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2. Begin with the end in mind: The second habit of Highly Effective People

By Dr. Biju G Pillai and Prof. Omkar Bapat, Assistant Professor, BIMHRD



The first habit of highly effective people is that they are ‘proactive’. The second habit of highly effective people is that they ‘begin with the end in mind’ as they visualize the ultimate goal or the target, and marshal their efforts and resources into achieving it.

This being the case, what should we do or refrain from doing in life? What will be our legacy in life? Will we be remembered as Steve Jobs whose name resonates in the world of technology? Or, will we end up like Ozymandias, whose legacy is left to decay before the shattered visage of his face as the shifting sands spread far away?

An answer to these questions has been given by Dr. Covey wherein he asks one to imagine oneself attending one’s funeral and is listening to one’s eulogy where all of one’s achievements, milestones, and major events in life were recalled by the speaker to the assembled family members, friends, relatives and prominent people one met and knew in life. Based on this imagination, we will be in a position to act in the way we should.

A good example for the above can be given in the form of Alfred Nobel, the noted chemist, entrepneur and scientist made famous as the inventor of dynamite and other explosives who had a major paradigm shifting after reading a misprinted obituary announcing his legacy as a ‘merchant of death’ to the ‘man of science and mankind’ he is known after his death today.

Beginning with the end in mind:

The crux of the second habit is based on the principle of personal leadership. Leadership is different from management as the latter follows the former. Leadership is concerned with the top line, i.e. ‘What is my objective or goal which I want to accomplish?’ As stated by Peter Drucker and Warren Bennis the difference in management and leadership lies in their fundamental nature wherein ‘Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.’ In other the purpose of management is to climb the wall whereas the purpose of leadership is to verify whether the wall is the right wall.

As stated before, the second habit arises from the mind as it has the ability to envision the future outcomes (achievement of goals, targets and so on). This can be done by the ‘measure twice and cut once’ principle wherein one creates the output in the mind and then transforms the output into physical creation. The man who made the best usage of this principle was Dr. Nikola Tesla a.k.a the inventor of the modern world. Dr. Tesla claimed that he ‘built his inventions in his mind’ stating that he was able to identify the safe operational limits of his devices to make sure that they ran safely and flawlessly when built in real life.

Vision is required for transforming efforts into success. Effective people employ the first habit in addition to the second habit as they see themselves responsible for their creations. Driven by this belief they motivate and empower other people into achieving the goal. Thus one can begin with the end in mind by envisioning each day, task, work or project by seeing a clear vision of the desired direction, resources and work effort and the destination so that one can employ one’s resources into achieving one’s objectives into reality.

In other words:

  • Mental creation paves the way for physical creation
  • An individual can choose his own future and create a vision about it
  • An individual can create and visualize the results of his activities before transforming them into reality



Effective people begin their tasks by visualizing the end goal in mind as it helps them in directing their efforts, resources and people for the achievement of their goals.

One of the ways effective people employ this habit in their daily lives is by creating and following a ‘personal mission statement’ as it helps them in focusing where they want to be and what they wish to achieve as the statement puts their goals in focus and helps them in moving their ideas into the real world, thereby enabling them to be more successful and productive in life.



  1. Dr. Stephen. R. Covey, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
  2. Wikipidea. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
  3. Greg McKeown, Stephen R. Covey Taught Me Not to Be Like Him
  4. Dan Schawbel, Stephen R. Covey Revisits The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
  5. Kevin Ohannessian, Leadership Hall of Fame: Stephen R Covey, Author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’
  6. Douglas Martin, Stephen R. Covey, Herald of Good Habits, Dies at 79
  7. Stephen. R. Covey, About Stephen R. Covey
  8. Brianna Whilting, Stephen R. Covey: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Chapter 5  /  Lesson 9
  9. Tom Butler-Bowdon, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
  11. Dr. Stephen. R. Covey, Quotes


India’s recent surgical strikes against Pakistan on perceived terrorist positions along the Line of Control (LoC), have been well commended by the world. Our nation though, has been gripped in a war of words since Pakistan’s attack on Uri, which, unarguably, deserves the most severe condemnation. Words, like missiles, have been flying through the television screens and strong opinions have dominated the black and white jungle of words in the print media. Former Big Chiefs of Armed Forces have been roped in as panelists, by aggressive TV anchors, to give further insight into why the war cry should get shriller. Probably in social gatherings too, the mood of the nation has been reflecting the belief of `enough is enough’ regarding what many allege is soft posturing with Pakistan, for too long a time.

This `revengeful’ feeling has been resonating ever since the Pathankot Airbase attack, followed by the continuing unrest in Kashmir, which continues to sizzle for over three months now. The government in Kashmir appears paralyzed, thus making it look ineffective. Life continues to be on the edge in the valley. Given the sensitive situation, since decades, the central government too has been treading with caution.

Amidst this cacophony are harsh facts which are being overlooked in the ambition to garner TRPs and flaunt knowledge of war strategies. Is the government supposed to act on these shrill arm chair opinions and look at the issue from an emotional angle alone? Can it give a `tit for tat’ without taking into account various other factors like our other hostile neighboring countries and international ramifications of a war with Pakistan?

It is pertinent to also introspect on the practical aspects of what it takes for preparation of a war with Pakistan. The reasons being the hostile geo-political scenario in the Northern borders including Kashmir region, which not only requires time for positioning of the troops but also the fear of imminent attack from China for want of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CEPC). I would like to narrate this reality through my own experience.

It is a nostalgic recall as I am a soldier and a war veteran, posted, during the 1971 Indo-Pak War, in the very area in Uri – the location of the recent Pakistan assault. Between the time when war mongering started, somewhere in March 1971, and the actual launch of the war in December 1971 – it was a good nine months. The time required from conception to the birth of a human being.

I distinctly remember that my marriage date was fixed for 28th March, 1971. I took leave and went to my native village, Kandithempettai in Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu, to get married. Apart from the congratulatory telegrams that poured in, the house wore a festive look. Being the bridegroom, my family was invited by the bride’s family for various ceremonies that precede the actual D-Day.

In fact, a marriage ceremony in our village is a grand affair – it is the culmination of 10 day of festivities, religious and social events. It is the time for congregation of near and distant relatives, thus turning the house into a large family gathering. It also means making elaborate breakfast, lunch and dinner for all of them. Goodies are enthusiastically prepared by the women of the house and a general air of positivity and happiness rents the air. Everyone prays for auspicious things to happen.

However, my life has always been full of dramatics. Amidst the marriage fervor and gaiety, tragedy struck when the next door neighbor of my in-law’s house, suddenly passed away on the very day of marriage. There was a lot of crying and the entire neighborhood was overcome with grief. A village has an independent row of houses but each one sharing a symbiotic relationship with one another. So, how can there be no mourning for someone who is like a family member? As if this was not enough, I received a telegram from my Command headquarters asking me to come back immediately. There is little choice when you are called back from leave. You either go back promptly or get court martial-ed and face severe punishment. Thus, within 48 hours of my wedding, I had to leave my new bride and get back to duty.

Those days, war mongering was going on just as we see today. A sea of Bangladeshis had filtered into the country due to atrocities on them by West Pakistan. They were being accommodated as refugees in various States. Their sheer number was putting immense strain on India. Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister, was garnering international support for India, in the event of a War with Pakistan. She analysed that it made more economic sense to wage a war against Pakistan and liberate Bangladesh. She signed the Indo-Russian friendship treaty, to nullify China’s support to Pakistan. The USA too had a favorable eye for Pakistan, which had her worried. When Gandhi discussed about going to war in April 1971 with the then Army Chief, General Sam Manekshaw, he candidly refused to go to war immediately and said he needed time to bring troops to advanced positions and select the right time, that is winter, when snow in the borders would dampen Chinese intervention.

I was asked to report at Leh. My battle commander, Major Karambil Rishi Babu and my other colleagues sympathized with me but for a warrior, his country comes first. From there, our unit moved to Pathankot, where only four residential quarters existed and were allotted as per the discretion of the Commander. The rest of them were given monthly accommodation allowance of `100 or `200. Although I was the junior most, I was allotted one of those quarters, considering that I was newly married. The affinity and bonding you have in the Army is unique and overwhelming. Elated, I went back to my village to fetch my wife.

However, there came another twist to this tryst. The day we reached Pathankot, we were asked to pack up and move to advanced position. So, despite having brought my wife from so far, I could not settle down with her. I felt bad that she had come to this strange land and she would have to fend for herself. All the families were clubbed in the four  residential quarters. Two to three families were huddled in each quarter. A sack of rice, pulses and other food stuff was provided which implied that it was going to be a long haul for us at the border. We had to move to RS Pura (Randhir Singh Pura).  I am elaborating this sequence of events to understand that war does not happen in a few days’ time. It takes several months to launch a war.

RS Pura is located along the Punjab border of Pakistan. Not many know that here, army units are temporarily located in agricultural lands. Whenever such skirmishes take place and the army takes position on the border, it is the farmers who suffer the most. We occupy their fertile land, from which they earn their bread and butter. They are given just a modest amount of compensation, which hardly makes up for the destruction of their crops and fields. For, the Army unit makes a makeshift operation area that involves putting up tents and other facilities. In this case, we were deployed for nearly nine months.

Back in Pathankot, the residential quarters are in the vicinity of the Air Force Station. This meant that my wife and others had to be safe in case of an air attack from Pakistan. The ladies were asked to dig trenches by themselves so that they could sleep in them during night time.

On 3rd December, Pakistan launched an air attack. We were all engrossed, fighting the war, with a very positive attitude. We were firing bombs from the 120 MM brand Mortar. One night a bomb fell directly into our operational area. One of our colleagues was seriously injured. The attack was going on, full-fledged. Our Commander, Babu, was leading from the front, but he showed his humane side, as despite being at the helm of the attack, he put the injured soldier in his jeep and drove at fast speed to Jammu and admitted him in the hospital. It was a two hour drive, so he came back in four hours and got back into action. Finally, war was over on 16th December, 1971 and we returned to Pathankot after the ceasefire.



The celebration and triumph of victory over Pakistan gripped the nation. On our return by train from Pathankot to Chennai, I witnessed intense and unprecedented patriotism, which overwhelmed me. Wherever the train halted, people were thronging railway stations and showering us with food and all kinds of gifts. The railway platforms were filled with such well-wishers, cheering us with slogans of `India Zindabad.’ By the time we reached Chennai, I had so many gifts that I did not know what to do with them.

Today, the tragedy of the country is that, we need to ask, are we ready for war? India has to deal with problems from several neighboring nations. Despite it pumping in money from the tax payers’ treasure chest and despite several concessions, why is it that people in the Kashmir valley are not happy? Why are the people there not with us? Why do they address us as `you Indians’? If they are with us, then are only a few militants, creating havoc? If it is a question of only a handful of militants, then why is it that the Army is not able to be on top of them?

Also, what is the morale of our Armed Forces presently? We have witnessed the One Rank One Pension (OROP) agitation, where hundreds of veteran soldiers and officers, in an unprecedented move, protested for several months at Jantar Mantar and took out public rallies. The defence personnel are also piqued about the seventh pay commission. In March this year, the three service chiefs made a representation to the `Empowered Committee of Secretaries’, headed by the cabinet committee. When that failed, the service chiefs kept the implementation of the 7th pay commission, in abeyance. The Defense Minister then ordered them to implement it. It must be noted that their petition in the Supreme Court, stated that defense personnel should not be treated in a “shabby manner.’’

We must understand that a soldier or an officer considers his duty above his comfort zone and salary. But the fact that they have shown resentment, perhaps indicates that the morale in the Armed Forces, may not be very high.

So, given these circumstances, the moot question finally is, should India go for a full-fledged war? We need to also introspect as to what we have achieved so far by going to war, be it against Pakistan or Sri Lanka.


Dr (Col.) A. Balasubramanian




I am a war veteran, posted, during the 1971 Indo-Pak War, in the very area of Uri. Between the time when war mongering started, somewhere in March and the actual launch of the war in December – it was a good nine months.

My First Vehicle & Public Function

Protocol means the system of rules governing formal occasions or the accepted way to behave in a particular situation. A chief guest in a corporate function is a VIP who characteristically comes in a C-suite. He or she is driven in an elegant car, at times escorted by team members of the organisers of the event. This corporate culture portrays a professional image and conveys executive presence. It reflects the respectful attitude towards the personality who is held in high esteem in the corporate world. Any deviation from norm is just not acceptable, as I discovered one day, when I was invited as a chief guest.

Until then, for me, a chief guest was primarily a person who has a certain standing in the society due to his or her academic qualifications/his professional designation/his contribution to society. He enhances the status of the function due to his high profile. His other qualities include good oratory to guide the respective audience and enlighten them about a topic relevant to the event.

Those were the days when my career was in full bloom. I was the Director of a leading management institute. I had also been recently designated as Honorary Colonel by the President of India. I was the first citizen to receive this prestigious designation – there is no such precedent in the history of India. This was conferred on me for my contribution in the field of management education.


I received an invitation from the College of Agriculture, Pune, to be the chief guest, to address trainee officers who were to come from different parts of the country. I accepted the invitation and declined their offer to send me a car to fetch me. I thought, why trouble them, when I can easily come on my own, considering the short distance that I had to travel.

Those days, generally I would either walk or cycle, if I had to commute anywhere. Just recently, I had been promoted as Professor and that’s when I upgraded myself to commuting in an auto rickshaw. I was nicknamed ‘Autowala Bala’.

I was in close interaction with students, as, besides being the Director, I was also the Rector of the institute’s girls and boys hostel. My students would often see me using these humble modes of transport. One day, one of the girls who had just finished her MBA course came to me and said, “You work so hard day and night for us, so I want to give you a gift as a token for your dedication towards us.” She also said, “You are such a great man and still you do not own a vehicle.” I told her I don’t  accept any gifts. She insisted that she wanted to gift me her Luna, as she was going back to her home town so would not need it anymore. When I insisted that I do not accept any gift, she said `okay, then give me some token.’ I asked her how much would that token be and she said, `3,000. I was thrilled that she was giving it to me at such a cheap price and instantly bought it.

A few days later, I was riding the Luna out of the college, when the watchman at the gate stopped me and said, “So finally you bought the Luna? And for how much?’’ I eloquently quipped, “`3,000.’’ He instantly said, “Oh Sir, she has made a fool of you. She was going around quoting `1,000 to so many people and there were no takers.’’  Now, what to say? I kept quiet. Incidentally, to date, my only two-wheeler has been this Luna and a TVS Moped. I don’t know how to ride a scooter or drive a car even today.

I was very proud of owning the Luna – the reason why I did not accept the offer by the College of Agriculture hosts, to send me a car. On D-Day, I dressed up in my formal suit and tie and rode the Luna to reach the venue.

When I reached the College of Agriculture, the main gate was closed. I could see a banner put up, welcoming me. I tried to explain to the security guard at the gate that I was the chief guest. He ignored the fact that I was dressed in a formal suit and tie – instead he was staring at the Luna. He could not believe that I was the VIP and refused to open the gate. Instead, he rudely asked me “Who are you?” I was anxiously trying to grab attention by waving my hands to signal to the hosts, far off. It’s quite a bit of distance between the main gate and the main building of this college, so, it is difficult for anyone to understand what someone is gesturing from the gate. Finally, I could see my hosts recognising me and coming towards me. I heaved a sigh of relief.

But when they reached me, the first thing they asked was, “Why have you come on a Luna? We could have sent you a car.’’ Their body language reflected their discomfort at my having come in what I considered a prized possession. Not only that, they asked me to leave the Luna at the gate. I was surprised that my humble vehicle could cause so much embarrassment to the hosts.

I said, “What is wrong with my coming on a Luna? I’m sorry I cannot leave it at the gate, I will ride on it up to the venue,’’ and did so. So, right from the security guard to my esteemed hosts, my personality got diluted because of the Luna.

Anyway, the function began and I took on the microphone to address the trainee officers. I narrated the entire incident to them and told them that ‘dikhava’ (flaunting) matters more than my qualification as the Director of a prestigious institute or the designation of an Honorary Colonel. Not coming by car was my disqualification. Thereafter, I gave a 90 minute speech and received a thunderous applause.

On introspection, I realise that I should have taken certain precautions instead of taking things for granted. A uniform or an attire for a certain occasion automatically lends respect. A traffic policeman on the street for example, commands respect because of his uniform. How many of us would care for his whistling or his directions for traffic if he was dressed in plain clothes? So, an appropriate dress code is immensely important, depending on the event or function. Similarly, I realised that a car provided a status – it is a way of honouring the special guest who is the face for the event. Hence, I should have accepted the offer of the organisers to send a car to fetch me.

I should have realised that I was not an iconic figure like Amitabh Bachchan or the Prime Minister of India, to be instantly recognised wherever I went. In this case, my first encounter was with the security guard, who was not literate. It is a known fact that security agencies employ poor, elderly people who are in need of money and work for a pittance. They carry out their jobs like a post-retirement, pastime occupation, often dozing off during duty hours. Thus, I found it very difficult to communicate with this guard, to drive home my point. I should have anticipated that. Perhaps, I should have brought along the invitation card with me, which would have served as a proof of my VIP status and which would have convinced even this illiterate security guard to allow me entry.

For me, this was a great learning. Never take things for granted. Never go beyond the protocol when it comes to a formal occasion. It has its own significance, which must be respected.

Dr (Col.) A. Balasubramanian




Those days, generally I would either walk or cycle, if I had to commute anywhere. I was totally involved with students, as besides being the Director, I was also the Rector of the institute’s girls’ and boys’ hostel. My students would often see me using these humble modes of transport

Gratitude, thy name is Karna


In the 15th June issue of Corporate Citizen, we published a guest editorial by noted corporate leader, Ganesh Natarajan, who himself lives by gratitude and that was the theme of his piece. It reminded me of a quote by John F Kennedy, which states, “as we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.’’

It also reminds me of the Mahabharata, an epic narrative of the Kurukshetra War between Pandavas and Kauravas, in which Karna, generally considered as an anti-hero, is a role model of what unconditional gratitude signifies.

Karna, as we all know was brought up by a Charioteer couple belonging to a low caste and hence was termed as `Sutaputra’ (son of the lowly caste). He was humiliated and looked down upon by the society, particularly by the entire clan of Pandavas and great sages of those times. In reality, he was the son of Kunti, Queen of the Pandavas, who disowned him as soon as he was born (as she bore him by the mere wish of having a child of the Sun). She put him in a basket and set it off in the river. This was found by the Charioteer couple who adopted him as their son. He grew to be a great warrior than Arjuna, but no one acknowledged his talent, due to his caste.

Duryodhana, the eldest son of the Kauravas, was the only one who took a radical and unconventional approach towards Karna – loving and respecting him for his ability as a supreme warrior and an intellectual. He did not care from which lineage he came from. Duryodhana not only trusted him and took his advice at all times, but he elevated Karna to a King (Angharaj), on the basis of his exemplary abilities as a warrior.  Karna, therefore stood by him all through his life, as a token of deep gratitude.

In those times, the caste system was so overpowering that, although Karna was a greater warrior than Arjuna, he was denied tutorship by several sages like Dronacharya. He was also humiliated during the Swayawar of Draupadi, who reminded him of his lowly caste.

When the Mahabharata War was to be waged, Krishna was worried that Karna, who possessed better skills than Arjuna, would ensure the defeat of the Pandavas. Krishna approaches Karna to tell him the truth about his lineage. Despite this revelation, Karna refuses to leave the side of Duryodhana. The following extract of the dialogue published in captures the essence, hence I am tempted to reproduce the excerpts:

Krishna: Do you know that you are the eldest Kunti Putra. You deserve to be the king of Hastinapura. Come, join us. All the Pandavas will welcome you. Draupadi will become your queen, why are you fighting with Duryodhana?

Karna: They are not my brothers. And I have no wish to become the king. Thank you for telling me that I am the eldest Kunti Putra, I have been searching this answer all my life.

Krishna: Now that you know who you are, why don’t you join the camp of Dharma?

Karna: With all due respect to you, who are you to define what my Dharma is? I am aware of my Dharma and I am doing it every single day.

Krishna: And what is your Dharma, may I know?

Karna: My Dharma is to protect my friend when he needs me the most.

Krishna: Even at the cost of siding with a force which is doing Adharma towards hundreds of thousands of men? Do you know that your presence in the Kaurava camp ensures that Dharma has to fight harder for victory?

Karna: The force has its own reasons, I have my own reasons. Where were you when Drona denied me to teach lessons because I do not belong to a royal family? Where was Dharma when I was not allowed to compete in the Swayamvar of Draupadi and I was insulted of being a person from lowly caste? Where was Dharma when I had to answer every single person how a suta putra became the king? Dharma or righteousness for that matter has never been my friend. I have only one friend and only one Dharma. It’s called Duryodhana.

Krishna: Do you agree that Duryodhana is wrong and that he is the only one responsible for this war?

Karna: I do.

Krishna: What is your motivation for fighting this war? Pandavas have their reasons, Duryodhana has his, what is your reason? What will you gain from this war?

Karna: I am not fighting this war to gain anything. After Ganga-putra Bheesma, I am the most unfortunate lone warrior in this battlefield. Fighting for nothing. He has his Pratigya and hence he is helpless. But I am not helpless. I can walk away from the war. But No, I won’t. I cannot leave my friend when he needs me the most. I know he is wrong but that has nothing to do with my gratitude.’’

It is rare to find such sense of gratitude in today’s world. It is an era when most of us see our vested interests and switch loyalties accordingly.

Of course, there is a flip side to Karna’s unflinching gratitude for Duryodhana. The renowned spiritual master, Sadhguru says in one of his writings, “…Because of his gratitude to Duryodhana, somewhere, he believed he must hate these five people (Pandavas). Though there was no hatred in his heart, he worked it up all the time and came out meaner than anyone. If Shakuni said one mean thing, he would say the next mean thing. And he wouldn’t stop there because he was always working up his hatred trying to prove his loyalty and be grateful for what Duryodhana had done for him. Somewhere deep inside, he knew that everything he was doing was wrong, but his loyalty was so strong that he continued to do it. He was a wonderful guy but he continuously made mistakes. All our lives are like that – if we make one wrong choice, it takes ten years to recover, isn’t it? He never recovered because he made too many wrong turns.’’

Thus, there are two lessons to learn from the life of Karna. The most important being, one must show gratitude to those who have helped you or taken care of you. Parents, for example, are the ones who look after us and nurture us, unconditionally. Just how many  of us are grateful to them? Sadly, not, very many.

As for me, I am an ardent fan of Karna. I believe that friendship is not subjected to `ifs’ and `buts.’ And also, where can one find great men like Duryodhana? In this era, Krishnas can be seen everywhere.


Dr (Col.) A. Balasubramanian






“I am not fighting this war to gain anything. After Ganga putra Bheesma, I am the most unfortunate lone warrior in this battlefield. Fighting for nothing. He has his Pratigya and hence he is helpless. But I am not helpless. I can walk away from the war. But No, I won’t. I cannot leave my friend when he needs me the most. I know he is wrong but that has nothing to do with my gratitude’’


“Thus, there are two lessons to learn from the life of Karna. The most important being, one must show gratitude to those who have helped you or taken care of you. Parents, for example, are the ones who look after us and nurture us, unconditionally. Just how many of us are grateful to them? Sadly, not, very many ’’

Lost Opportunities

‘Killing the golden goose’ can be interpreted as short-sighted action that destroys the profitability of an asset. This case highlights this proverb to the hilt. Read on…

This is a story of the renowned Tamil actor and politician, S S Rajendran, popularly known by his screen name, SSR. He was a famed film actor, director, producer and politician who passed away in 2014, at the age of 86. On the silver screen, he was in the top-notch bracket along with MGR, Shivaji Ganesan and Gemini Ganesan. SSR was noted for his charismatic personality and command over Tamil diction. In politics, he has the glorious distinction of being the first actor in India to become an MLA. His leader was the late CN Annadurai, stalwart founder of the then fledgling DMK party. He was more active than legendary MGR, in the party.

SSR, however, also has the dubious distinction of having scuttled the passing of the Privy Purse Bill way back in 1969.The Motion to abolish Privy Purses and the official recognition of the titles of princely states was brought before the Parliament in 1969 by the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, but was defeated by one vote in the Rajya Sabha. This singular vote was not cast by SSR, though DMK was with Indira Gandhi and thus he was attributed to be the cause of the failure of passing of the Privy Purse Bill. Indira Gandhi, cornered by powerful senior leaders like K Kamaraj, Nijalingappa, Atulya Ghosh, Biju Patnaik and so on dissolved the Parliament and ordered a national election. SSR is said to have been offered money to oppose the Bill, which brought disrepute to his political image. Thereafter, his political career started to decline. The Bill, meanwhile, was re-introduced in 1971, and was successfully passed as the 26th Amendment to the Constitution of India.

This apart, SSR was the pillar of DMK’s political movement. He was a star campaigner during elections and generously donated money for the young political party which came to power within a short span of its existence. On the 51st birthday of CN Annadurai, the founder-leader of the DMK, SSR invited him for a feast and offered him 50 tolas of gold. An overwhelmed Annadurai invested this generous gift to buy a house for himself in Chennai.

In 1967, SSR steered the fundraising campaign of DMK, as the target set by Anna for election fund collection was a whopping ₹10 lakh. At that time, Karunanidhi was the treasurer of the party. An iconic public figure, he is a great orator and a prolific writer, besides being a film scriptwriter, film producer and poet. However, it was the charismatic SSR who provided the glamour for the DMK. In those days, to attend their public lectures which had a lineup of top-notch leaders of the DMK, you had to buy tickets for entry, costing between one and five rupees. That is how the fund was collected by the DMK. As a school going boy, I used to attend all such meetings, held in various villages.

Traditionally, Tamil films portray contemporary politics. SSR was under the scanner of the then ruling Congress government as he happened to show the flag of DMK in his film, Thangarathinam–(thanga means ‘gold’, rathinam means ‘pearl’). Thus, SSR was arrested many times. That was in the 1960s.

SSR was perhaps the first ever film producer in world’s cinema history to use a political flag as logo. The legendary MGR too followed his footsteps and used DMK flag as the logo. Then, party flags were not acceptable to Censor Boards, which were rigid. SSR also showed DMK’s National Convention for a good half an hour as part of the movie. When he was at the peak of his career, he also held an anti-Hindi agitation in his house, by hoisting a black flag. The police threatened to shoot him. He, in turn, pulled out his pistol, aiming at them. He was instantly arrested.

Despite toiling hard and giving his heart and soul for his party, Karunanidhi only ‘used’ SSR and never allowed him to grow. So, subsequently, when MGR left the party, SSR joined him, with the hope that he would be given better treatment. However, he could not shine there too and so he went into oblivion. He was a dedicated party worker but lacked leadership qualities. For his fans and followers, SSR became the proverbial case of ‘out of sight, out of mind.’ He remained unsung.

Being his most ardent fan, I always remembered him very warmly and used to watch his films, which I do even today. In the meantime, I carved a niche for myself in the society, with my educational entrepreneurship. I knew one Erukooran, a noted writer. He was the former assistant editor of a weekly called Muththaram. I used to write prolifically for this magazine. After retirement from the weekly, Erukooran began penning a series of biographies of prominent people in Tamil Nadu and publishing them in the form of books. Poverty was his best friend; suffering was his main companion. Whenever I travelled to Chennai, I used to make it a point to meet him at his residence. His real name was IM Sultan and his pen name, Erukooran. I remember that his wife used to make very good biryani and I used to enjoy eating it.

About two decades back, he showed his desire to pen my biography and publish it. I told him I was not interested as I didn’t have time for it, and besides, I didn’t consider myself to be such a big guy. But since he persisted, I told him he could come and stay with me in Pune. Whenever I could spare some time, we could have a dialogue. He took this invitation seriously and stayed with me for a few days. He was very sincere in his assignment and used to take down copious notes. He did extensive research on me by visiting my village and meeting my friends. Only one-fourth of his research was left to be completed, for which I was supposed to give him four to five days’ time. That did not happen. So, the matter rested there.

In the meantime, I was staying in a hotel in Chennai and happened to see an old film on the TV in which SSR had acted. During those days, the other heroes, besides SSR who ruled the Tamil Nadu film industry were MGR, Shivaji Ganesan and Gemini Ganesan. All except SSR had passed away and all of their biographies have been written and published. How about a biography on SSR, I thought? Since he did not possess any market value, no one bothered to pen one. Tragically, the world belongs to those who are in power. If you are out of power, you are out of sight, out of mind.

As a fan of SSR, I intensely felt that someone should write his biography. So I called up Erukooran and asked him to meet me at the hotel. I told him, “Forget my biography; write the biography of SSR. It is not just a story of a single individual called SSR but it will cover the political history of Tamil Nadu of the ’50s and ’60s.” Erukooran was initially reluctant. He asked, “Sir, who will buy this book?” So to push him to do this book, I gave him a proposal—I would pay him ₹25,000 per week, out of which he had to employ a typist or any other staff he would need. Once he completed the biography, I would pay him ₹1 lakh. His job was to meet SSR, record the interviews and write the biography quickly. I told him, I would get it published at my cost, and get the book released at the hands of the then Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, M Karunanidhi at the Nadigar Sangam (South Indian Film Artistes’  Association), which would be attended by superstar Rajinikanth, Kamal Haasan, and the like. Erukooran agreed.

When he met SSR, the latter was delighted. He wanted to speak to me immediately. I could make out that he was overwhelmed with emotion. He asked me, “Friend, who are you? Why do you think of writing about me? I have always been used, misused and abused. Those who got a lot from me are running away from me.”

I told him, “Sir, I am your fan. I know your credentials. You were in the limelight once, maybe you are nowhere now. There is nothing unusual about this phenomenon. What is important is your colossal contribution to Tamil Nadu through politics and through Tamil films, as producer, actor, director and what not.”  So he agreed and Erukooran completed writing the biography within the scheduled time. During the course of his writing, I too visited SSR and asked a lot of critical questions. Due to his old age, he had become forgetful; hence it was necessary to provoke him to revive his memories.

I signed a cheque for the final payment of ₹1 lakh. But I suggested to Erukooran that since SSR was alive and since this was a biography, why not ask him to initialise the pages, in order to make it more authentic. He agreed and handed over the manuscript to SSR.

While SSR was going through the manuscript, which took several weeks, I kept visiting Chennai for work. Whenever I go to Chennai, I have the habit of going to a bookstall and buying all the magazines and newspapers. For, books and magazines have always been my thickest friends. Give me magazines and newspapers and I need nothing else. One of the magazines I bought was Devi. There, to my utter shock, I saw that the biography I had got written by Erukooran was being serialised under the heading ‘Nan Nadanthu Vantha Padhai”.

I was angry and shocked that the writer had played the Brutus. I immediately went to the modest house of Erukooran and showed him the magazine and questioned him, “What is this?” I asked.

“I am also surprised,” he replied, but I did not trust him.

I had gone out of my way to ensure that Erukooran, who was in dire financial straits, would financially benefit from writing this biography and it would make his retirement life comfortable. For, besides paying him for writing the book, I had told him to keep the royalty money, which would have amounted to a good income, enough for a comfortable pension. The book would have been bought by all the libraries, besides good sales would be assured through bookshops, considering the personality on whom it was written. So in front of me, he made a call to SSR. SSR pleaded with him to get me to him for a dialogue.

We went to his house. He extended all the courtesies and then started abusing his wife in front of me. This was his third wife and one of the reasons for SSR’s problems was marital conflicts. He said, “It is this lady who has given away this script. I am extremely sorry for it. It was you who took the initiative. I don’t know how to show my face to you now.”

I asked him to ask the respective publication to stop publishing the serialised content further. He said that withdrawing this would not be easy since the publication had put up big advertisements all over Tamil Nadu. And then he had the audacity to console me by saying that I need not worry as he had many more interesting things to tell about his life which could be included in the book. His two children also joined us. I told one of his sons, “Your father doesn’t know what he has lost. I wanted to recreate his glory by releasing the book at the hands of the chief minister at a big, star-studded function. Since he was the president of the South Indian Film Artistes’ Association, all the stars would have made a beeline to the function. And had I met Chief Minister Karunanidhi even, he would not have rejected the request. With all the stars and the CM present, the media would have given maximum coverage and publicity to this biography of SSR. I was to get nothing out of it. I wanted the new generation to know about your illustrious father. Now that it is being serialised by a magazine, there is no point in having a release function. That’s it, thank you.” And I walked off.

Now, time has flown by and SSR is no more. He passed away in 2014. On his first death anniversary, people from his community called me up and told me very enthusiastically that during this function, the biography of SSR under the title of Nan Nadanthu Vandha Pathai (On the footsteps of my past) was to be released. To this, I asked them if they knew the name of the author who had serialised the biography in the magazine, Devi. They said it had been written anonymously. I told them that I was happy that the biography was published, not wanting to rake up the ugliness that had gone into it, as I had already forgotten it as a bad joke.

Whoever was the culprit in this game—perhaps SSR’s wife—was immaterial. The fact is, for both the actor and the writer, it had been akin to killing a golden goose. SSR lost out on an authentic and comprehensive book on him, for posterity. Erukooran lost out on his handsome pension which he would have earned from the sales of the book. In his last days, he suffered a financial crisis and I stretched myself once again to pay his hospital bill. Erukooran too is now no more. He died in penury. Recently, I got a call from his wife, seeking financial help. I have decided to meet her and present her the ₹1 lakh which I had promised to her. As for me, the ardent fan of SSR, the turn of events was so disheartening.


Dr (Col) A. Balasubramanian


Ramanujan – The Real Genius


The world will soon remember the renowned Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan once again, as a biopic on his life, named The Man Who Knew Infinity, is set to release this April. Ramanujan, who lived a short but very productive life, continues to be an inspiration for mathematicians across the world, and his work has inspired a lot of research over the years. Here are 7 things to know about him:
1. He was the second Indian to be inducted as a Fellow of the Royal Society, which is a Fellowship of some of the world’s most eminent scientists.
2. He joined the fellowship in 1918 at the age of 31, as one of youngest fellows in the history of the society.
3. A follower of goddess Mahalakshmi, Ramanujan credited her for his abilities.
4. He once said, “An equation for me has no meaning, unless it represents a thought of God.”
5. He compiled 3,900 results (mostly identities and equations), before he lost his life at the age of 32.
6. His infinite series for pi was one of his most celebrated findings.
7. There is also a museum dedicated to telling Ramanujan’s life story. It is located in Chennai and has many photographs of his home and family, along with letters to and from friends, relatives, etc.

The Founder

Dr. (Col.) A. Balasubramanian is a classic example of courage, commitment and intimate relationship with the corporate world. His love for Knowledge and perfection is unimaginable he has created more than 30000 successful MBA's all throughout this Lifetime.
He passion for writing has not stopped till now , he always write new pieces of short stories every month.