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Karmayogi: A Biography of E. Sreedharan

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Karmayogi is the dramatic and inspiring story of E. Sreedharan, the much-admired engineer and technocrat who won accolades for finishing the Delhi Metro project within budget and on time, in the face of severe constraints. Known for his efficiency and discipline and regarded the world over for his productivity standards, Sreedharan has, surprisingly, never spent more than Karmayogi is the dramatic and inspiring story of E. Sreedharan, the much-admired engineer and technocrat who won accolades for finishing the Delhi Metro project within budget and on time, in the face of severe constraints. Known for his efficiency and discipline and regarded the world over for his productivity standards, Sreedharan has, surprisingly, never spent more than the eight-hour workday in office. This fascinating book looks back on an extraordinary career full of sterling achievements-Sreedharan's years with the Railways, the building of the Kolkata Metro and the Konkan Railway, followed by the Delhi Metro, and the many metro projects he is involved with now. Translated from a bestselling biography in Malayalam, this is the uplifting story of a very private person who has become an icon of modern India because of his uncompromising work ethic.


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Karmayogi is the dramatic and inspiring story of E. Sreedharan, the much-admired engineer and technocrat who won accolades for finishing the Delhi Metro project within budget and on time, in the face of severe constraints. Known for his efficiency and discipline and regarded the world over for his productivity standards, Sreedharan has, surprisingly, never spent more than Karmayogi is the dramatic and inspiring story of E. Sreedharan, the much-admired engineer and technocrat who won accolades for finishing the Delhi Metro project within budget and on time, in the face of severe constraints. Known for his efficiency and discipline and regarded the world over for his productivity standards, Sreedharan has, surprisingly, never spent more than the eight-hour workday in office. This fascinating book looks back on an extraordinary career full of sterling achievements-Sreedharan's years with the Railways, the building of the Kolkata Metro and the Konkan Railway, followed by the Delhi Metro, and the many metro projects he is involved with now. Translated from a bestselling biography in Malayalam, this is the uplifting story of a very private person who has become an icon of modern India because of his uncompromising work ethic.

30 review for Karmayogi: A Biography of E. Sreedharan

  1. 5 out of 5

    Vinayan

    Amazing story of contemporary engineers, whose value systems and execution capabilities a legend....wish the book was written better than just a timeline of events....potential to highlight how he got the system to adapt to right way of doing things, wish someone writes about him lucidly.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Arun Divakar

    The word Karmayoga is the practice of achieving perfection through action and deeds. Ascribing the title of a Karmayogi (a person who puts this principle into practice in life) is perhaps the finest way to sum up the life of Elattuvalappil Sreedharan who the media has dubbed as India’s Metro man. Sreedharan’s is a name that is highly quoted and popular among India’s populace for all the right reasons. His is a fame and popularity that has been built on an impeccable track record of efficiency an The word Karmayoga is the practice of achieving perfection through action and deeds. Ascribing the title of a Karmayogi (a person who puts this principle into practice in life) is perhaps the finest way to sum up the life of Elattuvalappil Sreedharan who the media has dubbed as India’s Metro man. Sreedharan’s is a name that is highly quoted and popular among India’s populace for all the right reasons. His is a fame and popularity that has been built on an impeccable track record of efficiency and effectiveness. Indians also have this fascination with degrees which means to say that not many people will accept you for an engineer if you do not have a degree from the reputed IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) or that you have a post-graduation in management unless you do it at the IIM’s (Indian Institute of Management). Here too, Sreedharan does not fit into this mould as he has done his engineering from a non-IIT but what he has instead are a string of achievements which most engineers could not hope to accomplish in a lifetime. Here are three of the best : • The Pamban railway bridge : In 1964 this was the largest sea bridge in India and was also the lifeline that connected the tiny town of Rameshwaram to mainland India. During a devastating cyclone, the entire bridge was washed out into the sea. The railways set a deadline of 6 months for the completion of the modified bridge and put Sreedharan in charge. In what sounds like a miracle of sorts, the team under Sreedharan’s direction finished the job in 46 days. This sounds all the more fantastic as India is known to be a black hole when it comes to timely execution of infrastructure projects. • The Konkan railway line : Before 1990, there was no direct railway route by which the southern state of Mangalore could connect with the bustling and important commercial capital of Mumbai (then Bombay). Both of these cities being important ports, this was quite the need of the hour and yet travel times were huge and delays were part of the game. There was a decision reached at the ministerial level to have a railway line which will prove to be an artery that connects these two in one shot. After quite a bit of deliberation, Sreedharan was called in to head this project. It was also a highly complicated one as there were four states involved – Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Goa all with differing political intentions and goals. To add to this was also the fact that the railway line had to run through some of the most treacherous terrain that India had to offer. Running through jungles, swamps, rivers and mountains was how it was envisioned. In 7 years, the project was completed against insurmountable odds and naysayers. Spanning a total of 736 km, 128 railway stations and 150 bridges (one of whose girders is only 4m lesser in height compared to the Qutub Minar) this was a mammoth project never before seen in India. • The Delhi Metro : After being dubbed one of the most polluted cities in the world, the need for an MRTS (Mass Rapid Transit System) was paramount for the city of Delhi. Discussions dragged on and on the decision arrived at was to come up with a separate entity that would build and operate the metro for Delhi. And so was born the DMRC (Delhi Metro Rail Corporation) which was part owned by the Government of Delhi and partly by the Government of India) which was also entrusted to Sreedharan. The interesting part was also that Sreedharan was brought out of retirement to head this project. India has this curious habit : when there is a repair to be done on a road or a small alley, it is almost always done by causing the maximum discomfort to the people living there. The Delhi metro however nullified these theories as it was built by causing the minimum harm to the people, buildings and history of Delhi. Under Sreedharan’s leadership, this project too was built and completed to specifications. All these should not give you the impression that this man is superhuman. He is but an engineer who puts tremendous focus on efficiency and effectiveness at the workplace. Productivity is also the single buzz word that seems to keep him going even when he has reached the respectable old age of 83. Sreedharan is also a simple and dignified individual who talks and practices a Spartan life. A word of caution before you approach the book. If you are looking for an easily digestible set of self-help notes from the life of this man then you will be disappointed. This is more of a superficial view of how to manage large and complex projects in the infrastructure space and also of an unassuming man who puts development of his nation on a much higher priority than himself. Recommended !

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nikhil Dwivedi

    Possibly, this is the last book that I am reading this year and I can only wish to have read it earlier in my life. I picked this book after a recommendation and cherished every page of it. Life of E. Sreedharan has been an inspiration and youngsters of India can learn a lot from him. The writing style of the author has been good, a lot of facts and accounts of events. The writing style was pretty inventive and not at all conventional. Book sufficed for a biography.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Anubhav Pratik

    Waking all night to complete a target of my yearly book read, and read this last but not the least is the best way to start a New year with. E Sreedharan, a man who is also known as a Metro man of India, whose contribution in Konkan projects or Delhi Metro shows the splendid work and a benchmark that he instilled for the upcoming generation, will act as a beacon of light for the future ones.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Narendra Settuluri

    every line, every story, every chapter is a great inspiration. for every one who complains about pressure at the workspace, this book is an answer.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Suresh Nair

    Karmayogi is an inspiring story of a post independent India's hero, Elattuvalapil Sreedharan, worthy enough to be made a role model by any budding Engineer in India. Well known as Metro-Man, is a much-admired engineer and technocrat who has won accolades for his major role in the mega projects viz. Konkan Railways and Delhi Metro project within budget and on time in a non-corrupt way and in the face of severe political pressures. Though he was a 0900 to 1800 hours professional he could accomplis Karmayogi is an inspiring story of a post independent India's hero, Elattuvalapil Sreedharan, worthy enough to be made a role model by any budding Engineer in India. Well known as Metro-Man, is a much-admired engineer and technocrat who has won accolades for his major role in the mega projects viz. Konkan Railways and Delhi Metro project within budget and on time in a non-corrupt way and in the face of severe political pressures. Though he was a 0900 to 1800 hours professional he could accomplish whatever was taken up by him. It proves his efficiency and discipline and productivity standards followed by him. He gave a great emphasize on work life balance and is also a standing example of a person who considered age as only a number and was ever ready and eager to contribute professionally; and was equally generous with sharing his earnings with the needy. This stimulating book looks back on a remarkable career full of accomplishments of a person, who has an uncompromising work ethic - Sreedharan's years with the Railways, a short stint at Cochin Shipyard Ltd, the building of the Kolkata Metro and the Konkan Railway, followed by the Delhi Metro, and the many metro projects he is involved with now. The book is a must read for any Engineer who with a service oriented mind, wants to contribute to nation building. This is a translation from a bestselling biography in Malayalam. I read this book in one sitting. I, myself couldn't believe. Yet again it was Ramanathan, who directed me towards this book. Thankyou Ram.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Prateek Dwivedi

    Halfway through the book and I was already impressed with what I was reading. How many of us knew that E. Shreedharan was behind delivering marvelous projects like Rani Padmavati ship and Konkan Railways, before Delhi Metro? The book for me was an eye-opener. I'm glad that this book presented all the facts just the way it is. I'm sincerely interested in knowing more about his views on the decisions he took to deliver projects of huge national importance so efficiently. But I would never want to Halfway through the book and I was already impressed with what I was reading. How many of us knew that E. Shreedharan was behind delivering marvelous projects like Rani Padmavati ship and Konkan Railways, before Delhi Metro? The book for me was an eye-opener. I'm glad that this book presented all the facts just the way it is. I'm sincerely interested in knowing more about his views on the decisions he took to deliver projects of huge national importance so efficiently. But I would never want to read or hear that from someone other than E. Shreedharan himself. Of course, just like anyone else, I had my own expectation with a biography of E. Shreedharan. However, learning that there were so many more things he did before becoming Metro Man of the nation, I was more interested in facts. One might argue that we could have found facts on the Internet. But a good biography binds together the bittersweet incidents of a person's life in a story. And this book has done it quite well. Few bits in the book that made it even more fascinating were the discussion on the life of GP Warrier and other famous engineers. These were the parts which made me realize that little do we know about the magnificent infrastructure in our country and the people who gave their sweat and blood to build it. This is surely a book that will be close to my heart for all the coming years of my life.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Shubham Girdhar

    Not exactly what I was looking for , it contained overview of his various projects ;The problems he faced, how he overcome them , It got tedious after a while as it seemed like a written documentary while I was looking about his philosophical views, his views about his work, about his life, maybe a better writer is what sreedharan's life needs. Compared to APJ abdul kalam's memoir , this is way less inspirational. However I enjoyed reading the intricate details of konkan railways, how much of a Not exactly what I was looking for , it contained overview of his various projects ;The problems he faced, how he overcome them , It got tedious after a while as it seemed like a written documentary while I was looking about his philosophical views, his views about his work, about his life, maybe a better writer is what sreedharan's life needs. Compared to APJ abdul kalam's memoir , this is way less inspirational. However I enjoyed reading the intricate details of konkan railways, how much of a herculean task it was, had no idea about the international recognition it received , same with delhi metro. The inner details of a mammoth organization known as "Indian Railways". Read on to find out how this extremely simple south indian engineer had an affect on your Indian railways and youre probably unaware about it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ranjeeth R

    The story of an unsung hero not known by many. Book brilliantly captures both the life of Sreedharan and the evolution of metro lines in India and hence why he is aptly called as the metro man. A man with thr highest level of integrity, grit and compassion fights all odds to execute the unthinkable. Konkan railways which is a beauty comes to life and so is the DMRC. It is a very good book with respect to project management too, wherein the author furnishes the key aspects of PM at DMRC and also The story of an unsung hero not known by many. Book brilliantly captures both the life of Sreedharan and the evolution of metro lines in India and hence why he is aptly called as the metro man. A man with thr highest level of integrity, grit and compassion fights all odds to execute the unthinkable. Konkan railways which is a beauty comes to life and so is the DMRC. It is a very good book with respect to project management too, wherein the author furnishes the key aspects of PM at DMRC and also throws some light on Indian railways way of managing projects. This can be used as an inspiration for many young people working for a company both private and govt to lead a fulfilling life. I would love to visit Sreedharan's home mentioned in the book somewhere in Palakkad , such is the description of the place given by the author. A fulfilling read

  10. 5 out of 5

    Chokka Upendra

    This is the biography of an ideal person Sir Sreedharan like how he handled the great projects of Reconstruction of Pamban Railway Bridge, Konkan Railway line and how he became a "Metro Man" by effectively Completing the "Delhi Metro" Project without disturbing the Social Life. We can learn a lot from this book like Effective Work-Life Balance, Integrity and the main thing is "Nishkama Karma Yogam" means Selfless action performed without any expectation of Fruits or Results. Worth Reading !!! This is the biography of an ideal person Sir Sreedharan like how he handled the great projects of Reconstruction of Pamban Railway Bridge, Konkan Railway line and how he became a "Metro Man" by effectively Completing the "Delhi Metro" Project without disturbing the Social Life. We can learn a lot from this book like Effective Work-Life Balance, Integrity and the main thing is "Nishkama Karma Yogam" means Selfless action performed without any expectation of Fruits or Results. Worth Reading !!!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Nagul Ram

    India is Indeed Lucky to have one such efficient bureaucrat. If not for this man, Konkan Railways & Delhi metro would have been still under construction. To Imagine the magnitude of work this man has done gives me goosebumps. His only setback being the Kolkata Metro ( You know what Communists are capable of). Must read for Any India railways fan. I'm tempted to travel through the Konkan once again after i completed reading this book :) Oh yes, I would for sure..!! India is Indeed Lucky to have one such efficient bureaucrat. If not for this man, Konkan Railways & Delhi metro would have been still under construction. To Imagine the magnitude of work this man has done gives me goosebumps. His only setback being the Kolkata Metro ( You know what Communists are capable of). Must read for Any India railways fan. I'm tempted to travel through the Konkan once again after i completed reading this book :) Oh yes, I would for sure..!!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Vishal

    A wonderful read to understand the true meaning of professionalism & dedication to service. The mantra of meaningful engagement in profession is adeptly described. The biography categorically highlights the values with which Sh. E Shreedharan nurtured many of his marvellous projects including Konkan Railways, Pamban bridge, metro rail etc. This is a great guide for any individual with a passion for excellence and heart for service.

  13. 4 out of 5

    B.Balasubramanian

    A very interesting book, which is sure to bring in the 'adrenaline rush' within you. High work ethics & values, passion & devotion to work is all well demonstrated. The book may influence to Stay humble even during the days of high achievement. Wonderful book and Mr.E.Sreedharan is a great human being to learn from. A very interesting book, which is sure to bring in the 'adrenaline rush' within you. High work ethics & values, passion & devotion to work is all well demonstrated. The book may influence to Stay humble even during the days of high achievement. Wonderful book and Mr.E.Sreedharan is a great human being to learn from.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Srinivasan Sankaranarayanan

    The book as such is written in a breezy narrative. However, the crux of the book sticks closer to Mr. Sreedharan and his humility, dedication, grit and perseverance in delivering the biggest infrastructure projects in the country. His fondness for the Gita is clearly reminiscent in his actions - a true Karmayogi

  15. 5 out of 5

    Guruprasad

    After 1947 India's Independence , there are very few people who are worth to become Role Model for younger generation and Generations to come , and E Sreedharan is one of Gem of the people who has that Aura and Persona to become a Role Model . a True Karmayogi , Glad i read this Book and recommend this book to everyone who is interested to read . After 1947 India's Independence , there are very few people who are worth to become Role Model for younger generation and Generations to come , and E Sreedharan is one of Gem of the people who has that Aura and Persona to become a Role Model . a True Karmayogi , Glad i read this Book and recommend this book to everyone who is interested to read .

  16. 5 out of 5

    Abhilash Gopalakrishnan

    A great personality as engineer and leader, only comparable to Sir Viswesharayah, ESreedharan Inspires Indians and people across world as a example of Gandhiji saying ‘be the change you want to see in the world’. The biography written in simple language isa great read and can completed fast like half day.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Viji R

    I am a great admirer of Sreedharan sir. This book gave me an inspiration on his management skills, how he handled all pressure situations. Trying to implement some of his ways in my day to day life. A good book to read. I really liked it

  18. 4 out of 5

    Vikash Anand

    Lot to learn from the biography of the Metro Man, E Sreedharan. Played an extremely important role in the construction of bridges, railway networks and metros across various cities and states in India. Got glimpse of his administrative struggles to achieve all such significant acheievements.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Marutheesh Krishnamurthy

    Excellent Simple yet insightful life story of E Sreedharan, popularly known as Metro Man. A life lived on tenets of science and spirituality dedicated to the welfare of common people.

  20. 5 out of 5

    DrRajnish Katarne

    This is a very good book. Its give idea about the grate Sheedhan. How he has contributed in Indian railway. He has play a vital role in kokan railway in India. He has contributed in metro lines/ train in India. So it is popularity know as metro man.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Vijayalakshmi

    Inspiring

  22. 5 out of 5

    Pankaj

    A very inspiring book. Must read for every Indian. I hope more books on these topics will be written which highlights the good work done in Public Fields and would inspire generations.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kuturu Sri Raghavendra Reddy

    Very good book on a good person Inspiring.I've always thought about records in terms of cricketing record.Well here is the man who has set records in every aspect of life Very good book on a good person Inspiring.I've always thought about records in terms of cricketing record.Well here is the man who has set records in every aspect of life

  24. 5 out of 5

    Chandrasekhar

    Inspiring.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Hari

    Excellent book, there are lot of concepts to learn on project management, how single minded focus and determination can do wonders, how to face adverse circumstances

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kamalakannan Elangovan

    Truly inspiring

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sanal P

    A must read book One of the best biographies that I have read. The book is inspirational. One can learn many things out of this book.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Nisarg Hivare

    I simply loved it. Inspires me in my professional sphere.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Priya

    More a documentary of his projects and achievements than a biography. But what a daunting and inspired life.

  30. 5 out of 5

    sandeep

    A biography worth reading A book that give you goosebumbs as the story unfolds into the dramtic life of this greatest railway enggineer ever.

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