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The BizLitfest – That Set Alight Pune!

India witnesses a wide-range of Literary Festivals around the year in Mumbai, Delhi, Jaipur, Goa, Kerala you name it, but it undeniably is fair to say that ‘India Business Literature Festival' was one of its kind that set alight the city of Pune!!

The month of October which is more known for its October fest got to see a Biz Liz in Pune, viz. India Business Literature Festival (IBLF) on the 13 of October in the campus of College of Engineering, Pune

India witnesses a wide-range of Literary Festivals around the year in Mumbai, Delhi, Jaipur, Goa, Kerala you name it, but it undeniably is fair to say that ‘India Business Literature Festival' was one of its kind that set alight the city of Pune!! For never has it been ever- that – a Literary Festival fixated on having a gallery full of ONLY Business Authors – for us that was really attention-grabbing.

IBLF believes that, literature is not just about writing books on - Fiction & Non Fiction, Motivation, Management & Education, Auto-biography– Food & Health – or even Spiritual & Religion - writing about business is also a key fragment of Literature – this was absent in most of the Literature festivals around the world and thus IBLF was born.

It was remarkable of IBLF to ensemble such an outstanding list of Indian business authors as speakers starting with Padma Vibhushan Dr. R A Mashelkar, National Research Professor & President, and Global Research Alliance followed by Business Authors cluster wise Dr. Radhakrishnan Pillai (Dy. Director, Chanakya International Institute of Leadership Studies), Dr. Annurag Batra (Chairman & Editor –in-Chief BW Businessworld Group), Dr. Narsing Rao (Director, ICFAI Business School (IBS), Pune), Mr. Harsh Pamnani (Author), Mr. Ambi Parameswaran (Founder, Brand- Building.com), Mr. Arun Maira (Chairman HelpAge International), Mr. Debashis Chatterjee (Director IIM Kozhikode), Mr. Ajit Rangnekar (Founder General, Research and Innovation Circle of Hyderabad (RICH) Govt of Telangana Initiative), Mr. Sameer Dua (Founder, Institute for Generative Leadership, India and Bestselling Author), Dr. Gita Piramal (Bestselling Author), Ms. Sonu Bhasin (Business Author and Founder Families and Business), Mr. Vivek Kaul (Bestselling Author), Dr. Anil Lamba (Director Lamcon and Bestselling Author), Mr.Ninad Karpe (Strategy Consultant), Mr. Prakash Iyer (Bestselling Author Consultant )and Dr. Deepak Shikarpur (Member, National Board Of Information Technology . All of them, speaking from their personal experiences and inspiration that made them write Business Books! 

Three folks – Mr. Sameer Dua, Mrs. Aruna Katara, and Dr. Annurag Batra – made this happen!

All three have marvellous background of academics and business – and have been successfully running their own businesses apart from sharing the passion for BOOKS & AUTHORSHIP – just to familiarize- Sameer Dua is a Business Strategy Consultant, Founder of the Institute for Generative Leadership and Gift Your Organ Foundation, a TEDx Speaker who has authored his bestselling book named BECOME – that talks about the 5 Critical Conversational Practices that Shift ‘Who You Be’ as a Leader. Aruna Katara has been an educationalist herself, currently, President of Hope Foundation, a charitable Trust that works in the field of higher education, medical assistance, and research & development also a President; I²IT an Engineering College based out of Pune, Aruna is a part of the prestigious Finolex Family. And, last but not the least Annurag Batra, his name is not very difficult to gather in the media industry – mostly known as Media Mogul, an impactful keynote speaker with his amazing humour timing, an angel investor, mentor to countless start-ups - a first generation entrepreneur successfully running his two ventures as Chairman and Editor- in -Chief - exchange4media and BW Businessworld – India’s leading Business Magazine. He is someone who believes in working passionately - 8 days a week and yes that’s what his book is titled ‘8 days a week’.

It is no wonder that when these three visionaries met with a shared goal that transpired into a power packed content and delivery which according to us was 100 %. Something that book lovers are already looking forward to attending.

Business per se, always have been regarded more to do with - sell and buy, clean balance sheet, good profit, and Loss accounts, but in today’s current economy - it certainly is not the only foundation that makes a good business. There are so many factors to be considered - every business experiences, a life prompt, a bizarre conversation with a stranger, a heartfelt talk with a friend, huge loss in the stock market, failure/ betrayal in a business, career move – key relationships – personal or professional –also watching your favourite movie and reading a book anything can aspire and inspire a person to start a business and even get on to writing- as we say for all the writers– it surely, is no different to Business Authors too. This Business Literary Festival got to witness and hear such wonderful stories and instances of their personal lives – what, why, how, when and who!


The IBFL kick-started with a welcome address by Ms. Aruna Katara, unfortunately, Dr. B B Ahuja- Director COEP could not join in the BizLitfest, but we got to see his Engineering students in full swing in the hall full of audiences. Being a one-day festival –the day was divided into four clusters and each cluster had 4 speakers. The idea of IBLF was to follow the TEDx speaking layout, where each speaker got their 18 minutes to speak about their books and their inspirational journey as a Business Author.


Cluster one had Dr. R A Mashelkar, Dr. Radhakrishnan Pillai, Dr. Annurag Batra and Prof. (Dr.) G S Narsing Rao and Mr. Harsh Pamnani to begin with.


A great opening session by Dr. R A Mashelkar, speaking on Innovation-led growth. Padmashri, Padmabhushan, and Padma Vibhushan Dr. R.A. Mashelkar, National Research Professor, now the President of Global Research Alliance, believes that ‘I’ in every Individual should stand for Innovation.


Following the ranking of India on the Innovation Index ranging from 83 to 77 to 66 this year being ranked 53, Dr. Mashelkar gave credit to the right indicators being used to measure Innovation recently. He said - the dictionary of Innovation is changing due to India’s Innovation and the right indicators are being used to measure the index growth. Technology is just a part of the Innovation, there is workflow Innovation, business Innovation, system innovation, delivery innovation, organization Innovation, Process Innovation and the combination of all is what finally works.


“India is making a difference to the world- however, we have been late starters – we have taken too long for the innovation to come from the periphery to the core. Institutions such as Education, Research and Innovation – they all must work seamlessly- which is happening now in India’


He gave an example of Start-up India, accelerators and the ecosystem that is built over the period of time to support youths who are capable of taking the Innovation forward. He suggested we should create more eco-system to support the young innovators so they can create their own Microsoft and Google in India.


‘Growth is life, but Innovation has to be a way of life –it is not optional, but essential’ to survive in the competitive world, particularly in the digital disruption that is taking place we have to have a completely different way of doing things in the world- one needs to be Innovative’


He defined; ’Innovator is the one does not know it cannot be done, also a one who sees what everyone else sees but thinks of what everyone cannot think’ and concluded that it is not just Innovation-led growth - but Innovation led accelerated inclusive growth – that will change India. 

Do get hold of Dr. R A Mashelkar’s – Reinventing India

Our second speaker, Dr. Radhakrishnan Pillai choose to speak about – Lead your Business the corporate Chanakya way.  A businessman, the author also a teacher now. His books are- Thus Spoke Chanakya, Corporate Chanakya, and Katha Chanakya.

Belonging to the time of dot.com boom and the dot.com bust – while looking for a job – inspired by his spiritual guru’s words of; ‘youngster like you should not look out for a job but should create jobs’. Pillai, when there was no start-up campaign and funds – followed the instruction of his guru and started his own company called – Atma Darshan – a spiritual tourism company -that turned around his life. During that time he realized – what he was doing was teaching Chanakya! Being an MBA himself, he soon realized that the – we are born Indians but trained in the western methods in our own education systems, which made him ask a question - are we Indian-ni-zing Indian education system? His idea was not to be a frog in the well, but to dive deeper into something in what we are good at and he discovered first Indian Management guru- Chakanya- reading his book Arthasastra – he studied -6000 sutras in Kerala, Pillai applied Chakanya principles in his own business that changed his life!

One of the formulas – Sutra worked for him - Never fight a battle alone – take a friend along you may be the greatest warrior – strategy always is that one plus one is greater than two. All his experiences made him relook at Chakanya’s philosophy in modern words, his democratic idea and his ways of running a kingdom which was same as running an organization – more in the line of thinking like a king, like a leader. He studied deeply the seven parts of running the kingdom called – 'Saptaanga Model’ same like running an organization and looking at it holistically that includes Leader, able employees, customers, infrastructure, finance, connecting vision to the last man in the army/employees and collaborations. However, he paid more attention to Ethics, moral, values – build the business the India way – Dharma!


He said his business writings are for Indians by Indians with a global approach, he continued that the ‘Real globalization is - the when East and the West meet as said by Swami Vivekananda.


Dr. Pillai - Indian businesses are being spoken not just globally but locally – not in only business circles but also in academic circles – and our generation has an interesting challenge to go back to the past but work in the future – so present is very important – that’s why he choose a subject called Chakanya, to which he says- ‘For him – Chakanya was just not a person but a thought process’.


Moving to the third speaker of the day we had Dr. Annurag Batra, who says he is an accidental entrepreneur, leaves everything to the law of serendipity – although he is yet to launch his book, what is interesting is the name of his book  – ‘Eight days a week’. When asked why – Eight days a week? – His answer- if you love what you do, you don’t count days and hours- because he loves what he does and it is  not work for him. In his talk, Dr. Batra gave us a run-up to his book, a book he says is a metaphor for entrepreneurship and a metaphor for loving what you do.


He took us through his forthcoming book on few chapters – such as The Introduction capital- that comes from introducing people to people. A strong believer himself that -If you help other people grow, God helps you grow. He believes - creating goodwill is the only way to grow.


Funding – He talked about the three F’s of Funding and believes that when you start only three kinds of people fund you –Friends, Family, and fools. Shared his story of - how he raised his first capital – which was a friend who funded him in his journey of starting his entrepreneurship!!


Luck VS Destiny – be a hustler – these are the strong words Dr. Batra used – saying -you may be lucky but fight for your destiny, be persistence – He explained with a real experience-where he wanted to buy poor children some ice-creams outside the temple, which he said that was their luck – but few children persistently wanted expensive ice cream and worked hard to get that from him and eventually Dr. Batra had to give in to their demands. So the moral he says is – ‘Life is all about hard work, making an effort because you don’t know your destiny! All children were lucky but those few created their own destiny – by working hard to get what they wanted!’


Talking about more he carried on using a term called- Creative Entrepreneurship, Dr. Batra explained how being an Author is a creative entrepreneurship, the chef is an creative entrepreneurship. Inspired by books he says LIFE is - Leadership Innovation Future and Entrepreneurship University of life – one of the chapters in the book.


Amongst several witty jokes he deglamourized what MBA is – Much below average – ‘Don’t be an MBA be an Uber driver – because Uber driver makes more money than a MBA. MBA, is all about reading the right book, meeting the right people, and listening the right music.’


In the end he suggested that to ‘making India great – we must have compulsory – government led private led national service for the youths, paying teacher more – in India we pay more to our driver than we pay our teachers – and the best witty suggestion  – instead of GST India should have imposed the SELFIE TAX!!!


Well, the fourth speakers of the cluster were quite interesting and educative - Dr. Narsing Rao GS, current campus head of IBS (ICFAI Business School Group), Pune, whose focus is management education and keen to help Micro Small and Medium enterprise. He apparently himself hasn’t written any books but gave the audience greatest perspective as a Business School Head and as a reader of the Business books, which perhaps made him choose to speak on -Business Literature and Higher Education


Why interesting; as he pointed the importance of his understanding- the difference between Business Books and Business Literature, the different impact it makes in the mind of the readers and how aptly it should be applied by all management schools as part of the curriculum and case studies. IBLF was the apt platform to have someone like him who has 41 years of experience in Business leadership and coaching, Alum of IIT Varanasi and IIM Ahmedabad, having done his Ph.D. from Banaras Hindu University.


He emphasized how reading business books /literature gives us an insight into the companies that will help us become good managers and entrepreneurs and help us handle the situation in our daily course of business and avoid the mistake that we can avoid through the examples given in the books by the authors. He shared his learnings from the books he read himself and took us through the journey of his reading Business Books!


Some of the key learnings he shared were: 

Seek to understand before –seeking to be understood, Avoiding judging- 7 habits of effective people

What succeeded earlier may not do the same in future!!!


Most important lesson -As an entrepreneur, you will fail once, your question should be; should I give it up? – He shared Steve Jobs story of how he rose from the ashes and built a company a trillion dollar company today– how he moved to computing, to animation to music in a big way and became a disrupter and hit three big industries!! Thus the lesson he shared in his own words


‘There is always a chance if you believe in yourself that- you will once again do something then it is going to be successful.


Mr. Harsh Pamnani, a young and new author whose curiosity of wanting to know ‘ Why few businesses grow while many struggles’ made him author "Booming Brands" covering inspiring journeys of 11 "Made in India" brands, published by CNBC. Having a background of content marketing and internal communication – he shared his experiences of how he went on understanding the journey of the brand building of some great Indian local start-ups. His book is appreciated by Govt. of India - Amitabh Kant and Mr. Harsh Mariwala.


Being amongst the youngest – Mr. Pamnani did accomplish to grasp the attention of the audience at the IBFL by sharing few stories of his proud 11 Made in India brands. His stories revolved around on how these brands managed to get the mindshare, larger market share, and branding without paying additional money as compared to other big companies. The models that these companies formed to win the prime market share without having a big marketing and advertising budgets were his key take away.


 He personally interacted with these Indian brands on understanding the models they used for their marketing campaign as compared to the large spent campaign and went from an unknown brand to the booming brands such as BYJU’s, BOOKMYSHOW, ELEPHANT DESIGN, FIRSTCRY, JAYASHREE, GOLIVADAPAV, SU_KAM, PAGALGUY, SHAADI.COM, PAPER BOAT, and ZOMATO. The journey how these brands of powerful stories how the brands due to lack of resources, theory though process. Therefore he created a referral material by Indian entrepreneurs


11 made in India brands thought process and ideas in lack of resource how we are creating powerful brands – referral material for others to refer.


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