Mr. Nani Palkhivala

Nanabhoy “Nani” Ardeshir Palkhivala (January 16, 1920 – December 11, 2002) was an Indian jurist and economist.

 

Palkhivala had a deep respect, indeed reverence, for both the Constitution, and for the cardinal principles he saw embedded in it: “The Constitution was meant to impart such a momentum to the living spirit of the rule of law that democracy and civil liberty may survive in India beyond our own times and in the days when our place will know us no more.” In 1954, He first articulated his famous statements on the inviolate nature of the constitution.

Nani saw the constitution as a legacy that had to be honored while simultaneously being flexible. Quoting Thomas Jefferson, he said, the constitution must go “hand in hand with the progress of the human mind”. He was however a firm opponent of politically motivated constitutional amendments (His favourite quotation was from Joseph Story, who said: “The Constitution has been reared for immortality, if the work of man may justly aspire to such a title. It may, nevertheless, perish in an hour by the folly, or corruption, or negligence of its only keepers, the people.”).

Not only did Nani Palkhivala interpret the constitution as a message of intent, he also saw it as a social mandate with a moral dimension. As he later stated in the Privy Purse case  “The survival of our democracy and the unity and integrity of the nation depend upon the realisation that constitutional morality is no less essential than constitutional legality. Dharma (righteousness; sense of public duty or virtue) lives in the hearts of public men; when it dies there, no Constitution, no law, no amendment, can save it.”

The economist

Although Nani Palkhivala was one of the leading interpreters of constitutional law and a most ardent defender of the civil liberties guaranteed by the constitution, his legacy also includes the aforementioned authoritative book, The Law and Practice of Income Tax, which he co-authored with his mentor Sir Jamshedji Behramji Kanga.

Although anyone who deals with the convoluted mess that is the Indian tax code will invariably regard the work as a primary reference, the tome has also secured international recognition and served as a tax law draft guide at the International Monetary Fund.

Palkhivala received a great deal of recognition from academics, academic institutions and the government.

In 1963, Palkhivala was offered a seat in the Supreme Court, but declined.

Nani Palkhivala was appointed Indian Ambassador to the United States in 1977 by the Janata government (the first non-Congress Government in India) headed by Morarji Desai and served in the capacity till 1979. He received honorary doctorates from Princeton University, Rutgers University, Lawrence University, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Annamalai University, Ambedkar Law University and the University of Mumbai. The laudation from Princeton called him “… Defender of constitutional liberties, champion of human rights …”, and stated, “he has courageously advanced his conviction that expediency in the name of progress, at the cost of freedom, is no progress at all, but retrogression. Lawyer, teacher, author, and economic developer, he brings to us as Ambassador of India intelligence, good humour, experience, and vision for international understanding….”

Source: Wikipedia

Mr. J.R.D. Tata

Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata (29 July 1904 – 29 November 1993) was a French-born Indian aviator, entrepreneur, chairman of Tata Group and the shareholder of Tata Sons.

Born into a notable Parsi Tata family of India, he was the son of noted businessman Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata and Suzanne Brière. His mother was the first woman in India to drive a car and, in 1929, his father became the first licensed pilot in India. He is best known for being the founder of several industries under the Tata Group, including Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Motors, Titan Industries, Tata Tea, Voltas and Air India. In 1983, he was awarded the French Legion of Honour and, in 1992 and 1955, two of India’s highest civilian awards, the Bharat Ratna and Padma Vibhushan, were bestowed on him for his contributions to Indian industry.

When J. R. D. Tata was in tour, he was inspired by his friends father pioneer Louis Blériot the first Man to fly across English channel, and took to flying. On 10 February 1929, Tata obtained the first pilot licence issued in India.[11] He later came to be known as the father of Indian civil aviation. He founded India’s first commercial airline, Tata Airlines in 1932, which became Air India in 1946, now India’s national airline. He and Nevill Vintcent worked together in building Tata Airlines. They were also good friends.

He joined Tata Sons as an unpaid apprentice in 1925. In 1938, at the age of 34, JRD was elected Chairman of Tata Sons making him the head of the largest industrial group in India. He took over as Chairman of Tata Sons from his second cousin Nowroji Saklatwala. For decades, he directed the huge Tata Group of companies, with major interests in steel, engineering, power, chemicals and hospitality. He was famous for succeeding in business while maintaining high ethical standards – refusing to bribe politicians or use the black market.

Under his chairmanship, the assets of the Tata Group grew from US$100 million to over US$5 billion. He started with 14 enterprises under his leadership and half a century later on 26 July 1988, when he left, Tata Sons was a conglomerate of 95 enterprises which they either started or in which they had controlling interest.

He was the trustee of the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust from its inception in 1932 for over half a century. Under his guidance, this Trust established Asia’s first cancer hospital, the Tata Memorial Centre for Cancer, Research and Treatment, in Bombay in 1941. He also founded the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS, 1936), the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR, 1945), and the National Center for Performing Arts.

In 1945, he founded Tata Motors. In 1948, JRD Tata launched Air India International as India’s first international airline. In 1953, the Indian Government appointed JRD Tata as Chairman of Air India and a director on the Board of Indian Airlines – a position he retained for 25 years. For his crowning achievements in aviation, he was bestowed with the title of Honorary Air Commodore of India.

JRD Tata cared greatly for his workers. In 1956, he initiated a programme of closer ’employee association with management’ to give workers a stronger voice in the affairs of the company. He firmly believed in employee welfare and espoused the principles of an eight-hour working day, free medical aid, workers’ provident scheme, and workmen’s accident compensation schemes, which were later, adopted as statutory requirements in India.

Tata was also controversially supportive of the declaration of emergency powers by Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, in 1975. He is quoted to have told a reporter of the New York Times, “things had gone too far. You can’t imagine what we’ve been through here—strikes, boycotts, demonstrations. Why, there were days I couldn’t walk out of my office into the street. The parliamentary system is not suited to our needs.”[12]

He was also a founding member of the first Governing Body of NCAER, the National Council of Applied Economic Research in New Delhi, India’s first independent economic policy institute established in 1956. In 1968, he founded Tata Consultancy Services as Tata Computer Centre. In 1979, Tata Steel instituted a new practice: a worker being deemed to be “at work” from the moment he leaves home for work till he returns home from work. This made the company financially liable to the worker for any mishap on the way to and from work. In 1987, he founded Titan Industries. Jamshedpur was also selected as a UN Global Compact City because of the quality of life, conditions of sanitation, roads and welfare that were offered by Tata Steel.[13]

Awards and honours

JRD Tata received a number of awards. He was conferred the honorary rank of group captain by the Indian Air Force in 1948, was promoted to the Air Commodore rank (equivalent to Brigadier in army), and was further promoted on 1 April 1974 to the Air Vice Marshal rank. Several international awards for aviation were given to him – The Tony Jannus Award in March 1979, the Gold Air Medal of the Federation Aeronautique International in 1985, the Edward Warner Award of the International Civil Aviation Organisation, Canada in 1986 and the Daniel Guggenheim Medal in 1988.[14] He received the Padma Vibhushan in 1955. The French Legion of Honour was bestowed on him in 1983. In 1992, because of his selfless humanitarian endeavours, JRD Tata was awarded India’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna. In the same year, JRD Tata was also bestowed with the United Nations Population Award for his crusading endeavours towards initiating and successfully implementing the family planning movement in India,[15] much before it became an official government policy. In his memory, the Government of Maharashtra named its first double-decker bridge the Bharatratna JRD Tata Overbridge at Kasarwadi Phata, Pune.

 

Dr. Ervin Laszlo

Ervin Laszlo  is a Hungarian philosopher of science, systems theorist, integral theorist, originally a classical pianist. He is an advocate of the theory of quantum consciousness.

László was born in Budapest, Hungary, the son of a shoe manufacturer and a mother who played the piano; László himself started playing the piano when he was five years old, and gave his first piano concert with the Budapest Symphony Orchestra at the age of nine. At the end of the war he moved to the United States.

László is a visiting faculty member at the Graduate Institute Bethany. He has published about 75 books and over 400 papers, and is editor of World Futures: The Journal of General Evolution.

In 2002, László received an honorary doctorate from the University of Pécs. He participated in the Stock Exchange of Visions project in 2006. In 2010, he was elected an external member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

In Hungary, the minister of environment appointed Laszlo as one of the leaders of the ministry’s campaign concerning global warming.

General Evolutionary Research Group

In 1984, László was co-founder with Béla H. Bánáthy, Riane Eisler, John Corliss, Francisco Varela, Vilmos Csanyi, Gyorgy Kampis, David Loye, Jonathan Schull and Eric Chaisson of the initially secret General Evolutionary Research Group. Meeting behind the Iron Curtain, the group of scientists and thinkers from a variety of disciplines met in secret. Their goal was to explore whether it might be possible to use the chaos theory to identify a new general theory of evolution that might serve as a path to a better world.

Club of Budapest

In 1993, in response to his experience with the Club of Rome, he founded the Club of Budapest to, in his words, “centre attention on the evolution of human values and consciousness as the crucial factors in changing course — from a race towards degradation, polarization and disaster to a rethinking of values and priorities so as to navigate today’s transformation in the direction of humanism, ethics and global sustainability”.

The Immortal Mind

László became interested in the consciousness theories of Anthony Peake, (who in turn was an admirer of László’s work on the Akashic Field). Peake, whose background was in the social sciences,[8] had sought to explain the fact that altered states of consciousness (such as deja vu, dreams, psychedelic drug experiences, meditation, near death experience) sometimes seem to feature precognition and premonitions.[9] Peake had produced a tentative synthesis of the ancient idea of the “Eternal Return” with modern ideas like the simulation argument, the holographic universe, and the many worlds interpretation. In Peake’s hypothesis, one lives variants of the same life repeatedly, and a premonition is in fact a memory of the past.[10] Peake became a Consciousness Studies Department Member at Ervin László’s Center For Advanced Studies.[11] László collaborated with Anthony Peake on the book The Immortal Mind: Science and the Continuity of Consciousness Beyond the Brain.[12]

Macroshift theory

In his book You Can Change the World, László promotes a linking of non-government organizations promoting sustainable development, using the Internet.

Autobiography

László has written an autobiography entitled Simply Genius! And Other Tales from My Life, published by Hay House Publishers in June 2011.

Selected publications

  • The Systems View of the World: A Holistic Vision for Our Time. Hampton Press, 1996.
  • The Whispering Pond: A Personal Guide to the Emerging Vision of Science, Element Books, Ltd., 1996.
  • Evolution: The General Theory, Hampton Press, 1996.
  • Macroshift: Navigating the Transformation to a Sustainable World,. Berrett – Koehler, 2001
  • The Connectivity Hypothesis: Foundations of an Integral Science of Quantum, Cosmos, Life, and Consciousness, State University of New York Press, 2003.
  • You Can Change the World: The Global Citizen’s Handbook for Living on Planet Earth: A Report of the Club of Budapest, Select Books, 2003.
  • Science and the Akashic Field: An Integral Theory of Everything, Inner Traditions International, 2004.
  • Science and the Reenchantment of the Cosmos : The Rise of the Integral Vision of Reality, Inner Traditions, 2006.
  • The Chaos Point: The World at the Crossroads, Hampton Roads, 2006.
  • Quantum Shift in the Global Brain: How the New Scientific Reality Can Change Us and our World, Rochester VT: Inner Traditions, 2008.
  • WorldShift 2012: Making Green Business New Politics & Higher Consciousness Work Together McArthur & Company, 2009.
  • The Immortal Mind: Science and the Continuity of Consciousness Beyond the Brain, with Anthony Peake, Simon and Schuster, 2014.

Source: Wikipedia

Mr. Maurice Strong

Maurice Frederick Strong, PC, CC, OM, FRSC, FRAIC (April 29, 1929 – November 27, 2015) was a Canadian oil and mineral businessman and a diplomat who served as Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations.[4][5]

Strong had his start as an entrepreneur in the Alberta oil patch and was President of Power Corporation of Canada until 1966. In the early 1970s he was Secretary General of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment and then became the first executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme. He returned to Canada to become Chief Executive Officer of Petro-Canada from 1976 to 1978. He headed Ontario Hydro, one of North America’s largest power utilities, was national president and chairman of the Extension Committee of the World Alliance of YMCAs, and headed American Water Development Incorporated. He served as a commissioner of the World Commission on Environment and Development in 1986[6] and was recognised by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as a leader in the international environmental movement.[7]

He was President of the Council of the University for Peace from 1998 to 2006. More recently Strong was an active honorary professor at Peking University and honorary chairman of its Environmental Foundation. He was chairman of the advisory board for the Institute for Research on Security and Sustainability for Northeast Asia.[8] He died at the age of 86 in 2015.[9]

Prof. Amartya Sen

Amartya Kumar Sen, CH, FBA (born 3 November 1933) is an Indian economist and philosopher, who since 1972 has taught and worked in India, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Sen has made contributions to welfare economics, social choice theory, economic and social justice, economic theories of famines, and indexes of the measure of well-being of citizens of developing countries.

He is currently the Thomas W. Lamont University Professor at Harvard University[4] and member of faculty at Harvard Law School. He is a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge and was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences[5] in 1998 and India’s Bharat Ratna in 1999 for his work in welfare economics. In 2017, Sen was awarded the Johan Skytte Prize in Political Science[6] for most valuable contribution to Political Science.

Sen’s work on ‘Choice of Techniques’ complemented that of Maurice Dobb. In a Developing country, the Dobb-Sen strategy relied on maximising investible surpluses, maintaining constant real wages and using the entire increase in labour productivity, due to technological change, to raise the rate of accumulation. In other words, workers were expected to demand no improvement in their standard of living despite having become more productive. Sen’s papers in the late 1960s and early 1970s helped develop the theory of social choice, which first came to prominence in the work by the American economist Kenneth Arrow. Arrow, while working at the RAND Corporation, had most famously shown that when voters have three or more distinct alternatives (options), any ranked order voting system will in at least some situations inevitably conflict with what many assume to be basic democratic norms. Sen’s contribution to the literature was to show under what conditions Arrow’s impossibility theorem[13] applied, as well as to extend and enrich the theory of social choice, informed by his interests in history of economic thought and philosophy.

Sen began his career both as a teacher and a research scholar in the Department of Economics, Jadavpur University as a Professor of Economics in 1956. He spent two years in that position. From 1957 to 1963, Sen served as a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. Between 1960 and 1961, Sen was a visiting Professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States, where he got to know Paul Samuelson, Robert Solow, Franco Modigliani, and Norbert Wiener.[23] He was also a visiting Professor at UC-Berkeley (1964-1965) and Cornell (1978-1984). He taught as Professor of Economics between 1963 and 1971 at the Delhi School of Economics (where he completed his magnum opus Collective Choice and Social Welfare in 1969).[24] During this time he was also a frequent visitor to various other premiere Indian economic schools and centres of excellence like Jawaharlal Nehru University, Indian Statistical Institute, Centre for Development Studies, Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics and Centre for Studies in Social Sciences. Sen was a companion of distinguished economists like Manmohan Singh (Ex-Prime Minister of India and a veteran economist responsible for liberalizing the Indian economy), K. N. Raj (Advisor to various Prime Ministers and a veteran economist who was the founder of Centre for Development Studies, Trivandrum, which is one of India’s premier think tanks and schools) and Jagdish Bhagwati (who is known to be one of the greatest Indian economists in the field of International Trade and currently teaches at Columbia University). This is a period considered to be a Golden Period in the history of DSE. In 1971, he joined the London School of Economics as a Professor of Economics where he taught until 1977. From 1977 to 1988, he taught at the University of Oxford, where he was first a Professor of Economics and Fellow of Nuffield College, and then the Drummond Professor of Political Economy and a Fellow of All Souls College from 1980. In 1987, he joined Harvard as the Thomas W. Lamont University Professor of Economics. In 1998 he was appointed as Master of Trinity College, Cambridge,[25] becoming the first Asian head of an Oxbridge college.[26] In January 2004, Sen returned to Harvard. He also established the Eva Colorni Trust at the former London Guildhall University in the name of his deceased wife.

He has served as president of the Econometric Society (1984), the International Economic Association (1986–1989), the Indian Economic Association (1989) and the American Economic Association (1994). He has also served as President of the Development Studies Association and the Human Development and Capability Association. He serves as the honorary director of the Academic Advisory Committee of the Center for Human and Economic Development Studies at Peking University in China.[29]

Sen has been called “the Conscience of the profession” and “the Mother Teresa of Economics”[30][31] for his work on famine, human development theory, welfare economics, the underlying mechanisms of poverty, gender inequality, and political liberalism. However, he denies the comparison to Mother Teresa, saying that he has never tried to follow a lifestyle of dedicated self-sacrifice.[32] Amartya Sen also added his voice to the campaign against the anti-gay Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.[33]

Sen has served as Honorary Chairman of Oxfam – the UK based international development charity, and is now its Honorary Advisor.[34][35]

Sen is also a member of the Berggruen Institute‘s 21st Century Council.[36]

Prof. Norman Myers

Myers was an advisor to organisations including the United Nations, the World Bank, scientific academies in several countries, and various government administrations worldwide. He was an Honorary Visiting Fellow[3] at Green College, Oxford University, and an Adjunct Professor at Duke University and the University of Vermont[4]. Other vising academic appointments were at Harvard, Cornell, Stanford, Berkeley, Michigan and Texas Universities. He is a patron of London-based population concern charity Population Matters[5].

Myers’s work has ranged over diverse critical global issues and includes 18 books and over 250 scientific papers, produced while working as a consultant and in temporary academic posts. In the late 1970s, his work addressed rapidly accelerating decline of tropical forests. His estimates were later verified through satellite imagery. In the early 1980s Myers addressed the issue of deforestation in the context of land conversion for cattle production, a process that he called the “hamburger connection”, showing the international linkages between industrial food production and environmental decline.

He did some of the early work on biodiversity, highlighting the critical importance of “biodiversity hotspots” – regions that are home to a disproportionately high number of species. This work was cited when he was named 2007 Time Magazine Hero of the Environment.[6] Myers proposed, (in Nature, an article published in 2000 and cited 19,000 times by 2017) that these hotspots should be the focus of preservation efforts as a way to cut the rates of mass extinction and this strategy has been adopted by global conservation organisations raising hundreds of millions of dollars to date – by some estimates the largest amounts ever assigned to a single conservation strategy.[7]

He wrote an influential book “Ultimate Security: The Environmental Basis of Political Stability” that was an early contribution to the field of environmental security and how environmental factors influence local and international politics. Together with Jennifer Kent, he wrote Perverse Subsidies in 2003 that highlighted how large-scale government intervention in the form of subsidies, both direct and indirect, can lead to adverse rather than beneficial effects on society and the environment. He ceased most academic work towards the beginning of the 2010s.

Source: Wikipedia

Prof. Diana Eck

Diana L. Eck (born 1945 in Bozeman, Montana) is a scholar of religious studies who is Professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies at Harvard University, as well as a Master of Lowell House and the Director of The Pluralism Project at Harvard. Among other works, she is the author of Banaras, City of Light, Darsan: Seeing the Divine Image in India, Encountering God: A Spiritual Journey from Bozeman to Banaras, and A New Religious America: How a Christian Country Became the World’s Most Religiously Diverse Nation. At Harvard, she is in the Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies, the Committee on the Study of Religion, and is also a member of the Faculty of Divinity. She has been reappointed the chair for the Committee on the Study of Religion, a position which she held from 1990 to 1998. In March 2012, Diana authored her book India: A Sacred Geography.

Raised as a Christian Methodist in Montana, Eck later embraced Hindu, Muslim and Buddhist beliefs about spirituality and now she describes her religious ideals as “interfaith” infrastructures.[6] She has been connected with the World Council of Churches, and Harvard Divinity School.

Eck’s mother, Dorothy Eck, was a Montana State Senator for twenty years, president of the Montana League of Women Voters, and a delegate to Montana’s 1972 Constitutional Convention.

Eck received her B.A. in Religious Studies from Smith College in 1967, and her M.A. in Indian History from The School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London in 1968. In 1976 she received her Ph.D. from Harvard University in the Comparative Study of Religion.

Since 1991, Diana Eck has also turned her attention to the United States and has been heading a research team at Harvard University to explore the new religious diversity of the United States and its meaning for the American pluralist experiment. The Pluralism Project has developed an affiliation with many other colleges and universities across the country and around the world. In 1994, Diana Eck and the Pluralism Project published “World Religions in Boston, A Guide to Communities and Resources” which introduces the many religious traditions and communities in Boston, Massachusetts – from Native Americans, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, to Zoroastrians. In 1997, Diana Eck and the Pluralism Project published an educational multimedia CD Rom, On Common Ground: World Religions in America (Columbia University Press). This CD Rom received awards from Media & Methods, EdPress, and Educom.

Eck’s interest in other religions combined with her own ‘Christian pluralist’[8] faith led her to develop her concept of pluralism. Pluralism, for Eck, is the best response to the challenges of religious diversity. The term pluralism has been understood in numerous ways but Eck is clear to distinguish between pluralism and plurality[9] – two words which are often used interchangeably and without distinction. Whilst plurality is the fact of diversity, pluralism is a response to that diversity – and in Eck’s account, it is an active, positive response.

Eck lays out three prevalent responses to religious diversity: exclusivism, inclusivism and pluralism.[10] An exclusivist approach takes the position that “my way is the only way”. An inclusivist might consider that there are grains of truth in other ways, but ultimately understands that “my way is the better way”. In contrast, a pluralist response seeks to find new ways of positively engaging with diversity, exploring differences whilst seeking common understanding. On the website for Harvard University’s Pluralism Project, Eck describes the four principles of pluralism:[11]

  1. Pluralism is not diversity alone, but the energetic engagement with diversity
  2. Pluralism is not tolerance, but the active seeking of understanding across lines of difference
  3. Pluralism is not relativism, but the encounter of commitments
  4. Pluralism is based on dialogue.

1995 Eck was the recipient of the University of Louisville and Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary Grawemeyer Award in Religion.[14]

In 1996, Prof. Eck was appointed to a U.S. State Department Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad, a twenty-member commission charged with advising the Secretary of State on enhancing and protecting religious freedom in the overall context of human rights.

In 1998, President Bill Clinton and the National Endowment for the Humanities awarded her the National Humanities Medal for her work on religious pluralism in the United States.

In 2002, Diana Eck received the Martin Marty Award for the Public Understanding of Religion from the American Academy of Religion

In 2003, Diana Eck received the Montana Humanities Award from the Governor of Montana

In 2007, Professor Eck was made a lifetime member of the Girl Scouts of the USA

In 2013, Diana Eck was elected an Honorary Fellow by the Governing Body on the recommendation of the Academic Board of her alma mater, SOAS, University of London

 

Source: Wikipedia