Hosted by Mr. Ganesh Shankar as the Master of Ceremony, the TAPMI event ‘Polemic’ has over the years seen and encouraged discussions and debates on the fundamentally important and relevant issues of the times, and successfully completed its sixth year running on 31st January, 2014.
The panel consisted of eminent personalities, namely Ms. Anita Tripathy President-Inventiv Health, Ms. Malavika Harita CEO-Saatchi & Saatchi Focus Network India , Dr. K Sankaran, Director-Business School NITTE and Mr. Sarathbabu Elumalai CEO Foodking, and was moderated by the Director of TAPMI – Dr. R C Natarajan. The topic was “Inclusions vs. Excellence: Is society relevant?” An elaborate opening on the topic by Dr. Natarajan was followed by each panelist putting forward his/her respective views.
Dr. K Sankaran, touched upon Excellence as a product of the co-existence of Exclusion as well as Inclusion, and talked in detail about how Excellence cannot simply be achieved by focusing only on the latter. His argument centered about the very nature of Excellence that demands a selection process, and Exclusion being but a part of that process. Thus, a balance between the two has to be necessarily maintained, and complete inclusion of all with a compromise on quality is not, and will never be, the solution to any crisis of Excellence.
Ms. Anita Tripathy, who focused on Excellence irrespective of Inclusivity. She made it implicitly clear through various examples that Excellence and Inclusivity are not mutually exclusive, and stressed on the possible synergy between them. Her essential idea was that though the society must consider it a necessity to include people from all walks of life, it should not compromise on the level or quality that a high standard necessarily demands, or else the society itself will crumble into mediocrity.
Mr. Sarathbabu Elumalai, started his argument from the basics, and brought into picture the evolutionary aspects of the society and emphasized on the importance of an equal beginning for a fair competition. A very different view from the rest, he focused on how the different castes have, over a period of centuries, been trained in a certain way, and in order to break that mould the society must give them more opportunities. However, he also stated that in as long as the rights of the advantaged people are not unfairly affected, the disadvantaged must certainly be given certain privileges which would enable the entire society to achieve Excellence as a whole.
Ms. Malavika Harita, while defining the meaning and scope of each and every term, drew attention to the societal tendency to shame differences and the real meaning of creating diversification. She talked about various issues including, and not limited to, Women’s rights, Gay rights and Provisions for the Disabled. Her ideas applied to Inclusion at every level, starting from families to Organizations. She specifically mentioned the need to include people at all levels, from different age groups, to different castes and different sexual orientations as well. Further, she led the discussion to a new and better understanding of how to truly diversify a society rather than follow a hypocritical namesake ritual.
The views of the panelists themselves were so diverse that a plethora of questions from the audience, consisting of TAPMI students as well as students from other colleges, was well expected and well received, and was responded to with an enthusiastic engagement of Knowledge and Wit. The event concluded in an open ended argument that left both the students as well as the panelists themselves, much richer in their views, considerations and sensitivity. Successfully fulfilled, Atharva’s Polemic 2014 ended with the promise of other such intellectual treats to come in the following days of Atharva at TAPMI.