Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Some money, some mantras, some management

Lakshmi B. Ghosh
The Hindu, Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005

Much before they learn to master the boardroom mantras for success and win business with the right moves and counter-moves, Delhi University's commerce students can now take a lesson in self-realisation as well. With the University making it compulsory for its colleges to offer Philosophy as a concurrent subject in the restructured new B.Com (Honours) course, the most popular commerce course on the campus will no longer be just about getting the numbers right but also a chance to master the path to nirvana. Although Philosophy was available to students as a subsidiary paper in some colleges until last year, the restructured programme now makes it mandatory for all colleges to offer the course in the second year. Students will still have a choice to opt for any of the other choices offered by their college, but with all students finally getting the option, teachers are hoping that the students will realise the need to not just learn how to make money but also the stress-free way to enjoy it.

"It is a great move because students will learn the importance of self-realisation. Money is not the ultimate end. So students who have been learning accounting and business management will now also learn about life management, time management and, most important, spiritual management. Philosophy is an integral part of most top MBA courses. And it may be good for the students to start early,'' says Rachna Sharma, who teaches the subject at Hans Raj College. From the Bhagvad Gita to Vedas, Upanishads to Satyagraha and Non-Violence to Buddhist and Jain ethics, Paper No. XV -- Introduction to Philosophy -- is also being seen as an important tool to help students deal with the high stress that the subject is known to impart.

To be taught as a concurrent subject in the second year of B.Com (Honours), Philosophy was earlier a subsidiary paper in the second year and has now become a compulsory subject for students of the course. The change comes with the introduction of the restructured B.Com (Honours) programme last year, with Business Ethics being the new entrant in the first year. According to teachers, a majority of the students often did not opt for the subject earlier because they did not see the need for Philosophy in the Commerce stream. "Most MBA programmes teach the Gita or other aspects of Indian Philosophy. It has become increasingly necessary for students stepping into the commerce field to also learn the art of handling stress. The choice is now up to the students and we are hoping that many will now go for the option so it adds to their life later,'' says another teacher.

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