Thursday, April 23, 2009

Individual & isolated successes cannot substitute for Collective failures

Sometime ago, someone from our office had forwarded me a mail about things that we Indians can take pride in. The mail mentions things like -
An Indian - Vinod Khosla founded Sun Microsystems, Vinod Dham (an Indian) was the creator of the Pentium chip and so on.
It goes on to enumerate how many Indians work at the top organisations like Microsoft, NASA etc. and talks a little bit of our glorious historical past.

While these are indeed things to be proud of, there are two things that disturb me about it

1. It celebrates mostly individual achievements. 
2. It celebrates mostly the past glory of this country.

Sadly most Indians commit themselves to achieving only individual excellence and are focused on their own welfare. As a rule most Indians do not dedicate or even participate in activities that would benefit the larger community. That's why we do not have a Harvard, a Microsoft, a Standford or a NASA in this country. That's why our homes are clean and our streets are dirty. That's why a few of us live first world lives while hundreds of millions of Indians lead a life of desperation and deprivation.

I am not an India basher. I love India and its people more than I can state in words. My concern is that we are substituting our current failures with past greatness and substituting the failures of the community with individual successes.

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