Story of INDIA – I love the Paradox
The most fascinating story in the world is unfolding. It is all happening here in India. New ideas are getting seeded in the minds of billion India. Prime Minister Modi is spearheading the historic change. It is not incremental reform, it is about radical transformation. There is a new hope in the country. The young generation is high on aspiration.
In the illumination there is an illusion.
Just take the life of a new age entrepreneur in India, as the talk is on the Startup India. They are all ready and raring to go but there is a hitch. There are no swimming pools still the excited entrepreneur attempts to swim, there are no pavements on the streets still he wants to walk on the pavement, there are no roads to ride but he still wants to zoom past with auto cruise mode of his swanky new car…there’s definitely a lag between the thought and the action. I am not cynical but I am concerned. I must say, it is closing very rapidly. It’s a country where paradox has become an integral part of the life and living of people.
It is a country of DIVERSITY and ADVERSITY.
We love to live with irony.
Each one of us love the diversity and many of us live with adversity.
A country of billion people and a million problems, it shouldn’t be a problem; the equation is in our favor but there lies the paradox. We leave our country and solve the problems of other countries, that’s really good. We have perhaps the most untapped potential of human capital. We have one of the highest reserves of natural resources of Coal to Iron to Bauxites. The old economy entrepreneurs. We have some of the richest entrepreneurs of the world as Indian (Mukesh Ambani to Ratan Tata to Narayan Murthy) and they are very much residing in India, few of them have already started showing the direction. Collaboration is good but not dependency. Though we still need VCs and PEs from the far off countries like US & UK to fuel us with the capital to ignite our engine and keep our startup growth vehicle going. We can have our own VCs & PEs. The paradox, 1% of the Indians accumulates more than 50% of the country’s wealth, this kind of lopsided distribution can perhaps happen only in India. It was not the case. We need to learn the art of redistribution of our own wealth.
It is high time to correct the imbalance.
Historically, we were considered in the lower rang on the literacy scale and ironically we have the largest English speaking people in the world. There was a recent debate on the degree of intolerance in our country, one has to look at what is happening in the Arab world to put things in perspective and reactions went beyond the discourse and understandably, there are some arguments that always spill over. After all we are a country of Argumentative Indians, beautifully encapsulated by Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen in his book. We Indians argue for everything and anything, and still we love our disagreement. One should see the emotions not the logic behind the arguments, more often, than not it is thrown out of the window; the passion to argue takes the centre stage.
We have something called Jugaad, it could be in local parlance equated to the word “Innovation”. Interestingly, there is a book on indigenous engineering titled Jugaad by Navi Radjou, Jaideep Prabhu and Simone Ahuja. You give us anything and leave us anywhere we will find a way out to get going, it may not be measured in the conventional yardstick of success but one has to witness and appreciate the spirit behind it. Entrepreneurship is within our blood and we engage to experiment and to explore but our system is not expanding to accommodate our rising aspiration, the irony, if it is, within, why to depend on the outside action to activate our urge to do something new and something different.
We grumble as a country we are not growing but our economy is the highest growing economy of the world where the world is growing at 2-3%, we have grown at 6-8%, more than double the world growth rate. We are a country, home to the highest Himalayan mountain peak, Mt. Everest to climb and best range for skiing at the Gulmarg resort to the mesmerizing beauty of Kashmir valley to one of the largest desert Thar in Rajasthan to the God’s own country Kerala to the bustling metropolis of Mumbai to the eternal fun-loving Goa…the spectrum is wide-spread, still we are nowhere in the list of top tourist destinations of the world. Hong Kong leads the pack with almost 30 million tourists every year; it has its own charm but not the spectrum of India.
It’s an irony of attraction and we need to change this paradox.
We are proud to talk about Indian Americans and the way they have contributed to the knowledge capital of United States of America, it is a landmark accomplishment, lauded by President Obama. The moment we talk of Indian Americans and their contribution to India, we are left with more questions than answers…we blame our government and lack of conducive environment; it boils down to lack of proper policy and the existing policies are loaded with archaic legal wrangles. Things have significantly changed in last one year under the leadership of PM Modi, in his own word this is just a beginning and indeed it is very good start. We love blaming and even if we have left the land and leaving in far off land, we love questioning the gaps back home and have failed to bridge the gaps, after all it is government whom we have elected has to be blamed. Prime Minister Modi has visited to all these countries where Indians reside and have changed the perception, in politics as in life perceptions do matter.
We love our passion for Cricket and we love our romance in Bollywood.
We have excelled in the game of playing cricket and we have outperformed our acting in dancing and singing. We are the largest producer of movie in the world but none of our movie gets a place to be placed in the world podium, every year we wait with excitement and anxiety when one of our movies gets nominated to Oscar. Football remains the world’s most popular sports but we remain at the bottom. We love to watch the Europe Football League (EPL) not play football. We love to play cricket and we have made cricket football style with the introduction T20 and India Primer League (IPL), now we detest watching test cricket and still we are crowed the No.1 test playing nation. We forget everything when we are watching cricket or we can give everything to buy a movie ticket to watch our favorite star performing.
We idolize our stars, though, we are country of many idols. We love to worship, though “work is worship” we have changed the position and have fallen in love with “worship is work”, we are good at juggling, I mean creativity in our usage of words and work. We are country where spiritualism is at the epicenter of work and worship, Sri Sri Ravi Sankar (Art of Living), is creating a new way of living a healthy and a holistic life.
We have the highest IT professionals in the world and we have changed the IT landscape of the most developed and powerful nation like USA, still we don’t have a single branded IT product coming from India, it is the USA churning the global IT brands like Google to Facebook to Microsoft. Interestingly, all these companies are being headed by Indians and not far off when Facebook has to have a face off and get on board an Indian to head, after all India is the Facebook’s highest user base. Startup India, Standup India and Make in India are all set to change the landscape of product innovation and branding in India…Indians brands like Flipkart to Paytm to Snapdeal are already leading the pack and given the startup India a head start.
We have always undermined our scientific and research capability and we keep questioning our scientific talent and the ability to innovate and invent. We have been questioned for our lack of scientific temper and the technology other than Information Technology. This was true until we showcased our success story of Mangalyaan Satellite. We were the fourth country in the world to have successful launched the inter-planetary satellite, and we have done so in record time and at a cost ($70M as against $450M) which has become a benchmark for the world. ISRO is started setting new benchmarks and still we love to look at NASA scientists (36% of the NASA scientists are Indians) for benchmarking…the paradox.
We Indians have to learn loving ourselves a little more and start sharing a little more, we are well-known for caring and sharing but we have somehow overlooked the art of living and the science of loving, in the disguise of digital distraction and massive development, this in no way mean, we have lost track of reality, though in reality we Indians are the most loving people and we love to welcome the world to be a part of the Indian Story…there is fun, there is excitement and there is a sense of immense fulfillment.
I Love the Story of my country INDIA…we all love our country.