Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Can India be strong... a pessimistic approach...

We keep saying we are a confident people but confident people don’t need such self-reinforcement. The truth is that after decades of feeling inadequate we are re-emerging as a nation and as people. It’s tough. Resurgent nations articulate power clumsily and often succumb to chauvinism as they seek redress for fast grievances and recognition for their new status. That’s what happened in Germany and Italy in 1930’s and what India (and China) are grappling with now.

This change causes turmoil at a personal level too. But we seldom realize or talk about it because we are not big on emotional self-understanding. In the years we obsessed over bread-and-butter issues, our parents and teahers focused us on achieving financial security, not personal actualization. It made us cling to family rather than explore our individualism and pushed us into professions in which we had no inclination or interest. Now, manyu of us feel a conflict between our material and inner lives. Add to this our unresolved national traumas, such as partition and the indignity of everyday life, and it’s easy to see why our innate Indian character of rectitude and moderation is loaded with insecurity, and anger.

Fitting our complex emotions into a corporate world that demands ational professionalism is tough. Managers complain youngsters are addicted to lucre and allergic to feedback. Youngsters moan their superiors have feudal mindsets and archaic skill sets. This complex corporate sociologyis delibilating employees and corporate growth. Parents and ecationists are now bringing up children differently. But in the meantime, CEOs should invest in the training and counseling needed to ease the subterranean strains running through India Inc. as Alexis de Tocqueville said, it was america’s “rugged individualism” that made the country great. India’s fragile collectivism cannot build strong companies, or the nation

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