Change keeps the Past Current!

Last updated on Sep 22, 2007

Posted on Sep 22, 2007

India has a lot of problems – population, apathy of the educated, pollution, and corruption.  That is what keeps the country down.  Can it move on?  Tom Friedman said that technology is a great equalizer.  Vinay Rai, however, disagreed.  He said that the concept of Jugaad amongst the Indians was what made India so hot with technology.  Technology doesn’t make a place great, Rai said, people do.  I couldn’t agree more!  And THAT is what has worried me too.

While we love Jugaad – or the unconventional ways to solve problems – we by default dislike system and standards.  That is why it is difficult to find a way in Indian traffic.  We love to hate lanes.  For the uninitiated, India is chaotic.  For those in India, the country has a method in that madness.  The "way" that others cannot see is clear as crystal to one who lives in that world.   Tolerance of Ambiguity has become so high that finally, ambiguity has a language.  A language that has its own rules and its own syntax.  Where each horn in the traffic is speaking and speaking clearly from one to another that the message is intended to be transmitted.  The cacophony of the horns has a music.  The Noise creates a unique music.

So, should it be celebrated?  Or should we be worried?  India’s development index metrics is bad despite of the IT success.  Does it matter?  Finances are not good.  The Per capita is not much.  But then in a culture where finance takes on a different meaning in the garb of micro-finance and makes that the hottest business trend of the world, things do have different rules.  Rules that often run counter to the developed world.

When a person does not have eye sight and has to live a life of a blind, his/her other senses take over.  He can listen much better.  Can feel and sense things much better by the slight change in the wind.  The body is very resilient.  It compensates.  For the body must survive first and thrive while in that survival mode.  So, such a person sings better, without ever seeing a drum and can catch all the changes of the music tones without looking at the expression of the accompanying musician.  When a system is made for long term survival and against all odds, then it compensates for one loss in other ways.  Societies that are civilizations are that way.  Cultures find a way to survive and thrive at the same time.

When a lab tests a scientific phenomenon or drug at the lab level, it takes years of efforts and many leaps of faiths to take it to the mass-scale and at the level of commercial production.  Despite the fact that the precision of lab level is NOT there at the commercial level, things do work with perfection.  For the lab scientist, the scale of commercial plant to recreate that phenomenon is almost unthinkable – such is the precision involved.  But production engineers find ways to do it.

What is true in the developed world therefore, cannot be used as a measure of what may happen elsewhere.  It takes a different set of systems to succeed in a life of a country, but totally different for making a civilization succeed.  What is true in the life of a country is NOT true in the life of a civilization.  The Key Performance Metrics are totally different.  A country is trying to succeed.  A civilization is trying to survive.  Survival becomes an enemy of Success and vice versa.

Even though I see a lot of darkness in India in terms of the many problems that we have, I see countless suns shining in so many people.  In the minds of every person who wants to move on with life and change.  For, change is what keeps the past current.

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