Chairman Emeritus Reconnect 13 – Gandhian Engineering & Business

My dear young friends,

Once an important visitor arrived at Mahatma Gandhi’s Ashram. By the time he reached Gandhi’s Kutir, his feet were full of mud. On Mahatma’s suggestion, one of his followers offered a bucket of water with a mug for the visitor to cleanse his feet. The gentleman did so but consuming the entire bucket of water. Gandhi was distressed. He said the guest had no right to waste water like this; he could have cleaned his feet by using just a mug of water, leaving the rest to be used by more people. What he meant was “More (performance) from Less (resource) for More (people). M-L-M is receiving attention now. A paper on the related subject written by C. K. Prahalad and R. A. Mashelkar received the highest HBR rating for the year 2010. The World Economic Forum had a full session on MLM on 16-Nov-2010.

MLM-The exponent of Gandhian Engineering & Gandhian Business

Gandhi said “I would prize every invention of science made for the benefit of all” Benefit of all encompassing “affordability” was Gandhian solution, Gandhian engineering and Gandhian business. Let us see how does it make business sense? If we talk of 4 billion people who earn less than Rs 100 a day, more efficacy from less resource has to reach its limits. For instance, lowering down the cost of a hepatitis-B vaccine per dose @ Rs 25, an artificial foot @ Rs 1500 and a high quality cataract eye surgery @ Rs 1500 have all been made possible in India. MLM products and services are emerging as the biggest business opportunity of the coming decade. According to a recent ADB report, the fastest growing consumer class in the emerging markets of Asia consists of people spending Rs 100 to Rs 200 a day.

Indian Examples of Gandhian Engineering

  1. Nano Refrigerator (Chhotukool) for electricity starved rural India by Godrej
  2. Chakra Generator (10 minutes of pedaling giving 10 Hours of light) for rural huts by Ashish Gawade
  3. Pedal driven rural washing Machine by Remya

Gandhian “Energy Engineering

Gandhi said:

  1. There is enough in nature for every one’s need but not enough for everyone’s greed.
  2. What India needs is not mass production but production by masses.
  3. India lives in her villages.

Translated today in modern terminology, what Mahatma was saying………..

  1. Contain your greed and do not exploit nature unwisely, recklessly, or else it will retaliate in the form of climate change-flood and famine, global warming, acid rains and so on.
  2. Let the masses be involved in production in a decentralized manner so that the people are productively employed and the carrying capacity of a modular eco-system does not rupture out with large scale development interventions.
  3. Do not ignore the energy needs of the rural millions.

That is where “Renewables” and “Distributed Generation” precisely fit in !!

Gandhian Business in Corporate Sector

The Indian ethos propelled by Mahatma Gandhi’s model of Invention/ Innovation prompted Indian Businesses to work on giving “Value for Money” as well as “Value for Many”. A few shining examples are:

  1. Dhirubhai Ambani said “I will make an SDT call cheaper than a post card one day” And it was achieved. (Business Process Innovation)
  2. Ratan Tata said “A car at a price of Rs One Lakh” And it was achieved with more than 60 patents. (Technology Innovation)
  3. G. Venkataswamy said “A cataract surgery should be possible at 1/100th of its cost in USA” And it was achieved. (Work Flow Innovation)

According to Einstein- Generations to come, will scarce believe that such a one as this, ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth; Gandhi was the greatest Indian gift of 20th  century to the world. His thoughts, if implemented and engineered properly, can be the most relevant gift to the world, where 800 million people sleep every day without a meal and where carbon footprints are being traded without any guilt, in the 21st century.

Gandhian Engineering is all about getting more from less for more “people”, not just for more profit, needing innovations in Technology, Business Process Re-engineering and Work Flow novelties, anchored on the solid foundations of “affordability and sustainability”, says Mashelkar.

It will create a more equitable society with a sustainable future for the mankind.

Satyamev Jayate !!!

Best wishes and Regards,

Dr. B.S.K.Naidu

M.Tech., Ph.D., CBI Scholar, D.Engg.(Calif), FNAE
Hon.D.WRE (ranked amongst 30-most eminent scientists in the world)
Chairman Emeritus, Great Lakes, Gurgaon, NCR, New Delhi, INDIA
Former Director General (NPTI & CPRI / REL), Ex-Director (REC)/ Executive Director (IREDA)

No job is small or big, the way in which you do, makes it small or big (c)