“At TISS, we build people not structures,” says Prof Armaity Desai, the Iron-lady of the institute
The former director strongly feels that the values system practiced by the Tata group should not be forgotten by TISSians<... More
“At TISS, we build people not structures,” says Prof Armaity Desai, the Iron-lady of the institute
The former director strongly feels that the values system practiced by the Tata group should not be forgotten by TISSians
When we met Prof Armaity Desai, she was waiting for us in her cosy bedroom filled with a large number of books, and select pictures of her brother and parents, that adorned the space which gave away a sense of warmth and wellbeing.
Prof Armaity Desai has aged with grace, she looks elegant, poised with confidence and is beaming with energy. Even at 84 years of age, she is appears charismatic, who can bring immense value in any venture she takes up.
Prof Armaity Desai was so quick in answering all our questions, and her responses were loaded with wisdom, which reflected values nurtured carefully over the years.
What strikes the most while one interacts with Prof Armaity Desai is that she has excellent memory. She could not just remember the names of her faculty, colleagues and students, but in some cases she went on to describe how some of them looked like in those days. She described a gentleman, with whom she had worked with in 1980s and went on to describe from which institute he had completed his studies.
Prof Armaity Desai had so many incidents, events to share with us, specially her interactions with the two legends, Mr JRD Tata and Mr B G Deshmukh.
During the meeting, Prof Nasreen Rustomfram requested Prof Armaity Desai to share her views on why did she shut down a programme for Construction Managers during her tenure as TISS Director?
Prof Armaity Desai immediately answered, “at TISS, we build people and not structures, we work on issues concerning them, rather than concentrating on bricks and walls, we help people grow.”
Prof Armaity Desai narrated an experience of a TISSian who, in spite of several reminders to repay educational loan borrowed by him and his financial ability, had been refusing to pay. The reason cited by him was TISS had lot of funds. It was then Prof Armaity Desai wrote a strong letter to him, warning that if the amount is not repaid back to the institute, his degree would be revoked. The result was quite obvious he returned the loan amount.
Prof Armaity Desai has an amazing capacity to understand people's skills, nurture it, encourage and groom them in their area of interest. “I would give projects to faculty according to their interests. I wanted them to grow and specialise in a particular field, become a well known expert at national and international level,” said Prof Armaity Desai.
With her kindness, politeness and humbleness, Prof Armaity Desai puts you at ease. Nothing in her behaviour makes you feel that she was once the Director of India’s premiere educational institute (TISS) and the Chairperson of University Grant Commission (UGC).
During our meeting Prof Armaity Desai made us have several servings of the delicacies, saying the plate which the snacks were served is so small, and the quantity is just not enough. 'You should eat more since you have travelled from so far,’ she stated firmly, directing us towards the dining table which had a variety of colourful food items displayed on it.
By the end of the meeting we were spellbound. As we bid good bye to her, we felt so full, as the doyen of TISS has shared details of her odyssey which brought the golden era of the institute alive in front of us. With a sense of responsibility we climbed down the stairs of her building, deciding within self that the pearls of wisdom which we received from her had to be shared with all of you.
Sharing some details of Prof Armaity Desai
Prof Armaity Desai is an eminent alums of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), who graduated in 1956, specialising in Family and Child Welfare. Prof Armaity Desai did her doctoral studies in the United States and returned in 1969.
Prof Armaity Desai, is known as a leader in Indian social work education, she was the principal of the Nirmala Niketan College of Social Work, Director of TISS. Prof Armaity Desai became the Chairperson of the University Grants Commission in 1995.
Prof Armaity Desai was awarded the Katherine Kendall Award of the International Association of Schools of Social Work in 1992, for her contribution to international social work education. During her tenure at TISS, Prof Armaity Desai set up the Rural Campus at Tuljapur. She played a key role in rethinking the social work curricula, making the profession more community and rural oriented.
Prof Armaity Desai parents were a part of the Indian freedom movement. Her mother volunteered as a social worker, and her father worked for The Parsi Punchayat Funds & Properties. Her aunt was also an alumni of TISS.
Prof. Madhav Sadashiv Gore (1921-2010), an eminent TISS alum (1945), served as Director, TISS (1962-1982). This page is dedicated to Prof Gore, who played a crucial role in developing TISS into a world-class institution.
Prof M S Gore: First among the teachers
By Dr. Balakuntalam S. Sridhar
Of the scores of academics that I have interacted with, and have been beholden to, over the past seven decades, few match the stature, and accomplishments of Professor Madhav Sadashiv Gore. It is a distinct honor to have been invited to share my memories and thoughts about a man I so admire,
Dr. Gore was a quintessential scholar. It is not surprising that he excelled throughout his academic career, a path that meandered through hallowed portals of Tata Institute of Social Sciences, University of Mumbai, and finally culminating in Columbia University.
As a teacher, he shared his wisdom, unreservedly with thousands of students like me. His knowledge flowed freely in the classroom, and in publications. His lectures marked by simple, precise vocabulary, and his cadence never failed to capture the beauty of the English language. He was open minded, encouraged inquiry, debate, and was ever so gracious in dealing with dissent. As a life-long learner, and a researcher, he served as a role model to scholars everywhere.
In 1962, he returned to his alma mater to assume leadership. Through his compelling vision, Dr. Gore transformed, TISS into a world-renowned institution. Over two decades, Dr. Gore had laid the foundation for the field for social work education, and research in India. Thereafter, he led with much grace and determination, such prestigious institutions as the University of Mumbai, and Jawaharlal Nehru University.
Always understated in his demeanor, Dr. Gore was firmly rooted in highest ethical values, and his personal integrity and probity were above reproach. His principled, unwavering stand against a corrupt politician brought down a government in Maharashtra- a very rare outcome considering the sad state of politics-ridden academia.
At a personal level, as a student, and later as President of Alumni Association, I had many opportunities to interact with Dr. Gore. Long conversations with his daughter Anita, and his niece Vidya, and with my wife Sandhya (who grew up on the campus, knowing him as Gore Kaka), painted Dr. Gore as a very gentle, and caring person.
This image was further cemented by then Ambassador Narayanan (later President of India) whom I escorted for two precious days during his visit to the Ohio State University. Interestingly, Gores and Narayanans had played mutual hosts over extended periods of time, during their days in New York and New Delhi! For a man who was soft spoken and very low key, Ambassador Narayanan was expansive in his praise for the generosity and graciousness of the Gore couple.
Yet, I came away with a feeling that he was somewhat distant! Disappointed for sure, but never ever did I feel that it was his conceit or the weight of his eminence that distanced him. On the contrary, Dr. Gore was somewhat shy, and was easily embarrassed by anyone fawning over him. I distinctly recall running in to him at the Santa Cruz airport, on the day he was declared a recipient of Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian honor in India. My effusive congratulations were returned with a gentle smile, and a remark: “We both know what these awards mean, don’t we Sridhar!”
To me, Dr. Gore will remain the Vashistha, the fabled unflappable stithaprajna, a giant of a scholar, and seer of the yore. Dr. Gore lived a life marked by mindfulness: sensitive to what ailed the society, empathetic toward those who suffer, and mindful of his own responsibility, and that of scholars and citizens, to improve the human condition. I am grateful that I was in part shaped by him. Nevertheless, I would have liked to be much closer, and learn much more from a wise man of that caliber. Tasmai shree gurave namaha!
(Dr. Balakuntalam S. Sridhar is 1972 alumni (PMIR), currently serves as the Director, Viessmann-UWO Leadership Development Program Management Professor (Emeritus), College of Business University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh. To read more on Dr Sridhar click on the link http://chitrasawant.blogspot.com/2019/01/pursue-phd-only-if-you-are-passionate_15.html)
A Tribute to Prof. M.S. Gore
By Prof C.A.K. Yesudian
I had the privilege to be Prof. Gore’s doctoral student as well as a faculty member of TISS under his leadership. In my pre-doctoral work, he emphasized on the sound theoretical foundation before I started the thesis work. He would go through every word of the pre-doctoral paper and write his comments on the side of the manuscript. When I got an appointment to meeting with the corrected paper, I was always very nervous about the inadequacies of my paper. But he would put you in the right perspective and you would come out of his cabin with a clear mind to complete the paper.
His breadth and depth of knowledge in sociology was unfathomable but he was always humble to accept his limitations. I was writing a paper on Karl Marx Concept on Social Change. He could have guided me very well in that paper. But he told me that he was not an expert on Marx and he asked me to go to Prof. A.R. Desai of Bombay University for guidance.
He was a fine human being and had great concern for others but he never explicitly expressed that concern. When I was completing my thesis, I was anxious about my employment. Whenever I see vacancies in other institutions, I asked him whether I could apply for the post. He would sternly say “first complete your PhD.” I wondered what would happen to me the day I submit my thesis. But the day I submitted my thesis, he appointed me as a Research Officer in a project. By the time I defended my thesis successfully, a post of lecturer became vacant in the Unit for Urban Studies and I was selected as a faculty member of TISS.
As a faculty member under his leadership, I could see his academic vision for TISS and his tremendous capacity to not only lead this premier institution for 20 years but also put it on a strong academic pedestal to grow and develop into a multi-campus mega institution of what we see today.
(Dr C.A.K. Yesudian is working in the field of health policy and systems research and training for the last 40 years. He was a faculty member of TISS for 36 years and retired as Senior Professor in March 2015.)
We have received some heartfelt responses from senior alums who have been Prof Gore's students and have observed him closely, sharing a few with the readers.
It is so nostalgic to read the posts of my senior colleagues . Dr Gore was undoubtedly the highest epitome of integrity and transparency. Unwavering principles yet sensitive and caring. Thank you Sir. Grateful to you in eternity.
---- Dr. Narayan Hariharan, Ph.D,
Advisor HR & Corporate Relations
Privileged to have been taught by him. Gentle, soft, intellectual, who influenced so many of us.
--- V J Rao
Leadership Coach and Executive Director, Totus HR School
I humble erudite and s wonderful Teacher and human being . An Academic Leader par excellence . My respects to him He will always remain in our hearts . Privileged to have been interviewed ,selected and then taught by him
--- Virendra Shukla
HR Professional 35 yrs top mgt exp, Prof Exe devpmnt - Accreditated Mgt Schools incl IMT Ghaziabad ,TISS Mumbai
I learned what is true leadership by observing the way Dr Gore effortlessly managed situations, of course from a distance.He was acceptable to people from all walks of life. When after joining a bank I went to him , he asked how I am using the research knowledge and directed me to nibm.He had genuine concern for academic development.
--- B. K. Bagchi
Banking advisor (independent); Corporate Advisor at DSAT Techno economic Solutions
Prof. S. Parasuraman has over 25 years of experience as a teacher, trainer, activist, administrator and development worker. Prof. Parasuraman enjoys working in challenging social, political and physical environments. He has always liked to be part of a larger team and has the rare ability to work in a multi-cultural and multi-disciplinary team.
His specific skills lie in:
Prof Parasuraman has held the following positions during his career:
Prof. Parasuraman has over 50 publications in the form of articles in international and national journals, books and research reports. He was awarded the Bharat Shreshta Acharya Award 2012 by MIT, Pune.