1. Mr. Nandan Nilekani, ex-CEO of Infosys.
2. My friend Shambu Nashipudi (no title required!), ex-employee of Infosys, Wipro and another small company.
How Mr. Nilekani? Just finished reading his book Imagining India. It took months to finish it as I don’t read more than 5 pages per day. It is such a heavy book, literally as well as in terms of its content. Starting with a bit of history, he has explained every major problem of this country in his own corporate style. Thanks to the globalization for bringing in a new perspective to look at things. The corporate world has brought in that. He doesn’t talk about emotionally weakening subjects. He actually talks about some of them in a politically correct tone. We are just used to the kind of people who don’t talk about issues because they would be viewed politically incorrect. Else, there is another group that politicizes everything that they talk about. He instead has chosen to talk about everything with a boardroom tone that we are not used to, especially on public issues.
The war rooms were the places where strategies were made. Both the words war room and strategy have their origin in defense. Next to defense, all such terms are being used only in business now. Only business is being fought like a war. You have to do things on war footing as your survival is in question every day. You have to keep strategizing not to lose ground. Wish our governments (not politics) were run with such seriousness!
He also talks about how business’s role in governance has changed over time in our country. Business like any other profession was meant for only few communities and families at some point in time in the past. Today, it is absorbing all kinds of talents into it irrespective of their caste, creed and background. It would eventually become democratized some day. I was astonished by the amount of observations he has made about things that are not in his domain. He himself has talked about it. About how we see businessmen! It’s good that some of them are disproving all our beliefs about them and have started doing more to the society than the ones who are meant to do it.
May be, he wanted to be in politics. He might have realized at the right time that it was not his cup of coffee and he could do more than what a politician could by being away from it, sometime later and more easily. Today, perhaps, he is in the place where he wanted to be.
He has also shown a way to those of us who want to do a variety of productive things to the society that produced us. Becoming a Narayana Murthy or Nandan Nilekani wouldn’t have been the dream of so much middle class boys in the last generation. Today, even those who want to serve the nation look at them as their role models. It's a new way of serving the nation, like Robin Sharma's 'Leader without Title'.
‘You don’t have to ruin your valuable youth in running behind your favorite leader with a colorful flag in hand for decades; you don’t have to ditch your family and risk your life with your political rivals and corrupt contractors; you don’t have to entertain people to win their hearts in order to float a political party of your own when you retire from movies; you don’t have to be born in a political family to come in through the backdoor; you don’t have attract and marry a political heir; just succeed in whatever you do as part of your job and keep an eye on everything that happens around you with a sincere care; there would be a time when you would be able to do much more than what the others couldn’t do by dedicating themselves to the society from childhood’.
Having finished his book very recently there would surely be a lot of his influence in my thoughts. It’s okay. It’s okay even if you view it as a synopsis of his book.
How Shambu? After posting the last one on promising personalities from Congress party, he asked me “why not a post on the challenges that the country is facing today?”! It is a result of that question.
Where is the result?
It would come in the next post.
Again, as a mark of respect to the friend, who constructively offered a brick of advice to reduce the size of the posts with more frequent blogging…