The Catalyst

The Catalyst - Professor Vijay Swamy Rao

The Catalyst

Posted by: Aarthi Comments: 22 3


The Catalyst, an unsung stimulant of chemical reactions, also has a beautiful meaning in the deeper human world: As a person whose talk, enthusiasm, or energy causes others to be more friendly, enthusiastic, or energetic.’ — (

Meet Professor Vijay Swamy Rao, the Catalyst in my life who has been both a comforting friend by my side and a powerful influence on my life.

Thoughts of Professor K C Janardhan, Edited and Curated by Aarthi R Nandakishore

Some windows of opportunities open up unexpectedly through casual encounters in life. If you are grounded and focussed walking through every bit of this journey, you pick up some beautiful human contacts and many essential lessons for life. The Savouring Serendipity seed of our blog Saptha Beej is a celebration of such catalyst influences and memorable moments in my life so far.

KCJ'sCake to Prof. Rao in 2014

November 18, 2020: Professor Rao completes 81 years. For me, he is a huge man, beyond all known measures and achievements. He is much more than what my trainee Aamer Ahmed described me in Connecting Dots of Student Spotlight. His birthday this week makes it the apt time to celebrate the man, his achievements, and our friendship over the years. It also reminds me of some important life lessons I learnt by just watching him.

Here is a little prelude to meeting my biggest living influence on human Dynamics’ – Professor Vijay S Rao with excerpts from a detailed interview this Diwali 2020:

When powers are not given to you, you simply grab it!

In his early 20s, this radical approach detailed in human history helped Professor Rao finally get a job on his 26th interview. He was ‘bright’, ‘well-educated’ and had a good command over the English language. He also spoke many European languages yet, he failed the previous 25 interviews. Reason: He lacked British job experience. Besides, those were also the days in England where the experience was ‘without a house, you got no job’ and ‘without a job, you got no house.’

The Catalyst: Professor Vijay Swamy Rao
Prof. Vijay S Rao Speaking at the British Houses of Parliament in 2014

So, what changed drastically on this 26th interview? Ask him this and quickly comes his reply in his classic slogan style:

“The Tongue is but only three inches long, it can fell a man, even six feet tall,” said Socrates. I only had to ask them the right question as an answer which I did finally after 25 rejections – “Isn’t 150 years of the British rule in India and being an Indian, enough British experience to get this job?”

This one question changed his life for the better, and the best of opportunities followed him thereon. Later on, he also became an undefeatable speaker in various fields and Human Dynamics when not much was known about it.

His first job in Wiggins Teap (that belonged to the BAT – British American Tobacco company) involved marketing Security Papers (Currency and Passport papers) to the world. This work had him meeting up with Ministers and Secretaries of Finance and External Affairs Ministry across various countries every day.

Later, as the Secretary of India League under the patronship of Lord Mountbatten, he also fought for the legal immigration of Indians into England. In this process he crossed swords with the then British Prime Minister James Callaghan and Harold Wilson, winning the case in favour of the legal Indian. He also fine-tuned the hobby of writing letters to many famous personalities and meeting them in person.

KCJ Prof.Rao at the corridors in the House of Commons 2013JPG
Meeting Prof.Rao at the corridors of the House of Commons in 2013

He has attended the British Parliament several times, lobbying for India. His experiences and achievements are extremely motivating and inspiring. Back in India, he also had a steady friendship going with many captains of the Indian Industry like J R D Tata and S P Godrej to mention a few. He had a patron in bureaucrat P N Haksar and good senior friends in V K Krishna Menon and M C Chagla. He was the promoter of joint Indian National Public Speaking Forum inaugurated by Nani Palkhivala.

His achievements in the UK and Europe from the 1960s was unimaginable. He was a UNESCO Scholar who addressed several Rotary Clubs in Scandinavia. His real entry into Human Dynamics Training happened when he got into the extensive workshop mode in the late ’80s. When on stage, Professor Rao was an erudite and eloquent speaker on the subject in many Indian and European Languages. He could talk continuously from 6.30 am to 8.00 pm and literally opened up the fire to make a point and eased you in raptures of laughter, speaking on the subject, anytime and anywhere. Many admired him as he made a big difference in their lives.

KCJ & Prof.Rao in Bengaluru, 1997
How We Met? - Prof. Rao and KCJ in Bengaluru, 1997

How did We meet?

We first met face-to-face inside a classic ambassador car in 1991. He was here to train BEL Executives on Human Dynamics and I was training the engineers on handwriting. I was introduced to him by a common friend Mr Jagadeesh Prasad, DGM Human Resources at BEL while driving to the BEL Executive Canteen for lunch. The same evening we hit it off very well while travelling back to his Hotel. His command of the subject and language held the listeners spellbound. I accepted him as my guru in Public Speaking.

We remained in regular contact. He made me his partner in the Training business and we even maintained a joint bank account in Bangalore. I organised and coordinated his programmes on many platforms in Bangalore. He comes from an orthodox family and has five brothers. Today, I take pride in not just knowing him in person but also having earned his love and affection as a ‘privileged younger brother’. Having handwritten his profiles many times and in different ways, me talking about Prof. Rao will also run into pages which you will eventually find in my detailed Autobiography, coming soon.

KCJ Felicitated By Prof.V.D.Karad and Prof.V.S.Rao in Bengaluru 1993
Me being felicitatd by Prof. V D Karad and Prof. V S Rao in 1993

Looking back, it could be my association with Prof.Rao that also got me into the traditional letter-writing mode to various dignitaries and diplomats across the globe. I was indeed privileged to invite Prof. Rao to the British Houses of Parliament in 2013 and 2014 when I co-ordinated a few programs in the capacity of the Vice-chairman, British South India Council of Commerce (in photo). Both these years I also spent his birthday with him at his home in London and later in Cambridge.

KCJs Birthday Gift to Prof.Rao at Cambridge 2014

Back in India, he also helped the Maharashtra Institute of Technolooy (MIT) organise a series of national debates on “The Indian Education System & Need for Change” in Pune and Bangalore under the patronage of P. N. Haksar. He also organised the World philosopher’s meet as the Director, International Relations of MIT, at Pune and Geneva.

Having conducted extensive workshops on Human Dynamics across various public sectors, corporates, banks, Government of Orissa, Government of Karnataka officials, and even the Indian Defence Forces, he stayed active at work until his 70s.

KCJ Prof.Rao in MIT Pune 1999
With Prof. Rao in MIT, Pune in 1999

Presently leads a quiet retired life at Cambridge with a vacation base in Bengaluru. Despite fragile health after two major heart surgeries and failing memory, he still hasn’t forgotten to ask the right question before we wind up:

Why are you talking about my past? What use is my History? I don’t remember much of it…”

We thankfully had an answer that convinced him: “History repeats because looking back continues to give us answers. Maybe that’s why history remains a regular subject in schools.”

Happy Birthday Professor Vijay S Rao! Here’s wishing you the best of health and memories ahead.


K C Janardhan



Memory Lanes & Mutual Respect

KCJ with Prof.Rao on his Birthday in Canary Wharf London 2013 1

“The first thing that struck me about K C Janardhan was that ‘this man’ was dealing with a subject (calligraphy) that was indeed very difficult to market. His progress over the years is both impressive and interesting. I have myself attended a couple of his workshops and deeply admired the way he engraved the subject and deep interest in the audience. He so effortlessly blends management with his beautiful handwriting. He is a self-trained master. I do not doubt that the people who follow him in this art will sure do well. If the attitude is right, the altitude will be high. That is what Human Dynamics is all about.” – Professor Vijay S Rao

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Comments (22)

  • Kishore Ramaswamy

    Thanks for the article on Shri Vijay S Rao. Very interesting and informative.
    The article also tells about Shri Janardhan’s association with Shri Vijay S Rao.
    I wish him a Happy Birthday.

    November 17, 2020 at 9:17 PM
    • admin

      Dear Mr.Kishore,

      Thank You for your kind words. You had attended his lecture at St.Josephs in 1997. I will convey your wishes to Prof.Rao.

      November 19, 2020 at 1:16 PM
  • Hari Ravikumar

    Very inspiring story sir! Really enjoyed reading it.

    November 18, 2020 at 10:59 AM
    • admin

      Dear Hari,
      We are glad that you found it Inspiring.

      November 19, 2020 at 1:18 PM
  • Hiten Balsari

    Wonderful reading about Prof. Rao, your friend, philosopher and guide. Very inspiring!

    November 18, 2020 at 2:22 PM
    • admin

      Dear Hiten,
      I am happy that you found value in it. He was like live wire and a Human Dynamo.

      November 19, 2020 at 1:20 PM
  • Debjani Banerjee

    Nice to read the article!! I wish Prof. Rao a very happy birthday!!!
    Thank you so much Sir!!!

    November 18, 2020 at 2:24 PM
    • admin

      Dear Debjani ji,
      Thank you for your kind words and I will convey your wishes to Prof.Rao.

      November 19, 2020 at 1:21 PM
  • paru


    November 18, 2020 at 4:51 PM
    • admin

      Dear Paru,
      Thank You, I hope more and more people get inspired by true stories in this world of fake news!

      November 19, 2020 at 1:24 PM
  • S S Rao

    Prof.K.C.Janardhan a known Calligraphist who has changed the personalities of thousand of students. His friendship with Prof.Vijay S.Rao has been for a few decades.
    Prof.Rao has been responsible in shaping the career of thousands of professionals and students.
    His PMA to PMA programmes in public, private and defence was highly appreciated.
    Thank you Prof.K.C.Janardhan for your blog “Catalyst” on Prof.Vijay S.Rao. It is a wonderful way to celebrate his 81st Birthday. I join you in wishing him A very Happy Birthday.
    S S Rao.

    November 18, 2020 at 7:01 PM
    • Vedavyas S Rao

      Dear Prof.Janardhan,
      It is said the “PEN IS MIGHTER THAN THE SWORD” that is what you have proved in Conveying your Greetings to Prof.V.S.Rao on completing 81 Yrs.
      You have summed up very well the influence Prof.Rao has made in your life & also brought out his achievements, the impact he has made in the Corporate World and to the Students community.
      All I can say is “We Are Fortunate Indeed In Having An Elder Brother in Vijay S.Rao. God has Blessed him with tremendous Capacity and A Big heart in helping Mankind”
      We Pray that God Blesses him with Long Life & Good Health.

      November 19, 2020 at 8:03 AM
      • admin

        Dear Mr. Vedavyas S.Rao,
        Thank you for all those encouraging words. Indeed we are all fortunate to have had his influence.

        November 19, 2020 at 3:17 PM
      • Niranjan Rao

        Dear K.C.Janardhan,
        You are a gifted writer while Prof.Vijay Rao is a gifted speaker ; What we see now in pictures & read about Prof.Vijay Rao down 81 years of memory lane, only a master calligraphist in Janardhan can present which I just savoured peeping into the specially designed Birthday Blog so aptly greeting Prof Vijay Rao on his 81st birthday; The ultimate form of service one can render to humanity is the service of imparting education which is possible only through speaking & writing which both of you are doing & complimenting each other !! It’s a Divine association and we admire your combined dedication; Wishing Prof Vijay Rao continued good health and all round prosperity on his 81st birthday; Well done Janardhan in paying your respects to your all time mentor;

        November 20, 2020 at 5:15 PM
        • admin

          Dear Mr.Niranjan Rao,
          Your comments are erudite and valuable as you are a learned spiritual scholar. You said it Right that when a writer and speaker come together as a divine association it would be a wonderful combination! Thank you for all the good words and wishes, I am happy for my mentor!

          November 21, 2020 at 8:17 AM
    • admin

      Dear Mr.S.S.Rao,

      Thank you for all those kind words of appreciation, you have seen us both in close quarters and I am happy that you are joining us in wishing him.

      November 19, 2020 at 1:27 PM
  • SRD Sharma

    A very beautiful read

    November 18, 2020 at 7:53 PM
    • Shankaranarayana BN

      I’m proud of Sri Janardhan sir because I met him personally and attended his programme in our SIR MV college, Davangere, it was very useful for us and our students, this article is also excellent and informative, thank you very much Sir for giving me an opportunity to go through this

      November 19, 2020 at 10:04 AM
      • admin

        Dear Mr.Shankaranarayan,
        It’s my pleasure, you are welcome!

        November 19, 2020 at 1:32 PM
    • admin

      Dear Ms.S R D Sharma,

      Thank You for acknowledging that it was a very beautiful read. We hope to bring more such nostalgic blogs to make people recall those memorable moments.

      November 19, 2020 at 1:30 PM

    Inspiring.I really enjoyed reading this article

    November 20, 2020 at 9:18 AM
  • S.L.Ravi sharma

    The greatest aspect about Mr Vijay is, despite reaching very high standard in his life in several fields he is very humble down to the earth. This aspect seldom noticed in personalities who achieved something big. May the Almighty give him a long healthy life to inspire more and more people in the society.

    December 3, 2020 at 8:20 PM

Comments are closed.