A Contrarian Perspective of Rahul’s Response (India Centric)

Most  analysts and political commentators have dismissed  Rahul Gandhi’s  performance in  the interview on Monday  ( 27  January  –  with Arnab Goswami of Times Now Channel ) as below par dubbing him inexperienced & confused  AND his performance as  lacklustre  and  full of  hollow  words.

That  Rahul  reiterated  three major actions, ” The system has to be changed;  Women’s empowerment is critical;  and  RTI for  good governance”  to the question repeatedly posed 5 or 6 times in succession  seeking his answer on how 1984 anti Sikh riots  was different from 2002 Gujarat riots in specific terms has been the main observation from everyone.

  1.  That  Rahul is in politics for nearly a decade holding responsible position(s) cannot be ignored;   2.  That Rahul is not gullible as not to realize the meaning of the question also cannot be ignored;   3.  That  Rahul’s awareness of the interview being watched by lakhs of people again cannot be ignored.  And,  yet  his repetition of  the same three major actions to these questions is perplexing.

It occurs to my mind that there can be only two  reasons  for this  :  (a)  Rahul did not want to answer the question  directly;  (b) Being engaged in a “conversation”  (  a  word  Rahul himself used to describe the interview when he asked Arnab directly as to why he chose to become a journalist )  Rahul, probably, expected to draw  a clear boundary to questions relating to Plans for Future of India  rather than dwelling on the past (particularly when the Institutions of Law are on course to do the needful on this matter).

I think the second  ,  i.e. (b),  stands to reason and sounds logical.  I will come to the reason in a minute.

Was  Rahul nervous,  fidgety,  or in fear and hesitation  of  the questions posed to him ?  Were  strength and confidence lacking in him ?   A  firm  ‘NO’  for the answer, except for that related to the first test that anyone might be undergoing.  He only  ‘took the side of the Indian public in Development’,  forgetting the past,  I  feel.

I present a ‘different’ perspective now.  It occurs  to  me  again  that  Rahul has taken the much publicised “interview”  as  a  “conversation”  where  he imitated the role of  the  ” CEO of an Organization”  answering the person seeking to know the CEO’s  lead  & directions  to the future of India.  Means,  Rahul sat there as the “CEO of the Nation.”  Every  ‘CEO”  is  either asked or the CEO poses the question to himself/herself  the one question, the answer  to  which  will likely shape  the  Course of the Organization  in future, particularly when internal/external challenges are manifold; i.e.  “If you had a chance to change one thing, what would you change  about the organization” ?  Rahul has extended the question to the Nation and answered repeatedly, “The System has to be Changed”.  He  possibly  could have been under the impression that the ‘interview’ will not be so much as responses to questions  but  a  mini/micro address on issues.  He  probably was hinting to change the direction of the interview.  He was speaking, probably, more of his agenda.  If the interviewer continued further on this line ( shunning the questions relating to the past temporarily), the whole exercise would have done a lot of good in testing  Rahul’s  Vision,  Ideas,  and  Plans – something people will be eager to know and to assess/evaluate his competency. It could have been a historic one too.

That  Rahul  probably tried to prompt this is debatable, though.  But  his  emphasis and repetition also probably conveyed the following :

1.  In repeating the three major actions, Rahul is dreaming big dreams for people;  2.  Shows his conviction that people alone could make India strong;  3.  He lays emphasis on reversing the trend and not so much to engage in any blame game;  4.  He displays the trust reposed in people to create harmony and not any further crisis;  5.  He is taking the side of the Indian Public on Development,  Welfare,  and  Growth;  6.  He attempts to list the real, concrete and achievable things that are the needs of the hour;  7.  He wants his base to be inspired and not angered;  8. He evokes the “spirit of Indian Citizen” and portrays as someone who will stand for their rights;  9.  By “Empowerment” what Rahul probably means is for the institutions,  businesses, and enterpreuners to enhance the participation so that  HE  CAN  FULLY  SUPPORT  THEM.  “When women sustain, India sustains”;  10.  His  reference to his personal story was, probably, more to put trust on people to take their own decisions ( as he took his decisions in personal life) and not expect government will say for everyone and everything. This probably is his interpretation of ’empowerment’ – an expression of Trust in People.

It also occurs to me that  ‘Rahul’  is in  “TOM” (Total Open Mind)  mode without any pride.  His calm attitude  and  mentality without getting agitated,  supported  his  points  of view at this particular time.  He  may  have  also  decided  to  take  broad consensus on issues, knowing the vulnerability of the party and the present circumstances.

In sum,  I tend to think that  Rahul  wanted to be viewed as the  CEO  of  the  Nation  on  “TOM”  mode  expecting more on  ‘what can be done?’ ,  rather  than answering  ‘ what and how of what happened’.  If he can become the  ‘CEO  of  India’  and  act and  follow  CEO’s  practices can he  position  India  well  for the 21st Century?   A  sixty four  thousand dollar  question !

We shall wait till the next ‘tete-a-tete’  keeping ourselves in  ‘TOM’   mode.

“Dieu  avec  nous”

Wednesday,    January   29,  2014   –   4.59  p.m. (IST)

Tidbit  :   ”  No  Challenge  too  Great;   No  dream  too Big;   Will you  Help  or  Hinder  Progress ?” –  President  Barack  Obama

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‘Rahul – Rah … Rah … ‘ – my Simple & Short Speech (India centric)

India is now on the brink of the triadic elements characterised by ,  (1)  a revolution yearning for transparent governance;  (2) a period of social, economic and moral crisis;  and  (3) a sort of chaos resulting from misdirected decision-making ;  demanding a firm hand in taking it forward.  My informal survey of 499 officers,  students,  seniors,  houseladies,  haberdashers,  vendors  and small businessmen  in the last 10 days in this city known for its enterpreneurial spirit revealed that  – 89% of the people look for a LEADER  who can (a) exude confidence;  (b) display a strong personality;  and (c)  mix experience & appeal in tackling problems.

Rahul’s  name  figured  prominently  as a future  leader.  “Will father’s  hat fit  RAHUL  under the present circumstances ?”   Here follows some unconnected  thoughts :

2013  has not been very kind to the Congress Party and to Rahul.  Major achievements have eluded the party save for the Food security Act 2013 .  It places the party in a tricky situation  with no clear leader capable of asserting himself/herself completely.  Nonetheless, Rahul  was confident when he declared, “I am ready to take charge” a fortnight ago.  He will lead  the  campaign in the May 2014 General elections.  What he needs is the ‘right agenda’ to give a clear sense of focus that can make people feel, “Yes,  Rahul  has  arrived”. He is excited and passionate,  though,  about the task.

The decision to support AAP in Delhi was an expression of the party’s desire to work unitedly in all constructive matters,  people generally felt.  As an extension, for the bigger task of National Governance/Leadership the major issues of concentration shall be threefold ( as my survey results depicted) :  (1) Enhancing economic prosperity to the middle class and poorer sections of the society;  More infrastructure funding for improvement of conditions;  and  a  Financial exercise related with a set of concrete proposals that cannot be countered easily by any other political dispensation;  (2)  A clear decision not to undo the social and economic reforms on course already and to make it more efficient and effective;  and  (3)   Consciously continue the long running Story of  Congress  with emphasis  on moving forward  the ongoing programs with more vigour rather than making any hasty attempts to plant new seeds.

The Chief aim shall be to ‘green-light’  the  agenda and be on the right page in the trend of National  History.    This  is  what  can  make  Rahul  wear  his  father’s  hat.      ‘ Rahul  :  Rah  …   Rah  … ‘

An enthusiastic officer  from the group cited this strategy :  “Turn to  ‘College Professors’ for  consultation on best strategies and Policy advice”.  He also added that this was nothing new ;  this was adopted by  one of the Greatest Presidents of America,  ‘FDR’ ,  during  the most testing and critical period of the Great Depression, World War II, and  Social  Disillusionment –  the program titled   ‘New  Deal’  which was  the greatest strategy of the last century.  That kept the Democrats in power for three decades.

Our leaders favoring  ‘HOPE  &  FUTURE’   shall be  listening.

” Dieu  avec  nous “

Monday,   January  27,  2014     –     12.59 p.m.   (IST)

Tidbit   :    Some  political  commentators  made  this  acid  remark  about  a  candidate  in  an American election :   “He is a pleasant  man,  who  without  any  important  qualifications  for  office,  would  very  much  like  to  be  President”.  The candidate, nevertheless, moved on to WIN.

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Be on the guard – Protests can breed Protests (India centric)

The  beginning of this week was witness to a historic Street Protest – a protest led by no less than the Chief Minister of Delhi.  His  raison d’etre  for the protest :  “Police should be dutiful and the Police Department should come under his wings.”

Protests in general have a place in society.  In common terms it implies an ‘expression of righteous  ANGER  and can even be animating’.  Engaging in such a protest (for a Chief Minister and his group)  means sacrificing  time, money, effort and also his  ‘pleasant’  life  for a common cause.

People usually respond to grievances,  deprivation,  and perceived injustice  in different ways.  That the Chief Minister himself has led this protest held observers perplexed and made it “Special and Strange.”

(A)    Peoples’   inclination to protest is also influenced and shaped by their preference for ‘stability or status quo’  and their  perception of whether  they  are ‘legitimate or illegitimate’.  The protest did not  attract a big gathering – thanks to the astute and prudent police imposing Sec 144 with foresight. The protest also ended sooner than expected without any ill-effects,  leaving the assessment of its success or otherwise inconclusive at  this  moment.

In this light AAP  needs to ask itself  the  following :  1.  Whether the protest positively influenced and impacted its goals or not ?   2.  Does the party have power  and  control over the consequences of the protest if it had lasted for more days ?  and  3.  Will the consequences be compatible with societal norms  and values OR will it justify and satisfy simply the personal norms of protesters ?

AAP  may, perhaps, like to evaluate  and appraise to the Public the ‘relevance & importance’  of this protest on the above three points  to  make a deeper  impression.

(B)   What is the positive outcome, if any, of this  protest ?  How are we to categorise  AAP’s  protest in the absence of anything concrete to the society and the nation?  Can we transfer the ‘expectations’/’grievances’  into the following for convenience :  (a)  the protest moulded the public  opinion;   (b)  the protest  made it big in newspapers and media;  (c) the protest reinforced the identity of AAP;   (d)  the protest created solidarity in the party;  (e)  the protest  helped develop new qualities and meanings to the  society in a positive manner;  and  (f)  the  protest  showered self -gratification  and  self-objectification  to a few at least.  A  clear  “YES”  to  all the above  can make  AAP  feel  a  sense of accomplishment.  Has  this  been perceived by the people ?  Do  they  feel  good  or  bad  after  the protest ?  A  majority  ( culling through  published  account  in  the  last  three days)  seems  to  think  that  the protest  has  not dramatically changed  the  ‘feel’  factor  of  the  party  or the nation.

Legal evaluation  will also  consider  if  the  protest(s)  is  ‘normative’  ( conforming  to  the  norms  of  social  action)    OR   non-normative  ( illegal or civil disobedience  which violate social  rules).

(C)   I strongly feel,  and we must be cautious of the fact, that such street protests,  once  started ( as is now)  will continue to last in occurrences  irrespective of  any hopelessness  or  achievement  (or not) of  the  goals  of  the  protesters.  Now  the  vendors  have called a ‘street vendors parliament’  on  January 31 to pass the bill protecting their livelihood.  A  protest  culture  has  been  inculcated  and  we  will  see  soon  a string  of  protests one  after  the  other.  “Protest  breeds  Protests”.   Where  and  how  to  draw  the line  is  what  everyone  will  ponder now.   Does  this  spell the danger  of  people  adopting the ‘attack’ posture more and more in future even for small causes ?  Can proper planning  and organization according to specified  norms  and  guidelines  bring  some  order and rationality  to  these  actions ?  Will such protests  enhance the potential to create serious  demoralisation  and  divisiveness  in  our  society ?  Can  we  see the nascent shoots  of  social  transformation  at  least ?  Is  this  a clever method  to  create  “fresh  advantages”  for  a political  party  or  to  gain  “acceptance”  among  the  public ?  Will  any party  be  able  to  arrest  the  culture of emotion  that  can  take  deep roots  in the society  through  such  actions,  once  begun  and  allowed  to  prosper ? 

     Answers  to  these  need  time,  effort,  energy,  resources,  manpower –  studying, planning  and conducting  impact  investigations.  Until  then,  we  need  to  wait  and  watch.

” Dieu  avec  nous “

Saturday,   january  25,  2014   –      2. 59  p.m.  (IST)

Tidbit  :  “Give  potency  and  a  sense  of  well-being  to  protests.”

 

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Empowerment through Emboldenment – AAP way (India Centric)

Anger,  restlessness,  severe disappointments,  internal divisions in most institutions,  bribing scandals, unsafe environment  are just the ingredients making the cookie in the plate of an average Indian citizen today.  India is looking desperately for competent Leadership, especially in the light of the discontent spreading like a canker in the social fabric of the nation.

Enter  Arvind Kejriwal,  the Messiah of the Common man with a mission to right the system.  ‘New brooms sweep Clean’  – says the adage –  and the public  rejoice.  Leeway accorded, he takes the sceptre in the capital city of Delhi and announces :

   1.   667 litres of free water per day per household;   2.   50%  reduction in Electricity Bill per household;    3.   Holds a “Durbar”:  to listen to public grievances (it had to be cut short, though);    4.  Set about the task of tightening the administration’s belt;    5.  Organizes a protest on street in an attempt to bring the police to their real senses and rightful duties.

All within 20 days of taking charge as the Chief Minister.  People remain bewildered;  Politicians  are confused;   Is this a route to awakening or disillusion ?   Is this a bullet train heading towards Shangri-la ?  Is it  a  way of  telling  the  truth and  putting  some  devils to shame ?   Is there someone drinking nebuchadnezzar ?  Has someone’s  “amygdala” (of the brain) been  overstimulated and hyperactivated ?  Is this a case of throwing out the baby with the bathwater ?

People have a good reason to feel emboldened.

Right  or  Wrong,  Arvind  Kejriwal  has carved a style of decision making at a rate of knots,  and by putting it across the bureaucrats,  politicians,  and  all decision-makers  he  possibly  is out to  prove that he can be better than his word.

The  impact,  consequences,  social standing of those concerned in the line will take time to sink in our thoughts and deeds,  but  for the moment  the debate  will center around whether such  type(s)  of  Protests  will  do good or  harm  to the society.

It occurs to my mind that  AAP is portraying itself  more  as a  “movement”  and  not  not so much as a planned, structured organization.  Its  approach brings to the mind the  “Tea Party”  of the U.S.A.

The not so good  aspects of any event generally are the first to get rooted in individuals’  brain(s)  and  may  even get imitated in actions  –  be it from films, plays, internet, lectures  ..  .. .  – and their consequences are not beyond the imagination of everyone of us,  people.  Also,  good  leaders  do not  yield to the temptations  of the  immediate  present  or  short-term  as  opposed  to the  distinctive and distant future.

At  45,  Arvind  Kejriwal  has  several years to pursue his  ambitions for higher office  and  needs  to build up  a strong  foundation  of  legislative experience.

Only  time  can  pass  the  judgement.

“Dieu  avec  nous”

  Wednesday,   January  22,  2014     –     11.59  p.m. (IST)

Tidbit   :     “Age  should  think,  and  Youth  should  do.”

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Sonia Gandhi – the Uniter with amor patriae (India Centric)

     Sonia Gandhi (President of the Congress Party, India) has been described by observers at different times as a likeable,  warm,  strong, compassionate, competent and polished  champion charting the course of the oldest political formation in India, the Congress Party.  Her tenure, so far, has been marked by simplicity in decision-making, logical thinking with a heavy concentration on the mainstream population of India. To the people, she is the “Apple” ( the tech giant known to make products simple avoiding complexity) focusing on Customers and not so much the business app.  Sonia Gandhi is  known to avoid Complex decisions;  also known to focus on people (customers).

     What makes her stand out even when the country and her party are treading a difficult path is what confounds the general observers and the citizenry.  The three distinctive  Leadership traits that helped her through her stint as the Party President are the following :

     1.   Tenacity  :  Sonia Gandhi has displayed her ability to hold fast even under testing conditions ( for instance when the discussion relating to her country of origin came in the way of her assuming higher responsibilities in 2004)  continuing her tireless efforts as a determined doer guiding and helping pass legislations relating to critical issues of the time – be it the Food Security Act 2013  or the Women’s Reservation Bill passed in Rajya Sabha and waiting to get passed in Lok Sabha – .  She exhibited herself as a fitting woman leading the party with strength and unwavering moral compass.

Nancy  Pelosi, the First Woman Speaker of the US Congress (after 1917) displayed a similar defining characteristic never shifting course from central issues of the times – be it  the landmark Lilly Ledbetter Fair Play Act or the Child Nutrition and  Food Safety Lagislation.  Hailing from an Italian-American family background she strove hard to be an effective leader sustaining American interests.

     2.  Honesty,  Ethics  &  Rectitude   :  Sonia Gandhi held Honesty, Ethics, and Rectitude  (HER)  as the fundamental principles sustaining the planned actions of her party. That she is a lady(woman) is, sure, a positive.  Research shows that  (a)  Women generally hold an advantage on honesty and ethics;  (b) Women govern differently than Men;  and (c)  Women are more in touch – not detached –  and connect themselves with real issues well.  Issues such as Food inflation,  how any individual can make both ends meet, basic essentials for an average family  and the like.  That these precisely were the essential features prompting the Food Security Act 2013 was neither a coincidence nor lost sight of. The enthusiasm displayed coupled with the economic populism has the potential to increase the warmth of people easily.

Elizabeth Warren,  Senator from Massachusetts, the kind looking reluctant politician grandmother is  the voice of the middle and lower class in a similar mould.  Honesty and ethics are the guiding principles of her actions  as well.  She is a leader of the Economic Populist Movement in the Senate, also promoting Community Development  and  anti-consumerism.

     3.  Uniter   :   Sonia Gandhi is a Uniter serving the united interests of the people,  specially Women, addressing and guiding the course of the party forward in an unambiguous manner.  She depicts the image of consciousness and purposeful decision-making, polished countenance, and achievements.  Like the electrodes attracting the products of electrolysis,  Sonia has been able to attract  women of all hues; and hold them together for more than a decade.  She also presents the most Presidential image as best as she can.  Women’s Reservation Bill, though still pending, is a masterpiece.  “Women will not wait; but work” – she emphasized.

     Hillary Clinton in a similar vein engaged in  energising and empowering women.  She encouraged women to demand opportunities and employment. She inspired women to get engaged in political issues. Her approach bears a striking similarity to that of Sonia – inspiring girls and women to become leaders.

     Sonia Gandhi’s  above three traits proved and stood the test of time which enabled her to take the wind out of her opponents’ sails when they were in the mode of criticism.

     ‘Will this last?’  is the 64 thousand dollar question the 2014 General Election is expected to answer.

“Dieu avec nous”

Wednesday,    January  22,  2014     –     10.19 p.m.  (IST)

Tidbit  :  Three  most  pivotal countries of Latin America  are  led by Women exhibiting the above three characteristics.  1.  Dilma Rousseff  of  Brazil;  2.  Michelle Bachelet of  Chile;  and  3.  Christina Kirchner of  Argentina.

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Will India see the Light of Leadership “sui generis” – Part 4 (India centric)

Welcome to the season of the “Art of Fooling the people”  and  “Creation of Claptraps”.  I am referring to the crucial period before the General Elections when the candidates’ abilities to Lead are put to vigorous test even as India prepares to elect its legislators and the Head of the Government in May 2014.  Anyone  can grow up to be Prime Minister.  But that fortune to sit in the throne  is not granted to everyone.  One has to be distinctive and even exceptional.

Political parties are engaged in the task of projecting their Prime Ministerial Candidates.  Who will lead the 1.2 billion people of the largest democracy in the world, holding the formidable task of influencing the perception of Indian Citizenry nationally  and  the World’s population internationally, is the 64 thousand dollar question ?  This election is also unique, particularly in the light of the new found activism of the people at large and the emergence of a new political party on the horizon (AAP) capable of ruffling the feathers of even the established ones who are already scratching their brains for every little idea that can make a mickle.

How a candidate or leader of a party can be assessed objectively is the dilemma facing the voters.  What attributes can make a good leader is another running along their grey matter. The following brief is intended to give a suitable recipe fitting the LEADERSHIP  CRITERIA.  From more than 100 leadership characteristics and theories from academia, Seven are culled and depicted that every leader shall portray and on the basis of which the Voters will pass their judgement.

1.   Firmness of Purpose :  One with strategic vision and direction to lead is to be elected. A key attribute favoring individuals who are ‘ambitious’,  a ‘never say die’ attitude’,  a ‘clear focus’, and even without the quality of ‘settling’ for mediocrity.   “Is the projected leader prepared to do a LINCOLN ?”  Abe Lincoln was crowned at hard times but he remained focused, held strong, and  set up a “UNITED AMERICA.”  India now faces ‘divisive forces’ disrupting the peace &  harmony and the Indian citizenry looks for a Leader with a steadfast commitment and a strategic vision to “SAVE  INDIA.”

2.   Integrity  :  Poll promises and inducements in kind galore during election. Indians are accustomed to this. Everyone knows that these promises are never fulfilled even by a small fraction, once elections are over. Also known to everyone is the fact that for many in the fray  ‘purity, honesty, and uprightness’ are anathema. Yet, we go to the poll booths with the aim of selecting, probably, “the less dirty cloth in the laundry”. If only the candidate(s) are rooted in Integrity,  we brood …    “Is the projected Leader prepared to do a James Polk ?”  James Polk, the 11th US President,  ‘fulfilled each of  his poll promises including the one not to run for a second term’.  A rarity in world politics. His accomplishment : He doubled the size of America.  Lesson for the Indians : “Vote for the man who promises the least  !!!”

3.   Being Decisive and Self-confident :  India believes in a multi-party system where dissent and resistance to policies are common posing obstacles to ideas and implementation.  Leader to be chosen shall be one who’ll follow steadfast commitment to ACTION.  “Is the projected leader prepared to do a Barack Obama?”  Obama displayed strong commitment while ordering ‘Navy  SEALS’  team to strike at a compound that  was the hiding place of  Osama bin Laden.  Vision to destroy the terrorist achieved.

4.   Adaptability  :  Leader to be chosen shall show readiness to receive and consider ideas from every strata of the society and shall also remain free from prejudices. Be  ‘unrestricted, unconcealed, and undisguised’ is the mantra of Leadership.  ” Is the projected  leader prepared to do a Franklin D Roosevelt ?”     FDR’s  Social Security Act of 1935 is the classic that stands out even when there are many other accomplishments to cite.  He was the Doctor : “New Deal”;  he was also the  Doctor :  “Won the War”.

5.   Knowledge of the Indian Political System :  If the skills of the candidates displayed during the campaign are not getting translated in to beneficial actions to the Society after election,  the main culprit is “less adequate knowledge of the political system”,  besides many other shortcomings.  Campaign and plans should be based on ‘strong, actionable entities’.  Unwavering belief in a “specific agenda” to the nation capable of succeeding against fanatical opposition is a must for the chosen leader.  “Is the projected leader prepared to do a  Harry  Truman ?”  He is a model to emulate.  Be it,  Truman Doctrine; Berlin Airlift;  NATO formation;  Marshall Plan;  Point Four Program to assist poor countries;  America’s part in the Rebuilding of Japan – he not only had thorough knowledge and conviction but also acted firmly.

6.   Being  Bold  and  Spirited  :  The candidate chosen should display love for facing challenges.  A strong sense of patience is required on a daily basis, particularly in tough situations, requiring lot of time and effort. He/She should also plan for outcomes considering alternatives.  “Is the projected leader prepared to do a Ronald Reagan ?  Architect of ‘Less Government, More Business’;  Tax initiatives  and more .. .  Reagan had a sign on his desk  :  “It Can be Done.”  He used to get inspired by just looking at that.

7.  Communication and Connectedness  :  Good rapport with those the candidate serves is essential to developing “Trust” and “Connectivity.” The leader needs to be easily accessible and intelligent to articulate.  Emotional stability and Internal Self Confidence are two traits that can ensure the individual to ‘stay in course’  even in doubt. Public meetings, ‘Darbars’, Grievance Redressal Meets are some such in practice here.  “Is the projected leader prepared to do a Bill Clinton?”  Bill Clinton is an excellent communicator getting his programs and views across the citizenry with ease/  His MTV Saxophone playing proved a great way to connect with the YOUTH.

Responsibility of running a Nation of 1.2 billion is a great burden.  Adherence to the above characteristics will not just lessen the burden but enhance the freedom, peace & harmony of the nation to be a model of a Great Democracy in the eyes of the World.

“Dieu  avec nous”

Thursday,   January  16,  2014   –    4.39 p.m.  (IST)

Tidbit  :   “To every generation (President) comes the allotted task and no generation (President) is to be excused for failure to perform his task.”   –  FDR

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Will India see the Light of Leadership “sui generis” – Part 2 (India Centric)

Rahul  Gandhi has given a public notice of his  “readiness to take charge”  of the Congress sceptre,  through his interview to a Hindi Daily.  There comes a time when one must take a position and Rahul seems to have taken the decision at a time right to do what is right  signifying the emergence of a new  ‘National Leader’.   His conscience, perhaps, told him that it is right.

Rahul is known as one with a true heart, sharp mind, and a great deal of courage – key essential attributes of a  LEADER in today’s world.  His participation as Vice President of Congress and earlier in the State electoral contests/political events  render evident the hard work he put up and the untiring enthusiasm he displayed,  even as the success rate was not impressive.  Nevertheless, he remained completely unruffled and engaged in righting his own action and direction.  A quality displayed by Super Leaders.  The minor set backs were also the result of  Rahul’s  strong view of where India stands now and where and how India should move forward.  This is a challenging period for the nation,  challenging period for the Congress party, and a challenging period for himself.

Rahul faces the major challenge of lifting the spirits of the  “silent  majority”  (which constitutes a good chunk in India)  even while attempting to curtail the clamour of the not so good (which also forms a good chunk).

Adversity  always opens up new vistas and opportunities – and so it is  in the case of Rahul too :

1.   Rahul has an excellent opportunity to  ‘shift the track and correct the course’  making his entry a  “Turning  Point”  for  India;   2.  Rahul has an excellent opportunity to rebuild the foundations of Indian economy on the basic principles like “Hard work,  Innovation,  and  Market solutions”  ( ‘HIM’ for short );   3.  Rahul has an excellent opportunity to restore the pride of India in  Governance with  “Growth,  Austerity,  Tax deductions,  and  Energy”  ( ‘GATE’ for short ) as the centerpiece of his plan of revival;   4.  Rahul has an excellent  opportunity  to portray himself as “Uniquely  Qualified”  for the regal position  when the political environment is rife with bombastic and fustian language,  intemperate observations, injustice threatening justice in society, and overindulgence of rhetoric without substance;   5.  Rahul has an excellent opportunity to prove himself as an all powerful Leader by ‘learning how  to unlearn and change, also by being selfless in his service to the common man in this hard and tough period.

Let  “HIM”  (Rahul) open  the  “GATE”  for  a  new  India.

Rahul’s  “Prime Ministerial Manifesto” should comprise the  ‘Five Point Plan’  lending importance to :  (a)  Growth & Jobs;  (b) Strengthening Higher Education without any short-term fixes;  (c) Promoting Energy Independence & Security;  (d)  Raising Human Capital & Labor Flexibility;  and  (e)  Excellence in Health Care delivery.

Just to propose a couple of specific implementable actions :  1. Across the board  reduction of  25%  for  all income brackets;  2.  Reducing the Education loan rates by  25% to make  affordable education more attractive and beneficial.  A  ’50  Point  Implementable Actions’  is not impossible.

The  present  political scenario does not guarantee a Clear  Winner.  Aggressive and Focused Campaigning  is  a  must  for  every leader and every  party in the field.  Here is  a  “Rahul in 25 Words”  for  his  campaign  managers :   

”  Rahul  Announces  Tax Cuts  and  Reforms  that  Reward  Job  Creators,  Not Let Them Down;   Affordable  Education  by  Reducing Loan Rates;   Excellent  Health  Care Delivery in Hospitals;  and   Energy Security Initiatives.”

” Dieu avec nous “

Wednesday,   January  15,  2014   –    4.59  a.m.  (IST)

Tidbit   :   “Govern a great  Nation  as  you  would  cook a  small fish.  (Don’t  Overdo it )”  –   Lao-Tze


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Will India see the Light of Leadership ‘sui generis’ ? – Part 1 (India centric)

New Delhi cast its vote for a new ‘leader’ a month ago. The election also proved that different parts of the country can go mad about different things easily. Hopes and dreams of the AAP (Aam Aadmi Party)  materialized leading the path to Reality and Engaging now.  As a means of engaging the people, the party conducted a “Darbar” (yesterday) where people gathered in good numbers but ended as mere spectators achieving nothing but playing the oft quoted phrase of “learning  from mistakes.”  Doubts were also raised as to which ‘era’ do we belong in this digital age ?  While the principle of ‘going to the people instead of having them come to you’ was laudable, the approach and execution faltered resulting in disillusion.  Such popular moves, if not properly planned, will place the party vulnerable to frequent set backs and raise the risk of holding the tag of a motley bunch of leaders with little experience, lack of maturity,  capable of taking only emotive steps.  The party “in a hurry” willing to make hasty decisions should not end up being a titanic wreaking havoc. It needs to be a smooth sailing ship. People will only hope that the “smog” in Delhi obstructing the vision will not misdirect “defining the issues” clearly by the party. It calls for a LEADERSHIP that is exalted.

True leaders rather engage in inspiring and motivating people, and deliver what people actually “need” and not what they merely “want”.  Nations have witnessed powerful leaders shaping the destiny of people through ‘devotion, dedication and determination’  to clearly specified ‘policies, programs, and purposes’.  George Washington gave strength to Democracy in America; Mahatma Gandhi gave freedom to India;  Winston Churchill fought for a true cause;  Napoleon gave political prominence to France.  Countries prospered as they were all fearless fighting for a great cause.  George  Washington who ‘can’t tell even a lie’ went a long way in  Governance. What was also common to all of them was their lofty aims and illustrious principles.  Other  leaders  followed  them in true earnest.  Kejriwal and his team needs to take lessons from their actions to become the instrument of Destiny and not mere wind instruments.  They should strive to match their abilities and experience to the extensive and important trust reposed on them by the people.  This is the challenge they face.

Three things are needed to accomplish that  :  (a)  Focus on a clear agenda ( Make an action plan for every new task as Revenue Generation;  Cost Control;  Economy;  Law & Order etc.,);  (b)  Form a Core Group with Innovative streak and Strong Work ethic;  and (c)  Put a system in place for each of the tasks; (e.g. For the Helpline & Darbar –   how the complexity will be addressed ? what are the alternatives ?  and the likes).  This will infuse confidence among the leaders as well as the  people.

It is also imperative lest people start wondering :  Have they been  given a platform beyond their skills ?  Can the measuring rod for governance be fixed and if so how ? 

Challenging times call for Challenging decisions and not hasty acts, howsoever popular they may be. True  leadership is the NEED  now.

” Dieu  avec  nous “

Sunday,   January   12,  2014    –     11.19 p.m.  (IST)

Tidbit  :   “An  army of  Sheep  led  by  a  Lion  would  defeat  an  army  of  Lions  led  by  a  Sheep. ”   –     Arab  Proverb.

 

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International CES – 2014 Bonjour Gateway – (Tech Tide Track)

“The instrument can teach; it can illuminate; Yes, and it can even inspire.  But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise it is merely lights and wires in a box.”  –  Edward R Marrow said.  Today, as the CES kicks off in Las Vegas, U.S.A.,  “SAMSUNG”  can hold its head high with its  Flexible UHD-TV  (105″, it curves too) connected to a host of devices  exemplifying its ‘determination’   to improve the humanity  as Edward Marrow envisioned.   Flexible  TV  is the acushla and asthore  of consumers  of this show without any doubt  even before it opens in just hours. It will be the transformative piece.

I remember reading that Ford Foundation’s $150 m  TV project in the 1950s was the harbinger of transformation in Education.  It has matured over these years to encompass sectors as varied as Education. Entertainment, Health, Data Storage, Communication …  …  ..  My memory is still fresh with an incident short of full standard that made a strong influence to face tech courageously.  My most eminent  experience with TV & education was a 18″  Konarak  TV that ‘my elder brother’ bought for us;  fixed/installed by ‘my immediate younger brother’;  when ‘my youngest brother’  unceremoniously, as is his custom, observed “how great it will be if the TV screen can at least be half the wall size.”  This was in the 70s.  Everyone around laughed loudly, some in derision, while asking him not to imagine the impossible and be sensible. But his penchant for wacky ideas would not subside.  That was his forte. My parents and sisters enjoyed a movie that evening while I listened to the news at night. When I witness technology galloping I remain astonished that quite a few of his crazy ideas are now becoming a reality enhancing the quality of life of man everywhere. Today in innovation theories we also learn of crazy and wacky ideas as invaluable resources.

Returning to our muttons,  let me cite at least Five new products with potential to make an impact in our lives from this extravaganza.  Wearable  Technology;  3D printing;  and  Micro Sensors  are generally touted as efficacious growth areas now.

1.   World’s largest UHD – TV ( 105″  –  4K )  that also curves at the press of a button;  Newer  Home Appliances;  and new line of Pro level tablets  from the stable of the ever innovating; socially conscious;  and  cost conscious  SAMSUNG.  Connected devices will enable a host of applications.  Education,  Entertainment,  Health/Medicine,  Data Storage & Evaluation sectors are the beneficiaries.

2.   Sculpteo  3D Printing company unveils a  3D Printer with Batch Control feature giving greater control over the quality of printing of multi-unit  3D printed orders.  Significance :  “A move away from Consumers to a more professional/industrial audience in tune with the spread of technology while preserving the same economies of scale as manufacturing technology”.   Customers can save up to 35% by ordering multiple units,  the  manufacturer claims.  A boost,  a coup sur,  for manufacturing economy.

3.   Nvidia’s next generation mobile processor  ‘Tegra K1’  supporting next generation graphics capabilities comparable to a gaming console.  Can make heads turn.

4.   Criticism  that Smart watches look ugly are growing.  ‘Pebble’  makes an excellent attempt to change that with metal cover,  Gorilla glass screen, and leather straps.  Will it change the fortunes of the technology and the company ?

5.   Toshiba launches the  World’s  First  4K  laptops.  Renewed,  reformed and regenerated –  not just a new model.  Wait for the verdict.

Others to look for in this world of gadgets and gizmos are  Racing  Robots;  Smartphone controlled toys, Recreational Drones;  Wearable sensors with flair;  Power Providers;  and  Tiny tracking devices. 

In sum, it is a bleeding edge scenario of technology marvel(s) in full display;  it is a complete feast that will stimulate the billions of neurons in our brain;  it is the center of future of innovation by start-ups and giants nurturing and exciting humanity, striving hard to add a new dimension to our lives.

Recharge your batteries and beat the obsolete technology as companies world over brace for INNOVATION.

” Dieu avec nous “

Tuesday,   January 7,  2014     –     7. 29 p.m.  (IST)

Tidbit   :   Innovation  Moment  and  Movement  in  Las Vegas,  U.S.A.

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Kejriwal – Not in the Box Seat yet. (India centric)

“It is often easier to fight for principles than to live up to them.” –  said the US  Politician,  Adlai Stevenson II.  A situation that Arvind Kejriwal is confronted with precisely at this moment.  He rode on the wave of anti corruption;  transparency in deals;  and common man’s say in decision-making.  He also made promises having a bearing on the improvement of living conditions (quality of life)  that lifted the spirits of the common man;   handed him a mandate;   and set the two major political parties in the India’s political horizon put on their thinking caps firmly to get out of the rigmarole they find themselves in.  One with the number of seats in single digit chose to extend support and the other which secured the highest number of seats among those contested chose to sit in the opposition. This enabled Kejriwal to be put in the saddle for now.

Anna hazare’s  original model of change envisioned an ‘apolitical approach’  while Kejriwal, the young man thought it fit to adopt and emulate change with a ‘political approach’  within the system.  He, nevertheless, has  a big task ahead.  He has also announced his plans to contest the coming Lok Sabha Elections in Gujarat,  haryana,  U.P.,  Rajasthan  …  …

Research Psychologists say that people in mid twenties and early thirties are more prone to change their beliefs,  religion,  cities,  political interests, and even brands of toothpastes. They also opine that a new generation emerges every 25 – 30 years.  This may well be the reason for the new found enthusiasm among the voters besides the knowledge of such activism effecting changes from Tunisia to Syria in the recent years. This emboldened the leaders (practitioners)  and the voters (followers)  looking for a CHANGE.  Truth be said, that events have stirred up the heat of temper among the people while distracting the main discussion from economy, growth, jobs  etc.

What can Kejriwal do now ?  He needs to strike a balance between the Liberalism seen in the last 9 to 10 years  and  the Conservatism witnessed prior to that (During the NDA regime)  making his inclination clear towards :  (a)  Market solutions for issues;  (b)  Less Government Bureaucracy;  (c) Focused growth in Sectors;  and  (d) Strong sense of dedication to Equality of Opportunity (leaning neither to the left or the right)  I should like to term this : “Quantum meruit;  Quantum suffici”.

A precedence in World politics is appropriate here  –  in the reign of Bill Clinton (U.S.A.)  and what he did while engaging in a middle path between  Reaganism (Less Government)  and the still earlier New Deal era  Government role until Jimmy Carter.  Bill Clinton began his actions, first accepting what Reagan did was good. It helped raise his image among the people.  He also gained confidence.

There are enough people in India who would believe that Simplicity,  Sincerity, Austerity,  Honesty ..  .. are not any sin against the political system but would also accept the political reality that the two major parties perhaps may stand in the way of progress unconsciously. The hope of bringing about a change in the country for the better lies in getting the legislators behave and act like true legislators  who would be willing to even cross the party lines if and when situation demands  for the good of governance and the Nation.  If, on the contrary, the legislators still start pretending ( as ever before)  that it will not  be a problem then the Hope for Change  will dissipate even faster than the new dispensation’s  birth and ascension.

“Dieu  avec  nous”

Saturday,   January  4,  2014    –     9.59 p.m.  (IST)

Tidbit   :    “Deja vu”   or   “De novo”    –    Vote now.

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