tripping on our feet

It has been said that India would be a superpower if she stopped tripping over her own feet.

Well, within that superpower, I am a would-be engineer. Why would be? Because our country doesnt really produce engineers. Imagine a state with nearly 300 engineering colleges, all teaching the same syllabi in the various disciplines.

We produce a phenomenal number of ‘engineers’ each year. What do some of their best do? They go abroad to do their MSes. How many of them come back to work in industry in India? 5% was one report I heard.

What do the rest of them do? They try for admission in B Schools because Lord knows that’s where the best pay is.

By this time, the stock of smart young people is nearly depleted. Some of those remaining love this country and try to start something here.

Many wiser ones know that to accomplish anything here is a long uphill task. Just beginning anything is tough enough due to a variety of state-imposed reasons.

So they look for places abroad, promising to come back someday and make a difference. How many of these actually do?

This leads to the situation popularly called brain drain in our country. In a world of BPOs, B Schools and jobs abroad, where have all the engineers gone?

With foreign investment pouring in the way it is, what prevents us from tasking some of these ‘engineers’ to R&D in cutting edge technology in our OWN country.

Where is the encouragement for students who want exposure to the many diverse, integrally important, disciplines necessary for these sorts of jobs?

Entrepreneurship? In a country where it takes 69 days on average to start a company when in others it takes but a single day.

We’ve lost pride in our country. How long is it since the simple words Jai Hind stirred any feeling in our hearts?

Where is the educational reform a million staff and students alike yearn for?

To be like other societies where professors also carry out research! TO have a flexible environment where, progress is not determined by marks scored but rather by things learnt, where all academic institutions encourage any kind of related learning.

Where is the dignity, with most college life a sham? From papers to projects to industrial training to continuous assessment to attendance to even our semesterly examinations in some cases.

What is the point of this mass cloning when it robs us of initiative and pride in our country?

Ours is a country with everything except capital, and the little capital that comes in is soon whisked away into some smart rich persons hoard.

Our heritage is rich and glorious. Our religion is diverse and embraces all its followers as well as members of other religions

Why does a secular nation such as ours give voice to the fools who wish to divide us on the basis of religion to further their own interests.

Why dont they understand that through harmony and combined effort, we can bring about a state of being from which we WILL emerge as a superpower.

“To be washed away by the tide of history, but to leave ehinda fragrance that lingers”

This I’d like to quote to every mortal who twists the vagaries of society to get what he wants out of it… Just to remind him of his own mortality.

What we need most of all is to instil our people with pride in their country again. It does exist but is latent.

Imagine if we could replace one of those prime-time soap operas (that I find absurd) with a program designed to fight all of these.

Sure, our news channels and other media make tremendous efforts to keep us from bursting apart at the seams, but programmes like these need centralized planning and universal co-operation.

The key to all of this is latency. I have spoken to many and come to understand that it is the system that gives us the perfect excuse to remain the way we are.

It is not in our nature as a peoples to break away from the norms and do what we think is right, even if it is for the greater good of the nation – nay, even for our children. Instead, we take the easy way out & look for opportunities abroad.

So the secret is to unleash that potential passion in each one of us Indians.

Ours is a mix of many diverse cultures, each (for the most part) living in harmony. And that is one of the few things that makes this coutry great.

The two cornerstones I see for this country becoming a superpower are education and infrastructure. We have the means at our disposal, we simply need to bring about an attitude change in our people. We need to make them feel proud. Proud enough to stay here and then, in due course, make those who left feel like returning to a prospering place such as the ones they sought.

From what I’ve heard of the treatment we get in other countries and the lack of social completeness, I know that many of us Indians want desperately to come back. It is only family to suport here, the lack of job opportunities and inefficiency of the prevalent system that drives them to linger abroad.

We need also to tackle the over-population problems. We must build new cities, streamline our government. There are simply too many political parties for anything but chaos to reign.

I remember that Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel integrated 563 pricely states just before our Independance. Well today, we need someone to do the same with the (nearly as many) political parties, if we wish to emerge as a superpower in the everchanging lanscape of tomorrow.

Then we can think of streamlining the system. I believe that there aren’t too many young people in politics. What we need to do is make the ladder easier to climb and not chock full of old leeches clinging on and sucking our Nation’s blood – beaureaucracy in every form throughout our government and coty officials.

Ideally, as youngsters, we should begin with social service. Nothing serious, just a fraternity where social issues can be discussed and dealt with. I believe that it is the young who truly hve vision in this country, and the energy, werewithal and the time to make their dreams come true.

So, by the end of our teens, we have been inducted into this fictitious “social service club”. And through that club, we are exposed to different wings of government and corporation functioning.

Then we can join as aides in any department, and we are given some powers of discretion and leeway.

If you read more about Bill Creech who brought about reform in the USAF, turning them into the (relatively) super-efficient fighting machine we all saw in Desert Shield and Desert Storm, he did it all though Total Quality Management.

And in his TQM, he speaks mostly of de-centralisation, trust and responsibility and the way in which it magnifies the performance of people.

Once we have proven our worth as soldiers on this social service battleground, we can enter into political service, say by around the age of thirty. With one simple rule – if we succeed in causing and degeneration in te current system, or even the least hint of corruption, we are at once suspended.

Of course, there has to be put in place ways to prevent this clause from becoming the source for power struggles and the like. And it must not scare the person so much that he dares not try anything new (and possibly good), for fear of failure.

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