Behind the Scenes: Building of NHRDN (1985-1990)
(M R R Nair Memorial article remembering his contributions to building of the National HRD Network)
T V Rao
Institutions including professional bodies are not built over night. A number of events happen and a number of people contribute. This is a short narration of various events from my memory and the documentation in the HRD Newsletter published in those years.
National HRD Network was registered on 6th December 1986 as Charitable Trust and as Registered Society under Bombay Societies Act. . The first National Conference was held from 10th to 13th September, 1987 at Madras Taj Coromandel Hotel. The second Conference was held subsequently at New Delhi in 1989. The idea of starting a HRD Network was conceived on March 2nd, 1985 in Mumbai. What was happening in the 20 months since the conception till the registration and the two and half years between the conception and first formal Conference that set many new traditions and established NHRDN as a new Professional body that means business and is setting up bench mark able traditions? The following anecdotal narrations may help reconstruct the behind the scene activity that went on.
A lot of things happened to make the Network take birth and get nurtured in early childhood. Some remarkable things that happened during this time are being recounted here. The inputs are largely taken from the documentation in the HRD Newsletter and the memory of the author.
XLRI Centre for HRD and IIMA has facilitated this in a number of ways. The HRD Newsletter of CHRD XLRI was the main vehicle that was used to popularise the NHRDN. Interestingly many issues of this newsletter were brought out from Ahmedabad where Fr. Abraham was staying to complete his Ph. D. With Gujarat University and as a student registered from IIMA. The first newsletter of CHRD (XLRI) was brought out in April 1985 with Fr Abraham as editor. Both Fr. Abraham and Dr. Rao used to go to the press on a two wheeler to get the newsletter out. Fr. Abraham spent a week at L&T to get Dr Pereira to complete his HRD Profile article. The first Newsletter was sponsored by L&T (out of the savings from the Mumbai conference that gave birth to NHRDN). Sponsorship of the newsletter meant paying the printing and mailing costs to 2000 receivers which was Rs 5,000. Per issue form the second issue on wards it raised to Rs 10,000. Each issue was to be sponsored by an industry that are doing some good work in HRD and as a part of the sponsorship they are to give a profile article highlighting their HRD practices. Besides L&T, the first few sponsors include State bank of Patiala, Hindustan Petroleum, MMTC, and Sundaram Clayton. All the corporations that sponsored were those with whom Dr. Rao was working s a HRD consultant (except MMTC).
The second Newsletter of August 1985 was sponsored by State ban of Patiala. The second issue gave the following news item on the HRD Network.
“One of the important ideas that came out of this National seminar was to set up a network of HRD professionals all over the country. Many participants volunteered to be contact persons in various cities.
1. Madras: S. Chandrasekhar (L&T ECC) and P V R Murthy ( Sundaram Clayton)
2. Delhi: S. Raghavan (Maruti Udyog) and P K sarangi (IOC)
3. Bangalore: K Prasannam (Ind-Suzuki Motor Cycles) and K. S Rao (Madura Coats0
4. Baroda: Dr Rajen Gupta ( Jyoti Ltd) and Saurabh Dixit (Petrofils)
5. Bombay: T. P Raman (SBI) and D F Pereira (L&T)
The editorial of the February, 1986 issue of HRD Newsletter sponsored by Sundaram Clayton mentions the following:
“As another step towards realising our country’s goal, a national HRD Network has been formed under the convenorship of Dr T V Rao. It is a network of HRD professionals committed to promote HRD movement and spread HRD philosophy in the country. With the help of regional coordinators, it is already enrolling members and setting about a concrete plan of action”... Any of the readers who want to become a member is welcome. Please fill up the enclosed form and send it to T V Rao at IIMA with a copy to Centre for HRD XLRI.
· A Four day residential program on “designing and Implementing Performance appraisal systems” was announced to be held from April 23-26 at Madras Adayar Park Hotel organised by the National HRD Network. S Chandraselhar coordinated the workshop.
This newsletter also gives details of the Network and announces the HRD Newsletter as the media of communication among the members of the Network. One of the objectives of HRD Network envisaged is to draw the attention of CEOs, agencies and Government departments to HRD philosophy, Processes and resulting benefits.
The fourth Newsletter of August 1986 sponsored mentions the following at about NHRDN:
“NHRDN has come up a long way and since its inception. The process is on to register the Network formally and enrols institutional and individual members. From this issue onwards members will be charged”. The Newsletter also gave the following news items:
· The Southern Regional HRD Network was inaugurated by Udai Pareek in a meeting organised by Madras Management association and the NHRN. S Chandrasekhar Convenor of the NHRDN, Dr K M Thiagarajan, President of MMA, Dr T V Rao National Convener were present (as appeared in Indian Express and Hindu 19-4-86 and 30-4-86)
· The first joint meeting of Ahmedabad and Baroda chapters was organised the Bank of Baroda staff college Ahmedabad on 5th April 1986 attended by 24 participants. A Meeting was hosted by Anil Khandelwal senior core faculty of BOB Staff College. KK Verma and G K Ghosh agreed to host subsequent workshops.
· The Bombay chapter had their first meeting on 15-3-1986 at SBI central office and 11 members were present. The network discussed modalities and decides to work closely with other professional bodies.
· The PAS workshop held at madras was attended by 27 participants and faculty included T V Rao, Udai Pareek, Keith D’Souza, Fr Abraham C M Srivastava and S Chandrasekhar.
· The seminar papers recent experiences of HRD were published by oxford and IBH in 1986 448 pages and Rs 95.
The fifth Newsletter sponsored by MMTC mentions the following:
· A two day workshop on team Building skills was organised by ISTD Madras chapter and NHRDN Southern region. 21 participants form 17 organisations participated. S Chandrasekhar of L&T organised the workshop and shared his experiences with NTL. T Madhavan Kutty Director Best and Crompton inaugurated the workshop
· Rajan Johri has taken lead as convenor of Baroda chapter and has held seven meetings in 1986. The memorandum of association was circulated among the members for their comments and suggestions.
This Newsletter also announced the four days National Conference of NHRDN at Hotel Taj, Madras 10-13 September. Fee Rs 1500 for non members and Rs 1200 for members. S Chandrasekhar is the Organising committee chair and KK Verma the program committee and H N Arora the Souvenir Committee. Annual membership fixed at Rs 100 Life Rs 1000. Institutional at Rs 1000 and 10,000 respectively annual and life.
Services offered re: HRD Newsletter, Chapter meetings and workshops, Conferences, Research Publications, and seminars and program workshops.
Chapters are formed already in Ahmedabad, Bombay, Baroda, Calcutta, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam, Madurai and Madras.
· E Abraham: Secretary
· T V Rao: President
· S Chandrashekar Madras and Southern region
· R K Chopra: Calcutta
· Rajan Johri : Baroda
· Anil Khandelwal : Ahmedabad (Treasurer and Ahmedabad Chapter)
· T Padhmanabhan : Delhi Chapter (P K Sarangi did not take charge later Anil Sachdev joined)
· T P Raman: Bombay chapter
· K s Rao: Bangalore chapter N Kantha Rao Hyderabad Chapter
· Y R Reddy: Visakhapatnam chapter Sudarshan Sundaram Madurai chapter.
· Other Executive members are : G K Ghosh , D M Pestonjee, J K Parikh, Kakoli Saha, KK Verma
April 87 issue has the
Announced the conference once again, and mentions the following:
“The National HRD Network is taking shape and the chapters are becoming active and well defined. News items of chapters testify this.
“NHRD jointly with ISABS announces a six day residential program on “HRD Facilitators Laboratory” June 8-13 at Clarks Amer Jaipur. Faculty : Uma Jain, Rajen Gupta, S Chandrasekhar, C M Srivastava, T V Rao and others”. Rs 4000 fee.
Salient news items:
1. Ahmedabad chapter members meet International experts in HRD and OD: Dr Robert Brown, Rolf Lynton, Robert T Golembwisky, and Udai Pareek.
2. Baroda organises a two day program on Basics of HRD jointly with ISTD Baroda and BMA.
3. R K Sharma of BOB elected as new President in place of Rajan who was going to join NIIT
4. The second meeting go f Bombay chapter was held with 25 members present at SBI. Fr Abraham was also present.
5. HRD Chapter of Hyderabad was inaugurated on 6th December 1986 at SBI Staff College. Dr T V Rao addressed the gathering of 22 members. V N Kantha RAO as President organised the same.
6. Visakhapatnam chapter was inaugurated on 26t January 1987. Y R Reddy as President organised the same.
7. The first meeting of the Madras chapter and Southern region was held at Hotel Connemara on 14th December 1986. Dr Somnath Chattopadhya and M Swaminathan IAS were special invitees. Besides Mr S Chandrasekhar, PVR Murthy (secretary), N C Sridharan (Assistant Secy) and B Kalyanaraman (Treasurer) were present.
The October 1987 issues a conference special and lists the members of NHRDN. The issue sponsored by Indian Organic Chemicals. This issue presents the first annual report of NHRDN.
The First National Conference on “Alternatives and Strategies and Approaches of Human Resources Development”. This conference established many new land marks.
1. For the first time the Conference papers were distributed on the first day of the Conference in a Book form. The book was edited jointly by T V Rao, E Abraham, K K Verma and Anil Khandelwal. All of them sued to work at Ahmedabad from BOB Staff College. Most of the other professional bodies were circulating only Xeroxed or cyclostyled papers. The source of inspiration for this is the International Conference held at IIMA where at a cost with which 500 copies could have been printed 200 copies were Xeroxed and circulated. When this issue came up for discussion in a Committee in IIMA, T V Rao decided that HRD Network conference papers will be printed and given on the first day of the conference.
2. A CEO Conclave where 10 top level owners, Chairman and MDs of corporations presented their views and approaches to HRD. These included M V Arunachalam, M V Subbaiah, Suresh Krishna, Deenadayalu of MRL, Kalyanasundaram of SBI, K K Nohria of Crompton Greaves, and Dr V Krishnamurthy of SAIL etc. Every single CEO listed in the brochure came for the conference and presented their approaches. Chandrasekhar got the CEO conclave videotaped. We sent the tapes to XLRI but got lost somewhere. Hope someday someone will find them as good memories.
3. Economic Times brought out a special supplement of two full pages and this was coordinated by T V Rao
4. Every session started on time and closed on time
5. An evening entertainment in Bharat Natyam was organised by MMs. Krishnaswamy Associates
6. Participation was high around 200 delegates and no parallel sessions to the extent I recollect.
7. The discussions and presentation were of high quality. It was four full days of Conference
8. There were sessions on HRD in Government and many IAS officers especially from Gujarat came for the conference.
9. Academicians were not charged the conference fee but were invited and were put up in company guest houses. NHRDN made it a point not spend any money on the travel of any office bearer or academic or professionals invited for the conference. They were to meet their own travel and stay, even if they are invited to speak.
10. NHRD saved from the delegate fee every single pie that came from sponsorship and built its corpus.
S Chandrasekhar managed the organisation for the conference assisted by Mr. Mukundan and P V R Murthy and other teams from L&T and Sundaram Clayton etc. The last day lunch was sponsored by SAIL. Mr. M R R Nair was sitting through all the sessions including the AGM. On the last day in the AGM one of the delegates (Meenakshi Khasliwal Nair) remarked that the conference was somewhat elitist as it discussed only HRD of Executives and no where workers and their concerns figured out. She asked if we mean by HRD only HRD for Executives. In response to this that day in the AGM it was decide that the next conference will focus on workers and their concerns. Behind the scenes M R R Nair agreed to host the next conference in Delhi. Credit goes to him for organising a well attended conference in 1989 at Delhi where Union Leaders, Practitioners and professionals were involved. This conference also got all the luminaries from Academic institutions on one platform.
Subsequently M R R became the second President of NHRDN. It was at this time CII offered to house NHRDN secretariat in its newly constructed building in Delhi. As SAIL has already offered its office for the NHRDN and even appointed Mr. Rakesh Kumar to look after the NHRDN as joint Secretary for convenience it was decided to keep it with SAIL. It moved into 12 Cosmoville only during the time of Dr Udai Pareek who bought the house and got the registered office changed from IIMA to 12 Cosmovillle. Arvind Agarwal who was with Modi Xerox at that time was the Treasurer of NHRDN. In fact during this time a plot of land was attempted to be taken from Haryana Urban development Authority to the extent I recollect in Gurgaon but later had to be sold in order to procure the 12 Cosmoville as the Gurgaon was not developing. If any one had slightest idea of the future of Gurgaon, we would not have withdrawn our membership. MR R provided all the facilities needed for NHRDN to grow. He added stature to the body as he was Director in SAIL and was highly respected for his competence. He also had high respect for academics and used their services to build NHRDN. He got a large number of National level union Leaders involved to speak on HRD. He was on the Board of XLRI subsequently. After AHRD was started he became the first Chairman of AHRD. The AHRD Board passed a resolution to collaborate with XLRI for the Doctoral Program. It has to be passed also by the XLRI Board. Fr. Abraham was not sure if all members in XLRI Board will agree to collaborate with this unknown entity called AHRD. M R R Nair specially flew to XLRI to get this approved. We can’t forget the amount of time he spent for NHRDN and later for AHRD. I think these are the people who have set themselves as role models for other professionals in terms of their commitment.
It was in this conference on the workmen it was decide that it is high time we focus on what kind of HRD Managers we should have given the alternative approaches discussed in the first conference and the need for managing workmen with various HRD interventions discussed in the second conference. It was then decided to hold a National Seminar on the Role of HRD Managers and the Competencies required to be a good HRD manager. We had to fall back again on Madras to do this. There were already good group of young XLRI graduates working in Madras and Sambamurthy who worked as HRD Manager in State Bank of India and alter joined Sundram Fasteners was chosen to coordinate the conference. M R R Nair and I were set out to bring out a book with the views of CEOs, Union Leaders, Professionals, and academics to highlight the competencies of HRD Managers. Excellence through HRD was the book as a result of this. To facilitate this seminar I also completed my book on HRD Missionary. The two books were distributed and contents deliberated in the National Seminar. This Seminar began with a one full day Vision-Mission workshop attended by all Chapter Presidents and office bearers of the NHRDN in Taj Coramandal hotel It was facilitated y Anil Sachdev and V S Mahesh. That is where ht idea of starting the Academic Centre to facilitate research in education and also work in disseminating HRD for Government and NGO sectors was visualised. This is what was alter named by the three Presidents of NHRDN and the Secretaries as Academy of HRD. It was also in this National Seminar it was decide that HRD has come of age and we should focus the next Conference on International views. Thus Dharni Sinha and B L Maheshwari were requested to host the conference in Hyderabad as they had a lot of International contacts.
This the tradition of deciding the theme of conference in the previous conference was established and all the tradition of preparing a book of all presentations and distributing on the first day of the conference, starting every session on time and closing on time was established.
What contributed to Building a Strong NHRDN?
If someone asks me what facilitated laying such strong Foundations for NHRDN I would say various factors:
1. Institutions like IIMA and XLRI without doubt. They have given us the freedom to do what we did and encouraged us to build institutions
2. Committed people like Fr Abraham, Udai Pareek, M R R Nair, Chandrasekhar, K K Verma, Khandelwal, PVR Murthy, K S Rao, Sambamurthy, M R R Nair, Arvind Agarwal, P K Sarangi, Mrs. Khanna (Delhi Chapter President for some time), Anil Sachdev; and many others.
3. Support of Industry like L&T, SAIL, Crompton Greaves, Sundaram Clayton, EID Parry, State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Modi Xerox, Indian Oil etc. Several organisations used to sponsor lunch and dinner for the conferences and we made it a point to save equal amount from the delegate fee.
4. Supportive academics like Dharni Sinha, Udai Pareek, B L Maheshwari, Anil Sachdev, V S Mahesh, D M Pestonjee, Keith D’Souza,
5. Many silent supporters to NHRD like Arvind Pande (SAIL Chairman), K K Nohria, Suresh Krishna, M V Subbaiah, N Vaghul, T Shanmugam (SBI), T P Raman, C M Srivastava, N. R. Sheth of IIMA, Fr. Romuald D’Souza, Ishwar Dayal, V Krishnamurthy, Pradip Khandwalla, D M Pestonjee, Rakesh Kumar, and several of those who signed the MOU and were with us all the time; Satyanarayana, YRK Reddy, Rajesh Vidyasagar, R R Nair, Rupande Padki etc. many more.
6. Other professional bodies like the Ahmedabad Management Association, ISABS, ISTD chapters, Madras Management Association, NIPM, AIMA etc. t collaborate in various seminars
7. Every single President had something to contribute. Every single President. They gave their name organisational support and time.
This narration is mainly for the first five years though it has touched a few years beyond. The remarkable turnaround in NHRDN has occurred from 2000 onwards. We had difficult time in between as many chapters were not functioning well and there were ups and downs. Some of the Presidents used to get elected and after the election did not find time and their other colleagues could not take initiative. However the main turnaround was after Arvind Agarwal took over. Every single President after him did a marvellous ob. GP Rao in Delhi is a major force that mobilised a large number of professionals and saw to it things would move. He used to excite people with ideas and put them to action. Santrupt took it to new heights. Good governance practices were established. Dwarakanath, Aquil and Rajan have further strengthened them and taken NHRD from orbit to orbit. PVR made the Journal of NHRDN in recent times jewel in the crown of NHRDN.
They were also helped by an excellent team of well wishers and support all the time in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Madras, and Calcutta and so on. I am not mentioning their names as any few names will make it unfair for a large number of others and it is for the various Presidents to acknowledge the contributions of others. I have strong belief Institutions can never be built by a single person. They are always a collaborative work of many and sometimes a few individuals sand out for their long term involvement, emotional attachment, sustained optimism and passion. There are many in NHRDN and it is they who have built NHRDN.
Certainly the contributions of late Udai Pareek, M R R Nair, in many ways and those of Dharni Sinha, B L Maheshwari, D M Silveira, and Manohar Nadkarni etc. in some ways will always stand out. With gratitude I dedicate this small piece to them. May God Bless them and rejoice their presence with Him.
I may not have mentioned many names. I can imagine there will be more than a few hundreds of Professionals who have contributed to the building of this body. It is very difficult to count all the bricks. I have counted a few that I saw and experienced intensely. I may be forgiven for not putting each one here. There are several from the East, west, north and the South.