Today I digress from writing on techie matters to matters that determine where lie [...]
Today I digress from writing on techie matters to matters that determine where lie our ethics and values that determine who we are today – are we a nation that is in pursuit of progress at the cost of our own values and ethics? Treat it as a rant and rave, but no matter what, your opinion is solicited!
India today is known to stand shoulder to shoulder with developed nations and we have surpassed the title “developing nation”, or haven’t we? We see the signs of progress everywhere, but we also see signs of poverty and unhygienic conditions, corruption, and, apathy by the people. We take pride in our past glory, our traditions, our heritage and “our culture” (which itself is divided into various terms – Hindu culture, Indian culture, each community has its own “culture”, religious culture, etc). Though, we abhor poverty we rarely perform any philanthropic work, except when it is related to a religious event, we abhor unhygienic conditions but have no qualms when we throw a plastic bottle when on a trip into a forest in the hope that someone will pick up what we have left behind, or feel free to piddle on the streets and we hate it when dogs do the same, and yes the dirty word, corruption, that has recently reared its ugly head – we can rant and rave about the very politicians that we vote for!
We are the apathetic people of India, who like herds of cattle and goats and sheep, herd ourselves into packs and together can stand and scream and shout at rallies. But when it comes to standing firm, and suffering a little in terms of time and effort, we readily find excuses for our faults when we break a red light, or not wear a helmet, or not wear that seat belt, all “mandated” for our own safety! Why cannot we stand firm against the person who is never at his desk, who has posters staring at you not to accept bribe, but keeps his drawer open for you to drop that Rs. 50/- without which, the stamping device cannot be found, or the ink has dried up??? I know for a fact that I had to go back several times from the Customs and Excise department because I had worded the letter wrongly, even though it was an exact copy of another company whose letter had been accepted, but because one would not give that “payment”, the letter was not accepted? Who can you take such a complaint to?? One man, stood up and decided to fight our battles for us. The people in the capital rallied around him, but when it came to the place where it mattered most, people dithered, or did they not care? Various reasons were given why the place chosen was the wrong place, why people felt the man had gone to far, but were those the real reasons? When we ourselves pay agents to get our work done, we are still paying that bribe. But yes, we have to go to work and our employer will not understand why we had to take a day off to just get a file pushed. We have no qualms in trying to negotiate with a policeman to let us off lightly by sweet talking our way out of a situation.
We Indians just don’t care or give a damn anymore! We wear anti corruption badges but ride and block the streets with no thought of the daily wage worker, we blame inept politicians present, past and future, but we ourselves are totally clueless of what we want! Everybody wants money, and when we think of the tax amount on the bill, we wave it aside. But can’t we demand to know how that tax money was spent? We have the means, but have no time to use it, because my dear fellow Indians we have become Selfish to the core. We think more for our own comfort rather than how others can benefit, and that is why today we have what is called corruption, reservation, and apathy. It is not the government or inept politician, but we need to look within ourselves before we point that finger. And yes, we can make it right, we can make it worthwhile, if we fight a clean fight, if we can defeat the politicians from grabbing the lands and creating chaotic cities with no planning, no gardens, no pedestrian paths, put a stop to investing in a house you don’t plan to live in but invest in a school or books for kids who cannot afford them, and let us use the knowledge of technology to create the transparency in getting our work done without the middlemen or under the table dealings. E-governance, is the answer, which does away with file pushers and document stampers! It took more than a month for a father to just get a postmortem done for his murdered son and who had to move around from one department to another – and why hasn’t it made front page??? It is the common man who needs to make the front page and not the politicians who change their allegiance like they change their clothes!
Our ethics and values do not lie in us beating our chests with pride about our culture or traditions, but in our civic sense, in our philanthropy towards the less unfortunate, the less privileged, in our principles to not let them fall into the path of short cuts. Our ethics, values and morals will stand firm when they genuinely appear in small actions – stand patiently in line till your turn comes, be polite even in the most hopeless of situations, own up for one’s fault, give way with patience and humility, and many such actions, only then can we uphold with pride our glorious 2000 years of culture!
Let us unbind Prometheus with the key that we have lost in the mists of time – Free Will, to use it well and wisely to benefit one and all!
The word design is a very ambiguous word these days! It [...]
The word design is a very ambiguous word these days! It is bandied around in everything that we do, including the human body, which by the way is perfect with all its imperfections!
Frank Spillers in his blog, demystifying usability, gives some 10 definitions of design in the context of usability. Ideo, a global design firm captured my imagination many years ago, with their simple tagline, “…we create impact through design”. And I love the way they introduce their design through their concepts – my current fascination is with their idea of Nelson, the future of the book, based on 3 simple concepts, which has evolved through deep thought. And their products are not designed just for branding the product, but, for “inspiration” (when you have a look at what they have done, you will feel inspired, and thus know what I mean). There is beauty in the lines of each of their product.
Design is a simple thought giving way to action. Or is it? Whatever be it, design has changed the course of history in more ways than one, good as well as bad. Better medical instruments have helped in the portability of instruments to places that were inaccessible. Whereas, better designed ammunition since the days of guns and cannons, has caused more destruction than appreciation (except now when they line the walls of museums).
Prof. M P Ranjan, has a blog that invites all Indians to be participative in “Design for India“. His blog on, Design for Good Governance: A Call for Change, certainly takes design into a very different realm!
What got me started thinking on design was my “thinking chair” which led me to Jean Prouvé, who has been known as the poetics of the technical objects, (check out his industrial line designs)and is said to, “…… never sought to evolve his own unique style but consistently sought logical answers to desired functions and the available means for their realisation.” (What a beautifully designed string of words to describe someone)
There may be many more such interesting and fantastic people whose ideas on design evoke and inspire, (feel free to share here), but as design is meant to be simple and for you to realize the potential of design in all walks of life, I leave you with a beautifully designed definition of design in 41 answers!
Yes, I could have said Women Entrepreneurship, and that would have been a politically correct [...]
Yes, I could have said Women Entrepreneurship, and that would have been a politically correct thing to say. But then, I am never correct! (despite being a woman, and am not out to raise the hackles of women here)
Right, so why Women and Entrepreneurship? Well, for one thing, I don’t really see such a big thing about it. We know what an Entrepreneur means and what is involved. And women are doing this all the time! Except of course they don’t display it in so grand a term as a “Private Limited” or “Corporation”. Moreover, besides making a profit to be called an entrepreneur, I was always of the opinion that there had to be something creative or at least original in what you were trying to put together. Many of the searches on Women and Entrepreneurs threw up a list of the Top 5 or 10 in a specific country and also sites that now cater to “Women Entrepreneurs” or rather how to get there!
Take for example, Top 10 Women Entrepreneurs and Leaders in India, of whom I think just 2 on this list merit being called Entrepreneurs, as they started it out on their own, and did not just rise up the ladder! It’s not that I don’t credit the laurels of the others, but hey, its the time of equality, and why should they not also be given a chance to climb up and reach there on their own merits- but does it entitle them to be called Entrepreneurs? Leaders, I am OK with that ( I am not being critical of the blog per se, but just the labelling). Then, we have an interesting blog called the Startup Princess, ” An international network committed to Empowering Women Entrepreneurs by offering resources for women in business to support, mentor, collaborate, learn from, and inspire one another.” Is there one specifically for men/princes? Ah well, they have had it comfy for so long, so why bother. It’s women who require the help! Grrr, as if women don’t have the brains! What have they been managing for so many years!
Have you ever spied upon a housewife? (not the peeping Tom variety) How she manages and juggles her work, people, friends, family, vendors? and of course her days when she is feels low or irritated, but still has to go on doing what she does. These days women have to juggle much more, so what’s not so “entrepreneurish” about all this? She budgets and manages the finance and still is able to run the house on a low or high budget! (OK OK not all females, but relatively speaking, the housewife has always “managed” “house” work)
Then we have a listing of historical women Entrepreneurs – amazingly most of them have all gone into the beauty product line or woman’s fashion, a man’s domain and hence termed Entrepreneurs. Ahmen! Why haven’t the queens of yore been listed???? Kings sat on thrones and held court, women sat besides them and held their hands! But what about Queens who sat on the throne, held court, and, commanded armies to go forth and travel and conquer, those who fought battles on the field, now then why haven’t they been called Entrepreneurs?? They also helped save the economy of their own lands, increased the revenue when they conquered lands??? Even a lady begging on the street can be termed as an Entrepreneur, as she uses her skills to increase her financial assets, and she too can make a killing of a profit just by begging! (But begging is exploitation! and so too has been this “Entreprenurial Brothel venture“), so I will not sing their merits as they often have been pushed by men!
Ladies and Gentlemen, something is definitely wrong with the picture here?? Hence my title Women and Entrepreneurship and not Women Entrepreneurs! Women don’t really need that label- we have carried it with us for centuries in our genes! (Now you can call me a Feminist:-), but I do not like labels- just being human is more than enough in this lifetime!)