What should it take to shake us out of our slumber?
The public property is vandalized or burnt for one excuse or another frequently – be it Telengana, United Andhra, Price Rise, religion … and the list goes on. Everyone turns these events into drawing room discussion or express their apathy and helplessness and move on in life! The country is disintegrating into goonda-ism and major decisions are made not, on their merits but as a result of property broken, violence, lawlessness and whipping up emotions.
Does the common man have to be pushed against the wall till he revolts, directly attacks even the decent people to make their point? Is it only then that the intelligentsia and the concerned people will rise to be leaders? The blame for India’s deterioration to this state rests with five major culprits. Since all of us need to correct the systemic and leadership areas of these areas, it is imperative for the decent, honest people come forward and take initiatives.
Democracy is a very serious choice of the people. Since democracy provides a framework for working thru differing views of people to gain a consensus that reflects the majority view, it stands to reasons that our public leaders form the key link between the people and the system. It is expected that they debate in earnestness issues that are relevant and come to a collective wisdom in the legislative forums to which they are elected on what is good for the country. This should be their responsibility as well as their accountability.
In a democratic country the Parliament or Legislative assembly is the temple, which needs to be most revered. Today it has lost its relevance and the leaders have abandoned their responsibilities. The majority of the people who are hardworking, decent, people have gone into a state of apathy and helplessness that there is nothing that can be done!! Who is
responsible for this state of the country?
The public at large, especially the intellectuals, the academicians, the businessmen, the professionals cannot absolve themselves of the responsibilities for the country deteriorating into such a chaotic place! They cannot afford to take a morale high ground and remain armchair critics of everything while being the biggest beneficiaries of the systems on all counts. It is their myopic thinking for personal gains or for quick benefits that they support lumpens into political leadership. They are also responsible for not taking active part in the political process to educate the less fortunate citizens of the merits or demerits of candidates, issues etc. There is no doubt that despite the common man suffering ignominies, booth capturing, corruption, terrorism and all kinds of obstacles; he still has the wisdom to exercise his votes to the best of his abilities. However, the people who are the biggest beneficiaries have, despite their educational skills and logical competence, chosen candidates to support that can benefit them, albeit indirectly. Worse, he justifies his intolerance to waiting in line to vote and justifies it conveniently as making no difference to the outcome.
IN MANAGEMENT TERMS, ANY ORGANISATION OR INSTITUTION DETERIORATES IF THERE IS NO INVOLVEMENT OF THE PEOPLE.
The common cynicism has reached such an extent that any political debate at any forum runs down the politicians as corrupt, incompetent and are held in contempt. In a democracy, political leadership vests its powers from the will of the people. The problem is that if we elect lumpens as our political leaders, they will only do what they know best – settle issues with violence, fan emotional responses instead of a serious discussion on issues, work on personal agendas to benefit financially for their political power and access ! These leaders can only do what they know best – play with people’s emotions, create violence to prove their points and adopt the easier route of focusing on trivial issues rather than on key issues. Raj Thakare who rightful place is in the jail continues to cows down the establishment into submission at will and gets away! The brazen misuse of the office for personal benefits has compromised their leadership position. Leaders can remain leaders only if they become icons and set examples.
IN MANAGEMENT TERMS, THE MOST IMPORTANT KEY TO LEADERSHIP IS NOT ONLY BEING ROLE MODELS BUT ALSO HAVE THE VISION AND MORALE, VALUE BASED PERSPECTIVES OF ISSUES TO MAKE AN IMPACT.
Press should be the guardians of the society conscious. Their main role is to provide a balanced view on various issues so that people can form their opinions on issues and their leaders. The press has, instead, focused on TRPs and sensation. It is so sad that instead of covering icons like Dr K L Rao whose contributions despite challenges have been exemplary, they cover Amar Singh, Raj Thakare, Mayawati. Buildingpeople who exemplify commitment, values, results as icons would give not only hope but also inspire others. Instead, the press indulges in thriving on headlining people doing sensational things or making irresponsible statements or indulging in sensational things like sex, violence, corruption etc. Watch most of the talk shows, the quality of questioning clearly shows the lack of adequate research on the issues and the hosts driving their agenda rather than facilitating discussion amongst experts. Also, the panel is drawn from standard set of people rather than researching and identifying authorities with competing viewpoints. Only people with finances or contacts can gain the attention. One needs to have either PR firms or personal to get their articles published. Worst is the fact that the press blindly copies the western approach.
In a developing country like ours, there are so many critical issues that need to be brought into the mainstream. But all TVs continue to cover the few stories repeatedly all thru the days. It is flippant in its address of the issues. Instead of inviting authorities who have worked on state reorganization issues or academicians who have been arguing their points on the Andhra Telengana issues, the press coverage interviews only helped flare emotional issues devoid of logic or facts. In fairness to the Political leaders, it is imperative for them to play to the galleries. When the press fans emotive issues, as serious as these, they have no choice but to take stand that is counter productive. Everyone knows that in developing countries like India, the challenges are so complex and divisive that it needs to be managed with kit gloves. Issues need to be discussed maturely and under wraps. It also needs to be widely debated and socialized. These need to be orchestrated in a strategic manner and with professional mediation. Media has not discharged its duties responsibly. It has the strength to give coverage to the right people to help them become leaders. It has the power to give direction to the issues and force issues like in the Jessica Lal case or 26/11 Mumbai issues.
IN MANAGEMENT PARLANCE, STRATEGIC APPROACH AND COMMUNICATIONS AR MOST CRITICAL AND NEED TO BE LEAD BY TOP MANAGEMENT TEAM. BASIC MANAGEMENT PRINCIPLES REQUIRE CLARITY OF DIRECTION & ISSUES TO BE IMBIBED IN THE TEAM TO FOLLOW THE LEAD.
Nothing has failed the country like the legal system that has made a mockery of the justice system. Given the vast powers and the untouchability to even challenge them till recently, they could have delivered speedy justice. Timely and transparent justice would have had significant impact on the society. Instead, the brilliance of lawyers was used to split hairs to let the powerful and rich get away with anything, engineer delays and justice prevented with corrupt practices. Needless to say the people have lost faith in the legal system. If you approach any lawyer, the first advice is to skip the legal system. There is a strong case of the number of legal systems being so large as to overwhelm the system. Surely the answer lies in finding simple ways of involving people to settle simpler systems that need not require knowledge of law to a large measure. USA involves all its citizens to the Jury. At the local level, the legal system has become a joke. Over the last 6 decades, the system has not been able to make any exemplary judicial judgment that could build the confidence even after inordinate delays.
Even those convicted like Ramalinga Raju, the Godhra case etc. and other politicians, enjoy the benefits of air-conditioned five star jail facilities or conveniently shifted to hospitals instead of facing jails. This is a travesty of justice. Every person accused claims that he is being framed. There is no severe punishment for the abettors or those who give false evidence. Any witness who is found to be deliberately lying should be sentenced to a minimum of 10 years in jail so that people will be scare of making false charges. Laws have to be simplified to give ensure that the lawyers do not cheat the common man.
FROM A MANAGEMENT PERSPECTIVE, TIMELINESS IS MOST CRITICAL. IT’S BETTER TO HAVE A BAD DECISION THAN NO DECISION.
In the last few months, India is witnessing its middle class urbane elite and some media people becoming proactive in surfacing and fighting for issues from Ruchika case, 26/11 Mumbai bombing, Jassicalal case and brought the executives to its knees and forced justice. If we all not only fight back but also help throw up the right kind of leaders, India still has a chance of being one for the best in the world. The choice is that of the people and not its leaders
K VIJAY RAO
(The author is a management consultant and son of late KL Rao, who was an irrigation expert, MP from Vijayawada and a minister in the union cabinet.)