Gandhi Revisited in Leadership Course for IIMK MBAs in the Silver Jubilee Year

Kozhikode: The inaugural batch of the Post Graduate Programme in Liberal Studies and Management (PGP-LSM) were deeply engaged in a workshop on ‘Gandhian Leadership’ which culminated in the month of May, here at IIMK. This is a compulsory course for the MBA LSM programme. The virtual workshop was conducted with an aim to provide insights and unravel the core values of Gandhian thought and was led by Prof Debashis Chatterjee, Director of IIM Kozhikode who conceptualised the course and taught seminar courses on Gandhian leadership at Harvard’s Kennedy School. He invited eminent exponents of Gandhian thought in India to co-teach this course with him.

This workshop provided a glimpse into the Gandhian thought beginning with its evolution, reflections on its contemporary significance, and finally culminating into discussions on how best to incorporate the learnings into leadership style and management.

Prof. Chatterjee aptly summarized the three key learnings from Gandhi’s life that are essential for aspiring managers: authenticity, productivity, and connectivity. By staying true to ourselves, instilling productivity in our body and minds, and investing time in building strong, relatable connections one can strive to not just attain success, but also to live a life worth living. He further elaborated how Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi taught the world to channelize the power of emotions for a just cause and how lessons on conflict resolution can be derived by switching from autonomy to agency. A historic case in point, on how to be a good leader one needs to be very skilful to construct bridges of empathy with people.

Among the distinguished guest faculty was Prof. Gita Dharampal, Research Dean, Gandhi Research Foundation, Jalgaon, Maharashtra, and daughter of renowned Gandhian thinker Shri Dharampal, who led a session on nonviolent resistance and its relevance in contemporary times. The other revered instructors were John Chelladurai, Director at Institute for Core Studies on Conflict and Peace, and Padma Shri recipient Prof. Anil Kumar Gupta who is best known for his efforts in grassroots innovation and curation.

The students from PGP-LSM who have ‘My Experiments with Truth’ as an essential reading also got to experience and learn about elements of Gandhi’s leadership model that have become more relevant today in an uncertain and challenging world.