Adgully Exclusive | Indian Myth, managers' grit:Devdutt Pattanaik

In our busy routines of our daily lives, seldom do we stop to take a minute and find meaning to our work. Having a unique designation, Devdutt Pattanaik, Chief Belief Officer at Future Group, Mumbai abets managers to understand their employees and customers better by deriving power from myths. He also aims at creating Retail Religion so that lasting bonds are built between brands and customers.

Speaking exclusively to Adgully, Pattanaik throws more light into his line of work. "Discovering my passion for mythology and meeting Kishore Biyani who believed in the power of mythology in business have been the highlights of my life", Pattanaik said.

He worked in the Pharma and Healthcare industry for 14 years, before turning to comparative mythology, and soon started writing books around mythology, and columns and lectures on the subject. He worked as a consultant in Ernst and Young and is an illustrator for most of his books.

Being a self-educated mythologist, Pattanaik is also an author of several works which includes The Book of Ram (Penguin India), Myth=Mithya: A Handbook of Hindu Mythology (Penguin India) and The Pregnant King (Penguin India). The Book of Kali (Viking India) is based on his talks. Recently he has also launched his new book called, Jaya. He also writes a column for Economic Times called Management Mythos where he translates myth onto modern leadership challenges.

Talking about his recent book, Jaya he said, "Jaya is a retelling of the Mahabharata. It reveals patterns of narratives never before seen. It explains why the original book was called Jaya, which means victory, and not Vijaya, which also means victory. It retells story from folk and regional versions that has never been done before and it has 200 illustrations."

The challenge in this space according to Pattanaik is, "People feel mythology is for children and something rarefied that has no value in business. Business, they feel, is reality."

In his successful show on CNBC, Business Sutra is another platform where he combines myth in everyday life and provides it as a framework. Companies alike have commended on his ability to explain his perception of business in simple ways using myths as the framework.

"Myth is subjective truth. Subjective truth is relevant at all times. Today's circumstances are no different from other times. When someone close to you dies, you will feel pain, as people did a century ago, availability of internet and mobile phones and cars, notwithstanding. At an emotional level, humans today are no different from ancient counterparts. We are modern in technology not in thought. Hence myths are always relevant," Pattanaik further stated.

He was a speaker at the first TED Conference in India held in November 2009. | By Janees Antoo [janees(at)]


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