Thursday, July 1, 2010

India: Criticisms and Solutions

A management cliche is "be part of a solution". It does not help telling a manager what the problem is alone, give a suggested solution alongside. A few well intentioned readers have indeed asked me that regarding my blogs on India. There is another Indian phrase that I mulled in that context. "Constructive criticism". We are often told criticism should be constructive. There is no such thing, its either fair or unfair period. V.S. Naipaul wrote 3 books on India, very searing commentaries that left Indians fuming. Not one page of what he wrote had "Indians can rectify this way or India can try that". It is service enough to show what is failing. The biggest tragedy in India is much of its failures are WILLFUL and CONSCIOUS inflictions. Does not a government servant know that asking for bribes is wrong? Does not a PhD professor know  that bribing a minister for Vice-Chancellorship is wrong? Does not a VC know that telling a CM that his crappy writing is Nobel worthy is sheer sycophancy? Does not a doctor know its wrong to get a cut from a laboratory? Does not a motor cyclist know that he should stop on red signal? Does not a contractor know its wrong to use incorrectly mixed cement? Does not Manmohan Singh know that spending Rs10,000 crores for games is sheer villainy in a country where millions live on less than a dollar a day? Does not MuKa know what a waste his conference? Does not every NRI who emigrated know that so much is wrong with their beloved motherland which is why despite its 'charms' they emigrated so eagerly begging the gods for a US visa (then a green card, then citizenship)?

Then there are certain ills that are the concretely institutionalized. Inability to sue a patently corrupt CM, inability to criticize judges irrespective of how corrupt they are, a system that constantly reminds the ordinary poor citizen that his rulers are a 'privileged' class apart. Ministers can, by law, allot gas stations, get seats in schools, get seats in trains and much more. The Indian state, with assent of courts, can suspend Habeas Corpus, the cornerstone of modern civil law. The Indian state has promulgated the most draconian laws of detention that make Rowlatt act look like child's play (and the US patriot act like a Utopian dream). An Indian Supreme Court judge writes that "Intellectual Property rights" are alien to Indian culture of dispensing knowledge freely (that web page was copyrighted though). Private property is held at the will and pleasure of a state that can snatch it at will (Kerala seized a private Golf course so that not only the rich can play in it, the Supreme court assented).

I can say only one parting suggestion. Indians think that the problems in India are very unique to India and are without precedence. I've almost every problem in USA that in some way can suggest solutions to India. Indians first have to accept that they need to learn and look around.

Many of my blogs, with all humility, do contain very valid insightful observations but I've very little hope of anything being corrected. The comparisons that I incessantly draw upon are themselves prescriptions.
I can go on and on. Will India become Africa? Certainly not. India is not Congo. Will India come close to being a developed country? Certainly not. India is not mature. Will that happen in some distant future, well as Alexander Pope says "hope springs eternal in the human breast". After all in an evolutionary time scale if monkeys can become man why not???

1 comment:

prabhu said...

"Does not a government servant know that asking for bribes is wrong?.... waste his conference?"

I see one thread running through all these - power corrupts, the more absolute it is, the more the corruption. But still, as William Gates says - "Democracy is the least bad way".

Again what is the definition of wrong and right, who is the arbitrator here!!! and what is the competence of any arbitrator within the collective realm of human intellect which is by itself a extremely relative and "prejudiced" in perception...

Assuming the billion ++ accept there is a malice in Indian society, what next..... and I was always curious to understand what is the pH value of a developed country - definitely acidic!!!!!!!!!

PS: First came "The sun doesnot set on the British empire" , then came "the land of rising sun", and yesterday I heard Hu Jin Tau the second most powerful person in the world, all changing much faster than the evolutionary timescale... who knows what's next it already - waka waka this time for Africa....