Lots of pre reads, assignments, presentations, quizzes had already drained me and again a 3 hours lecture of Dr.Rakesh Singh aka Rocky Sir(as he is fondly called) seemed to be the icing on the cake. All the four sections of our Patriots batch had to sit together and our class looked like a big colosseum. Even I, a literal book worm – who can eat a book but never read it- had gone through the pre read, an article on “India on rise since independence’. I hope this says more than enough about the gladiator who was about to enter the colosseum and leave us vanquished with his armour of questions and assignments. While the class was sitting with bated breath and trying to memorize the inflation rate, CRR, SLR, growth rate and other economic concepts, the gladiator entered. The gladiator, our Rocky Sir fitted the collar mike and greeted through the bose speakers. I, trying to look confident and enlightened (Reference Empirical Study: 99.7 percent cases have shown that if you appear confident and see eye to eye with Rocky Sir, you won’t be asked questions), greeted back in chorus with the class.
Our professor started with the introduction to India’s growth rise since independence. India had already tasted the ill effects of foreign interference by East India Company so it went for complete self reliance policy and avoided any foreign help. Imports were discouraged and small scale industries were given full co-operation.’ License Raj’ as it was called, the Indian policies mandated a large scale industry to acquire such a huge number of licenses that it was almost impossible to think of setting up a large scale industry in India. To keep the facts straight 80% of the Indian budget was allocated to small scale industries and 20% for the Large scale ones. Government gave subsidies to bankrupt industries and thus itself was running out of cash. Agriculture was not given it’s due attention. This all led to the 1991 economic crisis.
The lecture touched upon diverse areas related to our economy like the failure of Mysore Sandal soap, Mr. Manmohan Singh’s performance as the finance minister, SIDBI, ENRON, etc. Before I realized 2 hours were over and our Prof was still going great guns with sheer passion, telling each and every detail of our Indian economy. So much knowledge and that too delivered from the horse’s mouth, I couldn’t ask for more.
I was elated to have such an informative session and relieved too because by this time I had realized that there would be no questions asked today. This lecture helped me overcome my two phobias – getting caught by my friends taking notes in the class and fear of falling asleep in a long lecture. Taking notes is not considered as an ‘in thing’ and if a boy is found doing that by his ‘all boys’ group an irreparable damage to public image is assured. Endowed with an entrepreneurial streak, I TOOK THE RISK but I would say it was worth it. Nobody can afford not to jot down so much information which otherwise would take at least 1 month if one tries to find on internet. Moreover never ever in my life I have been awake and so much attentive in a lecture but this spell bounding session just sailed through and the whole class was left asking for more even after 3 hours.
Every sentence uttered in the lecture was packed with data and awakening information. Comparison of Chinese policies with India’s, National Rural Employment Guarantee program of India, Labour laws, 1995 Maraccus agreement, Ganganagar project in Rajasthan and much more was covered in just less than 3 hours. Such was the impact of the lecture that I, a passionate ‘Page 3’ and bollywood news reader switched to economic times right from that day and am still sticking to the same newspaper. Just like one feels like hitting a gym after watching an Arnold Schwarzeneger’s movie I felt like delving deep into economics after this lecture. I am indebted to Rocky Sir for bringing this transformation in me.
A real Prof is the one who can change the attitude of a student for the best and I would say that our reverent Dr. Rakesh Singh possesses that rare quality. The seed of questioning, reasoning, finding answers myself and most importantly where exactly to search for solutions, has now sprouted in me and I will keep watering it with my earnest desire to learn more and more.
One free tip for future Great Lakers: Never ask Rocky Sir to postpone the deadline of an assignment. Chances are that it may get preponed but never extended. So be contended with whatever you have in hand.