The last lectures are always highly anticipated. Some become blockbusters, some taper into damp squibs. Some, however, become stuff legends are made of and told to generations. That happens if your name is a certain Randy Pausch or in this case Dr. Rakesh Singh.
Rakesh Singh is an enigma. He reminds you of the classic nameless western cowboy who rejects everything and walks into the sunset. It doesn’t matter to him whether you applaud or applaud (We don’t think there is any other option). A gold medalist in economics at his university when Bombay was still called Bombay, he unbelongs. He seems a misfit in this system which churns out men and women who are in search of a career rather than a direction. We are glad that he is all that and more.
It’s not often that you are taught by a student of Amartya Sen and that too someone as belief-shaking and opinion-forming as Rocky, as we all lovingly call him, when he is not present (:P). And like Rocky Balboa he knocked out our false pride today as he had done in all classes before, when he made us realize we know nothing about India. It has been a remarkable journey of India for most of the gladiators through his classes. The real India that smells of spices, bicycles to work and is aspiring for more. An India, devoid of multiplexes, where lanterns still glow in the dark and people come back home after a hard day’s toil in the fields. He talked about places we have heard of in Doordarshan news of the yore and conveniently yet sadly forgot as we got sucked into this world of glitz and glamour. This couldn’t have happened on a more appropriate day when we also had a conference on “Financial Inclusion”.
We had heard a lot about this day from our seniors and this last lecture. Expectations were high and he didn’t disappoint. Today was no different. It’s a painfully loud noise that comes when your pride is shattered and we could hear it, loud and clear. There was no escaping the agony of it but the catharsis that came with it was unbounded. Seconds became hours and hours decades as he told us “The India Story”, his India story and what a story it was! He questioned our beliefs, ripped apart our opinions and reformed them.
Sir, thank you very much.