S K Chakraborty

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Prof. Shitangshu Kumar Chakraborty

(1940-01-29) January 29, 1940 (age 84)
Mymensigh town
DiedSeptember 13, 2018(2018-09-13) (aged 78)
Kolkata, India
  • Education
  • Development
Spouse(s)Smt. Chhanda Chakraborty

Name: Prof. S K Chakraborty

Full name: Prof. Shitangshu Kumar Chakraborty Nationality: Indian Dob: January 29, 1940 Born: Mymensigh town (then in India, now in Bangladesh) and grew up in Punjab (partially in Kot Kishan Chand, Jalandhar and in Khanna, Ludhiana both in India)

Died: September 13, 2018 at Kolkata, India Alma Mater: He gave his matriculation in 1953 at Jalandhar, did his ISc. (Intermediate in Science) at Cooch Behar. Then he came over to Calcutta in 1955 and completed his graduation (BCom from Calcutta University), post-graduation (MCom from Calcutta University) and Cost Accounting (from ICWAI). He was the University Topper in graduation, post-graduation (PG) and All India Topper in Costing.

Known For: Human Values Movement in professional management education and development in India. His greatest contribution has been the establishment of MCHV (Management Centre for Human Values) at IIMC (Indian Institute of Management-Calcutta) in 1992. The Centre, which was conceived on 6th December, 1992 through the laying of foundation stone by Hiten Bhaya, former Director, IIMC, was born in the form of the Management Centre for Human Values (MCHV) in 1995—the first and one of its kind in the IIM eco-system - the architecture of which worth special mention because of its unique and holistic symbolism based on Indian cosmology, a brainchild again of SKC. He is author and co-author of 41 books of which 28 are in the field of Indian Ethos, Ehics and Human Values –thus he had not only founded institutions to promote Human Values, at the same time, he had developed a strong corpus of theoretical material based on which courses may be imparted in these institutions—this is again another pioneering contribution in the development of curriculum and knowledge base. The contributions of Prof. S K Chakraborty can be considered as a pivotal work around which all the developments of modern Indian Management thoughts have taken shape. To carry forward the movement on Human Values he had initiated and edited three journals and one monograph viz. Decision (IIMC/Springer),Journal of Human Values(IIMC/Sage),Shraddhā (Aurobindo Āshram) and Shraddhānjali(RNTCHV).He had travelled to most parts of the world for addressing seminars and conferences and holding workshops on Indian Ethos, Human Values and Ethics and Leadership. To broaden his reach among the various sections of the society he had established Rabindranath Tagore Centre for Human Values (RNTCHV), Kolkata. He was an institution-builder, eminent thinker and management philosopher, knowledge-base developer, educator, trainer and above all a great visionary leader.1

Spouse: Smt. Chhanda Chakraborty. Award: Received DMA Escorts Book Award for his book: Management by Objectives: An Integrated Approach(1976), Macmillan, Kolkata, Best Management Teacher Award by All India Management Association(AIMA) in 1993, DMA Escorts Book Award,1995 for his book: Ethics in Management: Vedantic Perspectives (1995), Oxford Univ. Press, New Delhi. Career: Though he had a very strong academic bent of mind, he had to do an industry job (from 1961-64) at Sahu Jain group, quit the job and joined Bardhamān University. After one and a half years, he went to Goenkā College, Calcutta as Lecturer. With the intention of getting some exposure of academic life in the West, he applied for both Fulbright and Commonwealth scholarship and got both—Commonwealth allowed the family to go and Fulbright didn’t—so he opted for Commonwealth. That was 1967. He finished his PhD from Liverpool University, UK in 1970. “He had a long association with IIM Calcutta for thirty two years where he served first as a faculty member in the Finance and Control Group and subsequently as the founder-convener of Management Centre for Human Values (MCHV) till his superannuation in 2003…..Prof. Chakraborty had been a pioneer in the field of Human Values and Ethics. Prof Chakraborty through his voluminous work opened up an entire vista of Indian philosophical traditions for meticulous scholarly enquiry. His continuing engagement with multiple knowledge systems transcending the old binary of the East and the West got reflected in… books and numerous research papers” 2 . Established Rabindranath Tagore Centre for Human Values at Kolkata in 2011 and remained its Mentor-emeritus till 2015. “He has taught at the Stolkholm Business School, the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, the Darmstadt university of Technology and California Institute of Integral Studies. He has authored, edited and co-authored several books. He is the Founder-Editor of the Journal of Human values”.3 Meanwhile, he had been conducting Workshops on Human Values, Leadership & Stress Management for the senior management cadre of Tata Motors, SBI, BEL, PGCIL, Bank of Maharashtra, HAL, Ambuja, IFFCO etc. He had also been on the Boards and expert committees of several GOI institutions (like UTI, LIC, etc.). Till recently he was a member of the BOG, IIM Indore as well as in the expert committees of several Govt. of India (GoI) institutions e.g. recently (2017) he had been nominated as a Member of the Society of the IIAS, Shimla by the Ministry of HRD, Department of Education, GoI.

Biographies: Prof. S K Chakraborty was a man immersed in Indian Ethos in mind, body and speech. Based on the perennial principles of Indian wisdom like ‘simple living, high thinking’, his life is a fascinating story of transformation of a teacher of non-spiritual subject like Finance and Accounting into an ācharya of sacred topics like Human Values, Ethics and Leadership – at least he made these domains spiritualized. During late 70’s while teaching Finance papers to PG students and occasionally attending various national and international conferences both in India and abroad, he had a great insight, he realized while other Asian intellectuals were trying to link with their roots we were knowingly or unknowingly getting uprooted from our own very deep cultural roots in both thoughts and actions. All these experiences and realizations made him arrive at a conviction that in spite of the fact that he did not have any credentials in Sanskrit, Psychology or Philosophy, he must delve deep into the sources of Indian age-old wisdom to find out whether India could offer meaningful and worthwhile concepts of management and leadership. For almost five years (1978-1982), he studied deeply on Indian philosophical thoughts, epics, Upanishads, several books on the purushārthas. Along with Indian shāstras, particularly on Yoga and Vedanta and their interpretations by contemporary Rishi-like personalities like Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo, Rabindra Nath Tagore and others, he deeply immersed himself into the writings of some extra-orbital western thinkers like J Rifkin, J Huxley, W Durant, A J Toynbee, B Griffiths, D C Korten, E F Schumacher, P A Sorokin, A Carrel and others. A deep mananam of all these Eastern and Western pearls of wisdom gave him a thorough understanding of the nature of the forces that were shaping the world of 80’s and 90’s. He launched in 1983 the first Post Graduate Programme (optional) on Indian Ethos at IIMC as well as initiated the first industry programme. he was highlighting the Indian age-old concept of sacro-secular symbiosis, and tried to develop an approach in the professional management of organisations which was similar to the approach that Mahatma Gandhi applied to the field of politics i.e. to spiritualize the mundane area of management and work into a sadhana. One of the outstanding features of Prof Chakraborty was that whatever he learnt theoretically, he used to apply that first to himself to test its efficacy, tried to understand the impact, compared it with the experiences of the great realizers and thinkers, and if found useful, he tried to impart it to his students and participants for their benefit and learnt from their feedbacks.4 “He was an intellectual giant and a pioneer who introduced Vedantic philosophy in Business and Management … His Centre fostered and promoted spiritual-based management and values-based human response in organisations.”5

The holy monks of Ramakrishna Mission (RKM) played a very important role in the formative years. The first Paper of his connecting management with Indian Ethos was written at the inspiration of a young sadhu of RKM in Ranchi, which was published by Prabuddha Bhārat in 1982 (as mentioned earlier).The article was read by Swami Budhananda, the Head of the Delhi RKM, who referred the same to Shri L N Jhunjhunwala, Chairman of Bhilwara Group of Industries, he got so inspired that he invited Prof. Chakraborty to impart programmes on Values Education to Bhilwara group. Thereafter there was no looking back—almost all the large organisations in the public sector and some big organisations in the private sector did his programme on Values, Ethics, Leadership and Stress Management in the next 30 years. This shows the depth and strength of his personality. Keeping in view the 50th year of India’s independence (1997), Prof Chakraborty took up a project in 1995 to collect the views of some very senior and respectable people of India regarding what they felt about independence and how things had shaped in the last 50 years. He interviewed 20 such leading personalities in a three year period (within 1995 to 1998), which were presented in the book titled ‘Wisdom Leadership: Dialogues and Reflections’. Some time in 2010 a new opportunity to carry forward his mission beckoned him. He got a call to establish a Centre, Prof Chakraborty extended the academic and administrative leadership as the Mentor-Emeritus—The Rabindranath Tagore Centre for Human Values (RNTCHV) was thus founded on Rabindra jayanti (birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore) day in 2011. Prof Chakraborty took all pains and meticulously planned to develop some of his students to be his torch-bearers. He was more than a conventional teacher—a deeply loving father figure, but his love was not blind, he could instantly notice the limitations and follies of his students and initially took strong and harsh measures to demolish the unripe lower self. At times, some of his students could not bear with him and retired hurt—but those who could sustain the initial onslaught became brilliantly cut gems in his hands. He strictly followed the legacy of our great Gurukula Rishis in this Prof Chakraborty was a man of action in his own sāttwic style. Retirement brought him opportunity to fully concentrate in his sadhana and writing with occasional association with some organisations on invitation to carry out some time-bound academic activity. He being a true acharya always tried to imbibe the ideals of the ancient Indian wisdom and put them into practice e.g. following the model of Varnāshram Dharma, after retirement he tried in his own way to follow the essential ideals of the Vānaprastha Āshram. It was a novel and noble experiment of leading the life of a vānaprasthi within the household—a life marked with some strict spiritual discipline in which his very devout wife gave full support. Any sensible outsider who visited his house could feel the sublime serenity and profound peace that is normally associated with sādhaka of shānta bhāva living in a Tapovana (forest of ascesis). Death had drawn considerable attention of this great thinker. It is a good teacher—more so for the Rajarshi leader. Prof. Chakraborty, at many places in his writings, had dealt with ‘Death’ from various angles and showed how an ideal leader may learn from this inevitable event of life. He was more or less fine, woke up in the radiant autumn morning, like any other day, finished all the morning chores—then peacefully engaged himself in writing an article. Suddenly he fell seriously ill, taken to a hospital and within few hours the curtain fell and the drama we call life ended—it was September 13, 2018—the auspicious Ganesh Chaturthi day. Ideas: He found that the theories of Western behavioral sciences prevailing then were not enough to explain the intricate organizational behaviour, particularly the model of man employed in these theories seemed to be highly inadequate. His deep contemplation based on Indian psycho-philosophy vis-à-vis contemporary Western behavioural sciences, led to an understanding that the behavioural sciences had perhaps got hold of a truncated model of man at its centre and that Indian psycho-philosophy captured and dealt with the entire spectrum of human personality and therefore seemed to be a better basis for the management theory development. Based on these insights and his experiences, gathered while communicating them to the students and the executives, he developed a full term optional course on this subject at IIMC for the final year MBA students which ran quite well for some years. “Inside the3 striking three-domed structure of The Management Centre for Human Values on the IIM Calcutta campus incubates the first fully Indian Management philosophy. “The crisis in business is spiritual” says Prof. Shitangshu Kumar Chakraborty, whose brainchild the centre is.”

In support of his thesis that the ancient Indian psycho-philosophical thoughts emanating from the Rishis are perennial and therefore quite relevant to solve the contemporary managerial problems ,he points out that ‘the latest conclusions reached in the West by modern methods-whether relating to matter or mind are confirming practically all the major hypotheses and truths arrived at by the ancient seers’ He brought some of the basic concepts of Indian philosophy like that of Higher Self(as named by Sri Aurobindo or Real Self as designated by Swami Vivekananda) ,Theory of Guna Dynamics (of Sānkhya Darshan (i.e. Philosophy)),Doctrine of Karma (common in some form to all Indian Philosophies except Cārvāka) etc. into professional management literature. Thus he was trying hard to connect Indian Management to its deep cultural roots. Through his writings he was exhorting Indian leaders and mangers to return to their sādhanā. According to him, subjective is the cause and objective is the effect-therefore the cultivation and purification of individual’s inner domain (chittashuddhi), the realms within which subjective decisions are made, is of paramount importance to effective management. He was not only working at the intellectual theoretical level but at the same time he was trying to develop suitable methods of sādhanā for corporate managers—in response to the much publicized methods of brainstorming, he developed his concepts of brain-stilling based on Yoga philosophy and auto-suggestion and started imparting that to the managers; In response to the jargons and concepts coming from the West, he kept on developing and propagating terms based on Indian shāstras which have relevance in the management world e.g. Will-to-Yoga in response to Freudian ‘Will-to-Pleasure’ or Adlerian ‘Will-to-Power’ or Frankl’s ‘Will-to Meaning’; ‘Giving Model of Inspiration’ in response to various motivation theories; ‘Quality of Domestic Life’ in response to ‘Quality of Work-life’; ‘Human Response’ as against ‘Human Resources’; ‘Self-Transcendence’ in response to ‘Self-actualization’; ‘transcending both pleasure and pain’ in response to ‘seeking pleasure, avoiding pain’; ‘freedom from’(greed, jealousy etc.) as opposed to ‘freedom of’(such things) etc. At the same time he tried to interpret the terms and concepts originating in the West in the light of Indian wisdom e.g. he presented an extensive comparative analysis between Eric Bern’s famous Transactional Analysis(which almost became a gospel among the management teachers and students of those days) and everlasting Guna Theory of Indian Sānkhya Philosophy and put forward a model synthesizing the two for better application in the management development, again he wrote an excellent critique of the established management styles (Blake and Mouton’s Grid theory and others)in the light of age-old Indian philosophical concepts. Another area which constantly drew his attention was that related to prevention and management of mental stress. He classified all the various approaches to coping stress into two broad categories which he named as two major frames of reference—secular and spiritual approaches. The area which drew most of his time in the later years is the one involving leadership and team-work- quoting from various Indian sources supported by the views of Sri Aurobindo, Swami Vivekananda and others he was gradually establishing the fact that the Rājarshi Leadership was the Indian Leadership Model that stood the test of time and was still relevant as ever. To establish his thesis, he put forward some illustrations of Rājarshi leaders from ancient time till the contemporary period. Gradually he expanded hid ideas on leadership truths by including ideas from Kautilya, Harshavardhan, Kalidasa and others and their interpretations by contemporary realizers like Aurobindo, Vivekananda and thinkers like R C Majumdar, R K Mukherjee, K M Panikkar and others. He also discussed in details the contribution that Patanjali’s Rājayoga may have in developing the right kind of Rājarshi Leadership. This encapsulation was based on the leadership concepts found in our scriptures like Bhagavad Gitā, Mahābhārat, Kautilya’s Arthashāstra and other sources on Dandaniti .He took the key term of Rājarshi (particularly from the Bhagavad Gitā verse 4.2) and named his formulation—Rājarshi Leadership Model—this is a comprehensive model, encompassing all aspects of leadership situation. He saw Rājarshi Ledership as an answer to the steeply rising existential misery and ecological crisis of today. This current of thoughts inevitably brought him to the question of globalization which was a raging issue then as it is now. His sharp insights could discover the inherent hypocrisy in the whole concept of economic globalization and its mode of application. Putting together the criticisms and the saving principles from the works of thinkers like Hazel Henderson, D. Rodrick, Sri Aurobindo, A. Krugman, A. Coomaraswamy, Rabindranath Tagore, D. Korten, S. Beer, S P Huntington, N A Palkhivala, M S Swaminathan, John Gray and others he surmised—‘The real danger is that globalization of greed, pursued by high standard of consumption-low standard of living nations in their own apparent interests, is going to destroy the happiness still enjoyed by high standard of living-low standard of consumption countries(like India)’ Classifying Ethics into three categories viz. Compliance Ethics (Codes, legislations etc.),Cognitive Ethics (Intellectual theories) and Consciousness Ethics (spiritual communion) he established that many a time ethics failed at the compliance level because they were not implemented by a leader operating from the right consciousness. “The foundation of ethics in practice lies in values within. Values are the cause and ethics is the effect…thus ,it is important to build ethical stamina or moral character…in building this ethical stamina, S K Chakraborty reiterates the need to go back to our roots and grow strong on them,to build on the time tested civilization and culture that is India’s."

Another area which increasingly drew his inquisitive attention was that related to cultural congruence in Management and Leadership particularly with reference to South East Asian countries and China. The interface between Technology and Ethics is another domain that drew SKC’s considerable attention. Here again he meticulously considered the profound viewpoints of great thinkers like R N Tagore, Sw. Vivekananda, M K Gandhi, Sri Aurobindo, A Coomaraswamy, S Radhakrishnan, A Einstein, W Hisenberg, D Bohm, E Shroedinnmger, M Plank, J Ecles, M Wilkins, J Weizenbaum, A Carrel, B Russel, A Huxley, R K Mukherjee, P Sorokin, A Toynbee, R Sperry, H Smith, B Griffiths, P C Roy, Abdul Kalam and others. Reading into their minds he concluded—all of them were ready to accept that mere intellectual culture driven by technology was insufficient to support ethics—the super-sensual or trans-rational had to be accepted. Some of them were more forthright and spontaneous in the invocation of Providence or God for the holy temper even in their mundane pursuits. According to SKC, our education should set right stress for real human development—priority should be on simplicity over complexity, silence over noise, contentment over greed, humility over vanity, co-existence over domination, wisdom over smartness, God over mammon, conviction over calculation, feeling over reasoning, intuition over intellect, sacred over secular, steadiness over restlessness, inner over outer ,restraint over promiscuity, consecration over consumption, duties over rights, soul over body, immeasurable over measurable, marriage over companionship etc. Each of these priorities he explained in the light of the view-points of world thinkers. Prof Chakraborty was not only explaining the goal of becoming a Rājarshi Leader, at the same time he was highlighting the way to achieve that goal also—he named this path as the ‘spiritual law of ethical work’ The most important aspect of the profound work of Prof Chakraborty is that he never stopped at theorizing for giving intellectual inputs. Beyond that, he always tried to take his students and participants through some experiential methods so that his workshops ultimately became a comprehensive programme involving the head and the heart because as we observed earlier, his primary objective was Chittashuddhi (purification of emotions). He made the method and the way of communicating it as simple as possible and named it Quality Mind Process (QMP).At times some small modifications were made within these steps to incorporate ideas related to Rājarshi Leadership or Stress Management to make the process relevant to these topics. Thousands of executives have gone through these methods and many of them have given positive feedback. He developed case studies in his own way, used them in his programs and fine-tuned them based on the response. Legacy: What has he left us? In terms of material dimension, not much, but in terms of intangible, subjective and spiritual dimensions, it is huge—a considerable mass of elevating thoughts which, if imbibed, may gradually lift us from the level of researcher to that of realizer, from bahirmukhitā to antarmukhitā, from a shallow man to a profound personality. These thought waves are now dispersed in the form of the knowledge base (books, monographs, articles, journals etc.),the training modules ,the trained and inspired personnel, institutions, curriculla, a life of constant academic pursuits soaked in spirituality—all created and displayed by him. Now, it is our duty to accumulate all these and present them through programs for the benefit of the society and that of the nation. “His words are more relevant than ever. We will never forget Professor Chakraborty’s kind personality and his deeply rooted spiritual humanism.” The life of this unsung Rishi of Indian Management Education has come to an end—but his legacy goes on. It would be a great honor to ourselves if we can acknowledge the contribution of this profoundly wise institution-builder, eminent thinker and management philosopher, knowledge-base creator, educator, trainer and above all a great visionary leader. Prof S K Chakraborty Memorial Trust is working hard to carry forward his mission.15 Professor Shitangshu Kumar Chakraborty Memorial Trust under the Chairmanship of Dr. Subir Chowdhury, former Director, IIMC, Kolkata has been spearheading the efforts to carry forward his legacy. Torch Bearers: Dr. Subir Chowdhury, Prof. Bidyut Kumar Sarkar, Prof. Sanjoy Mukherjee, Dr. Debangshu Chakraborty and many of his well-wishers, friends, relatives and students are carrying forward his legacy. Works: SKC’s mission had been to bring in India’s indigenous concepts into the professional Indian Management, both in theory and in practice, and while doing so, he developed a body of literature which has been regarded as India’s contribution to the contemporary world thought in this area.

The mission had accomplished 41 books, brought out by renowned publishers,28 of them are based on Values, Ethics and Leadership; innumerable articles, monographs, etc.;

He initiated three journals viz. Decision at IIMC(Kolkata), Journal of Human Values at IIMC(Kolkata), Shraddha (Sri Aurobindo Society, Pondicherry), Shraddhanjali (R N Tagore Centre for Human Values), Established two institutions viz. MANAGEMENT CENTRE FOR HUMAN VALUES,IIMC(KOLKATA), RABINDRANATH TAGORE CENTRE FOR HUMAN VALUES, KOLKATA

Imparted hundreds of EDPS and MDPs-- Thousands of participants from various professions have gone through these programs conducted by Prof. Chakraborty across India and abroad. They were all on values, ethics, leadership and stress management and essentially based on Indian ethos.

SKC was invited by many universities and institutions in the UK, US, Australia etc. to conduct programs and deliver lectures on topics related to Indian Ethos in Professional Management.

Many inspired students in India and abroad, thousands of well-informed corporate executives and professionals who have gone through his Management Development Programs (the achievement need not be judged by the quantity, rather it should be felt at the level of profound but silent transformation that his endeavor has brought in the lives of many)

The intellectual giants world over have acknowledged his ‘endeavor with inspired zeal to establish and promote an Indian Model of Management built on the indigenous knowledge of India. The seminal contribution of S K Chakraborty has been in anchoring a solid spiritual foundation to human values and leadership using insights from Indian ethos and its modern proponents like Rabindranath Tagore, Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandhi and Sri Aurobindo’. References: 1. Sarkar, Bidyut K; ‘Beyond the Autumn Clouds-A Tribute to Prof. S K Chakraborty’(2019),Professor Shitangshu Kumar Chakraborty Memorial Trust 2. www.iimcal.ac.in, retrieved on 27.01.2020 3. www.isol.asia/prof-s-k-chakraborty, retrieved on 27.01.2020 4. Beyond the Autumn Clouds 5. Zsolnai, Laszlo . ‘In Memoriam S K Chakraborty’, www.laszlo-zsolnai.net/ethical blog- Sept.15,2018; retrieved on 27.01.2020 6. Beyond the Autumn Clouds 7. 23rd October,1996,Outlook Magazine, www.outlookindia.com;reterived on 27.01.2020 8. Chakraborty, S K; Managerial Effectiveness and Quality of Work Life: Indian Insights, New Delhi, Tata McGraw Hill, (1987), p.xii 9. Chakraborty, S K & Chakraborty, D; Spirituality in Management: Means or End ?,New Delhi, Oxford University Press (2008),p.101 10. Chakraborty, S K & Chakraborty, D; Spirituality in Management: Means or End ?,New Delhi, Oxford University Press (2008),p.200ff 11. Chakraborty, S K; Against the Tide: The Philosophical Foundations of Modern Management, New Delhi, Oxford University Press (2003),p.127 12. www.iimb.ac.in/27-July-2018,Vol-14, Article Number- 4, retrieved on 27.01.2020 13. Beyond the Autumn Clouds 14. Zsolnai, Laszlo . ‘In Memoriam S K Chakraborty’, www.laszlo-zsolnai.net/ethical blog- Sept.15,2018; retrieved on 27.01.2020 15. Beyond the Autumn Clouds 16. Beyond the Autumn Clouds 17. Mukherjee, Sanjoy & Zsolnai, László (Editors), Global Perspectives on Indian Spirituality and Management: The Legacy of S. K. Chakraborty, Springer International, Singapore (2022),


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