India: Ancient Gods & Modern Methods

While a ceremonial fusillade of firecrackers sounded outside, a black-capped Brahmin pandit recited Sanskrit prayers last week in a factory conference hall at Poona, outside Bombay. It was the time of year for worshiping Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity, to whom all wise Indian businessmen annually offer their order books for a blessing. With his workers during the ceremony, his feet bare and his forehead glowing with a dot of vermilion, sat Shantanu Laxman Kirloskar, the U.S.-educated head of India's Kirloskar group, a seven-company combine that sells $46 million...

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