Author Archive for Naveen

Government For India

British government for India was devised not for development but for control.

Independent India carried on with the same structure of governance with little tweaking & lots bloating

Organisations are designed for desired outcomes. There is ubiquitous unanimity that governance in India needs to be far more effective & efficient.

Surely the colonial government design cannot be constitutionally cocooned. Independent India must design anew a governance organization to serve & not to rule.

A TQM methodology alongwith sound OD principles must be applied to evolve an administration structure that serves the nation & its citizens.

IAS replaced ICS. Motivation of IAS aspirants is largely Power & being close to power. Besides Security.

Corporations look for achievement as the prime motivation & only those who have it are successful in leadership positions.

Every IAS, IPS, IFS is in a leadership position without job knowledge, KRAs, objectives & accountabilities in place.

Seems the prime objective is promotions & postings at desirable locations. Secretary, Joint Secretary, DCP, et al are grades not functional designations. They are akin to GM, VP & such. Job Title must be based on responsibility & accountability not hierarchy.

But Hierarchy is paramount as deep down we have imbibed Raja culture. Till date school text books glorify royalty far more than achievers. There is an innate strong need to seek those whose feet one can touch.

Instead of intelligence, we have put king sized egos on pedestal & continue to do so. And the systems & structures support the same. We must alter the system to downsize egos. E.g. each IPS officer must do the beat, write down FIRs & directly interact with the public who pays his salary. On the minimum let an SHO be an IPS.

Change has to be concurrent at political, bureaucratic & worker layers. We are far too top heavy. The politician & the bureaucrat, both view themselves, as policy makers. Who then shall execute?

We have wonderful laws & keep on adding even more ambitious ones, far removed from the ground reality. It is illegal to be hungry, uneducated, give dowry, be a child worker or employer & what not.

All this actually makes our country a lawless land as the executors & enforcers don’t even know the law, those who do know are in ivory towers & do not wish to soil their linen or dirty their hands.

One can keep going but the case for need for change is already overstated. It is time we hire external OD experts to redesign governance structures.

Pro-life = Anti-Planet (as of now)

All life consumes Earth, our host planet

More life = More consumption

Population of species other than human is regulated by Laws of Nature

Human population has been burgeoning exponentially due to human intervention (

This intervention is essentially Pro-Life

Morality & Religion want us to be ‘humane’

All subjects of Humanities – Civics, Politics, Economics, etc have been devised on the principle of Pro-life. Also, Medicine & Sciences.

All progress has been to protect & grow life – the human life.

Despite non-stop wars, diseases, poverty, hunger – the net outcome is that the planet is thriving with humans & growing.

Human over-population of the planet earth is the primary problem that needs to be tackled.

If we do not address this, Mother Gaia shall do so by making the planet un-inhabitable for us.

It is not the Planet Earth that is endangered rather the species of homo sapiens.

Planet shall survive, we wont.

That a paradigm shift in the way we conduct our affairs on the Planet is necessary – has been rather evident for well over a decade now.

Powers that can be change agents seem paralysed. Even Gore was ignored. Because of models that have worked well so-far but are innately faulty as they assume a limitless earth. Democracy needs voters & Economy needs consumers. Both devise populist strategies that encourage growth in number of people. To them simply – voters & customers.

Food Security Ordinance & earlier NREGA, are designed to win elections. That they are fundamentally faulty has to be known to at least some amongst the policymakers.

Earth has reached a tipping point. The warning signals are everywhere. Writing is clear on the wall that there simply are not enough resources to support the current levels of human population.

India would be the earliest to confront this bitter truth as it carries 20% of population on 2% of the planet (

Most of us know BPR – Business Process Re-engineering. We need to re-engineer the way we live. That starts with the way we think. Social-re-engineering is the need of the hour (

Mainland Lobster

I spent the last week in Gurgaon staying at a well known complex on the Golden Mile dotted will malls & swank buildings with Metro defining the sky line. It is an impressive sight, rare in India & supposedly aspirational to small town India where I reside. Is this visionary sight a delight only for the eye? What about sounds, smells, taste & touch?
No one shall argue that the Golden Mile is a perennial noise bomb – those who missed this probably never rolled down their auto windows or found a direct route from homes to glass encased malls & offices – where the option of opening a window – has long disappeared.
One can smell almost everything & vaguely misses what may be termed as aroma of ‘crisp & clean’. I wondered if the Adidas adorned joggers partaking Perrier or RO at least were aware of increased intake of a mix that came bundled with lots more than the intended O2.
The respirational filter worked overtime precipitating on the palate a thick coating that called for frequent use of a tongue scraper if one wished to experience tastes that are subtle. No wonder that the most favored cuisines are the ones with the strong flavors viz. Chinese, Italian, Mexican, Thai & such besides Indian – but not French as it will be hard to detect taste with a tongue that has an additional layer being continuously replenished with the act of breathing.
As most may be aware a lobster is lulled to sleep & eventual demise by slowly increasing the temperature of water in the cauldron in which it is placed. I wonder whether we in these cities are similarly being seduced by glitz & glamour that dazzles & titillates on the outside but leads to slow death.
Death is inevitable in both big & small towns but there is increasing confirmation of loss of fertility & libido – the essence of life force – & the suspect culprit is urban lifestyle.
Fact is that none of the major metros of India were built by Indians. Calcutta, Bombay, Madras, Delhi – had British, Portuguese, Mughal architects. Chandigarh – the first post independence city was envisioned by French & has inspired imitations all over India. Gurgaon is entirely indigenous – as are Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, South Delhi, Navi Mumbai, etc. Irony is also in names. While we Indianised the names of the cities created by invaders, almost all new complexes developed have Anglicized names. It is all part of an aspirational package. ‘We have arrived’ syndrome.
It is true that there is no place to go. The residents of Mumbai & NCR may have endless debates on which city is better but the cold hard fact is that both are increasing unfit for human habitation. Calcutta exists to provide nostalgia to its migrants elsewhere & Bangalore is gored already.
Don’t we all wish for a resurrection of a Howard Roarke, should he come by where is the clean slate that we could provide him to draw & build a new Metropolis?
Meanwhile, there is dignity in being a mainland lobster – or so we must tell ourselves.

Civil Society

The first time I attended Sunday morning Church was when a colleague invited me to spend a weekend with his family up in Catskill Mountains, New York. One passes through the venue of Woodstock though the destination was a quiet farming community up in the hills. A Walmart was not too far in a town called Delhi & plenty of weekend cottages in the picturesque surrounding woods owned by Manhattan Richie-richs.
It dawned upon me how the church played a role in community building, every one who attended was attired in formals wearing a smile & the best conduct. Later I saw quiet a few of the same faces at the Ball game & even though the demeanor was sporty, the aura of mutual regard evidenced at church was carried over. Church was the invisible binding force. Purportedly, it is required to instill morality though, in my opinion, it was more than adequate that it perforated the community with observation of etiquette.
The dominant religion in India, Hinduism, is so very different in this regard. It focuses on building individuals not societies. We have a one to one relationship with the ‘God’ & at one time had almost as many Gods as people, everyone can choose their own God or Guru – options are aplenty still though we have collectively outnumbered Gods manifolds. When we wish to pray in a group, we have the option of summoning the temple priest to our homes. Religion, to us is not a binding force in the social context of etiquette but a personal growth practice. Each individual is free.
VS Naipaul had observed that left to its own, concepts of statehood, governance & such would not have evolved from Vedic or Hindu thought. I know the myriad of objections that can be cited to such a statement – in general – it is true that whatever one states as a fact about India – its exact opposite also turns out to be true. The intent here is to isolate fundamental building blocks that have influenced the way we as a nation have evolved.
Years later, while consulting for a oil company in UAE, I used to hang out with a US educated Arab whose family had a share in the company & thereby he had an executive position. We had fun times together, he had lots of fancy cars & going to clubs with him was sheer indulgence, with him bankrolling the outings. Inevitably, couple of months later, the topic veered to religion. He proudly proclaimed that his religion teaches him to love God & be in his service on call. That explained to me the rushing screeching cars heading to mosque when the call came everyday twice/thrice a day. But more than the dictum, it was peer pressure – not responding to call was blasphemous with the fellow follower having the option of blowing whistle on you. Once again religion provided the building block to glue communities together though love & regard was perhaps substituted by fear. And I have little doubt that it is the fear that breeds fundamentalism but I digress.
The point of this posting is merely to portray that we are FREEEEEE , perhaps a bit too much. With each element going its own way, entropy is bound to breed. Thus far on the Indian journey, the binding forces have been freedom movement, Gandhi, Pakistan, Cricket & Bollywood. We have to devise a common thread that ties up our diversity. And it has to be at grassroots. I propose – Civility.
Ego divides, Love unites. Though Spiritualism – the essence of vedantic & Hindu thought – leads to love – its practice is ‘I’ centric. As much as we must evolve individually – we owe to our nation in building our society. Civic Sense can be a good beginning as the rules are simple & easy to follow. Litter not, stare not, smile instead, give way, shout or honk not, extend our cleanliness concerns from private spaces to public spaces, appreciate that natural resources belong to all, waste water & bijli not, etc, etc.
I hope that you all shall contribute. I urge you to do so. For God’s sake or Despite your God.

Population Control must be on top of our Nation’s agenda – seems to have died along with Sanjay Gandhi

Mumtaz Mahal, the muse of Taj Mahal, died while giving birth to her 14th child at an age of 38. She was born in privilege, got married at the age of 19, had a very loving & caring husband who was also a very rich king & provided her with all the comforts & security.
We, the humans, are borne of Mother Earth…We the Indians, of Mother India.
Mother Mumtaz with the best nurturing possible bore 14 offspring in 19 years. If she had at her disposal the modern medicine, arguably she may have continued bearing even more children. Nonetheless, even if her health permitted, she would have to stop at menopause, the end of her fertility. There was indeed a limit to number of children that she could bear.
This is true for all mothers, including Mother Earth & Mother India.
And what about nurturing of the offspring? Wealthiest of modern mothers, with all the help from the family & domestic staff can produce as many as 30 children as the age of fertility has stretched on both the minimum & maximum end. Also the lifespans have increased significantly.
But with education & awareness, the emphasis is on quality of life not merely quantity. So they probably mother 2-3 children.
In other words, though the carrying capacity for reproduction has increased, the intelligence dictates limited offspring to ensure that the child is raised healthy, loving, creative & productive.
In agrarian economy, more were indeed merrier, industrialization & urbanization has reversed that axiom.
Today, the health of Mother Earth is at stake. Besides humans, it supports millions of other species. Yet it is finite, its resources are limited. It is not growing. Barely 12% of Earth is suitable for human habitat. And 7 billion of us occupy that. How many more can fit in? Is there room?
All that we consume is produce of earth. It is not just food. It is also air, water & energy. It is also materials that we must extract from innards of earth to build shelters & construct infrastructure that is not an option but a necessity for ‘progress’ – as we understand the term.
The other species on Earth must follow Darwinian dictate of ‘natural selection & survival of the fittest’ thereby ensuring that only the strongest reproduce. In humans, it is quiet the reverse. It is our weakest who propagate the most. The phenomenon is explained by anthropological theory of ‘culture of hopelessness’.
As we move towards projected human population of 9 billion, the question that begs an answer is: can Mother Earth replenish itself & renew its resources at a rate faster than the rate at which those resources are being voraciously consumed by us humans?
It is not merely a supply-side problem. Earth also must process human excreta. Not merely the shit & urine but the pollution – the excreta of human activity. Earth has been doing so successfully for ages. Does it have the capacity to continue to do so? Even as the energy & bio needs increase exponentially? For 8 billion, for 9 billion…..what is that maximum number of human beings that Earth can support?
Many studies have tried to answer this question. Needless to say, that they are all theoretical. But we must pay heed. The only other way of finding out would be like Mumtaz Mahal. Her limit was found by her death. We cannot let Earth die. We have no other planet that will take us. Or that we can get to. Not as yet, anyway.
The best estimate is about 4.5 billion people. We are fast approaching twice that number. It is time to pause & ponder the big picture.
It is unfortunate though, possibly an irreversible fact that we humans have divided one planet into many territories. For us that territory is India. We are destined to be the most populous nation, as of now, that is an unalterable fact. No one but only us Indians can attempt to alter that. We are blessed with a land that’s highly arable & fertile, so very conducive to human habitation. That’s why such a diverse slice of humanity chose to settle here. People from all over the world kept coming to India. It was the California of yore. Still is in some ways.
But just like much loved Mother Mumtaz, Mother India has a limit to how many it can accommodate & nourish. Even after all the slicing & plundering, we are still the seventh largest country by size. However, the first largest is six times larger & even the sixth largest is more than twice as large as us.
Fact is Mother India with barely 2% of Earth’s surface shall support nearly 20% of Earth’s humanity. That’s commendable. But is it sustainable?
We take solace in knowing that “There is enough for everyone’s needs but not enough for everyone’s greed”. Perhaps, our spirituality evolved from this accommodative nature. We share by lessening our own needs & surely denounce greed. That was so. Today greed is unleashed & needs are on the rise. Fewer & fewer opt to live simply & frugally. Imagine if the rest of inhabitable Earth would be similarly populated to India – the world population then would be 200 billion & surely even the primal needs of each one would be impossible to meet.
Migration can evenly spread the population around the world especially when there are parts of the world where the populations are declining. However, at the current rates, less than 0.5 billion shall attempt migration across the world even when the total population reaches 9 billion. And the barriers to migrate to the parts of the world where more people can fit in without causing ecological strains, are on the rise.
USA has one third the population of India & three times our size. If lifestyles were to correlate to the per capita Earth only then a very simple corollary would be that India’s population ought to be one ninth to attain parity. Over the years we have mastered the efficient use of resources. Indians are by far the most pragmatic & know how to get the maximum bang for the buck. We recycle, reuse & waste not easily. USA, on the other hand, wastes excessively. Americans need lots more personal ‘space’s, we have evolved fine art of co-existence.
So factoring in a four fold frugality, India can support 600 million plus to attain the middle class existence for all under the care of Mother Earth.
Actually, population studies indeed estimate 650 million as sustainable population for India.
We shall soon be twice as many. All of us are keenly aware that we are bursting on our seams. Our land, air, water, energy, mining resources, infrastructure etc. are under severe stress. Our rivers are dying, large stretches are already dead. We merely revered our rivers, called them holy and attributed to them magical powers of rejuvenation. And simply dumped all waste of human activity into them. As if they were carrying all that excreta to another planet. We never understood that even the greatest of rivers have a limited, finite carrying capacity. Reverence is no substitute for discharge of responsible conduct.
The simple fact is that we are far too many. The resultant toxicity is fast spreading. The ecosystem & biosphere that supports the very life is infected.
Politics, Economics, Law, Religion, et al are all systems devised by humans to better this life. We are so entangled in arguments & quarrels within these humanities with myriad of ‘holier than thou’ groups, each desperate to prevail on another. We need to stop this cacophony and get back to basics before it’s too late. Let us objectively determine as to how many people can fit in the Earth space available to us. And then design our policies accordingly to achieve that number. Surely, there would be many disagreements in such a discourse. But it ought to be easy to agree that we have already exceeded that number. The evidence is overwhelming. We are shirking responsibility to face the facts. The reality is unpalatable, so we rather shut our eyes with the belief that Gods will rescue us. Prayers enhance action, not replace it. Ganga & Yamuna are awaiting action from us, besides poojas. On their own they cannot heal themselves. They have served us well for eons. We burdened them to limits of their carrying capacities. The root cause, undoubtedly, is overpopulation.
Yet our policy makers, after overzealous failed attempts to ‘plan the families’ simply seem to have given up. After a mini burst of riding on an economic boom that was worldwide, they seem to have rationalized that ‘more the merrier’. This rationalization stems from faulty economic & governance models. In the upcoming columns, I shall expound.
Talking about excess population has been tabooed by our moralists & politicians. Through this column I urge all readers to voice their opinions on the matter. The logic is straight & solid. There is a limit to how many of us can co-exist. The human habitat is finite & limited, not growing. We cannot simply keep on gnawing & digging earth. It needs time to heal & replenish itself. For the sake of our own well being, it must absorb & process toxicity that is a result of human activity. The signs are everywhere & glaring. Yet we keep ignoring them. If for now, we cannot slow down the growth of population, let us at least not encourage procreation & its growth.
We appeal to our Parliament, Party Heads, Prime, Chief & other Ministers, National Advisory Council, functionaries at Centre & States, Think Tanks et al to urgently recognize that Populism results in increased Population. The urgent need of the hour is to brake hard & stop growth of population. Please design and deploy policies that shall lead to achieving optimum levels of population. And that will necessitate decline in our numbers. It is a painful truth to swallow.

As is the wont of Truth – Bitter Before Better.

Please do opine. Agree, disagree, whatever – but please don’t choose to be quiet.
It is a matter of life & death.

Coup in India

What if there was a coup in India – not by armed forces but by administration. Chief Secretary takes charge and all politicians are removed. Will the governance suffer? For better or worse? All that the coup shall do is eliminate top layer of policy making. A layer that is superfluous in any case. Politicians are nor portfolio experts neither experienced in matters of governance. They rely totally on inputs from the administration & advisers. One thing is for sure that the country will save lacs of crores of rupees that is spent on upkeep of politicians. Corruption would be less if only due to the sheer reduction in number of takers.

One could argue that the IAS brigade might be no better. True. Could they be any worse? Unlikely. Atleast they have the qualifications & experience & hopefully values that better resonate with middle classes – the backbone of the civil society.

Let’s discuss this. Put forth your point of view. Dont be silent.

One could improve on this model by introducing a thin political layer. Let’s say we elect only the PMs & CMs who in turn choose their teams not from politicians but administrators supplemented by external subject matter expert advisors.

My first post on this forum was entitled “Govt needs an OD overhaul”. By & large, the consensus is that we have a large government machinery that is ineffective. It is elephantine & slow to respond. We the citizens are paying for sustenance of this governance without getting bang for the buck. If we were to analyse how to maximise value, we will seek to eliminate the most expensive & least bothered layer. We instinctively know that is the political layer. Lets dig in & find out if our instinct is backed by the facts or not. Pl contribute to this discussion.

East vs. West

The prime difference between cultures of East (most of Asia) & West (most of Caucasia) is how the age is viewed & treated.

East respects its elders as a fundamental cultural axiom. This deep inculcation extrapolates to valuing traditions & finding solace in ancient glories, real or imagined. Myth & history merge. Bottomline is that a skewed focus on past dominates and even the current or future is interpreted in a framework of bygone references.

West, in contrast, is forward looking. Rather than simply hand down the cultural baton from one  generation to next, it expects each generation to renew its culture whether in arts, technology, lifestyle &/or sciences.

Western culture thus is always work in progress. That makes it unstable & tumultuous but keeps it fresh & alive. East, in contrast, may stagnate. River roars while the lake is calm & serene. The difference is between flow & relative stillness. 

Cultures get passed on via parenting. When the teenager rebels, East tends to induce conformity by labelling the act as disrespectful. West may get worried that the child might be a wimp if upon attaining adolsecence he/she does not challenge authority. In such a case, the child is goaded to assert, to not be afraid to throw his best punch even if that invites a harder blow in return.

In East, children are provided a secure, warm, comforting environment right at the onset.  West does not mollycoddle as much and lets the child experience his aloneness & bears the discomfort of the child’s initial pain that is thus caused.

My brevity is due to non-interactivity on this blog…I could go on…the reason this subject is important is because it has a major impact on the nature of leadership that a society produces.

The simple fact is that in the past 500 years, almost all that can be bracketed under “progress” has been created / invented / discovered by West. East consoles itself  by digging out what its societies did thousands years ago.

We have had a long run of being mere spectators in a world that is not being created by us. To turn the tide, we got to look ahead. To prepare generations that could do so, we ought to shift focus from past to future. From old to young. From ancestors to inheritors. And it all starts with how we rear our offspring.

More, should you comment….

Are we a Just society…rather Can we be a Just society?

Prima facie, India has a strong independent judiciary. In practice, getting justice is rare. Conviction rate is low. Procedures outweigh the objectives. The system is convoluted & defies principles of natural justice. One would think it is quantum physics the way it is counter-intuitive and against common sense. We all know of lakhs of undertrials in prisons for periods much longer than the maximum sentence for the laws that they allegedly violated. We all know ‘open & shut’ cases which take eons with shifting goal posts with ever evolving theories. Then again there are relatively simple crimes that never get cracked and no one is ever held responsible.

There are so many cases that never will be concluded in one’s lifetime. By the time they do, it hardly matters. Deed is done, damage is done. Time heals and people reconcile. How’s that any different than the total absence of any judicial system? Prime purpose of the system ought to be deterrence by escalating the costs of crime. For that Justice ought to be Swift, Sure and Seen & not forgotten as is the case in our nation more often than not.

With all of our intellectual prowess, we cannot get simple things like rent act in place. Who is responsible for this? Do we need a law minister to come out with gems like “shady character should not become judges”. We all know the “shoulds”-what is needed is to devise systems to ensure that they happen rather than muse over them as wishful thinking.

Laws are broken with impunity all around us and none of us know what to do? Who to report to? The beat constable neither knows the laws nor is empowered to “challan” or arrest. He is mostly a meek figure amenable to bribes rather than an officer who can challenge or chase a criminal. Chor Sipahi game that we all play as kids would be hilarious were it to reflect realty?

We have laws against dowry, child marriages, child labour, corruption & what not…and politicians cite them as evidence that such ills do not exist in the society while the law enforcement is almost nil. The science of evidence gathering as practised is dismal, crime scenes are treated as a show with hordes of onlookers & dozens of cops lounging around without a clue as to what to do.

Effective law formulation, enforcement & speedy justice are basic building blocks of a society. We are not even at 101. Naxals, Maos & such movements are a natural outcome of an unjust society. It is mere vanity which makes us aspire for a permanent seat on UN Security Council, worthy of it, as a nation, we are not, although as individuals, our contribution to world bodies are significant.

I had a long interchange with an American colleague, both of us in International sales & thereby travelling the world, who wondered why Indians do so well outside India and not in India. He concluded that the reason is laissez faire, rahter lack of it in India. As an ambassador, I defended my country. My argument was when india was born in 1947, it inherited a large populace that was very poor & disadvantaged. To throw them to wolves would be genocide. Just like as parents, we protect our children till they can be on their own, India needed to be socialist in early years and shall gradually move towards the capitalist end of the spectrum as its population becomes strong & competitive.

Regretfully, it was evident even in early 80s that India couldnot carry all its people, it might as well have thrown them to the vagaries of a dog eat dog world in its earliest years  rather than create a hugely expensive pretence of a just society. I wrote in a publication in ‘89 that while China may kill its own people, India forces its people to kill themselves or simply let them wither away to die. China gets outrage & India pity + charity. The difference is in what crave as a nation from the world community. Affiliation or respect? Approval or hate? The tone for India was set by its first PM Nehru. His own psychology shaped the persona of the country.

So Can we be a Just society?? I await some comments before I expound.

P.S. I am surprised no one has proposed a single alternative to Taj Mahal as an icon of excellence. In ~500 years India has not created anything that can compete with Taj. Surely not. ….Or is it?

Aesthetics & Excellence

All of the metro cities of India were built by ‘foreigners’. We native Indians upon attaining their charge ended up messing up each one of them. One hardly needs to expound on this as perhaps every reader lives in one of these high priced urban jungles characterised by incessant assault on senses, gridlocks, pollution, crime and a glaring lack of aesthetics. Portuguese Bombay, British Delhi, French Pondicherry are distinctive & highly prized while North Mumbai is hardly any different from any other crowded, dirty town of india with the ugly shutters and grimy dust lined main streets. The so called Silicon valley of India was already bursting on its seams in early 90s and yet we kept on founding new businesses in there. The original Silicon valley would be justified in suing for defamation.

At a talk at REC Kurukshetra, I pointed out that one reason South Mumbai has retained a bit of liveability is because the 3 wheeler auto-rickshaws are banned there. At the same forum, an industry colleague in his talk on pursuit of excellence used “taj” as an icon of excellence 27 times in an hour. As the next speaker, I abandoned my prepared talk on “Moving up the value chain” and instead challenged the ~400 members of the audience to collectively come up with alternative icons of excellence other than Taj. We struggled but could not come up with anything that could be credited to post colonial india. Perhaps, the reader of this post could respond with some ideas.

Once again, I shall stop here & wait for interactivity on the subject

Why Indian Software & not Hardware

At an India – US Business Alliance, Santa Clara, US, I was invited to speak on “Future of Software in India”. That led me to think of history of software in India and I realised that India has always been good in software. Much before computers were invented. Software in a larger sense. Not just bits & bytes. Rather thoughts & insights. Creations of mind rather than creation of hand. India continues to excel in software as in literature, cinema, ads, designs, programming in any media and last but perhaps most important spiritualism.

If one would to guestimate the combined valuations of “wealth creation” by Osho, Chinmayanand, Sri Ravishankar, Mahesh Yogi, Krishnamurthy, et al; I wager, it would be manifold of the cumulative “software exports” from india.

Why India always exceled in mind work and performed poorly at hand work?

I think the reason is two fold. First the climate. Though India has all the seasons, by & large, the characteristic weather is “hot”. Focus on the genesis of Indian civilization. It originated by the banks of the rivers in highly fertile plains. It was easy to be agrarian. Throw the seed, rest & enjoy the fruits in time. By & large the weather was pleasant, hot & hotter. A cold harsh weather would have induced physical activity to generate ‘heat’.  To build shelters. To hunt for clothing. For our ancestors, the weather was conducive to relax under shade of a tree to muse & meditate.

Second reason, perhaps an offspring of the first, was & is the caste system. The highest status was accorded to the “mind” work and lowest to the “hand” work  and this continues till date. We are incilned to outsource manual work to an abundance of cheap labour. By & large, we aspire to be “Brahmins”. The learned. No dignity can be found in labour.

Contrast this with the way Japan, Korea & China harnessed labour to become manufacturers to the world.

As the posts in NextIndia forum are perhaps not much read, I shall stop here. Please treat this post as a discussion. Hope to hear from you.