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Leadership, Vision, Mission and Reality

A report submitted to
Academic Associate:

In partial fulfilment of the course requirements of


Group B3
Abhirup Das
Adarsh Gautam
Nikhil Kumar
Saurabh Kanojia

4th July, 2016


One should practice what one considers to be ones duty, guided by reasons, instead of
blindly following the practices of the world Mahabharata
An enormous book with extreme complexity involving more than one generation of the
closely knit saga, the Mahabharata tries to explore one over-arching theme predominantly: To
adhere to ones sacred duty called dharma. Ignoring or obeying thematic issues in the work
relate to the question of dharma. The characters which satisfy the dictates of dharma
eventually reap its benefits, while those who consciously refuse to obey their dharma have to
face the dire consequences.
Summary of the Reading: Yuganta The end of an Epoch
In Yuganta Irawati Karve does not re-tell the story of the Mahabharata. Instead, keeping it
as a base, she digs into the human aspect of the epic. She divides the various characters and
keeping their very obvious strengths in mind, turns the focus on their weaknesses. Her
approach is scientific, impersonal and anthropological. If we try to look Mahabharata through
her eyes, we can see that the Mahabharata is an extraordinary mirror. It attempts to reflect the
different aspects of our personalities and different situations in which we portray them. She
has fragmented the whole story in parts and has positioned each character in a context while
narrating a brief part of the story. The narration precedes the characters she refers to in the
Paradharmo Bhayavahah
Taking over anothers Dharma is dangerous Bhagavad Gita
In this chapter, Irawati Karve has examined the part of the Brahmins in the Mahabharata.
Drona and Ashvatthama are the two of the major characters. She describes in great depth
about Drona; who despite great learnings, fails to make a great impact. Ashvatthama didnt
do any justice to his learnings and teachings and failed completely only to receive a curse
with eternal torture. The interesting point is that the caste system had not evolved too much
In the whole Mahabharata Saga, Karna is the most enigmatic and tragic character. He was
cast away at the time of birth by Kunti. His entire life he was struggling to find the answer to
one question Who am I? He never really comes to a grip with his identity. This confusion
led him to commit blunder after blunder. The author analyses each of his actions in great
depth. Be it his rude behavior at the disrobing of Draupadi, the cruelty displayed in the killing
of Abhimanyu, the characteristic generosity in his nature or the nobility to stick by
Duryodhans side even after knowing the truth.

Irawati Karve tackles with the complexity of Krishna the man and Krishna the Godhead.
After much research and analysis, she concludes that the idolizing of Krishna as a god only
happened after the Mahabharata. Irawati suggests the tales of his bad childhood and the
relationship with Gopis to be a later addition to the saga. During the whole Mahabharata
Saga, he was very much human. He is seen more as a close friend and contemporary of
Arjuna. Krishna was intelligent, visionary and brave, but no God, says the author. Instead of
putting the text blatantly in front of the audience, she does research to bring out points and to
back them with facts proving Krishan was Human. Later, some versions have parts inserted
to reinforce his Godly status.
She also mentions Krishnas considerable efforts on behalf of his family, the Yadavas, his
friends Pandavas, along with the whole Kshatriya clan. However, he had a personal ambition
of being a Vasudeva as well. Vasudeva was a position approaching ultimate divinity during
those times. Indeed, he was an extraordinary man, and plays a pivotal role in the whole plot,
but also had a great personal ambition that was to be called Vasudeva and certainly was not a
Even though Krishna emerges as a great leader, the most important lesson is derived from the
characters of Karna and Ashvatthama the aspect of holding back our thoughts. If one is
obsessed with the idea of revenge, anger, and hatred, it would be next to impossible to
achieve the purpose of life. As individuals, one need to be clearer in the understanding of
oneself and surrounding situations. One should not complain about the situation one is in, but
rather should accept the reality and try to improve. The way out of the inconsequentialities,
which traps our potential energy is to appreciate the bigger picture and reduce internal
conflict. The motive is to understand the bigger picture which includes the benefits of all the
parties included. If a person can achieve that, there is no reason for any conflict or energy
being tied up. We rise from the trivialities and grow to be a much better human being.
Lessons from Krishna as leader:
Krishna has always been ethical and straightforward to both the Kauravas and the Pandavas.
When Duryodhana and Arjuna visited him for help, instead of favouring Arjuna being the
husband of his half-sister, he chooses to give them both equal opportunity. Secondly, when
Krishna asks Arjuna to make a choice between himself and his entire army he put ethics
above relationship. Being a leader it is very crucial to be fair and ethical and never take sides
based on emotions.

From the start itself, Krishna knew that the Pandavas have a minuscule chance of winning
against warriors like Duryodhana, Karna, and Bhishma. He was also aware of the nature of
the Kauravas who can reach to the extent of unethical means for winning. Hence being a
strategist, he chooses not to break any rule, but altered the semantics of the rules so that the
Pandavas can benefit. For example, knowing that Bhishma would never attack a eunuch,
Krishna asked Shikhandi to stand in front of Arjuna while Arjuna was shooting his arrow.
Being a good leader it is critical to abide by the rules, but at the same time, he should be
smart enough to turn the situation in companys favour by utilizing the loopholes in the
We all know that for the sake of upliftment of Dharma, Krishna would never dither from
taking any step. During Mahabharata, Arjuna was worried that he would be fighting against
his family members, and then Krishna not only motivates him to fight the battle but also leads
the entire army of the Pandavas and guides them to victory. Being a leader, one should always
motivate and guide his team to success, in spite of facing difficult situations.
Krishna was the one who defeated his uncle Kansa but instead of crowning himself as the
king he crowned his elder brother Balarama. Same was the case with his other conquests. Be
it the conquering of the Khandwa forest, which he helped conquer but didn't acquire to rule,
or winning of the Mahabharata war itself, for which he did not demand in return. It was
because of this compassion that he emerged as a true friend as well and shares a pure form of
friendship with Arjuna. In the end, it was this friendship that was instrumental in the
Pandavas winning the war. Narrating on the same lines, every leader should be attentive to
each and every member of his team and treat everyone equally. Organizational culture should
ensure that everyone feels equally appreciated and comfortable and share a sense of harmony
with their fellow mates.
At the same time, he had the understanding of who all are worthy of his compassions and will
benefit from it. For e.g., in the case of rulers like Jarasandha who declared war against him
only with the evil intent of revenge.
Questions raised in class:

Post our presentation; we raised several issues based on our understanding of the characters
and their personality traits. The class actively participated in the discussion, and several
valuable insights were gained post the class. We will be summarizing the debate here:

1. Can a leader be the fruit of a dual upbringing? How important are your origins in
building you value system?
This question is about the life and upbringing of Karna who was a born Kshatriya but was a
Suta by upbringing. Karna always wanted to be a true Kshatriya, but the values instilled in
him were of a Suta. Though he learned how to fight like a Kshatriya, he never learned their
core values. This dual identity that he carried throughout his life resulted in an internal
conflict for Karna as he always wanted the respect received by a Kshatriya but never realized
that values formed the core of being a Kshatriya. The class agreed to the idea that the origins
and upbringing do have a high reflection in building your value system. Hence we can safely
conclude that the value system that you imbibe in your lives is a function of time and place. It
is this value system that goes on to define you in not only your Dharma but also your field of
2. Is it possible to adopt a value system which is alien to you? Are Skills value free? Who
can teach values?
Dronacharya was one of the best-known teachers of battle and weapon skills. He was also a
guru to both the Kauravas and the Pandavas and made them master of the skills. One
important question raised in the class was about the values related to these skills. One can
learn skills and all but what makes one different from the others is the way and the instance at
which these skills are put to use.
It is here that the concept of values comes becomes even more important. While Arjuna had
high values which restricted him from using the attained skills on his close ones, the
Kauravas had no such inhibitions. The class also agreed to the idea that values determine how
one puts to use his acquired skills, and these values get embedded in oneself from the very
beginning. The values one imbibes from his/her family system, and one learns it best at home
and while one is growing up.
3. Can a leader be effective without resolving his internal conflict?
Karna was the strongest example of a leader who succumbed to his internal conflict. He was
an exceptional warrior, donated whatever he had to a great extent (hence the name Daanveer
Karna), incorruptible by nature and loyal to the side he supported. However, he failed to
realize that as a leader he cannot allow his personal issues (to be accepted as a Kshatriya, to
be given equal stature as that of Arjun, etc.) to overshadow his role in the Mahabharata war.

It is here that we see the difference between Arjun and Karna and the importance of having a
friend and teacher like Krishna. While Arjun too faced a similar conflict of not having the
courage to strike his relatives, it was Krishna who guided him and enlightened with the
difference between right and wrong. Karna had no one to do so and was also not ready to
learn even when he knew that the Kauravas depended a lot on him.