“Oh, so you think rape is okay …”

Pics from DNA

Incredibly lucid views by Ranjeev Dubey, summing up the goings-on in Delhi in response to the horrific gang-rape of a 23-year old physiotherapist on 16th December, 2012.

“Sunil, I think I said this on Twitter.

ONE, The violence against women on the street is only an extension of the violence in our homes. You can’t fix one without fixing the other.

TWO, in the specific case, these were criminals. To call them rapists is to mislead those responsible for dealing with the law and order challenge of an understaffed overworked police force permanantly subject to political pressures to say nothing of their obligation to provide security to these same politicians.

THREE, between the bizarre nature of popular reaction, our lumpen polity and our perverse political classes, existent or aspiring Kejriwal and Ramdev, every genuine protest will get hijacked unless we manage it very well which requires urban elites to be leaders, not those reeling under anger management issues.

FOUR, popular anger does start revolutions but careful analysis and the moulding of solutions creates new societies. It’s absurd that our urban elites should lead street protests. Who will now mould the solutions and drive change: the illitrates?

FIVE, the extreme inequities in our society encourges disempowered men one of them to do terrible things to women sometimes, it is one of us which is when we react, otherwise we let it go with the usual sympathetic noises and platitudes. Of course when one of us does terrible things to one of them, then it’s only some women trying to make money from one of us. We cannot create a new society without introspection and a fundamental change in our own attitude.

SIX, all this said and done, what has happened to this girl is terrible and unforgivable. Indians being a bit emotionally fragile as we are, the general reaction to anyone asking for a more nuanced and intellectually refined approach to public issues is then accused of promoting the opposite. In this case, it would be: “oh so you think it was okay for her to be raped, etc etc”.”

A reminder for us to exercise restraint and keep our animal instincts in check, whether in perpetrating crime or protesting against it. Moderation is what we need as we step into the New Year.

Ranjeev is an old friend and a good one at that. He’s also the guy that recently rocked the boat with his second (maybe third) book, Bullshit Quotient. A must read!

I cannot emphasize enough that “popular anger does start revolutions but careful analysis and the moulding of solutions creates new societies.”

It’s such a shame to see the age of unreason gripping the educated intelligentsia. Your helplessness is manifesting in your call for instant justice. The anger is justified but the means are not. Restraint doesn’t mean we’re giving up … by all means keep the intensity of emotion alive. An eye for an eye is not the Indian way.

Reminder that is the land where Buddha attained enlightenment and Gandhi won freedom. Ahimsa in thought, word and action. Happy 2013!

Related:
1. Stop Rape NOW – sign this petition by Namita Bhandare

Innovation, Now!

The continuing financial Tsunami has ceased to make waves. We ought to have seen it coming but were too scared to open our eyes. Like we’ve done in the past – all we’ve ever learnt to do is to solve problems based on ‘fitting historical patterns’ – we believe that we’re at the bottom of the economic downturn and things will look up from here on. Anybody noticed that the slide has been going on since September 11, 2001? And we’re satisfied waiting. The time for innovation is here and is urging us to do something – differently.

Talk to technology and business people and they will tell you that innovation is a tool. Therefore researching a need and then developing a solution to address it is called innovation. Then why call it innovation, why not keep calling it R&D? Are we simply using the word because it sounds nicer? Continue reading

Tech things for granted.

I met a classmate a couple of weeks ago after 20-odd years. He’s doing stuff at the leading edges of – you guessed it  – IPTV. The passion with which he explained the potential of the technology, and what it could do, sucked me into a discussion of fancy features; about how we could provide seamless interactivity with the back ends of Amazon, Walmart, Nike, D&G, etc. and how people could order pizzas from the comfort of their TV couches without as much as lifting a finger (after all, you’d only have to press a couple of buttons on the remote handset to achieve the impossible).

Whoa! Not so fast folks. The next time you are relaxing and watching your favorite TV program — think!

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Innovation 101: The business of Culture

This post is a modified version of an article I wrote. Some patriotic leanings are evident …


Mohandas K. Gandhi

“A culture is an organization’s collective mind-set – its beliefs, intentions, and memories”, said Mark Youngblood in his 1997 book, Life at the Edge of Chaos: Creating the Quantum Organization. “Organizations that will survive and prosper in the twenty-first century will be fast, flexible, responsive, resilient, creative, balanced, and full of vitality.” He calls them [these companies] Quantum Organizations. Quantum Organizations, in direct contrast with the machine-like design of industrial era companies, operate using the principles of living systems. They are organic webs of life: dynamic, interconnected networks of relationships that are constantly learning, adapting, and evolving.”

Quantum or not, an organizational model based on his prophetic understanding of the new millennium business world is urgently needed today. A key ingredient for building the firm of the future is the setting up of a culture that can evolve, sustain and grow. Relationships, learning, adapting, evolving – simple to use words – not so simple to understand or, for that matter, apply in a particular context. For one, the mechanistic worldview [what became the order in the Industrial era] suggests the need for rigid structures. Today’s realities are quite different. Relationships are being formed without any physical contact: very deep relationships are being founded on areas of common interest.

In my opinion, the Internet has promoted globalisation as a natural way of doing business in today’s world. It has also made “individualised” infrastructure ubiquitously available. Which means that ways of working have changed from mono to network. As a natural outcome, all monolithic organisations are morphing into networked enterprises; all solo endeavours are seeking interdependence.

I wonder if this could point towards building a business culture, especially valuable from my point of view, for small entrepreneurial ventures. Building a culture consciously, methodically and based on a value system that reflects India’s ethos, history and diversity. I come from a generation that has taken pride in the American ‘twang’ and has been celebrating capitalism, without quite understanding that it won’t work in its yankee avatar in India. Do we understand our own contexts? It’s high time we did. Continue reading

Was Gandhi Innovative?

I saw an interesting post titled Is India Not So Innovative, After All?. Somehow, the word Innovation is being misused, twisted and turned and nobody seems to be noticing. (my original comment to the post is here, part of which is reproduced below).

Guys, it’s innovation we’re talking about here. Does anybody care to explain what the word means? Does it need a context? Is it a process or a domain – or both? Or many other things coming together?

Talk to technology and business people and they will somehow try to see it as a tool. So researching a need and then developing a solution to address it is Innovation. Right? That’s what I get from reading the post. Then why call it innovation, why not keep calling it R&D? Are we simply using the word because it sounds nicer?

It’s not about India being innovative, it’s about Indians being innovative. I believe we are innovative and perhaps the only nation that has all the ingredients needed for innovation. Of course, this means expanding the definition – oops! almost fell into the same trap myself there – (understanding is a better word) understanding of Innovation.

Some questions I continue to look for answers are:

Continue reading