I would like to sum up our performance in the 20th century in one sentence. Indians have succeeded in countries ruled by whites, but failed in their own.
This outcome would have astonished leaders of our independence movement. They declared Indians were kept down by white rule and could flourish only under self-rule. This seemed self-evident The harsh reality today is that Indians are succeeding brilliantly in countries ruled by whites, but failing in India. They are flourishing in the USA and Britain.
But those that stay in India are pulled down by an outrageous system that fails to reward merit or talent, fails to allow people and businesses to grow, and keeps real power with netas, babus, and assorted manipulators. Once Indians go to white-ruled countries, they soar and conquer summits once occupied only by whites.
Rono Dutta has become head of United Airlines, the biggest airline in the world. Had he stayed in India, he would have no chance in Indian Airlines. Even if the top job there was given to him by some godfather, a myriad netas, babus and trade unionists would have ensured that he could never run it like United Airlines.
Vikram Pundit has become head of Citigroup, which operates Citibank one of the largest banks in the world.
Rana Talwar has become head of Standard Chartered Bank, one of the biggest multinational banks in Britain, while still in his 40s. Had he been in India, he would perhaps be a local manager in the State Bank, taking orders from babus to give loans to politically favoured clients.
Rajat Gupta is head of Mckinsey, the biggest management consultancy firm in the world. He now advises the biggest multinationals on how to run their business. Had he remained in India he would probably be taking orders from some sethji with no qualification save that of being born in a rich family.
Lakhsmi Mittal has become the biggest steel baron in the world, with steel plants in the US, Kazakhstan, Germany, Mexico, Trinidad and Indonesia. India 's socialist policies reserved the domestic steel industry for the public sector. So Lakhsmi Mittal went to Indonesia to run his family's first steel plant there. Once freed from the shackles of India, he conquered the world.
Subhash Chandra of Zee TV has become a global media king, one of the few to beat Rupert Murdoch. He could never have risen had he been limited to India, which decreed a TV monopoly for Doordarshan. But technology came to his aid: satellite TV made it possible for him to target India from Hong Kong. Once he escaped Indian rules and soil, he soared.
You may not have heard of 48-year old Gururaj Deshpande. His communications company, Sycamore, is currently valued by the US stock market at over $ 30 billion, making him perhaps one of the richest Indians in the world. Had he remained in India, he would probably be a babu in the Department of Telecommunications.
Arun Netravali has become president of Bell Labs, one of the biggest research and development centres in the world with 30,000 inventions and several Nobel Prizes to its credit. Had he been in India, he would probably be struggling in the middle cadre of Indian Telephone Industries. Silicon Valley alone contains over 100,000 Indian millionaires.
Indra Krishnamurthy Nooyi has become since 2006 the CEO Of PepsiCo Inc., a Fortune 500 company.
Sabeer Bhatia invented Hotmail and sold it to Microsoft for $ 400 million. Victor Menezes is number two in Citibank. Shailesh Mehta is CEO of Providian, a top US financial services company. Also at or near the top are Rakesh Gangwal of US Air, Jamshd Wadia of Arthur Andersen, and Aman Mehta of Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corp.
In Washington DC, the Indian CEO High Tech Council has no less than 200 members, all high tech-chiefs.
While Indians have soared, India has stagnated. At independence India was the most advanced of all colonies, with the best prospects. Today with a GNP per head of $370, it occupies a lowly 177th position among 209 countries of the world. But poverty is by no means the only or main problem. India ranks near the bottom in the UNDP's Human Development Index, but high up in Transparency International's Corruption Index.
The neta-babu raj brought in by socialist policies is only one reason for India 's failure. The more sordid reason is the rule-based society we inherited from the British Raj is today in tatters. Instead money,muscle and influence matter most.
At independence we were justly proud of our politicians. Today we regard them as scoundrels and criminals. They have created a jungle of laws in the holy name of socialism, and used these to line their pockets and create patronage networks. No influential crook suffers. The Mafia flourish unhindered because they have political links.
There is a different law for the powerful. Talent cannot take you far amidst such rank misgovernance. We are reverting to our ancient feudal system where no rules applied to the powerful. The British Raj brought in abstract concepts of justice for all, equality before the law. These were maintained in the early years of independence. But sixty years later, citizens wail that India is a lawless land where no rules are obeyed.
I have heard of an IAS probationer at the Mussorie training academy pointing out that in India before the British came, making money and distributing favours to relatives was not considered a perversion of power, it was the very rationale of power. A feudal official had a duty to enrich his family and caste. Then the British came and imposed a new ethical code on officials. But, he asked, why should we continue to choose British customs over desi ones now that we are independent?
The lack of transparent rules, properly enforced, is a major reason why talented Indians cannot rise in India. A second reason is the neta-babu raj, which remains intact despite supposed liberalisation. But once talented Indians go to rule-based societies in the west, they take off. In those societies all people play by the same rules, all have freedom to innovate without being strangled by regulations.
This, then, is why Indians succeed in countries ruled by whites, and fail in their own. It is the saddest story of the century.
I am just the poster. I have received this on e-mail. It has been shared with me on conditions of anonymity. I do not claim to agree, or disagree, either in part, or in full, with this article.
Debate, but keep it cordial. No ad hominems, no expletives, no outrageous insinuations, no unsupported claims, and no unpleasant exchanges are expected, because I believe members at DFI are mature and responsible.
This lamentation is a more so a reflection of emotionally laced nationalism/ ethnocentrism than objective thought... and hence entirely useless
First, "success" does not exist in a vacuum. One can only succeed at something when presented with an opportunity to do so. The rate of success is higher in the West because there is far more opportunity here. Needless to say- more opportunity will by default breed more success. Hence the real question is what are the factors that enable a higher rate of success?
According to me the factors are broadly broken down into structural and cultural. Now I don't know much about the Indian diaspora in the UK so my comments are entirely based on my experience in the US.
*** Just a note, one fact that often gets overlooked about the Indian diaspora in the US is that the Indians here are NOT representative of the general population of India. Indians who migrate are heavily filtered and hence posses a much higher rate of education and tend to come from (comparatively) wealthier families (who had the means to emigrate) and subsequently have the odds stacked heavily in their favor. So one must be very careful in drawing conclusions because the sample itself is tainted.
The most important structural factors which facilitate success are higher education, a developed economy, excellent system of governance, modern infrastructure and a higher quality of life. The most critical cultural aspects are: favorable opinion of meritocracy, mitigation of social hierarchical barriers and tolerance. All of these tend to merge with one another.
Indians who have attained success in the US owe it mostly to the quality of higher education they obtained in American universities, may it be advanced degrees in the sciences, business school or medical residency (for physicians). Success is a lot easier when you live in a developed nation with a highly functional government, a modern infrastructure and a sophisticated economy which in turn can help you attain a high standard of living (which is the core motivational factor). The most commendable thing about these countries "ruled by whites" is that the whites in question have a very egalitarian society where avenues of success are open to anyone and everyone.
So again the problem that requires a deep analysis is why doesn't this happen in India? Well obviously there are structural deficiencies: barring top level schools the quality of university education is pathetic. It is also very difficult to succeed in a third world country where shoddy governance and a poor infrastructure results in a dysfunctional economy and a poorly regulated marketplace.
Then there are a plethora of cultural factors... Indian culture is heavily reliant upon social contacts which then leads to preferences based on non meritocratic factors. Also the deeply hierarchical nature of the society promotes inequality. Poor governance ensures not only a dilapidated economic system but also institutionalized corruption and eventually a poor quality of life (which is the most powerful repellent).
Culture also plays a role in higher education. When it comes to the highest level of education, western Universities aren't necessarily better only because they have more money. Their most potent asset is the collegiate environment, where graduate students and their faculty enjoy a fellowship of equality which then leads to better communication, more productivity and higher creativity.
Obviously this is a very very simplistic explanation but unfortunately I have run out of time to add to the post.
Disgusting article. I wonder how many of these very successful people have even tried to make a change back home, ever.
Netas and babus are among us, they are us. What have you done? What has anyone on this forum done to move the needle? How many have even tried, given it a shot? How many RTI activists are on this forum? How many have challenged a local babu and dragged his ass to court? How many among us are incorruptible? From bribing a traffic cop to paying off the local tasildar to register property for much less than market value.
And the worst of the lot? Are the one's who have packed up and left, attained success abroad, never to return. Lock Stock and fcking barrel!
Stop living in pretense. Get off your ass and do something about the state of affairs rather than live in self pity and nonsensical comparisons like the ones made in this STUPID ARTICLE.
There are white countries, and there are white countries.
Is the USA white? Is the UK? They are are not. They are not "ruled by whites." Russia is a white country, ruled by whites, and most likely to stay that way.
The best thing is to ignore race, but we can't. Every day the US government tries to make everything "fair" for everybody. As a result, the US government is more obsessed by race that 95% of the people who live there.
The statistics in the article are outdated, and the facts in the article are out of date too. GNP is not $370 per head. It is much higher. This email might have started doing the rounds in the late 1990s, and has somehow resurfaced now.
This article was relevant and completely true, had it been written in the 1990s. The fact is, India produced more wealth and more entrepreneurs and businessmen in the 20 years that in the 40 years preceding that. None of those shackles apply anymore, to the extent that the article speaks of.
The article talks of Indian Airlines. Today we have Spicejet, Indigo, Jet, Sahara. Kingfisher, Paramount, GoAir, etc. - I'm sure I have left out many. He speaks of ITI babus, but these days, we have the Airtels and the Tatas and Reliance too.
Essentially, the points that the article makes are out of place in 2012. It would have been a great article in 1991.
But seriously, I would also include Kingfisher. The airline ran for 5+ years, and was considered by all (including me), to have the best customer service and inflight entertainment. It even acquired Deccan! It was a good airline overall, when it lasted. Now, even if KF collapses and gets bought (by Ambani or Tata or someone), the assets will remain - both human and machine.
Even starting such a venture was unthinkable in the pre-1990s - that is the point that the article makes. But then, that is not true any longer.
Yes, I agree. As a matter of fact, United Breweries is a better example than Kinghfisher, because, I believe, liquor sales haven't suffered; just the airline is facing liquidation. Also, Vijay Mallya has brought back the Sword of Tipu Sultan. Might be salutory, but still, it can be seen as a 'good work - well done.'
@Pmatria Your post on Russian ethnicity is some what not true, although Russia is diverse all of those races are White to some extent. Not to mention the majority of Russia is Slavic.
I agree with you the Netas have brought India down, it drives me crazy sitting here and watching all these uneducated and primitive ideas of tax reform and industry reform dragging down Industrial growth.
Indias growth story as i always say is despite the politicians and not because of them, they have put unimaginable hurdles like no power, over taxation, squandering of that tax money, poor infrastructure and Yet India can grow because of it talent.
I dont know what else to add because as much as i hate politics, I see only hope for India likes with BJP at-least they seem to understand a little bit on what i am saying, Arun Jatelys speech in parliment on lowering tax and allowing industries to use that money instead of waste it on a leaking and corrupt system was some what close to what i think. That is the last hope left for us. I wish we had another 10 more years of Vajpayee and not this Coward MMS.
Last edited by Godless-Kafir; 18-04-12 at 01:13 PM.
You make it sound as if it is a bad thing that USA is trying to make things good for its minorities, as far as i am concerned that is the only good thing left. Helping minorities that do not have any bad agenda against secularism is a good thing.