Sunday, December 18, 2011


During my second year at B School, one of my profs had (probably as a punishment for not submitting some assignment) asked a bunch of us to write up who are the 5 people who have touched us the most and why. As I was cleaning my IIM A HDD, I stumbled upon this giving me some fodder for introspection.

1. My father
He taught me the value of education. He taught me what it means to stand on one’s own. He also taught me the cost of freedom. He always says , “ I’ve given you all the freedom in the world in the belief that you won’t misuse it!”.

2. Adolf Hitler

I have been inspired by his war tactics and single minded determination. He is one
person whom I probably hate the most amongst human beings without a complete lack of

3. Viktor Frankl

Among the 3 philosophers from the Austrian school of Philosophy, I am inspired by
the works of Frankl more than both Freud and Adler. His belief in love even under
the inhuman conditions of concentration camps and his will to survive even while his
parents, sister and wife were being burnt alive or gassed in the chambers speaks volumes about him. His works on existentialism have always given me new meanings in life whenever I read them

4. Paulo Coelho

If there is one person who has instilled huge optimism in me towards life, it is Paulo Coelho through his masterpiece “The Alchemist”. The motif that if we will for something strongly enough the whole universe conspires for our success has lifted me out of despair and put me in search of success with renewed vigor many a times.

5. Mahatma Gandhi

Here was yet another individual whom I loved and respected even though I did not
really identify with or support all his decisions and methodologies. I think he merited a lot of respect for his single minded devotion to chosen path of success. He taught me that end need not always justify means. Though if independence struggle was taken as a singularity then I would put Bhagat Singh or Subash Chandra Bose above Gandhi as persons who have instilled in me a deep love for our country, Gandhi gave me a benchmark in passion towards a cause.

I've changed a bit since that day 6 years back. How has it affected the list ?
Adolf Hitler is out. George Schaller is in. My views of Gandhi has changed from cynical respect to pure respect without yet being a "fanboy". Paulo Coelho just about remains in the list under competition from Sachin Tendulkar. (Close choice!)
Would be interesting to read this list 10 years, 20 years from now ! Make a list !