Monday, March 26, 2007

Mediocrity and Indians

So we Indians did not qualify for the Super Eight stage of the ICC Cricket World Cup!

At the risk of committing sacrilege, we are a bunch of people who thrive on mediocrity. How else can we explain the fact that for a billion people, we do not excel in any thing? We do not have a single product for the size of our country – Look at South Korea – you have the LGs, Samsungs, Hyundais and even Finland has a Nokia! What product do we have – Nothing, nada, zilch!

The country has some great institutes, IITs, IIMs etc – Everyone who studies at these elite institutes are looking at options outside the country! Yes, in recent times, we have seen some people return, this is not happening because of the policies, but in spite of them!

We have sports facilities that are completely out of sync with the rest of the world! When I talk to friends about this dismal state of affairs – all everyone has to say is that we are not physically built for sports such as Football! This is but a bunch of horse manure! Look at Hockey – once upon a time we were the world champions but we have faltered in the last 20 years! The main problem is the fact that there is so much money in sports, despite what people say, is that politicians look at getting into the sports as administrators and eat the money! When politicians get into sports – what else do you expect?

Let me give you a simple example – In Bangalore, India’s Silicon Valley, there is a bridge being built in front of out offices – The bridge is built, however not tarred – The contractor says that the total cost of building it is 2.5 crores and he has got a payment of only 1.5 crores with the politicians eating the rest! The result – the bridge is half done with no hope of ever completing it!

We are a country where mediocrity is so acceptable that it has become a way of life! The only area where we have actually excelled is in the IT industry.

4 comments:

Praveen said...

Hi Hemant,

Having read your comments about mediocrity and Indians, I am a little disheartened. You seem to be an intelligent and smart man who has a lot of ideas. But I guess it is a dearth of the right attitude that has made you write this piece. I hope I can demonstrate to you that if it was mediocrity that ruled us, then we would not have come thus far.

I am a Bangalorean who is currently in the UK (and not in the IT sector!) working with a global packaging firm which has business interests in India as well. I came here to do an MBA and became the first Indian to ever win a competitive scholarship for my entire tuition fees and that from a British firm. I have won the the prestigious Scottish Strategy quiz for 2006 - again the first time as an Indian. Now, I have been selected from India as one amongst only 24 candidates from a applicant pool of 70,000 Master's degree holders. I am not showing off my achievements. I am merely pointing gently a perspective that can change your thinking.

I am one amongst thousands of Indians who are quietly changing people's minds in these foreign locations to put our country as not a Back-office supplier but a producer of great minds. Today, I see that a lot of people here in the UK treating Indians differently to other nationals (despite the Celebrity Big Brother fiasco!). Many Indians in UK are making a difference to MNCs - all with the right intention of returning to India armed with the confidence and drive to change those things that are not working in India.

Last but not the least, there were 45 Indians in my MBA school - we came together despite a mediocre external relations department in the school and started a Business Forum. We used our funds and contacts and got some of the greatest business people to come and speak to a British University! All to show that we Indians have better style and panache in doing things. Today, the Forum enjoys great exposure from the industry and has created openings to people from around the world.

Can all this be mediocrity? Can a few incidents make an entire nation full of mediocre people? Can this mediocrity be the cause for making India an Economic Superpower by 2020 (see http://www2.goldmansachs.com/insight/research/reports/99.pdf)?I really don't think so...

Anonymous said...

Government and religion are massive parasites sucking up all the resources in India, encouraging everyone to fight with eachother and crippling progress.

Since government and religion grow over time like infestations and India is the oldest society on the planet, it has the largest infection.

In China they even have the death penalty for corruption now and polititians still steal.

So, once people figure out that 99% of the time their hard work will be ripped off, they often move away to someplace a bit less crooked or just quit trying.

hemantvelury said...

Praveen,

Thanks for your comments. Let me first and foremost tell you that I completely agree that we Indians are quite brilliant when it comes to personal stuff such as eduction!

When it comes to giving back something to the society, we all have the attitude of "please adjust"! My piece stemmed from the frustration of the "adjust" attitude.

I sincerely hope that India can get to a superpower status some day... and I hope it happens in my lifetime!

Sriram said...

Praveen,
I agree with Hemanth on the fact that we are brilliant in the mind. I agree with you about how India is going on to be a super power by the sheer intelligence as well as the hard work and the will to succeed it's people have. But, the point Hemanth is making is that we need to have the same kind of focus if not more in the Sports sector too. This is all the more important because a majority of our populace takes solace from watching the Indian Cricket Team perform well. We keep all our personal issues shut off when it comes to cricket. This being the case, we have 2 choices -
1. Either ensure we pull up our socks and just PERFORM!
2. Accept that sports is not our cup of tea and just continue to be the land of the brilliant minds!

Tennis is a classic example with us having 1 or 2 good players for every generation. Why should that happen?

All said, I realized it's too much time lost out sports. I have decided to detach myself a little from watching Cricket and hopefully it would help both me & the country :-)

Regards,
Sriram