Poverty and Power in India

“Perpetuate Poverty,Stay in Power “ has become the success mantra for politicians in India.This is how congress has managed to rule us for a large part of our independant history and this is how most political parties are planning thier strategy for occupying seats at Raisina hill. samajwadi

The latest to join the freebee brigade are Mulayam and Amar Singh who have completely lost it as far as I am concerned.They played a very good trick on 50 % brain dead Sanju Baba by nominating him as the Party’s candidate from Lucknow after consulting their friends in the Legal business that he will never get the permission to stand in elections because of his terror credentials.They promised Sanju that if he does not get the Green Sign his beloved and graceful wife Manyata will grace the Lucknow Parliamentary seat.Gullible as ever poor Munna fell in the trap.Samajwadi Party got tremendous air time in the media and Amar Singh practised his  back of the truck poetry to his heart’s fullfillment.Now Nafisa Ali is SP’s candidate and Manyata is away in Bahamas to pick up pieces of her shattered ambitions.Wake up Sanju…you are once again putting your foot in the mouth by saying that the police beat me as Nargis Dutt was a Muslim.You will go to Jail Finally and once and for all and no one will be there with you.Do what you do best – Hop,skip and make faces.You will be safe.

Anyway,Lets come to the main point.

In Ramayana Tulsidas says for Ravana :

Jaako Prabhu Daarun Dukh Dehi,Taaki Mati pehle har lehi.

Which translates to :

Whom God wills to be in Misery,he first takes away their intellect.

This is exactly the case with my native state of UP.By careful analysis of people’s mentality to forever remain beggars so they do not have to work Mulayam singh has come up with a novel scheme.He has promised that if at all he comes to power he will ban English and Computers.Wow ! isn’t that something ?? Full Marks to you Mr Ancient India.I sincerely feel that you should ban education.No maths is needed to slit people’s throats or to pull trigger of country made pistols.Ask your fellow partymen and they will confirm it.You don’t need to talk in English to loot folks at Gunpoint.I am not joking .With no education and employment that’s what Youth will do and is doing right now in UP.

If you just go to any of the cities in UP you will find house after house with old people whose sons and daughters have moved to other states or countries for employment.In fact it has become a creteria for being worthy.If you are still in UP there is something wrong with you.Crime and Politics are the only opportunities made available to the young people of this God forsaken state.The worst thing is that people have accepted their fate and are ready to live with whatever comes their way.

I read  on someones blog an interesting couplet that sums the mood :

Apna Kyaa? Phir wohi Chandan Phir Wohi Paani         mulayam2

Kou nrip hoye hamein kaun haani ?

Translates to :

I have the same ordinary life regardless of who rules the kingdom

While other states are competing with each other to get big companies to set shop in their states Mayawati and Mulayam have managed to chase everyone away.Poor,illeterate and unemployed make a stable vote bank.They have no option but to keep coming to their masters for their daily bread so they remain alive and keep voting election after election.

I had watched a Movie Narasimha a few years back.Sunny Deol plays a bully who bashes and abuses everyone who dares oppose his master played by Om Puri.One day he goes to ransack the house of a poor woman and his mind changes.He has seen how Om Puri is using him.He confronts Om Puri on the issue of equality and injustice to which Om Puri lashes back ” Kaisi behaki behaki baatein kar raha hai ,Subah se pee nahin kya?” which means how the hell you are talking sense.Are you not drunk today?

The leaders in India are making sure that people are drunk with the wine of free electricity,reservation,loan waivers,illiteracy and backwardness so they cannot see right or wrong.Inaction,incompetence  and stupidity are largely distributed human traits that’s why you find only a few successfull people and hundreds who are just passing time on their way to the grave.For them half  a meal and sleep are the only two things which matter.Their only interest is to keep their bodies alive and every leader worth his namak harami salt is promising just that.

Written and spoken English with computer skills are a passport to freedom from poverty and dependance.They can guarentee a good life and freedom of choice not only to the one who has them but to all his future generations.They are therefore being seen as a threat by politicians like Mulayam Singh Yadav who represents all that is bad and ominous in God’s creation.

Time and again I have fiddled with the thought of going back and settling down in Lucknow but somehow I cannot come to terms with the thought of my illiterate children pointing guns at strangers on the highway.

May be I  am not as educated as Mr Yadav to understand his queer economic theories and that one life must be destroyed to sustain another.

One last Question – Does Mulayam’s son speak in English or know computers?

I am quoting the Hindustan Times of 13th April below :

Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav does not practice what he preaches.

While the SP’s manifesto, released on Saturday, vowed to abolish expensive English medium schools, stop the use of English in administration and in courts, as well as to do away with computers wherever their function could be carried out manually, the party chief has sent both his sons to English language educational institutions and assisted the setting up of colleges and hospitals in his own village Safai, equipped with cutting edge computer technology.

Mulayam’s older son, Akhilesh Yadav, 36, MP from Kannauj, holds a degree in environmental engineering from an Australian university. His younger akhilesh1son Prateek, 22, after passing out from a leading Lucknow school, is studying management in Britain.

Akhilesh carries two Blackberries and is so comfortable with them that he can type on both simultaneously. He runs his campaign on both Facebook and Orkut.

We don’t need no education

One of my favorite couplet from Nida Fazli goes like this :

धूप में निकलो बारिश मे नहा कर देखो

ज़िन्दगी क्या है किताबों को हटा कर देखो

It roughly translates to :

Go out in the sun,get drenched in the rain

To know what life is,first keep the books aside

When I was doing my graduation I wrote an extempore essay on the topic ‘turbulence creates art’.As I picked up my pen to write ,these words from Jim Morrison got imprinted on the paper as if taking a life of their own :

You know the day destroys the night,night divides the day

try to run,try to hide..break on through the other side.

We chased our pleasures here dug our treasures there

But can you still recall the time we cried..break on through to the other side.

I went on to give details of Jim’s turbulent life and his art which made him a cult figure in American history.I also gave example of Vincent Van Gogh who cut his ear and gave it to a prostitute or stood in one position for days together so the frame did’nt move while he painted.People in the town called him the ‘redheaded madman’ and sighned a petition to chase him away.

I was surprised to have managed a 2nd Prize as I was sure I went too off the topic.What was rather interesting was the fact that a Judge in the panel taught English to the guy who won he first prize.How could I,a student of Physics win a prize for creative writing after all.

Sometime small incidents like these leave a deep impression on your mind and you continuously keep looking for answers.In my case the question was if creativity lies within and creativity is what takes the human form forward why do we teach students in schools ,colleges and Universities.What really needs to be done is to give the right environment to nurture talent and it will take care of itself.The one who made the earth,moon and the stars could surely make roads and bridges if he wanted so these cannot have a special place or priority over everything else.Each field of study and knowledge is as important as the other.Don’t we buy $500 tickets for Opera from the money we made in investment banking ?Is it not true that CEO’s secretly crave to be film stars – a career that they sub conciously ditched in their youth by choosing to study 18 hours a day ?

Thankfully OSHO came to my rescue with his brilliant talk on Intelligence when he said “It’s very difficult to escape the university,to go there and come out intelligent.But it is not impossible” .I took the challenge and not only escaped the university but ran so far that it could never catch up with me again.I did management after graduation but I could never sit for 2 hours in the class where people took notes with commas and full stops as professors spoke in macabre tones.In one of the term papers I got just 2 marks out of 20 and the Prof explained in front of the whole class that I had come up with my own theories on International Marketing which had nothing in common to what was ever taught in the class.I took the whole class for a free snack on my great achievement.

While it sounded like youthful audacity to challenge the establishment,after practicing active business for close to 15 years now I have realized that I was right.Not that what I said was better than Kotler but there is no solution that’s final and to be a great marketeer and an innovative business person you have to be a little more creative than your competitors.While Kotler will not come to your rescue each time there is a situation ,your own creativity and innovation will.So does’nt it make sense to nurture these true friends in need.If you have spare time ,learn what not to do from other Gurus.

I am not against education but I somehow cannot figure out how someone who can see a trend in data points more intelligent than someone who can sketch a perfect portrait.How someone who can calculate faster or speak better English more ingenuous than someone who can sing a song with the right melody,lyrics and meter.It’s just that they are intelligent in a different way but we are not able to appreciate it.

It is rather dumb to think that way if you take a closer look.While the college,teachers and parents will build a kind of mass hysteria that the world will be lost if you do not get through the engineering the fact is that most of my friends who did get through the exam are not even at the same professional level as some of the others who got a 2nd class.People stop tracking each other after school or college else they would figure out for themselves what big dimwits they have been slogging it out through rain and shine.The society is composed not only of engineers and managers it has politicians,lawyers,doctors,writers,journalists,singers actors,businessmen and even carpenters,electricians,mechanics.And believe me if your sewer line gets choked you will suddenly realize what a great guy your plumber is,how clever he is in get things as they were almost effortlessly.Ingmar Kamprag of IKEA is a carpenter and Amar Gopal Bose of BOSE corp. is a sound Mechanic if you really think of it.Only difference is that they are the best ones at their job and they are godd business men too.

We are talking simple law of supply and demand here.If you can figure out what you are really good at ,keep working on it as if driven by a mad passion and do not worry about the outcome.If there is water there is thirst,if there is wine there is intoxication,if there libido there is sex.The creator has taken care of that.Why do you think people are ready to pay 200 million dollars for a few strokes of paint scattered over a piece of canvas.You have to just find your niche,demand will follow.

Somehow the education system through out the world has missed the point big time.The entire objective is to create mediocre clones who are OK at a lot of things but Good at nothing.Loads and Loads of mechanical robots falling over each other like Zombies,drifting aimlessly in a strainght line Que that leads to extinction and death.I am sure you pictured it by now.

We don’t need no education…….REALLY !

I may have a vested interest to explain my strange ways and under achievement so listen to Sir Ken Robinson talk on TED.com

Does an MBA degree make sense ?

Consider the following facts :

1.The biggest and best business men do not have an MBA degree Rockfeller,,Sam Walton,Warren Buffet,Ingmar Kamprag(IKEA),Richard Branson and closer home Dhirubhai Ambani,GM Rao,Kishore Biyani …..the list is just endless.The point is that while you may find a lot of mediocre managers and small business men having a degree in Business Management most of the big guys would not have bothered to spend time on such a wasteful academic pursuit.

We did a small test in the office too while most could recollect names of business men who were not MBA’s we had to really struggle to get a few names of those who were.We were also not sure whether they really did an MBA or they got an honorary degree.These names came up during the discussion.

2.Take the recent example of Indian railways.I am sure that the analysts from fancy consulting firms would have filled reports after reports weeping about what is wrong with this century old largest employer in the world.They would have wasted hours of power points suggesting every damn trick in the book quoting from all possible gurus and case studies.But what was the result ? Zero as usual.

Enter Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav and the railways is turned around in 4 qtrs ( as the management guys would say).Nothing great just plain common sense and a will to act.Now the same institutes are falling over each other to learn management from the  Bihari whom they mocked at every opportunity.How rediculous ?They are not even ashamed of the fact that it is slap on their face.

3.Till last year the most coveted job on the campus were the i banks till the greedy pigs of wall street brought the whole world’s economy on the verge of collapse parking their bums on Ferrari’s in the process.What they could have figured out was that their own brethren will be out of jobs and it will make the investment(the word feels laughable)banks  extinct from campuses for a long time to come.

4.As per a survey conducted in the US quoted in one of the popular GMAT preparation guides 70 out of the 100 top MNC’s in the US do not have MBA’s as their CEO’s,only 10 of them from ivy league.Does it ring a bell?May be you are better qualified for the Chief executive’s position if you are immune to the MBA virus.

5.Obama’s Election campaign is being touted as the most successful marketing event in the history of mankind generating $650 million against a plan of $ 150 million.Not only the Americans but the entire world got swept by the sales pitch conjoured by the Lawyer turned politician.Once again the marketing Gurus are asking their pupils to learn from Mr. Obama – How to sell a dream ?

There are a hundred and one ways that I can demonstrate the futility of this uncalled for piece de education but the best quote I have is one Mr.Kishore Biyani.He says” Business is simple,people make it look complex to retain their jobs”.It pretty much sums up the mood of my argument.

Sam Walton ,the Sultan of common sense as people remember him was never convinced about having MBA’s work for Wal Mart.He believed that they cost much and do little.And therefore Wal Mart never really hired MBA’s untill his death in 1991.In fact almost all the top management till date comprises people who have learnt the business by doing it the Wal Mart way, as they proudly call it.

So What’s the Bottom line ? (sorry for the cliche but I can’t put the MBA in me to sleep)

Any education is as good as the one who receives it.It is true for the management degree too.There is no magic mantra that they can teach and the degree at best helps build an orientation towards thinking in terms of money. The hype is a big farce and nothing justifies the huge pay packets that the fresh MBA’s demand by creating an artificial supply situation.The best management institutes are more of marketing successes than creators of thought leaders who can change the course of history as positioned by themselves.You can wear the degree when you come out of college as a trophy you won in the kindergarten sack race but the ultimate test will be the market place.Very shortly you will realize that the organizations are interested in knowing what you can do and not what you have done?There is no difference between not being able to sell and having lower inventory turns – that by which you cal a rose would smell as sweet by any other.

The last word on rankings in business magazines.This was beautifully put forward by a manager in corporate HR in one of the training sessions I attended( this MBA thing never dies you see).He asked us to consider this –  people get interviewed by magazines,magazines rate institutes,people form opinions,magazines interview people and so the cycle goes on and on without anyone pausing to have a look at the actual value added by an institution to the society.

And why this post ? Well I am shaken up by the loot that some of the so called ‘world class’ institutes in India are indulging in by telling innocent young men and women that this ticket to heaven costs a fortune.Not true.The MBA too calls for the same cost benefit analysis that any business plan needs to consider.

Going by todays numbers the ROI on my degree would be 1000 % as I did my sarkari MBA from the University of Lucknow when life was simpler.