Will the real Suhel please stand up! Rouge, Times of India 25/03/06
   
Adman, lecturer, author, columnist, businessman… Many roles, one man. Suhel Seth, founder, Equus Redcell, in conversation with Martin d’Souza
 
   

How would you define Suhel Seth?
I would say that I bring a lot of energy, passion and integrity in everything I do. And that’s how I would describe myself. Also, I’ve never feared the truth. I’m a great believer that the truth must be told and in a direct manner, which is why I’m not popular and I don’t want to be.

Does being to the point work in today’s day and age when diplomacy seems to be the watch word?
I’m sure I have hurt a lot of people unwittingly. I’m sure a lot of people, perhaps, justifiably think I’m obnoxious, arrogant and rude. I’m sure there could have been a better way. But look. I’m 42. It’s too late for me to change. So if the other guy does not want to change, stuff it. I might sound biblical, but I believe in the definition of right and wrong.

How do you manage to flit from one role to another, don’t you get stressed?
I never stress because I treat each of these as independent activities. Each activity should be treated with the greatest attention to detail. If you believe that, then when you give your 100 per cent and more, it’s not stressful. It’s delightful.

What you are basically saying is that you believe in the power of Now.
I believe that every moment that I spend on this planet has been gifted to me by God. I must not regret those moments, I must savour them; I must not worry about the future, I must enjoy the present. I must not worry about the past, I must only learn from it. And then build a today, a here, a now which is satisfying, delightful and which doesn’t hurt or harm people.

You have been appointed by the Government of India to create a vibrant brand India…
I have become a trustee on the Government board since last June. I think we did some amazing things, like ‘India Everywhere’ at Davos this year. That was done under the India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF). The mandate and the charter of the IBEF, is to position Brand India as an economic and investment destination.

To create a vibrant ‘Brand India’ what would you think are the pre-requisites?
We got to tell people that doing business in India is easy. That doing business in India is not about corruption, it’s about convenience; that doing business in India guarantees returns. Most importantly, doing business in India protects you because of our fundamental legal judicial corporate law systems.

How would you position the woman of India today?
Let me tell you that the Indian woman today is far more talented, is far more contributory in her professional space, whatever it may be. I’m not trying to be popular with the women although I need it desperately. I have always believed that women managers are far smarter and committed than male managers. Women have a sense of purpose in India, which unfortunately the Indian male doesn’t.

Is this some sort of male bashing?
No. It’s not male bashing that I’m indulging in. The Indian woman today is economically self-sufficient. The Indian woman has progressed. She’s saluted. If you look at advertisements, there are more and more ads that target just the woman. Earlier she was part of a family unit in a commercial. Today, there are products made just for her. As this country marches towards progress there will be much more scope for the Indian woman.

Are you saying there should be more women in politics?
I hope so. I hope some of the jokers in parliament have the courage to continue with reservation. We need that. There are a lot of pockets where men bully women out of contesting elections. You now have Sonia Gandhi. What more example of woman power can you get?

Finally, Suhel is also a bachelor. What happened, not enough time to scout or are you married to your work?
I want to get into a meaningful relationship, and I haven’t found anyone yet. I’m not going to get married just because it’s smart enough to do so. Yes, I’m looking out, but not with a microscope.

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Copyright 2006 Martin D'Souza. All rights reserved.