October 01, 2005

You can innovate anywhere

How about using railway station coolies for providing extra security !

Or maybe give them cellphone and make them event capturing agents for the 24/7 media streams.

October 1, 2005 in Social angle | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 01, 2005

Language and careers

Found this on the Indian job mailing list for sales executives:

Ability to communicate in one or more Asian languages (e.g. Mandarin,
Hindi, Japanese, Korean or Bahasa Malay, etc) as well as previous
international work experience is an asset.

Knowing more language is definitely an edge. Interestingly advantage of knowing regional Indian language is diminishing by the day.  Flat World will be tough on the regional cultures.

July 1, 2005 in Social angle | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 18, 2005

Rotten morality

Something in that part of the world (yes including India) stinks when it comes to the treatment of women.  Every once  in a while you hear some crazy rural council giving  medieval justice to some women.

Few years back we had similar episode in India . People build NGO around that episode, elections won and lost, movie made and tons of other things and  then life moved on.


Are we going to see the likes of  Mukhtar Mai and  Sanwaari every few years ?
Despite all the advancement, our culture and basic instincts are still the same. At the drop of a hat people act like animals.  Something is really rotten in our selective morality that on one hand we cannot respect our women whereas we are ready to blow ourselves in the name of God. Even the so called developed pockets are pretty bad in handling their women.

June 18, 2005 in Social angle | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 10, 2005

Grassroot disconnect

Seth Levine quotes his father on grassroot level changes in China:

I would predict that within the next five years the disconnect between people's economic aspirations and their ability to achieve them within the boundaries of government policies could lead to a political crisis

Information awareness is growing at a pace never seen before in that part of the world. I dont see why this same tension won't show up in other places such India, Brazil, and Russia. Governments in emerging nations will have tough time catching up with their citizen's aspirations.

So many years of locked-up ambition. Years of borrowed ideologies have made certain sections very hostile to any controlled growth models as well.  Though too early in the cycle to interpret it that way but Godfather scene comes to mind:

Michael Corleone: I saw a strange thing today. Some rebels were being arrested. One of them pulled the pin on a grenade. He took himself and the captain of the command with him. Now, soldiers are paid to fight; the rebels aren't.
Hyman Roth: What does that tell you?
Michael Corleone: It means they could win.

Emerging nations need to be careful about their have-nots going forward ! We are living in a very transparent society - thanks to all the information in our hand.

June 10, 2005 in Social angle | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 19, 2005

Money-minded and proud of it

While coming to Bangalore, I was doing the ritualistic scan of all flight magazines (I am one of those traveler who just run to grab all the magazines and hoard them till I am done reading them. In Singapore Airlines you get plenty of good magazines on East-Asian events, sometimes I just enjoy the font and pictures in those local language magazines!).

One essay in Newsweek caught my attention, it was Fareed Zakaria's coming of age piece on India. His point was that the recent Tsunami event is showing the signs of confident India. Country, despite all the historical problems, is poised to claim it's place in the global economy.

During my days in Delhi during mid-90s, I used to read Rafiq Zakaria's column in Times Of India. Senior Zakaria was a politician and a fine writer. He used to have very refreshing viewpoint during those dull years. His  anti-partition stand was the highlight. Father and son may very well be the showcase example of what has changed in India and it's Diaspora.

It's the parting shot in Fareed's essay which caught my attention:

Fareed writes :

In some ways India's messy development resembles that of another large, energetic, chaotic country where society has tended to loom larger than the state the United States of America. It is a parallel to keep in mind

And messy it is. Or maybe messy with a big M. As I was telling my friend the other day that if you just stand at one place and look up you would get the impression that Bangalore is booming. The moment you start walking or driving then reality catches up. Roads are a mess. In some strange revenge state government's machinery has revolted against all the dollar rich lords.

All the right things are here in this booming city. All the right visitors, right companies, right dollar amount, right food and right weather. What is missing is government. Under normal circumstances you would feel happy for it. As Mark Tully commented in his recent book that India has made progress wherever government sector was weak or absent. So it's good that government is MIA in lot of places. But now we need them and need it now ! Roads, electricity, airports, company affairs and telecom are all due for major work.
Without all that this country will just spread the mediocrity all over the country and completely miss out on the quality one gets from a fine ecosystem.

As old school is on the defense, there is this confident new generation which knows how to work the system. You just need to look at Sania Mirza to realize that this time the confidence is natural. They don't need system to go on to their daily life. They need system's lubrication in order to run and shine. Bangalore's messy potholes and speed breakers are symbolic of India which can be revengeful and dangerous. This country may not realize but it's slowly building a generation which is suspicious of government's role and would rather prefer controlling it's own destiny. Just give them broadband, decent infrastructure, primary education and they know how to handle their affairs.

Indian media is also adjusting and there are lot of new quality channels. Byline of a program in recently launched business channel - Profit - sums up the mood - "money minded and proud of it". Only a generation ago this free agent pursuit of money was considered a sin bigger than poverty. I am glad India is changing that without making  Rich Dad Poor Dad a best seller in this part of the world.

If we have to sum up the developing parallel between India and US then following threads standout - deep mistrust of government, messy and chaotic, "money minded and proud of it" and strong democracy.

As Fareed said, this parallel will be worth watching.

January 19, 2005 in Social angle | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 08, 2004


Watch-dog site covering all the advocacy groups which were covertly or publicly involved with the two political parties. Tracking money flow is the first step in rooting out corruption. There should be an open source application (on the lines of civicspaces etc) which should let NGOs build this kind of money/lobby track in any given social domain.

World is getting more transparent by the day. It will become better eventually.

December 8, 2004 in Social angle | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 24, 2004

Education sector reform - manifesto analysis

Satyanarayan has an excellent analysis of education sector reform promises made by different parties in their election manifestos. Congress proposal for setting up EDFC is compelling if executed along the lines of HDFC. It seems country is still running short of 1.7% of GDP to fulfill it's goal of 6% of GDP as an investment in education sector. This 1.7% amounts to a whopping sum of $11.05bn. This further proves that government need to focus more on the primary education rather than putting their precious resources in expensive higher education sector.

(This is the beauty of the blog medium that these party manifesto will be discussed/analyzed/measured and made accountable)

May 24, 2004 in Social angle | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 16, 2004

Razor's edge ?

At friend's daughter's birthday party, happened to meet some old college friends. Generally catching up on the social front, came to know about Suryan's brother. His brother Sridhar is now adays in China.

Somewhere in my mind Sridhar's life has made a permanent mark. He did 10month long trekking of the east coast . As if that wasn't enough for this fellow he went ahead and signed up for the teaching job in China. He is sure living a life which lot of us talk about but rarely make a transition. His paintings sure suggest love for the wierd and kinky, but then he is Suryan's brother.

He should start blogging instead of usual html publishing.

May 16, 2004 in Social angle | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 09, 2004

School chain project

Two IIM-A students planning school chain project to bring innovative concepts early on in the education process.
This one will be interesting to watch.

May 9, 2004 in Social angle | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 27, 2004

More on social enterprise

SEI intiatives at HBS -

One factor working against educational institutions interested in producing more socially aware leaders is business school rankings produced by various publications. The lower starting salaries earned by graduates going into nonprofits can drop a school's ranking, Tierney said. These rankings should begin to take the nonprofit sector into account, perhaps weighting salaries of nonprofit sector graduates differently. Publications should also rate schools on their contributions to society.

Somebody recently commented asking me whether I am involved in social entrepreunership. I wish he left some note to get back to him. Anyways the answer is at this point I am only passively supporting such projects. In next few months will be making active contributions, will be making formal announcements to that effect very soon.

April 27, 2004 in Social angle | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack