IIM Bangalore Prof B Mahadevan co-authors book on ‘Indian Knowledge Systems’; Read his Interview with MBAUniverse.com

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Updated on May 13, 2022
AICTE has introduced a new course on ‘Indian Knowledge System’ or IKS in higher educational institutions. NEP 2020 also lays emphasis on IKS. So far, no text book was available for this course. A book by IIM Bangalore Prof B Mahadevan, and his co-authors, has been published by PHI Learning to fill this gap. MBAUniverse.com reviewed the book, interviewed Prof B Mahadevan and now presents the salient highlights from the book.
IIMB Prof B Mahadevan co-authors book on IKS

India has a long history of more than five millennia of existence. Despite the numerous foreign invasions, the rich knowledge and practices have passed on from generation to generation, albeit orally. During the British rule, this knowledge was shunned and Macaulian education system was propagated. Even post Independence, little has been done to reintroduce Indian knowledge in the formal educational curriculum. Of late, policymakers have taken cognizance of this lost heritage and have taken steps to revive the treasure. A new course ‘Indian Knowledge System’ or IKS has been introduced by AICTE in higher educational institutions and National Education Policy 2020 too has emphasized the importance of IKS. Unfortunately, there was no Textbook to teach this course. A new book by IIM Bangalore Prof B Mahadevan, and his co-authors, is set to fill the gap. MBAUniverse.com reviewed the book, interviewed Prof B Mahadevan and now presents the salient highlights of the book.

Let’s start with the Book title, the Author and the Publisher.

The Book is Titled ‘Indian Knowledge System Concepts and Applications’ and is published by PHI Learning. Apart from B. Mahadevan, Professor, Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, the book is co-authored by Vinayak Rajat Bhat, Associate Professor, Center for Indian Knowledge System Chanakya University, Bengaluru and Nagendra Pavana R.N., Assistant Professor, School of Vedic Knowledge Systems, Chinmaya Vishwa Vidyapeeth, Ernakulam. In the Foreword, AICTE Chairman Anil Sahasrabudhe says, “AICTE, while revising the curricula in 2018, introduced a mandatory non-credit course on Indian Knowledge Systems (IKS), Unfortunately there was no text book on IKS. This book is a timely and valuable contribution to the education system in the country and I am happy to note that this book has been written to address the requirements of this course.”

Coverage Areas of the Book
The book is divided into four parts. It first develops an overall understanding of some key components of IKS. Then, it offers application of IKS in Science, Engineering, Technology and even Humanities and Social Sciences Applications. The book presents these aspects in four parts:

  • Part I: Indian Knowledge System: An Introduction
  • Part II: Foundational Concepts relevant for Science, Engineering, and Technology Applications
  • Part III: Specific Concepts related to Science, Engineering, and Technology
  • Part IV: Humanities and Social Sciences Applications

Book features extensive application of IKS in areas like Mathematics, Astronomy, Metals and Metalworking, Town Planning and Architecture, Health, Wellness and psychology, Governance and Public Administration.

The book follows international best practices by incorporating several pedagogical features that will make learning effective and enjoyable. Every chapter has an end-of-the-chapter feature that points to useful videos on some of the concepts discussed in the chapter. The beginning of every chapter has an opening vignette, which helps develop a clear set of expectations with respect to the topics discussed in the chapter. Material for the textbook has been drawn from several original sources and research papers. To establish authenticity and enable the students and the teachers to access the original sources of information, these have been listed at the end of every chapter. A list of additional readings has been provided at the end of every chapter to help the students pursue further studies in the topics covered in the chapter.

MBAUniverse.com Interview with Author Prof B. Mahadevan
Recognizing the importance of this book, MBAUniverse.com interviewed the author Prof B. Mahadevan, who us the Professor of Operations Management at the IIM Bangalore, where he has been teaching since 1992. Professor Mahadevan has more than 27 years of wide-ranging experience in teaching, research, consulting, and academic administration at IIM Bangalore, IIT Delhi, XLRI Jamshedpur and other institutes. He was earlier Chief Editor of the IIMB Management Review. Edited excerpts from the Interview follow:

Q: What encouraged you to author this book?
A: Ironically in India, there is no formal course to teach the Indian Knowledge System. Part of the reason is also that there is no textbook. AICTE recently introduced a course on IKS to be taught in all AICTE institutions but with no textbook. The New Education Policy NEP 2020 has also laid a great emphasis on IKS. My own personal teaching and research interests also have several topics in IKS. All these culminated in our writing a textbook on IKS.

Q: As you say in your introduction, this book has been written primarily for Engineering students, how can IKS themes be developed for Management Education?
A: Although the trigger for writing the book was the need for such a book for Engineering institutions, by the time we finished the book, we realized that the book is eminently suitable for introducing IKS in management education also. The book will bring out the multi-faceted nature of IKS and inspire the students. The last part of the book has specific issues pertaining to administration, health, and wellness that are important topics in management education today.

Q: Can you share how ‘Management’ was defined and done in past? What are the lessons for companies and leaders?
A: Management is as old as rocks and rivers. As long as we have people and institutions and multiple issues to handle management comes into play. Therefore, we find enough indications and specific examples of how Management aspects were put to use in olden times. Let me quote a specific example. I have been offering a three-credit course on Management Paradigms from Bhagavad Gita in IIM Bangalore for more than 7 years, which brings out salient aspects of work, leadership, stress management, authenticity, sustainability, and other issues that are of great relevance to management. For the last three years, I am also offering a 4-day executive education program for Top Management along with another colleague titled “Inspirational Leadership: Insights from the East and the West” where we discuss these ideas in some detail.

Q: Finally, how can Indian management education benefit from this book?
A: First of all, good management begins with individuals who have enormous self-belief, inspiration, and authenticity. This book will significantly improve all these aspects as students will get to know the greatness of the path that our society has walked through. Today we are in complete darkness about our own achievements and contributions to the world order.

Secondly, there are specific concepts that provide fresh insights and possibilities to explore for the budding managers. For example, the chapter on public administration brings several ideas that have a bearing on managing large corporations. Similarly, the chapter on Health Wellness and Psychology will introduce the basic framework of health and Indian psychology that can go a long way in managing stress, and thinking clearly about work-life balance, etc.

Indeed, this book by Prof Mahadevan and his co-authors is a noble attempt to bring awareness on the rich Indian Knowledge System, that has been passed orally from generation to generation. The book should be adopted by management schools for orienting their students in our rich traditions. Perhaps future editions can put more emphasis on management education by covering management thinking and lessons from ancient texts like Bhagwat Gita, Chanakya’s Arthashastra and many other works.

Stay tuned to MBAUniverse.com for more updates on Management Education.

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