Friday, July 30, 2004
I don’t often use this column to say good things about my friends but I’m going to make an exception this week. Part of the reason is that the friend in question is now, deservedly, nationally famous. But mainly, it’s because of the things he represents and the values he embodies.
I first met Nandan Nilekani in 1980 because he was going out with a friend (and colleague) of mine — they have since married. At the time, he was a young IIT-trained engineer working, if I remember correctly, for Patni Computer Systems.
It was clear then that Nandan was very bright and that he would go far, but none of us, including Nandan himself, realised quite how far he would get. As the years went on, I watched his rise with admiration. The gutsy decision to strike out with a few colleagues and start Infosys. The years spent in America, working for clients. That first public issue (you can add my name to the list of idiots who did not buy the shares he offered us then), and the slow rise to success within India. Nothing had prepared me, however, for Infosys’ global success, for the Nilekanis’ entry into the billionaires club (Nandan and his wife Rohini both own large quantities of Infosys stock) or for the kind of esteem with which Infosys is now regarded.
In recent years, I’ve visited the Infosys campus in Bangalore, chaired seminars there and had a chance to meet many of Nandan’s colleagues and have always been struck by the extent to which Infosys represents a third model of Indian corporate governance. The first two models are easy to identify. The first is the traditional family-run business even though most successful family-owned companies are increasingly professionalised. The second is the multinational business run by MBAs who love jargon and worship marketing.
Infosys is the most successful example of a third — uniquely Indian — kind of company. None of its founders — including Nandan — has an MBA. Its management structure is entirely collegiate — can you think of a single multinational where somebody like Narayan Murthy would voluntarily step aside and actively promote somebody like Nandan as his successor? And as Nandan says, none of the founders (even though they are all billionaires now) would ever put his ego ahead of the company’s interests.
Add to this the traditional Infosys values: no corruption under any circumstances, no billing personal expenses to the company (Nandan lives in his own house and drives his own car, for instance), no asking for political favours etc. And you have a very different kind of Indian company.
I’m sure there are other — lesser known — companies that also embody Infosys’ values, but here’s my point: almost all of them will probably be run by first generation entrepreneurs and none of them could have succeeded before the 1990s or so. (Five years ago, when I interviewed Narayan Murthy, he said publicly that had it not been for the Manmohan Singh reforms of 1991, Infosys would have failed).
My view — and I’m no expert on company structures — is that the success of Infosys comes from the background of its promoters. None of them comes from a big business family. They are all essentially well-educated, middle class boys who set out to build a company on the values that they had been taught by their parents — solid middle class values of putting knowledge first, of paying no bribes, of working hard and of not showing off your wealth.
To my mind, the success of Infosys has always been a triumph of Indian middle class values; proof that if you are good at what you do and work hard and honestly, you can compete with the best in the world.
Though the founders of Infosys struggle to play this down, they now are all phenomenally wealthy individuals (Rohini, for instance, is one of India’s ten richest women). I wondered, as I saw their wealth increasing, what the money would do to them. Would they lose sight of the values on which they had founded their company? Or to put it differently, would they become like every other super-rich Indian?
Two things that Nandan has done over the last five years have gladdened me — and have prompted this column. The first is that he and the other Infosys founders give away most of their earnings. Nandan and Rohini, for instance, give something like 50 per cent of their earnings to charity or to worthy causes.
Nandan’s reasoning is simple. He believes, he says, that the market is a far more efficient way of allocating resources than, say, a centralised bureaucracy. But, he also adds, there will be times when the market will make certain individuals incredibly wealthy, not because they are necessarily the very best but because they happen to be in the right place at the right time. So it is, he says, with Infosys. The vast wealth it has earned does not mean that Murthy, Nandan and all the others, are that much better than the rest of us. All it means is that they were in the right sector at the moment it took off.
In such a situation, Nandan argues, anybody who makes so much money because of a quirk of the market system, has an obligation to give much of it back to society. He says that he’s not suggesting anything unusual or revolutionary. In the US, for instance, nearly all the first generation entrepreneurs gave chunks of their fortunes to public causes: the Mellons, the Carnegies, the Rockefellers, the Morgans and even mean old Henry Ford. It was only because they showed themselves willing to share their wealth with society that capitalism and the free market won the faith of the rest of the American people. Till then, all the first generation millionaires had risked being seen as robber barons.
Nandan’s perspective is interesting because it touches on the central crisis of the Indian middle class at the start of the 21st Century. Most of us — let’s be honest — have never had it so good. The shops are full of fancy new products and we now have the money to buy them. All this may persuade us that India is Shining but the reality is that middle class prosperity does not extend to the rest of India. Even as the CII was feting Chandrababu Naidu, farmers were committing suicide in Andhra. The reason most middle class people — especially the media — got the election results wrong was because the gap between the middle class and the rest of the India has become a complete disconnect.
As the most successful Indian company to be based on middle class values, Infosys and its founders are actively working to bridge the comprehension gap. As Nandan says, “if the market is seen as benefiting only those at the top, reforms will never be accepted.”
There’s one other thing that Nandan has done over the last five years that has impressed me greatly. He says the thought came to him while driving out of Infosys’ immaculately maintained campus. Why, he asked himself, should I have to leave this wonderful environment for a badly maintained road? It isn’t as though I’m not paying for the road. All of us are — we pay up to a third of our income in taxes. Then why do we care so little about what happens to the money? Why do we demand so little accountability from the government? Why are we so content to accept the worst infrastructure?
His answer was that part of it was just an information problem. As far as we are concerned, our taxes go into a vast black hole. Which of us knows how much money has been allocated for roads? Do we care how it is spent? How much each fly-over costs? What the cost over-runs are?
Why, asks Nandan, do we expect lower standards of disclosure, transparency and accountability from government than we do from, say, a public limited company?
His solution is that technology can be used to create greater transparency. In Bangalore, the last Chief Minister, S.M. Krishna, supported the idea of a task force which put local budgets on the internet, which monitored where the money was going and kept track of how it was being siphoned off or wasted. Every six months or so, officials in charge of say, roads or water supply would face citizens and answer questions on how they had spent tax-payer’s money.
Nandan was in Delhi last week to sign an e-governance agreement with the Delhi government which has enthusiastically embraced the Bangalore experiment. He believes that it is possible to place more and more information in the public domain thanks to rapidly advancing technology. He doesn’t pretend that it will solve our problems, but he reckons it is a start. And a measure of accountability in government, he argues, is better than what we have now.
I think he’s right. But I know that all the vested interests — corrupt politicians, inefficient bureaucrats, etc — will oppose it. If the idea is to work at a national level, it needs top-level backing. Fortunately, India finally has a technocratic, middle-class Prime Minister whose own success story also embodies the values that created Infosys.
So, who knows, perhaps the time is finally right for some accountability in government?
Thursday, July 29, 2004
To sardarji: Sardarji where were you born?
To sardarji: which part?
Sardar- oye part part kya kar raha hai,whole body born in punjab.
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
Monday, July 26, 2004
An average commercial film.
Michel Moore, a great thinker,no need to say more about him, he deserves. he waited 5 years to complete this movie, travelled 7 countries, met 6000 people and above,.. oh god, I cant imagine the efforts for this movie.
He concentrated on
1. Election results confusion(Gore Vs Bush)
2. Bush energy business with Saudi after & before
3. Bush vacation trips, emotion of Bush when got the news about WTO on 9/11
4. Local terrorism , which not taken care by USA Govt, instead their care about Saudi.
5. Army people selection
6. USA embassy in Saudi
7. Cost cutting in USA
8. Soldiers & their parents emotions(Tearful tragedies)
9. Congress politicians willingness to save Iraq
10. Saudi & Afganistan war
Arun , if you want to shoot a documentary, make like this for this world, your name will be scripted in Stone as well as in our soul.
Thursday, July 22, 2004
is that possible to have a day with 29.1/2 hrs?
When started from india it is 7:40pm and reached-london.Uk at 7:45am, totally 18 hrs night time, yesterday for mine is 29.1/2 hrs. confusing huh..
Anyway finally i have reached london in the morning, settled down easily with help of my friends. came to office and as usually not working ,, hahhahaha.
Why Aandavar boomi, aandavar=ruled ,not god. UK people ruled more than a century, thats why I called UK as a aandavar boomi. Yet to browse london ..
Tuesday, July 20, 2004
Will be back on September 30 as per plan. I am going for honeymoon(but alone, thani moon hahahaaha). I dunno whether I can blog from UK office or not, anyway lemme try to update blog. God bless me to visit Australia as it my great wish and dream.
Monday, July 19, 2004
What ever reason they give for fire accident is not at all accpetable now. Amma immediately ordered to cancel the approval for the matriculation school which are all having thatched roofs. Thats Okay Amma, is it only applicable for Matriculaiton schools, how about Government Schools? Still 100s of Govt school are working under Thatched roofs, single teacher schools.. etc.
Prevention is the better than cure...
Thursday, July 15, 2004
Wednesday, July 14, 2004
Satyendra K. Dubey, the son of Bageshwari Dubey and Phulamati Devi, was born at the village of Shahpur in the Sewan district of Bihar, India.
Until the age of 15 he studied at the Gang Baksh Kannaudi High School and then he went to Allahabad for higher education. He wanted to pursuit a career in Engineering. He admitted to the Civil Engineering Department of the IIT Kanpur in 1990. He graduated with excellent marks in 1994.
After his graduation he entered the Indian Engineering Service (IES), before he was employed by the Ministry of Surface Transport in Delhi. In July 2002 he was employed by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI).
Soon after his affiliation with NHAI, Dubey became the Assistant Project Manager at Koderma, Jharkhand, responsible for managing a part of the Aurangabad-Barachatti section of National Highway 1 (The Grand Trunk Road) in the Golden Quadrilateral Corridor Project.
He worked there until August when he was transferred to Gaya, where he exposed mishandling of funds by the engineers. At this time he also became the Deputy General Manager of the National Highway Authority of India.
S. K. Dubey had written some letters to NHAI and to the Prime Minister, reporting misuse of financial resources.
As the S. K. Dubey Foundation reports, after his arrival at Gaya railway station in the early morning, he was found dead by his driver, and the police suspects somebody who didn't want Dubey to be director eliminated him. Some people, though, maintain the view Mr. Dubey's death was a case of simple robbery gone bad.
Satyendra (Dubey, an IIT Kanpur graduate) was an honest and upright engineer working on the Golden Quadrilateral Highway project. Outraged by the corruption he encountered, he took on the construction mafia pulling up contractors for shoddy work and notifying superiors. Frustrated with inaction, he finally wrote to the Prime Minister urging action. Requesting confidentiality, he detailed the "loot of public money" and "poor implementation".
Family of S. K. Dubey will need financial support (initial estimate is around Rs. 10 lakhs) as he was the sole earner of the family. This is primarily intended to:
* Help in the marriage and education of his two sisters
* Support the study of his younger brother who is pursuing his study at IT BHU and
* His parents future
Guys please help !!
Payable to: Satyendra K Dubey Memorial Fund*
Chairman, Satyendra K Dubey Memorial Fund
Department of Aerospace Engineering
IIT Kanpur, 208016
(IIT Kanpur, as an organization, is in no way associated with this Foundation. Their name and address are listed to facilitate the donation for the family)
*Donations to S.K. Dubey Memorial Fund is for family and for other projects as determined by IIT Kanpur.
*Please pay by Cheque/DD only.
For more details
Tuesday, July 13, 2004
The Philippines started withdrawing its troops from Iraq, ignoring a White House warning that an early pullout would ``send the wrong signal'' to terrorists threatening to behead a civilian Filipino hostage. What else US need now, it seems they wont bother about te lives in Iraq, only their need is to their troops to be Iraq, their people to govern. I was shocked a to see that recorded relay of a korean refugee has been killed. Oh god how their family felt on that time seeing their guys killed in front of them.
"The Philippine contingent of 51 troops was reduced to 43 today, Foreign Secretary Delia Albert said in a taped statement aired on ABS-CBN News Channel and other Manila media networks. She didn't say when the remainder would be pulled out. Her spokesman Gilberto Asuque declined to elaborate.
The withdrawal, a month ahead of schedule, comes after terrorists threatened to behead fuel-truck driver Angelo de la Cruz if Philippine troops weren't withdrawn. The abductors have twice extended the deadline for executing the 46-year-old father of eight, who was seized last week in Baghdad.
The government of President Gloria Arroyo last week said it wouldn't bow to terrorists and would keep its troops in Iraq until their scheduled departure on Aug. 20. It stressed the troops were serving in non-combat roles such as construction, food service and distribution of medical supplies"
1. Yuva(Aayutha Eluthu)
2. Pudhiya Mannargal
3. Pudhumai Pithan
All these movies are concentrated on Politics, needs good politicians for our country. I watched Ayutha Eluthu last weekend. Mani is always favourite. He done a good job, he wants students has to be in political, will make it worth for country. I dont know why this film not able to listed in Box office hit, even it has good moral, no masala (obviuosly mani wont do that). Thiruda thirudi is a greatest hit and Ayutha eluthu is a flop. Mani would have done something to make it hit, now he failed as a commercial man, but he never fail.
People Arise Awake(atleast to watch movies)
Thursday, July 08, 2004
A Santa Sing went to US & had a meeting with George Bush.
Bush : I want to show you the US advancement. Come with me. (he takes him in a deep forest)
Bush : Dig the ground. (Santa did it)
Bush : More..more..more... (Santa went upto 100 feet)
Bush : So now , try to search something.
Santa : I got a wire.
Bush : You know, it shows that even 200 years ago we used to have telephones.
Santa became frustrated. He invited Bush to India.
NEXT YEAR Bush VISITS INDIA
Santa : I want to show you our advancement. the same, he takes Bush in forest .
Santa : Dig it .. (Bush does)
Santa : More ..more ...more ........... (Bush goes upto almost 400 feet..)
Santa : Try to find something. (Bush tries)
Santa : Did you get anything ?
Bush : No
Santa : Now know about India,even 400 years ago we used to have WIRELESS.
Wednesday, July 07, 2004
Eastern vs. Western Culture
The following is a list of attitude and value differences between eastern thought/culture and Western thought/culture. It has been adapted from a list provided by Rev. Tran Binh Trong, Vietnamese Apostolate, Richmond, VA.
• Live in time
• Value rest
• Accept what is
• Live in nature
• Want to know meaning
• Freedom of silence
• Lapse into meditation
• Marry first, then love
• Love is mute
• Focus on self-abnegation
• Learn to do with less
• Ideal - love of life
• Honor austerity
• Wealth & Poverty - results of fortune
• Cherish wisdom of years
• Retire to enjoy the gift of your family
• Live in space
• Value activity
• Seek change
• Live with nature
• Want to know how it works
• Freedom of speech
• Strive for articulation
• Love first, then marry
• Love is vocal
• Focus on self-assuredness
• Attempt to get some more
• Ideal - being successful
• Honor achievement
• Wealth/Poverty - results of enterprise
• Cherish vitality of youth
• Retire to enjoy the rewards of your work,
I will go ahead collect few documents regarding Western Vs Eastern, will get the result ASAP.
A man checked into a hotel. There was a computer in his room, So he decided to send an e-mail to his wife. However, he accidentally Typed wrong e-mail address, and without realizing his error, he sent the e-mail.
Meanwhile.....somewhere in Houston, a widow had just returned home from her husband's funeral. The widow decided to check her e-mail, expecting messages from relatives and friends.
After reading the first message, she fainted. The widow's son rushed into the room, found his mother on the floor, and saw the computer screen which read:
To: My Loving Wife
Subject: I've Reached
Date: 16 May 2002
I know you're surprised to hear from me. They have computers here now, and you are allowed to send e-mails to your loved ones.
I've just reached and have been checked in.
I see that everything has been prepared for your arrival tomorrow.
Looking forward to seeing you then!
Hope your journey is as uneventful as mine was.
I m really appreciate him for following reasons.
1. Increased sensex
2. Removed plastic and paper cups in Railways stations
3. Made a rule to use kadhar in trains.
Let we welcome these types of things, which can be observed only by the poor people. Anyway Laloooo is not a poor man, I believe.
Also he said few days before that "Indian Railways are the responsibility of Lord Vishwakarma,' said Laloo Prasad Yadav.
'So is the safety of passengers. It is his duty [to ensure safety], not mine.' "
Friday, July 02, 2004
A Sardar died and went to heaven. When he got to the pearly gate Saint Peter told him that new rules were in effect due to the advances in education on earth. In order to gain admittance a prospective heavenly soul must answer two questions:
1. Name two days of the week that begin with "T".
2. How many seconds are there in a year?
The Sardar thought for a few minutes and answered...
1. The two days of the week that begin with "T" are Today and Tomorrow.
2. There are 12 seconds in a year.
Saint Peter said, "OK, I'll buy the Today and Tomorrow, even though it's not the answer I expected, so your answer is correct. But how did you get only 12 seconds in a year?"
The Sardar replied, "Well, January 2nd, February 2nd, March 2nd, etc...."
Saint Peter lets him in without another word.
Thursday, July 01, 2004
Judge: What is your name?
Saddam: I am Saddam Hussein, the president of Iraq."
The judge insisted Saddam was the former president -- and Saddam responded that he still is president.Saddam insisted on being referred to as the "president of the Republic of Iraq."
"This is all a theater by Bush, the criminal," he said in a courtroom that once was part of a palace built for him.
I dont want to discuss these law, think of a saddam as a human. He built a palace for him, lived as a king there, now he was being enquired in the same palace as a courtroom. This will be really hurting him.