Monthly Archives: December 2009

Is Mahendra Singh Dhoni more than a cricket captain for India?

Yeah, even I think what the title suggests is pretty weird!

I’ve always heard/read of old times’ India, seen it a little bit during childhood. One thing that has not changed ever is the passion for the sport of cricket. If I speak about love for cricket in India, it’ll be like underlining for billionth time!

While growing up I used to watch Indian teams that were king at home on dusty pitches with outfields resembling nothing but deserts.

Those were the times when one dive on Indian grounds could risk your bones, when most of the players who could be best described as 5’5″ 50 kg bodies which spoke of malnutrition & poverty in India, when tours were just meant for holidays & shopping, when all media could talk was margins of victory – Indian victories if we played home or other country’s if we played away. Yes, those were the times when Indian commentators used to lambaste Indian batsmen for showing even minuscule sign of aggression, when Indians saw nothing but Miandad’s sixer or Imran Khan’s yorker in their nightmares!
Aah, those were the days when India played the Gentleman’s Game Gently!

Not anymore!
Dhoni’s team is full of hefty youngsters – they don’t look frail or weak when standing with an Aussie, they don’t get intimidated, they’re not scared, they can kick A**es with bat/bowl/words!
They never take anything lying down, they give everything back perhaps with more vengeance!
And mind you it’s not just the aggression – it’s aggression with talent and performance.

What made a guy like Sehwag be so arrogant in batting like the way he does? Has anyone seen a front view of his bat?
In a country that still treats ‘sex’ as a taboo, how come Zaheer Khan acknowledges the ‘best chest’ award by Mumbai girls? How can Yuvraj be so confident of having the ‘best ass’? (are we talking of India here? :O)
Why wasn’t Ganguly ashamed of ripping off his shirt on Lord’s balcony where anything less than a coat is ‘indecent’?
Why doesn’t Dhoni treat Sachin, the god, special? Why such a ‘senior’ person covers the boundary in death overs? Did anyone ever even think of anything like that before in Indian cricket?
How come the captain of the Indian cricket is cool under pressure? Where’s all the burden of billions of Indians’ expectations?
This bloody team beats other teams in their backyards, they’re not afraid of traveling, they’re not afraid of Murali’s, Warne’s, Akhtar’s!

Mumbai crowd harasses Andrew Symonds till he gets away, Indian cricket pressurizes ‘white’ nations to play according to their conditions, ‘whiter & richer’ cricket countries form a union against India & still fail to affect: Isn’t that unusual for India?
What happened all of a sudden?

If people still think this is limited to just cricket: look around again, see Indians around you if possible.
Every youngster today relates to this Indian cricket team, we have come far & beyond!
Bollywood & cricket have inspired India a lot, but this is the time when India has affected Cricket!
Look at this team: they’re not guys from Mumbai or Delhi, they’re from a small UP village or a Maharashtra small town or from a very poor Muslim family in Gujarat town. They have not had their childhood dedicated to cricket.

On the same veins, look at Indian youngsters – they’re no more like their parents. Many of them are not even dependent by the time they turn 21. In the country that taught ‘save-when-you-earn’, they buy things they want when they want. Where pubs/discs are a no-no, the new India makes plans for parties every weekend. In a country where holidays meant visiting a religious place with family, they go holidaying with friends. – is only money & spending capacity (or technology) responsible for all this?

Not really.
India’s truly going places and this may just be that time of metamorphosis. Look at the attitude shift, Indians are no more ashamed of their color or even their habits.
And just like the cricket team, this is not just the outlook – but there’s talent to back it up too.
Ofcourse, there are problems just like Indian team’s losses. However, what strikes you the most is how India handles these losses/failures these days?

Isn’t Dhoni someone who truly represents the new India? The India my generation belongs to?

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India to have next Silicon Valley: Yes

There isn’t much when it comes to difference between business scene anywhere in the world today. It has not remained special that we live in a totally globalized village called the world.

Whatever India has done, achieved is fantastic & India is definitely one nation that can keep it up – recent statements by Manmohan Singh, the Indian prime minister have re-iterated the beliefs that India has always been & will always pursue balanced growth.

India probably has the best talent set in the world & with Silicon Valley facing the heat due to economic slowdown, reverse brain drain could lead to more local talent in India.

India’s poor infrastructure & poor healthcare facilities actually add incentives to business growth – it opens up that many opportunities for businesses to penetrate Indian markets across segments. Lacking on basic amenities front also makes India an easy market ‘customers don’t expect the highest quality’

Though we have always had cultural barriers & produced out-of-the-shell, conventional IIT/IIM scholars, the radical shift in Gennext India’s thinking is significant. India’s set for a big attitude change. On the same lines, it is in fact great that ‘face of India’ is very young, there has been a constant shift of leadership powers from typical ‘old is gold’ category to ‘young & blunt’ psyche.

Nice to see so many young Indian CEOs & business leaders who are flexible in thought process & much quicker to adapt to changes – something that’s very critical in technology world. Though cultural trend shifting could take many years, it’s nice to see signals that India is on the brink.

Indians do crib a lot: may be they care more. It is necessary that criticism is directed to good channels & utilized. Even on that count, culture is taking a sharp turn in India.

Surging economy is another factor that’s driving investments in India – which has probably the most optimistic market today. Low-costs of entering, low-cost talent available in abundance could really gel well with friendly business environment to create next Silicon Valley in India.


Some of the related articles I would like you to read:

http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/10/17/beware-the-reverse-brain-drain-to-india-and-china/

http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/feb2009/tc20090228_990934.htm

India to have next Silicon Valley: No

India, the IT superpower, the outsourcing destination, the talent mine or whatever else you may perceive HAS come a long way!

From being a nation of snakes and Sadhus (priests), we’re now known for our brains & confident outlook. Soon as I (or my looks) tell people that I am from India, I see respect & an assumption that I must be into software (which actually is not wrong).

The change was brought about when Bangalore happened to India, much read, much written so am not gonna talk on that anymore.

As usual, I will stick to my policy of not bombarding readers with data.

Of course the following thought process + analysis stems from the recognition that India has arrived on the world stage & achieved BIG time. Is India really there? Is Bangalore anywhere close to Silicon Valley? Definite NO. Still feel India has got the last mile yet to travel & seems as if that’s gonna be the most critical part of India growing.

The perennial Indian problems: dilapidated infrastructure, poor transport, heavy pollution levels have plagued Indian IT cities equally. Bangalore suffers from pollution, bad traffic & poor waste management. Pune has issues with transport, roads. Pune also suffers due to non-availability of an international airport (which is already at least 15 years late). Less talk the better about Mumbai. Hyderabad & NCR have performed much better on these counts however these cities struggle on security due to communal tensions and high crime rates.

Now, these problems can be overcome by political positive will which needs to be aroused by people & businessmen.

Towards more subtle & may be more critical issues in building a business hub:

1. India scores low on ‘risk-taking’. Many factors like traditional brain-drain, political apathy towards research & business, culture that discourages failures – have contributed to Indian talents riding safer boats, always!

Cannot remember exactly who said it recently, I came across an article lambasting Indian culture for not being able to encourage failures: I agree with the thought & strongly feel that overall culture, the ecosystem that we’re brought up in determines the risk-taking capabilities of a person which is one of THE most crucial factors in business (majorly during starting up)

2. Something that plays a major dampener in India’s growth is the behavior of the talent pool: many people sitting in India are trying to solve problems faced by the US. Globalization is very welcome but there must be a stream of people focusing on India’s local problems too.

Aren’t we missing out on ideas and business opportunities that lie in our own backyards?

Indian IT is far far away from the rural India & it’s an irony these guys expect the government to come to them. The e-growth is not reaching the lowest levels yet. Reaching rural India doesn’t mean philanthropy or charity: treat it like business, pure business.

For an example: Microsoft (and other Silicon Valley giants like HP, IBM, Intel) enabled American small towns to utilize teachnolgy for growth, these firms not only strengthened the technology base of common American citizen they also ripped off huge benefits out of it. ‘Make people use what you make.

If they can’t, teach them how to use what you make – even better’ India IT is still to realize the importance of ‘creating’ a customer base. Indian software giants are falling behind & they are still concentrating on existing (and saturated) US markets. Probably one of the reasons why Infosys, Wipro, TCS can’t be what Intel, Cisco, HP are.

3. Another amazing difference you can notice between cultures: Indians complain a lot more. It is a trend in India – to complain & crib about governments. It seems Indian society has not reached a level of maturity. Experts complain, celebrities complain, businessmen complain.

You’d see a much better attitude in Silicon Valley where everyone upbeat and brimming with confidence – a characteristic exuberance that makes Silicon Valley what it is Today.

The negative cribbing leads to people getting away from India’s causes, it hampers health & harmony of the society. As it turns out, Bangalore is far away from drawing a line between criticism & cribbing. (I had talked about this in one of my last posts as well – http://therigidandnimblepartofit.blogspot.com/2009/10/normal-0-false-false-false-en-us-x-none.html)

4. One more factor that could well spoil India’s party is social disparity across the country. In my opinion, India has the highest delta in the world between the rich & the poor – which results in consistent communal unrest every now and then – also, this kind of imbalance is responsible for producing many upstarts & pseudo-intellectuals. Recently seen an example of this divide – http://therigidandnimblepartofit.blogspot.com/2009/12/as-amazed-as-i-am-right-now-not-sure.html#links

5. As if to congregate these factors, India’s blessed with an immature and biased media that relies on igniting the emotions to earn every Rupee they can (I have followed Indian media quite consistently but haven’t been much impressed: http://therigidandnimblepartofit.blogspot.com/2009/10/media-religion.html)

6. Also of paramount importance while setting up a global industry is to have a good ecosystem of business that contains good technical schools, research labs – fronts India under perform on. Very little percentage of India’s budget is directed towards the R&D, something that needs to be stepped up in order to control brain-drain (if it at all exists in this not-so-optimistic job market) & to encourage reverse brain-drain (something China’s doing to great effect). R&D in India is as good as nothing – it hardly gets any support – it hardly contributes anything!

Wish India to travel the last mile!

2 States

As amazed as I am right now, not sure about what? Another state in the making or the reactions that I have read/heard?

Telangana has gone beyond as an issue only for people of that region, I view it having much deeper consequences than it seems.
However, people blindly condemning is not acceptable (at any time, I’d say).

For starters, Telangana is probably the oldest movement for a separate state in India; much different than Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand & Uttarakhand.
The new states I just mentioned did not hold such strong demands, creation of those states was more political than people-felt.

On progress & development, J’khand, U’khand & C’garh have done much better than their respective parent states Bihar, UP & MP. Why can’t the always-poor Telangana do the same?
Smaller states are always easier to administer!
On language & culture, if there can be more than one state speaking Hindi,Bengali,Marathi (counting Konkani spoken in Goa as a Marathi dialect) why can’t there be more than one state speaking Telugu?

Now, the way that was used to influence this decision was fasting & non-co-operation: two of the means used by Gandhi for India’s independence. I agree comparison with Gandhi may be wrong but the section that supports Telangana would definitely hail this as one similar. Looking at Indian netizens’ tirade against KCR & a separate Telangana, isn’t it double-standard to blame fellow Indians for such uprising? Don’t we Indians fail to understand other Indians many a times?

That poses another question to me: if we can get so easily affected by whatever media publishes (considering major part of the media blamed Telangana), do we have the right to speak against jobless youths who vandalize public properties?
Who really understands plight of Telangana that always been hit by Naxalism, the region that has always seen prosperity from far away.

Another subtle fact worth noticing is that Hyderabad is too rich for Andhra Pradesh. For an overall poor state & less literate state (FYI – Andhra Pradesh is the only non-Hindi major state that has literacy below India’s average), Hyderabad grew too much.
Andhra Pradesh’s grounds could never match itself with Cyberabad’s skies!
Difference between Hyderabad & small towns of Andhra has always been too much to be retained on the same level. Andhra doesn’t even have another tier-2 or tier-3 city. Such mismatch would always lead to social restlessness. This is why we need balanced growth.
This is why we need common social vision.

If this makes you think I support Telangana, it’s not so.
There are implications too:

1. This could become a trend & people could start blackmailing the central government with protests + hunger + strikes + bandhs
I expect a lot (and a lot more) maturity on handling this division, it could be delayed or scarce chances it could be canceled as well.
But, this is the testing time for the UPA government, need to set an example!

2. BJP’s ‘divide the states & rule’ policy should not be propelled. BJP (or any party) will definitely try to gain political mileage from such issues. Great that BJP doesn’t have significant presence in Telangana or Andhra!
The ’cause’ of Telangana should not be misinterpreted as a political move …

And on the final note, I would like to applaud the Congress government for taking the decision BEFORE much damage happened.
For those who don’t know, there was a clear intelligence warning that Naxalites may used Telangana students to create unrest in the entire state which may have resulted in a serious damage to peace of the region and further law & order problems.

Wish Telangana all the peace they ever deserved!