Admirers remember iconic banker R.K. Talwar

THROWING LIGHT ON VALUES: R. Seshasayee, Executive Vice Chairman, Ashok Leyland, launching the book‘R.K. Talwar-Values in Leadership,’ by handing over the first copy to Surendra Dave, former SEBIchairman, at a function held in Chennai on Sunday. (From left), V.A. George, Chairman, KnowledgeXchange, T.T. Srinivasaraghavan, president, MCCI, and N. Vaghul, author of the book and formerChairman of ICICI Bank are in the picture. Photo: S.S. Kumar   | Photo Credit: S_S_Kumar

Iconic banker R.K. Talwar was, on the occasion of his 90 birth anniversary, remembered by colleagues and admirers as an upright and courageous man who combined leadership acumen with a deeply spiritual side and always brought a humane element to decision-making at the helms of management.

On the occasion, N. Vaghul, former ICICI Bank chairman —the very person who he would call “Boswell” —paid his tribute to his mentor in Boswellian fashion by bringing out a book titled, “R.K. Talwar-Values in Leadership.”

Launching the book at a function hosted by the Madras Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Knowledge Xchange, R. Seshasayee, Executive Vice Chairman, Ashok Leyland, said Talwar's extraordinary sense of courage to stand up to political masters, adherence to truth and the manner of bringing the human element to every transaction were among his many enduring values that were increasingly relevant in the contemporary context of declining values.

Noting that Talwar was as much a stickler for truth as Mahatma Gandhi was, Mr. Seshasayee recounted an instance that illustrated Talwar's ability to see an issue in black-and-white terms without shades of grey. When Mr. Seshasayee was wrought by a moral dilemma over a decision that could be argued as the correct one in one way and wrong in another, Talwar's simple advice was to heed one's conscience and take the decision that would give peace of mind.

On another occasion, he would rather face the sack by Government than compromise on his core values.

Mr. Vaghul, who said his book was more about what the values upheld by Talwar meant for the younger generation and less a biography as it lacked the rigour of research, said the man's integrity, truthfulness, courage and work ethic stemmed from a complete faith in God and the belief that he was but an instrument of the Divine.

Surendra Dave, former SEBI chairman, who shared a long association with Talwar described him as a “beacon we always tried to follow.”

In his observation, Talwar's qualities of courage and truthfulness and his humane outlook stemmed from seeing life in a simple way. He recalled an instance when Talwar as IDBI chief decided to give another opportunity to an errant officer rather than sack him; but went ahead and dismissed the person the second time and justified it as “divine will.”

His empathy for the staff was such that once the then Finance Minister Y.B. Chavan could not help remark at a meeting that Talwar argued the case of bank officers and employees better than them, he recalled.

T.T. Srinivasaraghavan, MCCI president, said Talwar was a steadfast practitioner of the principles of corporate governance, employee empowerment and delegation in his everyday life long before the terms became the buzzwords of modern-day management. Shreyas Doshi, CMD, Shrenuj and Company, Mumbai, and V.A. George, chairman, Knowledge Xchange, also participated.

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Printable version | May 7, 2021 2:20:08 PM |

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