Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Despite khadi vests

It's been 63 years since India adopted its Constitution and fortunately, I’ve been a part of more than a couple dozen anniversaries. Through my growing years, in several different ways, I've celebrated this remarkable day with a lot of enthusiasm and fervor, with activities that every Indian is privy to… from flag hoisting to march past to painting my face and dressing up in colors of the flag to singing along with Lata on the television screens, a few customary tears invariably rolling down my cheeks. But I'm not sure I ever gave it enough thought and consideration. I'm not sure I ever attempted to fully comprehend what it means to live in a free India. I'm not sure I valued the brighter aspects of it and opposed the not-so-bright ones. Sure I sat through all those speeches from visionaries, dignitaries and political leaders but unfortunately nothing seems to have registered or made an impression. Was I just inattentive or inspiring speeches are a rare find?

It feels rather ironic that so many years later, when I'm no longer even celebrating it in the conventional ways, I'm taking the time to indulge in something I should have done long ago. I conduct analytics for a living and in the end, it all boils down to the arithmetic of what has worked and what hasn’t. If someone was to do the math on our country, what would the outcome look like? Have we successfully implemented everything that was outlined in the Constitution or has our bureaucracy failed us? I can almost hear a brusque reply from someone in a khadi vest or a dated safari suit saying "Madam, it is not as black and white as that. It is complicated." I bet it is. It better be. It is after all the largest democracy in the world. But read between the lines through any new policy failure and you’ll notice that if it ain’t the hierarchy, it’s the procedures. If they’ve streamlined procedures, then it’s the protocols that sting. If protocols have been mastered, then it’s the regulations. If somehow, miraculously, regulations are followed, then it’s the C word (corruption, silly). And by the time all of the above puzzles are solved, it’s either time to break for a festival or for winter session and soon time to re-elect. Where is the time to implement?

I heard Rahul Gandhi imply very categorically in a speech that it may not be entirely true that our government is by the people, of the people and for the people. He categorized politicians four ways; (1) those with power - money or muscle, (2) those who've got it running in their veins, (3) those with the right business cards in their pockets and last and quite unfortunately the least, (4) genuine and deserving, which amounts to less than 10% of those who are elected.

So let me get this straight; only about 10% represent people who need to be represented and the rest are by proxy or default. Brilliant, isn't it? It is indeed because despite that, we're one of the largest emerging economies of the world. Despite that, we’re the largest producers of brain power in the world. Despite that, global corporations cannot survive without their back offices in our nation. Despite that, a common man can become the president. Despite that, our technological initiatives are comparable with any nation out there, our movie industry can churn out more films than any others and we’ve pushed some 24 folks in the top 100 billionaires in the world.

Dare to dream, I know, but wouldn’t it be amazing if those who govern our nation would, for once do it a little different? Like a chef who adds a new spice to an age old recipe to make it even more delicious. Like a doctor who prescribes a more effective drug to speed the recovery. Like a DJ who adds a new beat to elevate spirits even more. We may not be perfect but we’re pretty good. And just a few little boosters here and there, can bring about such grand outcomes that we can only imagine. Just a few little boosters, which turn impediments into opportunities. Need I even mention which ones?

Jai Hind.

1 comment:


you just expressed what every Indian feels today... i read my such articles, and sometimes, even write a few myself, but this one increased my heart-beat... "the occasion", perhaps..
i am also curious to know which boosters would you recommend.?