This is how we ended last week: “An Epidemic of Change is exactly what is needed to transform India. India needs to Tip, Bottom-up (like Ants), and in less than 2,000 days.” To build a New India, we first need to decide on what we want our India to be. What is our vision for the New India? How do we make it happen? Ours may be a few voices and actions, but Revolutions are the handiwork of a Few who can rouse the Rest.
India needs to play to its strengths. And strengths we have many. But in comparison to other countries in the world, we forget what we are good at and bring forth our weaknesses. We aim at imitation, trying to copy the art of growth from the powers that were and are. We have distractingly small obsessions (Pakistan and Politics, for example). We want to be led because that is what others have been doing to us for the past many centuries. We yearn for attention because of our size, forgetting that the world may not overlook the big, but respects and fears only the strong and mighty. India has many weaknesses. But to envision a New India, we must look at our strengths.
The Thirst for Knowledge is the first. India was not just the cradle of civilisation, but also had, since time immemorial, the fountains of the future – in its universities. Even today, Indians are at the forefront of many discoveries and innovations – only, many of these are happening outside India. One of the pillars of tomorrow must be Knowledge – translated to Education and Invention.
Indians have within them an Entrepreneurial spirit. Witness the near infinite number of businesses that one sees in India – starting from the roadside sandwichwalla and bhelpuriwalla, to the conglomerates built by the Tatas and Birlas. The entrepreneurial spirit makes them try out multiple businesses. Even the smallest of CAs may double as a stock broker or real estate agent! Yet, over time, we have let mediocrity temper this spirit. This needs to be replaced with Excellent. Good has to become Great, and the effort involved is 10 times greater.
Hospitality is our second name. Rarely will we turn people seeking help or home away – be it a lost traveller asking for directions, or a 21-year-old who has landed in the US without university housing. Indians are always there for one another (perhaps, this is more evident outside the country than within!) The Beautiful Face with Folded Hands with the Namaste greeting has to win us much more than just smiles.
Indians are remarkably Adaptable to Change. That is perhaps why we find Indians at home everywhere and anywhere in the world. Even among those who come to India from foreign lands for a few weeks, there is no discomfort in their hometown even the remotest village. We adjust well, but for the most part, our needs are sparse and patience remarkable. The Cheese has moved and we have, unfortunately, adapted to life without the Cheese. This needs to Change.