hen a rustic man from one of India's most backward regions meets an elite class of Indian Institute of Management students, in the middle of India's most saffron and consumerist society, you may expect some disconnect between pastoral simplicity and corporate urbanity. But everyone was proven wrong, when Union Railway Minister Lalu Prasad -- that unbeatable and inimitable performer of the Indian political world -- taught a lesson or two to the bachchas of IIM, Ahmedabad.
Lalu's speech at the IIM-A was politically cautious and peppered with hilarity and unpretentious wisdom. He came forth as a highly alert minister, cunning enough to not take his role of a management guru at the IIM for granted. (Also see: Lalu comes to IIM-A with new image)
He knew his facts well, showing he had done his homework, and was armed with all the details that he knew would be asked about his ministerial portfolio. He participated in the discussion over a study by IIM-A's Prof. G Raghuram on the Indian Railways' turnaround in the last two years with interest and intelligently kept his humour intact.
He regaled the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad, but not once did he utter the name 'Indian Institute of Management.' He always referred to the nation's premier B-school as: "Bharatiya Prabandhan Sanstha."
Union Railway Minister Lalu Prasad and his wife Rabri Devi at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, along with IIM-A director Bakul Dholakia, on Monday.
Text: Sheela Bhatt
Photographs: Janak Patel & Bhupat Solanki
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