29th August 2008

If you are from a low-income family and a student of humanities with high aspirations, then you are bound to hit some major roadblocks in India. Something happened on 29th August 2008 which made this deeply entrenched in my mind. Those who know this, Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture (RMIC), Golpark offers a 1 lakh rupee fellowship every year to a few students who have successfully been selected for any university abroad. There is no subject restrictions, or at least there weren’t back then. At the time I applied for the fellowship in March-April 2008, I was already holding unconditional offers for MA Archaeology from 6 major UK universities. This was even before I completed my final BA exam, so an unconditional offer was quite something, and was beyond my expectation. My father asked me to apply for this fellowship as it would help us fund the airfare and pay the deposit and advance for the University accommodation. I applied for the fellowship and waited until the end of August for a decision. In the meantime, I had accepted the offer from the University of Exeter.

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Know and Say “No”

When Leicester City went into the 2016 New Year, top of the English Premier League table, it surprised everyone, including the longtime Foxes fans, its management, the owners and some new fans like me. Leicester was almost relegated the previous season and had miraculously pulled up a “Great Escape” in their last 10 games under then Manager Nigel Pearson.

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Tourism in Post-COVID19 Bengal- Rebrand, Empathize, Go-Micro

Immersive Trails Co-founder and wife Chelsea McGill and I have been to several tourism meetings in the last 4 years about branding and marketing Bengal. The two topics of discussion were common in these meetings.

1. Branding and marketing targeted at the “inbound”

2. Tourism=Durga Puja

In our limited experience in building an experiential tourism company from scratch, I think this has been our Achilles Heel in branding Bengal.

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How to Privatize Indian Archaeology the Right Way

I proposed something radical on a talk that I gave yesterday. Radical that is, in the context of Indian archaeology. I proposed that the government allow semi-privatization of archaeology with some level of government oversight.

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“He Working as a Kitchen Boy in Macdonald in UK. Not PhD”

Tathagata Neogi has fake phd. Proof is there. He working as kitchen boy in Macdonald in UK. Not PhD. see foto. careful.fraud.

email send by hyanglahukumokho@yahoo.com on 15 Dec 2020

A few months back the above message and the photo floated into the mailbox of a few of my friends and regular customers of Immersive Trails. I received a flurry of whatsapp messages and screenshots almost immediately from a majority of them expressing disgust at what they were seeing. The email sent by a certain Hukomukho Hyangla under the subject “Tathagata Neogi PhD Fraud” wanted to make a selected group of my close friends aware that I did not hold a PhD in Archaeology from the University of Exeter, and that while I did spend some years in the UK, I was actually working all of that time at a McDonalds. The drift, therefore, being that I was cheating everyone lying about my academic credentials, which many of my business competitions thought, lent me more credibility to the customers of Immersive Trails.

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Guts Matter, Caste Don’t

I was watching a talk on YouTube by Wow Momo founders Sagar and Vinod Kumar. The way they made momos (dumplings, sort of) into a successful fast-food chain in India, is really admirable. But what put me off in their talk, is something that seems to be a trend in the talks by many current generation startup founders in India. They proudly emphasized, like many others, about the caste/community they were from, which was portrayed as a reason for their success. Here, they are from a small, closely knit Sindhi community in Kolkata. For other similar talks, many other founders emphasize on their Marwari or Gujarati roots as a recipe to their startup success. My non-Indian readers must have gotten the drift by now. The Marwaris, Gujaratis and Sindhis, much like the Jewish community in the West, are known for their business acumen and ability to take risks. These communities and their caste networks made an enormous impact in the economy of South Asia for hundreds of years.

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