Lessons by Avvaiyar, Thiruvalluvar in school helped N Chandrasekaran deal with boardroom matters

The Tata Sons Chairman believes that moral studies in the early years shape your future responses.

Agencies
Tata Sons chairman N Chandrasekaran believes that moral studies in the early years shape your future responses.

The trend in education currently is: the fancier the better. But in the end, no amount of posh facilities and tech gadgets can replace the importance of a foundation built firmly on morals and values. And this is a view firmly endorsed by Tata Sons chairman N Chandrasekaran.

“I grew up in a traditional, orthodox family in South India,” Chandra, as he is popularly referred to, said at a recent book launch in Mumbai. “I went to a Tamil-medium school. In those days, at least 40-45 years ago, for the first, second and third standard, there were no books and no syllabus. When we went to school, most of the teachings were on values.”

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He harked back to his own experience, as the book being launched was based on the moral teachings of Avvaiyars (female poets of Tamil literature).

“In fact, I distinctly remember being taught Aathichoodi [a collection of single-line quotations by Avvaiyar] in class one. Then there were similar works by Thiruvalluvar [the Tamil poet-saint and the author of the Thirukkural]. And these are all only about values,” he said.

Chandra added that if one counted the number of characters in these sayings, the number would be below 10 in each one — less than the 140-character limit introduced to the world by Twitter. “These values are pretty much what you remember. We all make decisions every day, react to situations and respond [accordingly],” he said, adding, “Most of the times, it’s [how we react and respond] about what you learnt when you were less than 10 years old.”
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