As proud as I’m of the fact that Indians today are heading tech giants and are also warming the senate benches and foreign treasuries, I must also stick my neck out and say that it’s actually a tribute to the American System ( and not ours) which values meritocracy more than anything else
Ya right, meritocracy , a word thumped across by HR heads and talent scouts, a word which mostly connotes either of the following in India :
- Have the right connect at the right place and time.
- Push in your CV through a solid reference.
- Have the relevant work experience (even though what you did previously sucked and you still ain’t no good )
If you ain’t close to filling these criteria, chances are you’ll be short on merit and you’re likely to receive a standard ‘We’ll get back to you’.
If you do crack the code via any of the 3 above, you can come outside and gloat over how meritorious you were for the role and how you made it despite all odds.
Even for those who’ve made it big and are high up in the corporate ladder, their endeavour generally isn’t creating some great stuff. Hell no, who has the time for that.. Their endeavour is to somehow stick to their position and get their next move right, eyeing the next promotion round the year.
So well guarded are their corporate echelons that a new idea or thought dare not breach their territory. And God forbid, if ever a path-breaking idea dared to sneak past their cushiony ivory towers and create a palpable buzz then their whole- sole mission in life would be to somehow clutch onto it and claim it as their own. They’ll run helter skelter shouting ‘Eureka..Eureka..’. Some clad , some semi clad and some totally stripped of moral propriety. We are replete with a bunch of wannabe Archimedes’ outshouting each other ‘Eureka…Eureka..Eureka..’
The only similarity here they have with the yesteryear exuberant Archimedes is that they’re both naked. One literally and the other symbolically..The buck keeps passing and people would never really know who was that one smarty-pants coming up with new ideas and thoughts.(assuming there was one)
If anyone ever came to know, their immediate senior would try to gauge 2 things :
- Can I piggy bank on him and keep getting credit for new thoughts
- Will I be able to control him or will he be a threat and surpass me
There is also a rare 3rd case which says ‘I’ll nurture and mentor him to grow’ and when that happens, the result is a Dr APJ ABDUL KALAM, who was nurtured by the great Vikram Sarabhai. Unfortunately it is a rarity in today’s cut throat Roman like corporate colloseum where employees are like sitting prey ready to be fed to their beast incarnate masters at the top.
Mr Narayan Murthy made a point that India hasn’t come up with an earth shattering innovation in the last 60 years. Well, fact is most of India is indeed grappling for basic necessities, leave aside platonic phenomenon like innovation. But Mr Murthy must throw some light on how many path breaking software has Infosys come up with in the last 2 decades. The answer ain’t earth-shattering either.
And this ain’t confined just to a job, it’s the same everywhere from setting up your own business to getting a venture capitalist for your idea. Fact is, you can still make it if you’re a little less on the talent and capability quotient but in all probability you can’t make it without the right link or contact irrespective of the dollops of talents that you possess….unless..unless lady luck decides to smile on you.
So as a silver lining India can look towards lady luck and wish there was some tough son of a gun born somewhere across the length and breadth of our expanse who’ll withstand all of the bullshit hurdles and mechanisms set up by our own system..He’ll crawl and claw through it all, be lucky to survive countless bouts of anxieties and helplessness and finally invent or innovate something like a Google or Facebook..
And then we’ll gloat over how a son of the soil made it this big but amidst the noise and hoopla, the whispering truth would be- He made it not because he’s a son of the soil, he made it despite being a son of the soil..
Wish this reality changes!!