Thursday, March 11, 2010

Dreaming the possible Indian Dream

Hold on! Before you even think that I am writing about my dream, let me stop you. I am not dreaming; instead I am just thinking on what could be the possible Indian Dream.

The reason I am thinking about is because I read an excellent article about the dream for the most happening country in the world. Yes! The United States! And to add to the curiosity of yours, let me say, the dream was on the Innovation by two Indian Americans.

I frequently read articles on NYTimes and I follow the articles of columnists Thomas L. Friedman and Paul Krugman regularly. While I was reading recent columns by them, I came across this article by Friedman titled “Dreaming the possible Dream”. In this article, Friedman talks about the two people who are of Indian origin and settled in America. Vinod Khosla and K R Sridhar are the two people talked about in the article; about their latest innovations and their capacity in utilizing the recession mantra to discover better and cheaper way of doing things.

One has produced a fuel that can turn natural gas or natural grass into electricity; the other has a technology that might make coal the cleanest, cheapest energy source by turning its carbon-dioxide emissions into bricks to build your next house. I know what you are thinking… Yes! Both the new innovations are indeed very timely and very much required for both the developed and developing nations like US and India.

My point of concern is not these innovations. I could not agree more with Friedman on praising these two brilliant innovators who can keep the world greener with such creations. Infact we are in need of many more people like these two, who can create wonders to keep the earth safe. This is the need of the hour. And countries like India and China being strong in many areas, should come up with more of such technological innovation to rule the world. My concern is how equipped are we? Or why is it that Indians are not making India as the home base for such innovations? Why do we always look forward to go out of India to do something significant? Why is it that people who go out to other countries for their higher studies never return back to India? To add to my humiliation, I read the following statement by Sridhar in the article – “We came to America for the American dream — to do good and to make good.”I feel proud to see such people and at the same time feel disheartened because they are not with us doing things in India. Or perhaps, returning back to their home base.

Well, the reason for that could be many and genuine too.  I am not saying it is wrong to go out and work. But still, the point is we are becoming more and more dependent on laboratories outside India. Any person whom I talk to, whether it may be in office or with friends, they say they want to go out and do some good work. It is like, if I need to create something significant, it is not possible if I am in India. And I do agree that the knowledge hubs and the eco system that other developed countries provide may be unimaginably good compared to what we have; and they have the potential to produce many such people with the kind of education they give in their outstanding universities. But, the question is why can it not be created in India? Why is it that there is no Pranav Mistry coming right out of the IIT/IISc Lab? What is it that we lack in us to make IIT or IISc as the experiment lab for Pranav Mistry? And I think India has lost so many talents like this just because it cannot handle such brains here anymore. It is not only in the field of Information Technology; but also in other areas too. It is the same status and the same story. But we will never let them go off our hands easily when we see them on TV or news papers. “Oh, the guy in the Obama Administration is our Indian” and we feel very happy about it.

Friedman says that America still has the best innovation culture in the world. But still they are not satisfied with that. They are craving for more. Are we aiming at it? Are we in the process of creating that eco system here in India that can possibly attract talent around the world to do their work here? Imagine what will be the status of India, if all our Indian folks who are leading some of the cutting edge projects across the world, returned to India, invest their time and efforts to nurture the talents in India and produce more innovations in India. (May be I am now dreaming!) But still, think of that as a possibility; can we not lead the world?

Think about it!



Hari said...

It is very true that India needs to focus on more research and development works .TRUE Science is becoming extinct.

The dream can be fulfilled by:
1.Providing world class facilities for R&D
2.Identify and encourage talent.Giving equal importance to true science and technologies in eduction.
3. Government- Allocate substantial fund for Innovation and Research to make life easier.

Science and technology are for humanity and not confined to a nation.However India should make every effort towards contributing its part .Its more easy when we retain the required talents in house.

Narasim said...

Bravo! You have identified the central challenge facing India?

Your passionate prose is admirable.

We Indians are an imitative culture and not an innovative culture. Pranav Mistry has to go to MIT to develop his brilliant idea because he would be stifled in IITs, IIms, and IIScs.

Almost every person I have spoken to takes great pride in IITs etc. IITs are excellent in transmitting existing knowledge. IITs do not create new knowledge because they lack a commitment to an innovative culture.

It is sad to see a country that gave the world numerals that are mislabeled Arabic Numerals not creating new knowledge. A great civilization state has large obligations to the world.

Your and your generation are the best hope for India.

A small question. Would you not like to see creative people from around the world come to India and generate new knowledge? A great society must be hospitable to all creatives regardless of their origin.

Srik said...

Dear Narasim,

Ofcourse I would love to see some of the best people around the world coming to India to generate new knowledge. We need to have the globally acceptable standard hubs for experimentation. Hopefully we will one day.

T S said...

Good thinking or dreaming...!!

In this competitive world every country is trying to be the no 1 in the world as human try to prove him/herself as best around them.

US and other developed countries may give the best feeling with facilities to live and lead best life for the talented people like Vinod Khosla and K R Sridhar while we are lacking in such facilities comparatively those countries.

If we have had such advanced technological facilities and environment which support for innovative things, I hope all talented Indian pool whoever stayed outside India may come back to India with the same dream what you trying to dream.

If everyone start thinks and acts in their area towards this serious issues most probably we will become the benchmark to others in innovations.

We all can dream ..!!



Raghu said...


It is like saying who comes first: Egg or Chicken.

In this context, whether the country should create an atmosphere first or the top talents should start working first in the present atmosphere, dreaming to change in future.

It is a choice by an individual I feel. Yes, I agree that the top talent should remain in India and develop some great technology. At the same time, I also agree that the crab culture, the stifle environment at the research institutes and discouragement for the new ideas should end in India.

In order to clap, 2 hands should come forward. Similary, to dream of an India becoming the hub of new inventions, both the top talent and the Govt. should join hands to start working.

Hope to see that day soon....

Sudhi said...

I think this is all about the environment we have!

First and foremost, there is need to create an environment where such talents should get support and encouragement. Financial constraint should not become a hurdle in that way and to achieve this, Govt. should invest more funds and also provide equal opportunities for everyone irrespective of their caste or religion.

Srik said...

Thanks all for your thoughts.
@Sudhi: you have hit the bulls eye!

Vaishnavi said...

I agree with you 100 per cent. Many people leave India looking for greener pastures. It's one thing to go temporarily, earn some good money and get back. It's quite another to just not come back.

But I feel this is changing today. There are more and more people who are understanding that India is the place to be, and are either staying back or simply returning.

I do not know if this is going to completely change but. I personally have no problem with people going to another country and settling down. I mean, it's really to each his own. With this one life in hand, you can make the most of what you have. But then again, it is quite unfortunate that some people go abroad and sell their talent which we then miss out on.

I don't think there's a clear cut answer to this. It's really about personal choice and what you want to do in your life. We as a country also need to buck up and start thinking. We can use the people who have chosen to remain here and do well for ourselves. Let bygones be bygones!