Writing is like T20 batting. If you block, you might as well retire to the pavilion! -- Pete Langman
Expat in Germany

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Inheriting India

"The heir has arrived!!" A popular dialogue in Indian movies. Or probably I should say it is a popular dialogue in our country itself. Right from the dynastic times in our country! So we are used to not dream big and leave it to the children of great people to continue the good work in the respective fields. If Dhirubhai Ambani built an empire out of scratch, his two sons chopped it into pieces and distributed it between themselves. Now, two more 'heirs' have arrived. But to my knowledge, none of the 'heirs' have proved to be any good. Can the children of celebrities set examples like their parents did??

It is natural for living things to inherit traits from parents. But for us, we also inherit riches if we are rich and poverty if we are poor. We are used to dynastic practices in politics, business, sports and cinema, the four famous pillars of the country. Ramachandra Guha says, in the case of Jawaharlal Nehru, the sins of the daughter, grandsons, granddaughter-in law and great grandson have retrospectively visited on him. Being the first prime minister of India, it definitely took a lot of effort from Nehru, with the help of his team to integrate the country and bring it into a constructive mode. But the moment he gave in to his daughter's wish and dissolved a democratically elected government in the country, the screen for dynastic politics lifted. The dynasty is still there and has just been weakened. Nothing else. In such an inheritance infected country, I am not sure how long a non married chai wala can survive at the top post. Of course I cannot imagine what would have happened to the country if the Shehzada is crowned the king!

How many success stories, inspiring ones come out of Indian entrepreneurs? I can only recall 'Infosys' Narayanamurthy. Forget the Tatas. They are a different story altogether. Be it Azim Premji or the Ambanis, though they are very good and highly successful, can some one wanting to become a business tycoon really get motivated by them? In the United States every entrepreneur has #Hem own story, inspirational ones. Micheal Dell's is my favourite. How many love Abhishek Bacchan as much as Amitabh Bacchan? The 'angry young man' from Allahabad has such a great journey to glory much like Shahrukh Khan. But do the kapoors or chopras have any such odysseys?? If Kareena is not a kapoor, probably she would still be trying to get a chance to be in the dancers group in the background. It is also natural that in a house of musicians, dancers or sculptors, the off springs generally grow up to be good in those fields. But this is not at all like the cinema. You have to prove yourself. No second chances. Sunil Gavaskar can only lobby to get his son a place in the National team. It is up to Rohan Gavaskar to play and impress the selectors and audience which he could not.

Why is it becoming difficult for children of celebrities to think of doing something different from what their famous parent did? It is not difficult to chose a field. There are hundreds of opportunities. Superstar Rajnikanths daughters chose their own different jobs, occasionally coming into cinema field but Kamal Hasan's daughter chose cinema. She might be good but she got established as a 'Hasan' else probably she would be singing maybe. I will abstain myself from talking about Telugu film industry which is infested by this stupid inheritance. It is so appalling to see a father acting opposite the same heroine his son acted with earlier! Are the celebrity children unable to see any other profession in this world of opportunities??

There is one more very serious problem in this inheritance way of the famous people. If India is to be among the top countries in the world, it is high time we think about creating entrepreneurs, politicians, singers, actors, sports persons...not giving birth to them!! Government reforms will be helpful. More than that a change in general mind set will be most welcome. One should be brave to be adventurous and explore various opportunities in life. If Sachin Tendulkar's son becomes a cricketer, a cigarette manufacturer, who is a big fan of Sachin also might feel that, if his favourite cricketer's son grows up to be a cricketer, then his son also, like him should enter the cigarette business! How right is that? Everyone should have hem own success story. This should be the trend now especially with the Prime Minister claiming himself to be a poor tea seller in his childhood and climbing the political ladder by hard work. Fair Enough!!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Come, Make in a CLEAN India

In the last few months, the broom(jhadu) has gained more popularity in our country sweeping away many other instruments which are technologically more advanced than it is. Probably after jhadu is going to be the next 'broom' in advancement from the 'Nimbus 2000' and the 'Firebolt.' From political parties to private companies, everyone is attracted to the jhadu. So much that people are fighting in associating themselves with this magical broom.
JHADU 2014

Like any other of his famous speeches, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given a beautiful speech before launching the much acclaimed project, Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan. It is nice to see the leader going out of his way to initiate such a nice campaign. It is also very clever of him to nominate an argumentative opponent, a famous sportsperson nominated to the Rajya sabha by the opposition and a film star addressing social issues for some time now to take initiative in the Swachh Bharat mission. Narendra Modi has captured the hearts of those 'thinkers' mostly the middle class through this 'dream project.' Of course, this project has had been the dream project of many leaders but nothing much has changed until now. It is not because earlier leaders could not mesmerise people like Modi. They could. It is that people just remained mesmerised. Did nothing more!!

From 'Mahatma' Gandhi cleaning toilets to Narendra Modi cleaning roads, we have praised the leaders wh ocame forward with such actions and raised them to new heights. But do we get the message? If the leader is emphasising on a clean surrounding, that does not mean he will come and clean our surroundings. If Narendra Modi keeps the Prime Minister office clean, we should keep our classrooms/workplaces clean. Everyone of us should be involved. With a charismatic leader like Modi giving a message about cleanliness, every body in the country has taken to the streets shouldering a broom. Assuming this is not entirely for clicking pictures, one question arises, is this what is cleanliness about?

The PM wants to shift the idea of using the broom for caste discrimination to cleanliness drive. How long will we still associate cleaners with low caste (I don't understand low and high here!!) or vice versa? How long will we confine ourselves to only applauding someone who takes initiative and not ourselves do the good work? When there are people finding reasons to criticise the leader how much ever good his initiative might be; When there are people who buy coconut water and throw the empty coconut shell on the road and drive away; When there are people who so involuntarily drop off chocolate wrappers as soon as they open it; When there are people who instead of in a corner of their plate, throw food waste on the table, making a heap of chewed vegetables and chicken bones thus successfully making it impossible for others to sit in the same place; When most importantly there are NO ONE questioning any of these irritating attitudes, how can one attain Swachh Bharat?

It takes more than a broom to attain a clean India. More than a vacuum cleaner. With technology, it is very easy to identify, segregate, clear and recycle waste. Energy can be harnessed from garbage too, now. There is no dearth of young people with innovative ideas, ready to work on waste management. Jobs can be created. Meghnad Desai feels that beggars can be involved in clean India campaign thus helping the country in two ways. So, the municipality will soon oust the railways in terms of number of employees. As the common Indian throws garbage where ever he wishes, the government sends an army to clean up after this. Guinness book of records will write India as the largest producer of waste yet the cleanest!! But is this what we want? No. We want less waste production than just cleaning the garbage.

Prevention is better than cure. Instead of killing the tenth grade students with coaching for entrance exams, a lot of emphasis should be on cleanliness, reducing waste production, maximising the use of renewable energy sources at the same time minimising the use of natural resources. It is not at all wrong to include in the curriculum simple things like the importance of switching off lights and fans when not in use. Even this can be a job generating opportunity.
Unemployed youth can be trained to educate people about cleanliness, use of toilets, ill effects of littering, open defecation and urination and most importantly the bad effects of over population. More health related jobs can be created too. There is a huge opportunity for private partnership too. Guess this is the emerging sector in the Indian market.

A clean environment will give confidence and security for interested people to invest in the country. I sincerely hope this is the motive behind "Swach Bharat Abhiyan" We shall all go along with those sincere leaders who wanted a clean India.