TECH TALK: Why is it so?

(This is Part 2 of a 5-part series on India’s Anguish. Part 1 was published yesterday.)

The previous Tech Talk series was on Indias Next Decade how to imagine and build a brighter, richer, progressive, more powerful, and technologically advanced India. And yet, theres nothing which takes away Indias Anguish even as Indians want to reach out to the stars and a better future, as a nation we seem to only be falling further behind the world. Why is it so?

It is easy to lay the blame on a few disgruntled elements be it within Pakistan, some of our extreme politicians or some scheming brains. The problem is that we let it happen, we let ourselves be driven, we are happier being led rather than lead. We have gotten so used to being also-rans that we have lost the desire to win. We expect ourselves not to win whether we are playing cricket or hockey, or cheering for Lagaan at the Oscars. We are not used to taking the initiative or setting an agenda. We just let our lives come. This is the mass attitude which defines India today. Chalta Hai. Let things be.

The result is that there is no vision for India. Our political parties and politicians crave for votes based on religious and caste divides. That is where the rot starts. Our horizons have become so narrow, that we do not expect anything better. We have become immune to our government. We have come to accept giving bribes at various levels to get things done because that, seemingly, is the only way. We have become insensitised to scams. A scam as big as HomeTrade managed to seemed so easy to pull off, and it no longer makes the headline news. Why? Because Pakistan, our Enemy No. 1, now dominates the news.

We worry about all these things because we dont have more serious issues to worry about. No ones talking about making India great we have accepted that we cannot do it. No ones talking about excellence and innovations we have resigned always to becoming copycats rather than copyrighters. No ones talking about technological leadership we just dont believe it is possible. In fact, when something good happens, it surprises us. We have reset the standards of our lives — we have come to accept the mediocre as good. The Indian bar has, over the years, kept moving lower. Our wishlist has gotten smaller and smaller. And we, as a nation, have forgotten to dream. Or still worse, put our aspirations away in cold storage.

Tomorrow: The Emerging Markets Paradox

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.