Monday, June 15, 2009

Change ! Recognize the need !

If I thanked Lord Bentinck and Macaulay in my previous post for giving me this English language as a medium to express through the WWW, today I would like to thank IT evangelists in India who empowered me with a ‘Web that I can weave World Wide ’ !
I am obliged to thank only Indian IT evangelists ‘coz without their consent, the so called demonized tools of capitalists would not have entered our socialistic country.

The advent of man-eating machines
In 1966 the IBM chief felt that Indian currency reforms are congenial for manufacturing computers economically and the reactive NO to change came from India’s political class (then) opposed the computers as they could be the ‘man-eating machines’ that would devour the jobs of working class.
Opposition to computers continued till 1982. The successful organization of Asian Games through IT convinced the ‘scion of the dynasty’ Rajiv Gandhi, that he must tell his mother’s old world gang to relax. His initiatives of IT policy brought in the stamp to officially have the man-eaters in the holy halls of (non) governance.

The Chameleon Champs
The 1984 IT policy made Bank employees burn effigies of computers
Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh, the BJP affiliated trade unions, observed Labour Day in 1984 as “anti-computer day’.
In 1986 Jaswant Singh the veteran BJP leader (then MP) criticised Rajiv Gandhi and his techno team for bringing IT, b’coz he didn’t like it that his opposition party is making development happen. And I quote the same BJP leader who idolised IT and modern technology in 2000 as ‘the rivulets that will nourish the arid soil of poverty’...b’coz his party is in power and they have to glorify what they do.
And today !
The same political class and working class are using IT to support their quality lives. Then, they used lung power, now they use digital power to say no or yes for change!
Of course the peasants and the poor they wanted to protect then are developing now! No don’t get me wrong, the development is b’coz of the IT and not b’coz of ‘their’ resistance.
People who create public opinion, lobbies, pressure groups and harp on causes, are not really concerned for the larger community. It could be an excuse created by these groups who have vested interests like political promotion or popularity.
They will oppose or support change for personal gains. Of course, personally they will never lose anything, it is the ignorant and gullible who get carried away and pay the price for it.

On the flipside
It’s amusing to read about the efforts of IT evangelists to baptise the babus into using the computers. If one had to be lured with a promise for promotion another accepted for the AC that comes along with the computer.
There were govt servants and directors of companies who were ready to bribe in order to stop the invasion of computers into their work domains...they were mortally scared that their influence would be reduced by the mindless machines... for them all those who preached reformation through IT, were not evangelists but satans.
Well all these bare facts may not be remembered but what needs to be realized is that the same warriors against change are prospering due to that change.
How each one of us perceives change is amusing at times and amazing many times.
The Soviet Union, for instance, placed a high priority on IT and robotics and the government saw computers and robots as a viable alternative to a demoralized-and vodka-swilling-Soviet workforce. For effective governance, they needed someone who will not while away their time drinking and drooling in vodka, so their justification to change is “robots don’t drink”.

The IT Renaissance
The IT conversion aimed at bringing rapid economic growth but what came as a bonus is the productive change in the form of a global work culture and standards.
If Industrial revolution gave rise to a new class of rich people, IT enabled the middle class to aim and achieve big!
When it has to come, come hell or high water, change will come, riding high on a one horse open the Santa, and drowns us in gifts that we may not have asked for!
I sure asked for a gift from Santa... to change the mindsets of people and make them see the world in its right perspective, not in the materialistic cocoon they have built around themselves. And he said “Amen”!

Episode punch
I was reading this column called SUBVERSE in TOI on 9th June.
The author of the column, Roger Cohen has some interesting observations.
I am sure he will not mind me repeating them here.
...Lorrie Moore once observed of John Updike that he was “arguably our greatest writer without a single great novel”.
And the same Moore observed, (he seems to have this uncanny sense to observe) “Obama is arguably our greatest speech maker without a single memorable line”!
Some great Presidential lines
JFK “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”
FDR’s: “when you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on”
Clinton: “There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America.”
In the same column, I read this Latin phrase
“ E pluribus, Unum” which means “Out of many, One” . Although the author used this to describe Obama’s multi racial image, I found an uncanny resemblance to the thoughts I am posting on my blog.
Out of many one! E pluribus, Unum.


Anonymous said...

wow seetha! i'm amazed at you having the time to do this too:) lots of luck

srinivasa rao kondamuri said...

Excellent Blog . Your style of writing is like a laminar flow. There are some contributors to IT revolution in India even in political class , notably Mr.Chandra Babu Naidu in Andhra and Mr.S.M.Krishna in Karnataka. But the real credit must go to people like Mr.N.R.Narayana Murthy of Infosys and other entrepreneurs.Unlike "English Revolution" started by Britishers in India, "IT Revolution" is totally by Indians and as you rightly observed even the "Doubting Thomases" reaped benefits.

Seetha Murty said...

You are right I would be doing injustice if I dont thank Shri Chandra Babu Naidu for the role of IT evangelist that he played in AP. As for Infosys, I respect them not just for bringing IT but also for setting values in work culture.Reading thru Nandan Nilekini's Imagining india I chanced upon these lines which I am including here..
"In 1982 Infosys applied for permission to import a 150MB Hard disk drive. By the time approval had come after many months, the company manufacturing the drives had improved the capacity to 300MB, and reduced the price by 15%. This meant changing the import license and that took another 6to 8 months".

..i can imagine what struggle they must have gone thru with our non-starting attitudes, particularly so in the govt.
thanks for ur feedback.

Ashok said...

Good . Keep it up. Your writing is improving after blogging for a few days.Keep it up. Cheers !

archisha said...

fabolous blog. you are always perfect.your style of writing is just like u wonderful i must say

AnuSWARAJYAsree said...

hai mam, it gives me immense pleasure to read your thoughts and exerpts. i find a tremendous change in service sector since our independence.from industrial reveloution we progressed to IT and what next? There is a constant materialistic change what about change in our attitudes? i believe change of mindsets is easier in a micro group.I am sure this micros would definately bring change in the macros.Thank God change is changing.Kudos to Seetha Murty.
E Pluribus , Unum. AnuSWARAJYAsree.

rachnas said...

The ushering of the digital world in our country has been through turbulent phases but it did truly bring in productive change not only in global work culture but had universal impact. As you rightly said different things lured different people, it made me recall an incident way back in 1992 when a retired SBI manager came to my Institute to learn to work with computers. His motivation was a sure shot entry into heaven as he said 'by now God must also be using computers and would not have many qualified people to help him, so he would need me in heaven.' May God bless his soul.