While discussing about International Corporate Governance Code, ICSI in its web-document has mentioned that with Rama Rajya as a model code for good governance, the Ramayana is a must read for practitioners of statecraft. The document is full of words of wisdom for instance it depicts that Bhagwan Ram laid emphasis on competence and confidentiality. His advice to Bharat is to take a decision on a complex issue neither unilaterally nor in consultation with too many people. There should be an efficient core group. A good administrator can ensure high returns from minimum investments. Bhagwan Ram tells Shri Bharat to prefer one wise man to a thousand fools as it is the wise that can ensure prosperity during an economic crisis. Even if there is one minister who is really effective, the king will gain immensely.
Dr. Moorthy Iyer in his paper uploaded on academia.edu entitled Governance system prevailing in India - a case study of Shri Ram Rajya has cited several interesting instances that are worth thought provoking for instance at the death bed, Ravan told Bhagwan Ram that "Things that are bad for you seduce you easily; you run towards them impatiently. But things that are actually good for you fail to attract you; you shun them creatively, finding powerful excuses to justify your procrastination. That is why I was impatient to abduct Sita but avoided meeting you. This is the wisdom of my life, Ram. My last words, I give it to you". Moorthy also narrates that in Kishkindha Kanda Hanuman Advices King Sugreev that "Matchless kingdom is his who can keep his treasury, army, friends and his own sovereignty - all these four, in equiponderance."
In his article entitled Kautilaya to Modi : Governance Models from India, noted expert in Indian Management, Prof. Subhash Sharma mentioned that while Swaraj is Self rule, Ramrajya is Good governance on the part of rulers. He added that the vision of Ramrajya is beyond the ideas of Socialism and Capitalism and pertains to 'No corruption'. Prof. Sharma beautifully captured that the key aspects of Gandhi's governance model namely Swaraj; second-Oceanic model of grassroots development and third - Means - Ends relationship are blessed with the foundation and philosophy of Ramrajya.
So, in this backdrop let's explore few dimensions of good governance that can be derived from Ramayan for corporate governance.
A) Succession Related Matters :
Two exemplary evidences from Ramayan can enlighten us in this subject :
1. Bharat even when legally and technically eligible to sit on the throne of Ayodhya, not only declined to accept it but also termed it as unethical and against the spirit. But at the same time he ensured that his duties and responsibilities of successfully running the Kingdom were fulfilled. He discharge the duties with best of his efforts.
2. Even before winning over Lanka Shri Ram declared that Vibhishan would be the natural successor of Ravan. He did not even wanted to stay in Lanka for a second after freeing Mata Sita from Ravan. He said to Lakshman - this golden Lanka does not interest me, mother and motherland are superior than heaven. When Vibhishan's Rajtilak was done, he said, it comes naturally to me that if I win any kingdom, I don't plunder it's wealth, but try to establish good leadership there.
B) Diversity and Inclusiveness -
Who could be a better example setter than Bhagwan Shri Ram? He managed and led a team with an aggressive Laxman, mighty Sugreev, mercurial monkeys, calm and composed Jamwant, Vibhishan, and Bhakt Hanuman. The most important characteristic was that he listened to all of their diverse views opinions, strategies and took integrative decision, which was all inclusive and but had unique inputs from his own acumen.
C) Whistle blowing of Vibhishan -
These days whistle blowing is considered very important for transparency and ethical behaviour in a corporate. If we look into Ramayan, we had one of the greatest whistleblowers of all times - Vibhishan. He questioned unethical practices of Ravan, raised voice against it many times. But the most important point is that all was done with a sense of maturity, respect and in a calm and composed manner. He maintained the sanctity and neither wanted to capture Lanka nor oust Ravan. Also, his aim was not to defame Ravan. He wanted that Ravan should be ethical leader and lead the Lanka for long time and for this, Ravan's behaviour and actions were needed to be righteous.
D) Loksangrah -
Socially responsible leadership of Raja Janak has been Hallmark of Bharatiya approach to development. When a leader follows karmayog path in nishkaam karm mode, it results in self development as well as the development of the organisation or society. The trusteeship model is a similar approach which ensures that the organisation contributes to the development of the society.
This article briefly highlighted four points for deriving some ideas from Ramayan. There are plenty of such ideas which can enrich our understanding of corporate governance. It is wonderful to note that organizations, regulators and academicians have started realizing significance of Ramayan for good governance. Also, it can motivate the young generation to learn from our history. Also, this will encourage various management teachers to develop indigenous case studies based on similar incidences to bring new ideas into management classroom. The practicing managers can find new ideas and strategies for their development and their organisational development.