59er Golden Reunion Directory

59er Golden Reunion Directory
59er Golden Reunion Directory

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Budget Battleground Part 2

NDTV seems to have taken a firm place in our home in Finland.

Today I watched the Budget Battleground Part 2 from St. Andrew,s College, Mumbai. (I reported on the panelists in Part 1 in my earlier blog entry.)

One of the reasons I watched was that 54er/58er Rahul Bajaj, 54er from Cathedral School and 58er from St. Stephen's College, Chairman of Bajaj Enterprises and an Independent Rajya Sabha member was among the panelists. In 2009, when Annikki and I visited Delhi, Rahul stayed back one weekend evening so he could meet up with us in a party organized for us by Cathedralites led by 64er Deepak Deshpande.

I was under the impression that Adi Godrej was a Cathedralite, like his nephew 65er Jamshyd Godrej, who passed through Finland last year with his wife 65er Pheroza. Although I could not meet up with Jamshyd, I had a long chat with Pheroza, also a Cathedrtalite.

Adi Godrej was, however, from St. Xavier's School and College in Bombay.

There was another member of the alumni on the panel that was from my alma mater. It was 73er Vikram Singh Mehta, the Chairman of Shell, about 10 years my junior, but known for his bringing the Royal Shell Oil group back to India. I have not had the pleasure or benefit of meeting Vikram. He came into prominence well after I left India in 1984. Being from the same professional area, I did watch his career rise with interest.

The fourth panelist was one who I have not met but am associated with indirectly as he is the brother-in-law of one of my dearest friends, the late 59er Ashok Kapur, former Chairman of YES Bank. Rana Kapur is now in the top spot of the bank. I do not know him personally, so am unable to comment on his  stature.

The discussion was not very memorable in that nothing new was really thrown up. The focus was on the disinvestment of the Government of India from Public Sector companies as well as privatization.

Certainly, as leaders in the Private Sector, as family run companies in the case of Adi and Rahul, and as a leader of a MNC as Royal Dutch Shell, in the case of Vikram, and as the head of an outstanding private bank set up by Ashok in his heyday, the general opinion was that the Government should stick to Governing while industrialists and professional managers should stick to running businesses professionally.

It was one question from the students that really summed up the situation. Is the outsourcing boom was not far away. I am glad that a young student could recognize this as it will not be long before we see this side of the contribution to Indian growth completely dry up as localities as Vietnam, start to cut into our traditional business strongholds.

You can watch this episode in the NDTV archives.  Hope this link works:









Saturday, March 10, 2012

Budget Battleground

This post is made in three of my blogs as it of interest to all my readers of Jacob's Blog, and more specifically the readers of my Mumbai Cathedral and John Connon School Blog, Seventh Heaven, and readers of the Stephanian Blog, Kooler Talk (Web Version).

I apologize for this multi-blog posting, as many of you are readers of all the three blogs!

Budget Battleground was  event that took place against the backdrop of my alma mater, St. Stephen's College, beautifully lit in the background, had a selected audience of young economists from Delhi School of Economics, Shri Ram College and St. Stephen's College, three of the many premier colleges in Delhi.

The anchorman was NDTV Managing Director, Dr. Prannoy Roy, who was connected with another good friend, great economist with tremendous wit, the person who turned around Doordarshan in the late eighties and early nineties and then went on to head Rupert Murdoch's Star TV and then his own channel, Broadcast Worldwide Ltd.,  and also a Stephanian, 61er/63er Rathikant Basu.

This is from the Wikipedia entry for NDTV Managing Director, Prannoy Roy:


On 20 January 1998 Central Bureau of Investigation filed cases against New Delhi Television (NDTV) managing director Prannoy Roy, former Director General of Doordarshan R Basu and five other top officials of Doordarshan under Section 120-B of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for criminal conspiracy and under the Prevention of Corruption Act. According to the CBI charge-sheet, Doordarshan suffered a loss of over Rs 3.52 crore due to the “undue favours” shown to NDTV as its programme The World This Week (TWTW) was put in `A’ category instead of `special A’ category

The two in the hot seats were 63er Montek Singh Alhuwalia, who was very much present in St. Stephen's College during my three years there, and Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen (difficult to say whether he is an Indian or Bangladeshi as both countries have laid claim to him).

One can never forget 63er Montek, not for his knowledge, but for the unique way he wore his turban and certain mannerisms (the nervous laugh when he knows what he is saying is not what he believes), which have not changed, even as of today. The way he argued a point was always from a point that he could not be wrong, although many times, he was and is!

I give below three extract from the autobiography of Amartya Sen (Copyright © The Nobel Foundation 1998). In these extracts you will see the mention of a name - Mumbai Cathedral School 59er Sudhir Anand, my classmate who is Professor of Economics at both Oxford and Harvard, a brilliant economist and undoubtedly a brain who influenced Amartya Sen considerably more than a three time  mention in his autobiography.

59er Sudhir was from our Mumbai Cathedral and John Connon School. Although unable to make it top our 50th year reunion in 2009, he was very much there in spirit.

"I was also fortunate to have colleagues who were working on serious social choice problems, including Peter Hammond, Charles Blackorby, Kotaro Suzumura, Geoffrey Heal, Gracieda Chichilnisky, Ken Binmore, Wulf Gaertner, Eric Maskin, John Muellbauer, Kevin Roberts, Susan Hurley, at LSE or Oxford, or neighbouring British universities. (I also learned greatly from conversations with economists who were in other fields, but whose works were of great interest to me, including Sudhir Anand, Tony Atkinson, Christopher Bliss, Meghnad Desai, Terence Gorman, Frank Hahn, David Hendry, Richard Layard, James Mirrlees, John Muellbauer, Steve Nickel, among others.) I also had the opportunity of collaboration with social choice theorists elsewhere, such as Claude d'Aspremont and Louis Gevers in Belgium, Koichi Hamada and Ken-ichi Inada in Japan (joined later by Suzumura when he returned there), and many others in America, Canada, Israel, Australia, Russia, and elsewhere). There were many new formal results and informal understandings that emerged in these works, and the gloom of "impossibility results" ceased to be the only prominent theme in the field. The 1970s were probably the golden years of social choice theory across the world. Personally, I had the sense of having a ball.

From social choice to inequality and poverty

The constructive possibilities that the new literature on social choice produced directed us immediately to making use of available statistics for a variety of economic and social appraisals: measuring economic inequality, judging poverty, evaluating projects, analyzing unemployment, investigating the principles and implications of liberty and rights, assessing gender inequality, and so on. My work on inequality was much inspired and stimulated by that of Tony Atkinson. I also worked for a while with Partha Dasgupta and David Starrett on measuring inequality (after having worked with Dasgupta and Stephen Marglin on project evaluation), and later, more extensively, with Sudhir Anand and James Foster."


Later he says in his autobiography:

"During my Harvard years up to about 1991, I was much involved in analyzing the overall implications of this perspective on welfare economics and political philosophy (this is reported in my book, Inequality Reexamined, published in 1992). But it was also very nice to get involved in some new problems, including the characterization of rationality, the demands of objectivity, and the relation between facts and values. I used the old technique of offering courses on them (sometimes jointly with Robert Nozick) and through that learning as much as I taught. I started taking an interest also in health equity (and in public health in particular, in close collaboration with Sudhir Anand), a challenging field of application for concepts of equity and justice. Harvard's ample strength in an immense variety of subjects gives one scope for much freedom in the choice of work and of colleagues to talk to, and the high quality of the students was a total delight as well. My work on inequality in terms of variables other than incomes was also helped by the collaboration of Angus Deaton and James Foster.

Readers of Seventh Heaven will remember how I have written about Sudhir and the Nobel Prize awarded to Amartya Sen!

The discussion was lack lustre. Montek took the view that he could not discuss the Budget (the whole point of the programme) and gave no real answer for the blazing question how the poor of India had not improved their lot during the time he has been at the head of the Planning Commission. (At one point he says "We have said, the Government has said,…." )

Montek minced  words as only a political chamcha can do!

Roy was not hard-hitting in his position as Anchorman. He was being pleasant to his guests!!

Amartya Sen was his own self and wanted to be nice to everyone.

Not a receipe for a successful  discussion, but for me, being in the setting of our beautiful college was good enough to sit through the 45 minute discussion!

Anyway, it was good to be away from the depressing media coverage of our hallowed institution which has been plaguing us for almost half a decade!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Meeting Operational Costs

Now that Seventh Heaven is back on line regularly, establishing 16 years of service to our alumni, I am now a pensioner and keeping this afloat with my pension is quite difficult. 

Thanks to so many of you, I was able to install a dedicated server.

I have just 3 ad places to offer on this page, two at the top and one at the bottom. 

If any Cathedralite would like to help support this Web Version and would be prepared to advertise to the 3000+ Cathedralite who visit this site at every update, I would be most grateful. 

This is not a broad general audience, but a very very limited one.

Anyone wanting to reach my broader readership can advertise in Jacob's Blog, which is a very popular site, should look at Annikki's and my larger community called The Findians

Proposals can be sent to me at jmatthana (at) gmail.com.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Another Outstanding 59er Cathedralite

The class of 59ers was unique in that all the members of the class have been achievers.
I have pleasure in posting the record of an unique Cathedralite, a 59er David Colaco.

An outstanding boxer and athlete, it will be difficult to find someone with such an impressive record.

I am pleased to be able to post the picture of his Western India Boxing medal.

Besides being a great sportsman, David and his elder brother, the late 58er Michael Colaco, had fantastic soprano voices and sang in the St. Thomas Cathedral Church Choir. (I also squawked in that choir alongside them!)

David's Boxing Record:
First: Junior Flyweight 22nd Apr 1954
First: Junior Flyweight 19th Apr 1955
First: Junior Bantamweight 3rd Apr 1956
First: Junior Bantamweight 29th March 1957
Most Scientific Boxer Prize 29th March 1957
First: Junior Featherweight 18th March 1958
First: Senior Flyweight 24th March 61
Western Indian Box Champion CJ Hall (medal picture)

David's Record in Cross Country and Athletics:
First: Junior Cross Country Jogeswari 19th Jan 1957
Second: Junior 800 metres Brabourne Stadium 23rd Feb 1957
First: Junior Cross Country Jogeswari 19thJan 1958
Second: Junior 800 metres Brabourne Stadium 27th Feb 1958
Sixth: Junior Gymnastics 7th Nov 1957

I hope to post similar info about the other 59ers who have done extremely well in their lives!

Friday, February 17, 2012

No dice

59er Retired Captain Vijay Shivdasani has informed me a few minutes ago that he was not successful in the Mumbai Corporation elections. Low turnout, the young did not vote in numbers and the military turnout was also low. the turnout in these elections was just 30%. Annikki and I replied to him that the winning was not important but he has showed us the way that we need to get involved with politics as otherwise the old game will continue. If we intend to field candidates anywhere we have to have a long term game plan. We have to recognize who should be our representatives and start work NOW for the next election. Preparation of an achievable manifesto, the setting of our field worker team, the dispersal of our field workers in an organized manner to every corner where we can gather votes. These are the essential steps. Contribution of a few hundred rupees every month will be drops in an ocean, but it would soon become the ocean. This is a long term strategy. We are all touching 70, but if we can add our combined wisdom and experience, we can certainly beat those School final failed candidates? Well done Shivi, for playing the game the Cathedralite Way.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Boxing Finals

I never reached the finals of any school boxing competition, the best being the semi finals, where my six foot frame was given a hiding by a five foot dynamo called Neelam Lakhaney (also Savage House).

It is very strange, but a few years ago Neelam surfaced on my internet radar but then vanished. Had I been dreaming?

When planning our 50th year reunion, I searched all my mailboxes to find the correspondence that had transpired between us, but I did not trace it.

On the other hand, another Neelam Lakhaney took great offence to how I had addressed our Neelam in one of my blogs and was ready to fly at me over the internet.

But I digress, as I was intending to talk about the Boxing Final's evening.

Those of us who had not made it, got to school early so as to get the best place on the first floor overlooking the boxing ring. The boxing ring was always professionally made up and looked resplendent. I wonder who supervised that. Mr Morecroft?

The air was filled with excitement as we watched our House representatives who had made it to the finals, fight FOR US! It was as if we were in the ring with them, trading blow for blow with the opponent!

The air was always charged with excitement as we watched each fight, shouting for OUR Fighters.

If our guy lost, we were ready to blame the judges. The atmosphere was absolutely electric, right through the evening for a few hours well into the dark. We shouted our throats hoarse.

It was the late night that we enjoyed and it is these evenings that are deeply ingrained in my school days memory!

Friday, February 10, 2012

And now there are two again

For many years, from the mid 90s, there were two Cathedralites in Finland, Prof. Ajeet Mathur and myself. Ajeet lived in Tampere, and me in Oulu (from 1984).

We used to hold reunions at my home whenever Ajeet had felt the need for some company or needed Annikki or my advice on something. (We authored a paper on E-Governance together and I read most of his papers before publication as a critique.)

Ajeet left a few years ago and is now a Professor at the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad.

That left me as the sole Cathedralite on Finland.

After my retirement, I have been running a small service apartment business with apartments in Oulu, Tampere, Espoo and Helsinki.

Oulu is where I live and is a high tech city. Tampere is the industrial hub of Finland in Central South Finland. Helsinki, in South Finland, is the capital city and adjacent to the county of Espoo, which is also famed for higher engineering as it is the home of Otaniemi, the Technical University of Espoo.

The service apartment business is a sort of social service cum hobby. The main clientele are young engineers from various Indian MNCs as Wipro, TCS, Aricent, NSN Bangalore, Hughes Systique and many others.

Recently, I had a request from two engineers from a company I did not recognise. I was able to place them in separate shared apartments in Edpoo.

On my visit to Edpoo, after a hectic schedule, I found my way to the apartment block where I had placed thes guys. It must have been past 10 pm when I reached there.

I found both of them in one of the apartments as they had been dining together. Introductions over, as is customary for me, I pry! Both of them were from Mumbai. "Which school?" I asked, and Ashwin promptly came back with the answer - Carhedral!

I could not believe my ears. Another Cathedralite in Finland. Our Alumni Association was back in buiness.

For the next couple of hours we shared many a topic and I was able to show Ashwin and friends what Cathedral School had meant to me, my association with the school, our fabulous 59er Mother of all Reunions, and much more.

Ashwin has only passed out in 2003, so he probably could not quite fathom how we had kept our spirit so alive. I think he will learn as the yesrs go on.

I have visited Espoo a couple of times siince and made it a point to visit him. He has now moved to his own apartment. I will try to meet up with him on future visits to ensure that our Finnish Alumni Section is kept active.

Great to have you in Finland - Ashwin.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

How to get elected

When I got elected as the President of all Residents in St. Stephen's College in 1961-1962, I was the first 2nd year student to ever hold that post.

I do not know whether anyone else has achieved that in the last 50 years. (I got elected because of a wonderful band of 1st year students - Rajen Mammen Mathew (now Padma Shri); Ramu Katakam; Azar Siddiqui; Suresh Mehra; a great set of guys from my second year; and the support of a few well respected seniors.

That was my winning strategy with the Seniors giving me the respect factor; my year group standing firmly behind me: and the freshers working their guts out at all levels.

What more could I ask?

The reason for bringing this up here is that I learnt a lot from that experience. I have helped many people get elected since.

I share this with you now, as a very dear friend, a classmate, is standing for elections for the Mumbai Muncipal Corporation, and I would like all of you to work to get him elected.

Captain Vijay Shivdasani is 69, retired from the Indian Navy after captaining the aircraft carrier, ran his own business in Hong Kong, and has been doing literally hundreds of things in Mumbai since returning.

He walks tall, still plays a great game of tennis, and is honest and dedicated to the core.

You may be 1000s of miles away, like me,and feel you can do nothing.

But you can create a viral pitch by activating just 7 friends, who in turn can activate 49 more. Within just 1 week we could have an honest man doing things in Mumbai.

The vital step is NAME RECOGNITION. This is very critical. Almost 70% of people going to vote have no clue whom they will vote for 24 hours before voting day.

Just a phone call to a friend telling them about Retd. Captain Vijay Shivdasani and asking your 7 friends to spread the word to 7 more each, has a viral effect when it comes so close to election day.

Reaching the correct voter bank.

I did not know how to reach the bulk voter bank in South Colaba, but one of our contacts, former Cat Alumni President Rajiv Bhatia, was one step shead of me. He had been helping a fisher girl from that area. He has put her to work to reach as many of that group as possible. The effort will be renewed now that he knows that someone 7000 km away is also pushing for Vijay.

Just like the fisher folk, the small shops of South Mumbai are thronged with shoppers. There must be a pitch to get Vijay's flyers in each of those shops.

I would like all of you or your relatives or friends, to take this up with your favorite shop in South Mumbai. The effect will be seen in the result.

Then there are large apartment main doors. A flyer pasted on each main entrance has a remarkable effect as every resident bonds with a person who is visible every time they come home.

Then there are the Community Centres. A flyer in each helps each community trust a person who shows appreciation for their community.

Grass roots exposure in schools, colleges, cinema halls, religous establishments, hotels, restaurants, clubs, buses, in the local area are all important places to place flyers as they get the highly mobile population informed about Vijay.

(Remember that flyers could be in English, Marathi, Gujarathi, Hindi, Konkani, Malayalam and Tamil.)

So let us get started and get Vijay elected! D-day is 16th February 1 week from today.

Let it RIP, let it THUNDER!

Your contact is vital

I have a very important task to reach all Cathedralites world-wide to ask them to rouse their friends to vote for a Cathedralite in the coming election on 16th January.

It is not often I ask for any assistance. Now I do, for my friend.

If you know someone in South Mumbai, please ask them to vote for retd. Captain Vijay Shivdasani, my childhood friend, my school classmate, a good friend till today (like you), totally a man of integrity, a man of decision, and, like me, a man with enormous energy to accomplish things. At 69, he still plays a mean game of tennis, walks tall, and has a schedule which puts me to shame!

I do not ask this lightly. If each of you can rouse 7 voters, just 7, then we will have a viral success that you will be part of with pride in your accomplishment.

Remember that I am 7000 km away but care enough for our CITY to stand up and support one honest candidate.

Please forward to all your friends. 

Call Shivi if you want. Just tell him that I asked you too. He will listen and act on whatever your request.

He is the hand we need up guide our city - Mumbai.

Please note: the Bombay Municipal elections are  to be held on 16th February.


A submission by Vijay and I stand by every word he says:


captainvijayshivdasani@gmail.com; 9833622312

                                A NOTE BEFORE YOU VOTE

 The main reason people do not vote and that there is so much cynicism is because many parties are tainted by rampant corruption, numerous scams and poor performance in governance. You and numerous other thinking voters like you do not find a credible educated candidate of calibre because such people shun politics. For these reasons I have decided to offer myself as an Independent Citizen Candidate – to do the best for Mumbai where I live, for South Colaba where I was born and for Navy Nagar where I spent many years in uniform.

I am a family man, groomed at one of the best schools – Cathedral School, Mumbai, and am alumnus of the National Defence Academy, Khadakvasla. I successfully completed an advanced navy post graduate study at the Royal Military College of Science, UK.

As a serviceman, dedication to my country and men is paramount. The motto, Service Before Self, was deeply ingrained at an early age. It has been uppermost in peace and war. I have had the responsibility to sail and command numerous warships, been the Commander of an operational aircraft carrier, the Operations officer in the 1971 war and Head of the Alma Mater – the Navy’s Signals Establishment, Kochi, where thousands of personnel are trained each year.

Working recently in Mumbai, as head of an NGO, Founder of a Charitable Trust, an active member of the Nariman Point Association and A Ward Federation, I sincerely believe I have the experience, knowledge and educational background to improve the standard of living and lower your taxes by better governance decisions and without corruption.

After retiring from the navy I lived and worked in Hong Kong. It is a modern efficient island city where despite limitations of space, every civic system works – ferries, roads, mass transportation and traffic, drainage, hygiene and healthcare services, municipal education, sanitation and water supply, the rule of law and police, clean green open spaces with low levels of pollution – all these are of a world class standard. This is what I would strive for in Mumbai. This is my Mission.

I am often asked what an independent citizen candidate can achieve. As the saying goes – never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world – indeed it is the only thing that ever has!

So do cast your valuable vote for Corporator for

Vijay Shivdasani - a Captain and Gentleman