Thursday, November 12, 2009

The brain drain

While surfing on net today, I came across this link here. And then I went through the profile of all the people mentioned in that list. Most of them had their beginnings in India but then went to the US for a career and then there was no coming back. There are many in that list who are from the IITs. These are the people who have earned all the fame and glory in this world. But I would like to know how has their success contributed to the success of the country which gave them this chance. And I am not being sarcastic here. I indeed want to know that is there any positive side to this brain drain. If any body has an answer to it, please write a comment. I would really be very grateful.

There is a friend of mine who says that it was for good that these people went there. If they would have remained in India, they wouldn't have achieved anything significant. They argue that they are contributing more to the development this way. But I seriously refuse to believe it. US is what it is today because of the efforts put in by the people there some 200-300 years back. It took it all these years to achieve the position it enjoys in the world today. But what have people in India done. Rather than emulating that model, we very comfortably make use of the infrastructure US extends to all the bright people for its development. We never tried to develop those kind of facilites here. And then we complaint about not having any facilities here and then more people went there. There is no end to this cycle unless we ourselves put an effort to it.

Few years back, another friend of mine told me that he considers himself a world citizen. He told me that development of science should not be withhold by these man made boundries. What a great way to clear your consceince. I would like to ask everyone who believes the same that who is actually paying for the subsidy which enables all of us to afford this level of education. And why not spend all this money on rather developing infrastructure for primary education for others which would have greater impact on the lives of more people. May be the rest of the world can then come and subside your education.

All this things are coming in my mind as I am approaching placements. I fear that I would also end up with same kind of life. Working in the Indian office of some MNC, making decisions on how to maintain the margins in the credit card business of North America. And then after some years, I would rather go for an MBA from an elite B-School and end up as an investment banker, being content with all the bucks I would be earning.

I sometimes regret wasting all the time that I wasted in the past 4 years. Now time has pushed me into mediocrity. I still yearn to do someting good, something significant. I long to make a difference. And I would rather want to do it now than to think about all these things 30 years later and thinking about what a waste has my life been. Its just that I don't see a path which leads me to my destination. And even if I see any, I think I am not strong enough. Not right now.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Value of 50 rupees

A picture is worth thousand words. And when you extend this, a movie clip is 1000x(frames per second in the clip)x(total length of clip in seconds) words :P

So see this video clip here because it says what I want to say much more beautifully.

Today in the afternoon, the sweeper of my hostel wing came to my room. He said something in a low voice which I could not hear. When I asked him again, he repeated. He said he wanted Rs. 50 and said that he would return it by 12th. And all the while, he was too unsure and diffident. He works here and I know that this guy is a simple man. So, I did give him the money.

And then I thought about what is the value of 50 rupees for me. It is what I spend on my single visit to the canteen when I don't want to eat in the hostel mess. Just to think of it, this small an amount for me could be so much consequential in some other person's life is a bit discomforting. I wondered what important need could he have had for which he had to borrow the money and which could be fulfilled in 50 rupees. But then I didn't think too much into it for things which we take for granted may mean a world to some other person.

To tell you all the truth, when I gave him the money, I felt that I didn't want it back. I am no philanthropist and he might not be that needy but still I had  this feeling. I have bargained with a riksha wallah or a sabji wallah for 5-10 rupees. But I just didn't want a person to be occupied with this thing in his mind that he has to return back 50 rupees to someone. I don't know whether some other person can relate to this feeling but this is what I felt.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A legacy named Indira

"She was a great patriot and a flawed democrat".

"Her story is a story of a woman pushed into the public eye by men, corrupted by power and assasinated by those she should have trusted best". (Sunday Times)

She is revered and despised in equal measures. She is the most recognized Indian in the world after Gandhi himself. Her leadership in the 1971 war was iconic. At the same time, she has been touted as the most controversial Prime Minister of all time. The emergency that she imposed is seen as the biggest spot on the Indian democracy.

So who is she for the generation which knows her only by the archives of the newspapers, books and some documentaries ?

While growing up as child, I had an image of a woman who was hungry for power, who toyed with democracy at her will. An image of someone totally averse to criticism. And it was because my grandfather was jailed during emergency for shouting anti-government slogans and the whole story looked so virtuous and glorious to me.

As I grew up, I came accross new information and facts. The more I get to know about her, the more I was intrigued. Her metamorphosis from a shy young woman to a stolid, imposing and fearsome ruler is spectacular. It was by a sudden chance that she became the Prime Minister and from there on started a dramatic journey of highs and lows.

I respect her for the vision that she uphold for India. She abolished the titles of Maharajas, nationalized the banks and other corporations. Her efforts saw India becoming a nuclear power. She was not averse to taking to any means to further the interests of India inside the coutry as well as else where.

But I am a critic of her pursuit to obtain absolute powers. Her brand of politics was quite opposite to that of her father. She is the one responsible for the dynastic nature of the Indian politics, for the interference of legislature with the judiaciary and bureaucracy. She was the one who led Khalistan grew to increase her control in Punjab and it was this very factor that caused her demise.

And for all these reasons, good or bad, she remanins a legacy to everyone in this country. A legacy named Indira.