vadamalai Media Group. The book’s title is: “Can India win the Electronics Revolution?” published in 1994. I hadn’t seen the volume all these years and now, with nearly a decade of serious entrepreneurial ventures behind me I was both astonished as well as a bit embarrassed too! I became the editor of the volume for the simple fact that none was willing to undertake that role. I met one or two in the then new industry, I visited the Electronics city on the outskirts and in fact saw the HP hardware unit. The head of that unit, one Indian, seemed first willing but backed out at the last minute.
Astonished from the fact that we dared into a field that must have been totally alien to me. It was! Alient to my educational background and to my temperament. I studied economics under the giants and though I call myself an economist at times, now with the entrepreneurial background and experience, I consider economists cant promote economic growth! Indian economists are either academics or turned into cosy bureaucrats. See the current crop of economists crowding the corridors of power in Delhi! I am embarrassed because there are so many rash observations in the book and of course there are much inaccuracies and yet some predictions that might seem to have overtaken even the professionals and experts in the field!
Time has come to call the British bluff. The “New Britain” is seen by British people themselves as a nation given to much war-mongering on the part of Tony Blair who imagines himself a second Winston Churchill! More war interventions, more name and fame for Britain.
I had read the two biographies of two great men, one a statesman, another a great economist. Now, reading these biographies, after I had lived through a rather longish life in India, I don’t seem to have the same excitement and a sort of glamour I had associated with these great men of great achievements. Yes, there was time when I was in Oxford I was taught economics by great economists themselves. One was Sir John Hicks who went on to win a Noble Prize. Another was Sir Roy Harrod, author of a first life of Lord Keynes and was also a student of Keynes. Harrod had this rather haughty way of saying us, students: “This is how Keynes thought of this problem, I know him so well, not the way you would be reading from other economists!”.
My Oxford years : crowded by philosophers and historians!
A.J.P.Taylor, Isiah Berlin, James Joll
Indians need to learn to distrust much of British written history. The immediate provocation for this essay is the reading of A.J.P. Taylor (1906-1990), the well-known British historian, for the second time. I had the good fortune to attend his history lectures in Oxford in the prime of his performance, though I didn’t join any history course.
I had a paper in modern European history for my PPE and for this paper I had as my tutor James Joll, then Sub-Warden of St. Anthony’s and later Joll became a professor at Lodon School of Economics. Joll was one of my favorite tutors and I learnt a lot from his rather friendly disposition towards me and we argued a great deal.