He was a brilliant kid who lost both his parents at an early age, then brought up by grandparents, went on to collect B.Tech. from IIT-Delhi with a very high rank, followed by MBA from the most ‘elite’ University in the world, Harvard Business School, joined so-called most elite management concern McKinsey & Co., rose to become their Managing Director, made his mark across the world with personal friends like Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and ex-US President Bill Clinton, founded Indian School Of Business, raised personal assets worth US $ 130 million that includes a waterfront home in Westport, Connecticut which he had to struggle to save from forfeiture along with several other assets after his glittering career crash-landed for his involvement with his billionaire hedge fund manager friend Raj Rajratnam.
His friends conducted an orchestrated e-campaign to mobilise public opinion in his favour branding US Judiciary not so considerate on the lines of what Lalu Yadav did after being convicted in fodder-scam in hinterland of Bihar and Jharkhand, visited his country of birth, visited old kin and friends…to collect and gather as much sympathy as possible…!! Long arm of the law represented by trigger-happy Preet Bharara caught up with him ultimately as anticipated.
After spending some US $ 50 million on legal fees and associated costs out of his personal money, all his appeals being rebuffed outright, docked with civil penalties of some US $ 25 million, the man was then sent to Massachusetts prison that houses his Sri Lankan friend Rajratnam of Galleon Group whom he had tipped of vital information in his capacity as Director of Goldman Sachs immediately after crucial board meetings and surreptitiously recorded by the FBI, right with the telephone instrument kept in the board-room, enabled Rajratnam earn millions of dollars through the offence of insider trading. He did so with other companies too who had reposed their confidence in his professional integrity by having him on their Boards of Directors. Is it not an extremely churlish, immature and irresponsible conduct by Rajat Gupta, a man with so many accomplishments, listed in the world’s Who’s Who? Having served 19 months in Jail, he has authored his Sob-autobiography Where The Mind Is Without Fear naturally as a victim. When comprehensively interviewed by the Times Of India, he passed the proverbial buck onto desks of almost everyone even remotely connected with the entire saga but for a very simple confession, “..I should have been more restrained and avoided profit-hunting calls to my investment managers from Board rooms immediately after every Board meeting…it was fraught with enormous risks and I was childish enough not to figure out that in spite of my gleaming and scintillating intellect…”
Rajat Gupta did lose out his parents yet Isvara blessed him a bountiful of fame and fortune, IITian wife, highly placed friends and kin as well as formidable reputation for his rectitude (or otherwise!), his ‘world-class’ philanthropy, surrounded by an aureole of sanctity in addition to world-class education to boot….Is it that he did not deserve all that at all? Why did he turn out be just a petty-minded bookie, avaricious and covetous of silver pieces? Why did he don the mantle of a typical greedy American championing their ‘national’ ideology of “GREED IS GOOD”? Why did world-class education in ‘elite’ institutions fail him so miserably? Did he blunder in guarding against his sins of omission and commission instead of guarding himself against his saintliness, whatsoever? Did he blunder in admiring his heightened self-worth and the halo of greatness imposed upon him instead of admiring his noble deeds, whatsoever? Then, did he blunder in assuming, he can do no wrong, what he does not/cannot do can never be the right thing to do and finally, whatever he does is always a noble deed? Or is it that he stupidly substituted moral grandeur with shallow humility, wore it like a diamond-studded cloak that dazzled his own eyes more than that of the world? Or by design and intent, he preferred company of those who admired him incessantly while discarding those who were critical of him? Probably he forgot in the maelstrom of life that admiration slaughters while criticism nourishes and nurtures.
If wisdom is completely divorced from knowledge, then why can’t education is allowed to provide wisdom too, concurrently? No, University education howsoever elite, DOES NOT impart wisdom. What ‘elite’ institutions provide is at best, knowledge of a high order constrained with the intent of minting loads of money, explore more knowledge to be able to mint more money. There is a complete disconnect between knowledge and wisdom as well as both have to be pursued individually and independently. It is a very high-voltage Truth that most of us either ignore or reject it outright snobbishly, then compelled to assimilate it in a pathetic ambiance just like Rajat Gupta was forced to absorb Bhagvat Gita from cover to cover in his American solitary confinement instead of during his hey days when the sun shone so brightly over his head. Once this fundamental tenet is precisely understood and accepted, such a conduct would not surprise or perturb anyone. Even the weirdest piece of human conduct by someone as elite as Prince Charles or as erudite as Bertrand Russell would appear quite expected.
Chasing wisdom is altogether a different proposition. Very different kind of inputs are required in a different ambiance altogether. Only if Rajat Gupta had paid attention to that or someone could explain essentiality of gaining wisdom as seriously as possible, only if someone could convince him wisdom being the actual vitality of life and knowledge, then he would not have been engaged so much with an army of no ones pampering his own egoism much to his pleasure and exhilaration. He must have heard about Swami Ramakrishna Paramahamsa as he was born and brought up in Kolkata, a Sannyasi who was absolutely illiterate, never attended any college or University, did not know how to write his name yet he was truly THE WISEST ONE of his time, in the entire world.
I wish all the very best for Rajat Gupta.