Sunday, June 03, 2007

Intellectual Slavery

We all are aware about slavery. We are concerned about it. We try our best to remove the slavery from society. I feel that the slavery we fight to eradicate is generally physical in nature. We have achieved success up to some extent in providing freedom. But, today, I am going to talk something new. I think most of the physical slavery had been or exists as a result of a different kind of slavery and I call it as ‘intellectual slavery’. In this blog, I shall talk about it.

The concept of this slavery was emerging in my mind since long. Fortunately I grew up in a society where wisdom is ignored for traditions; knowledge is taken as an easily available item, education means a tool to get a job etc, thinking of intellectual slavery was natural for me.

The concept of intellectual slavery could be traced in many areas. But for any major reaction, one needs some catalysts and I got a catalyst when Manmohan was forced to say that Rahul is Uttar Pradesh (UP) future which became headlines of many Indian dailies. I was trying to find the exact reasons and why people do it even at very high positions. This topic may be a subject of research of a lifetime. It may not be possible to get clear conclusions in small blog.

But as I have done it earlier, I have defined many emerging areas for the thought provoking missions, I shall do again. The society can never emerge successful through conventional ideas. That’s why everybody talks about innovations. I try my best to find some innovations in my day to day life. This has been exciting experience for me so I try again to explain.

One more similar incidence and another statement of Manmohan Singh, which has been taken wrongly by media without flashing their own faults, my perception started changing. I started thinking about intellectual slavery.

How Intellectual Slavery makes you Non-professional?

Intellectual slavery is as distressful as physical slavery. Here again, I shall take the example from recent events happening in India.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh must be a disturbed person now-a-days. Out of his total 529 speeches in 1095 days (three years as Prime Minister), the speech of 24 May 07 at CII annual general meeting has been noticed by entrepreneur, educators, economists, thinkers, media personnel and others. Almost all are blaming him for one reason or the other. Some are blaming him for his inefficiency, misdirection, wrong perceptions and contradiction in his approach while some are blaming for his desperation to be effective in Indian politics. What a compulsion to be the Prime Minister of a country like India?

The lines which created furor in the elite circle are stated as “resist excessive remuneration to promoters and senior executives and discourage conspicuous consumption.” Media just took the words ‘conspicuous consumption’ and started exposing PM’s economic intellects without taking cognizance of the next sentence where PM talked about media. I think that media of developing world also passing through intellectual slavery. Has media ever blamed their professionalism on the front page of dailies? Media personnel and media need to look within. That is one issue of the recent episode.

But I think different. The reasons of speech of 24th May have nothing to do with his profession. Professions have its principle, theory and histories. But individual has no such obligation. PM has its own limitation as human being. And it came in the open- wide open. The vulnerability is exposed due to the lack of wisdom domain. I have my own reasons to explain the lack of wisdom domain at such high level of individual life.

Once upon a time, PM said: Creating wealth, creating jobs, business is bridging social divide. Why did he forget his own words? Can somebody forget his basic professional concepts?

Because of intellectual slavery, Prime Minister Integrity is at stake. I am a simple soul but can understand the growth economics because I have personally experienced and observed them since last twenty-five years. The thing which PM is talking is not a professional idea but a loss of his personal integrity. Today, India is rising with more than 9%, the mission and objectives need to be redefined to meet future challenges.

How Intellectual Slavery Contradicts Your Wisdom?

The case of intellectual slavery could be observed with many executives, CEOs, managers or leaders. It spoils your professionalism. It diverts you from your missions. It impacts on your integrity. It can happen with anyone if not very careful like it happened with PM.

In one part of his speech, PM talked his basic understanding. “I clearly stated that the guiding principle of our Government has been to ensure that, while sustaining higher rates of economic growth, the improved performance of the economy must contribute to employment generation, poverty reduction and human development. The aim of each of our flagship programmes is to ensure that growth is more equitable and that it empowers the most deprived of our citizens”, said PM. How an individual loses his integrity to talk something else? The speech is a good example of intellectual slavery. This has contradicted not only Manmohan ideas but government too.

Everybody in this country knows that flagship programmes have been implemented to prove that Gandhi is still relevant to Indian society. Poverty can never be eradicated by such policies. As an economist, Manmohan must know this but he is trapped between profession and loyalty where loyalty wins. All these go at the cost of continuing poverty in India. All these go on at the cost of basic ideas of economics. The emergence of such words from such an appointee raises question on the integrity of individual. This raises the existence of intellectual slavery in my mind. In a country like India, professionalism is the slave of social opportunities.

Public Displays of Intellectual Slavery

When I was in IIT Mumbai, I used to analyze the speeches of PM, President and others to find out wisdom and the directions of nation. Today after around fifteen years of research, I personally find the ridiculousness of misguided statements. I found this when Singur occurred, Nandigram burnt or now Rajasthan burning. Who forced people especially youth to become tribes in this fastest rising economy? It is an abundance of contradictions. I find plenty in this country. I could find plenty in the PM speech delivered on 24 May 2007.

PM said, “If those who are better off do not act in a more socially responsible manner, our growth process may be at risk, our polity may become anarchic and our society may get further divided.” What is he talking about? We have palaces open all over the country where poor keep visiting on daily basis. Has any anarchy taken place? Today in the era of information age when TV signals reaches to slums free of cost, what our finest economists talking about? Is he talking about his slavery?

In this country, there is a ruling class in spite of democracy. Few individuals and families have taken all the citizens for granted. That’s how Lalu appeared, Jayalalita wins and a Maya appeared without support of bigger institutions. The ruling family should not take politics for granted. But will PM garner courage to speak against establishments? What could be the reason of anarchy of our polity? Certainly it can not be the issue which Manmohan is trying to convince us.

PM rightly said, “The electronic media carries the lifestyles of the rich and famous into every village and every slum. Media often highlights the vulgar display of their wealth.”

Media is a live example of Intellectual Slavery. Is Media listening?

But the problem in this country is that media never flashes these lines. Media need to behave with responsibility. But who will tell media not even Prime Minister? From where our famous elites of this country get time to attend marriages, dinner parties, Iftaar parties, and other trivial functions of society. Who is to be blamed for this? Media people are also human being with aspirations.

In his ten commandments for the industry, PM said, “promote enterprise and innovate, within your firms and outside.” But what about government, are they doing any innovation? India needs social innovations to achieve the desired growth and they must come from government through various policies but instead of innovations, government is relying heavily on outdated policies like reservations and subsidies. Everybody including PM, Sonia, Mashelkar, etc talked about innovation but where is innovation? Who will bring social innovation in this country?

PM almost contradicts himself when he said, “I firmly believe that the creation of wealth is the only way of addressing the formidable challenges of economic transformation that our country faces. And wealth can be created only through enterprise and creativity.” Starting from creation of infrastructure to SEZs, government has been unable to set course of policies direction. The wealth creation is becoming difficult propositions.

Why talk about Prime Minister, other ministers are also issuing contradictory statements. In the name of inclusive growth to satisfy the managerial instincts of Sonia and Rahul, everybody in ruling class does one thing and talks something else. They think something and act differently. There is hardly any coherence in the thinking and action of our policy makers. This is the biggest intellectual slavery of a democratic nation.

Do not Leave Intellect to Chances

Manmohan must be missing Narshimha Rao today. It was his fortune that Rao was the Prime Minister when he was Finance Minister. Rao gave the direction to this nation and to Manmohan Singh too. The work done by Manmohan in Rao regime can not be forgotten because of the courage and professionalism of Narshimha Rao.

Today when Sonia is at helm, it appears that Manmohan who was a successful economist to steer the economy of the country has become the lost identity with lack of ethics and loss of professional integrity in discharging his professional responsibility. Proficiency of professionalism changes with the change of the boss. Can you leave your intellect at the mercy of others?

Manmohan Singh has become a good example of intellectual slavery along with the journalists who depict the events and issues wrongly.

How to Come out of Intellectual Slavery?

Instead of Ten Commandments, our policy makers need to follow few critical steps of unlearning to avoid contradictions in their lives.

1. Maintain professional integrity
2. Ensure Knowledgeable bosses
3. Avoid intellectual slavery
4. Create wisdom domain

Follow some steps to enforce your intellect and create wisdom for life. Running behind making others happy neither makes you happy nor others. You have wisdom. You force others to follow.