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There was a country, a country of spirited and adept men, finding itself in the path of recovery from the heavy blows of imperialistic pas...

Saturday, October 22, 2011

There was a letter which was addressed to writer Chethan Bhagath on his controversial statements against the IT big shot N.R.Narayana Murthy.I found some of the content objectionable and here I am to record it.The copy of the letter can be found in the below link
http://www.facebook.com/notes/gopi-ram/a-letter-to-chetan-bhagat-/228517470538128

Dear NRN well-wishers/Bhagath haters,

I happened to see the letter written to Mr.Bhagath.Being a Chethan Bhagath admirer -if not a hard core fan- the content did not go well with me.And here I am to record my opinion.

I would like to clarify few things before proceeding.I have some respect(note, not frenzy) on N.R.Narayana Murthy(NRN).He doesn't need my or any others testimony for his act of building an empire which not only was successful but also proved to be a pioneer to the Indian IT industry. But being successful doesn't assure greatness.There are lot of things beyond success and of course success is the last thing that comes under the long list of prerequisites for greatness. That's my notion and to me NRN is nothing more than a successful business man.period.

Leaving alone the episode and the pleasantries exchanged by both the parties,it is very obvious that the content of the note is highly one-sided, open to misinterpretation and (sorry to say) written in a poor taste in some places.It kinda insinuate Chethan as some random commoner who is trying to gain publicity.(Where he was already declared one of the 100 most influential people of the world by Time magazine) .More worse, the article portarys like NRN is a philanthropist and he runs a charity organization which is funniest of all, that made me to give a response to the letter.

Forgetting the admiration and favoritism on both of them, when I see the whole episode in a neutral angle.I get an impression that both of them are right in what they say.Both of their statements very well paint the real picture of the sorry state of education and pathetic state of corporate organizations in the country.But when looking at the intentions behind the statements the allegiances surely tend to change and I can't help supporting Chethan.I mean NRN might be right but why does he say that?.What are the intentions and reasons behind it?

Is he very much concerned about the lives and future of IITians who pass-out.Had he lost his sleep brooding over the standard of the education in the country.If so he should not have slept for his entire lifetime as the standard of education in this country has been of low quality all along. If he has any such concerns why on earth it is restricted to IIT students only.Could any of the NRN supporters enlighten my little mind on that?.

The reason,I guess as I see it, is obviously the IT business that directly depend on institutes like IIT which provide the firepower i.e knowledge asset to the industry in the form of students every year.IIT being the sanctuary of bright minds of the country easily forms the right place to look for them.They lure students with a large sum of money and when there are differences in expertise or output these grumbles come out.So there is a business motive, selfish reasons to an extent.The IIT director and few IIT insiders themselves seemed to have echoed the same views about the quality.But the attempts to corroborate NRN's view with their views is not so sensible.

The fact that quality is not to the mark might be true but in what vein it is said makes a lot of difference.The below statement which was actually said by NRN could give you a clear picture,

"Thanks to the coaching classes today, the quality of students entering IITs has gone lower and lower.They somehow get through the joint entrance examination, but their performance in IITs, at jobs or when they come for higher education in institutes in the US is not as good as it used to be. This has to be corrected. A new method of selection of students to IITs has to be arrived at," added Mr Murthy

Its a big joke when someone who owns a place where the new recruits are treated like herds of sheep talk about methods.I hear Tihar is a better place than your Mysore training campus.Is it?.Can you get back to me on that?.

Forget it,coming back to the point,the statements look more like a fault finding,sarcastic statement than a real concern for the institute or students .

Chethan's sharp remarks as a response also seems to be as a result of the above notion as per articles.Not everybody will keep their mouth shut when someone address them from their high pedestal,right?.Obviously when someone says you are no good ,anyone for that matter will say, "Dude,look at the dirt on your back first".And being an IIT passed out Chethan had done the same.

Also I don't find Chethan's criticisms on corporates (especially IT) unfair either.(He also has said in the end that his comments are also high-handed as that of NRN's).Forget Chethan's accusations.To look things as it is,obviously the IT business model in India is not something that can be bragged about.Yes we make money,damn lot of it but apart from the money we don't get anything.The credit goes somewhere else just because we are not the main players and our role (as we have established) is to be just a consultant for a foreign company which outsource projects for a cheaper production rate involved.In short we work for companies not people and retaining the good graces of those companies is everything for these IT corporates.

Ironically, India leads the IT industry but the contribution of IT firms to India is very less or almost zero even in terms of commercial motives. We are busy polishing the American shoes and find glory in it but we don't have time to wash our own dirty,ugly faces.In a way there are not a lot of differences between call centers and IT firms except that the only difference being call centers deal with individual citizens and these IT firms deal with some rich companies. Apart from that the term customer satisfaction is the buzzword for them both and these guys would bend down to any level to attain it.Yes,I accept that the customer is the king in any business but the problem is that these guys treat customers as god.It is ironical that they call the IT/ITES industries as service industries.Yes,the servitude has not ceased and that is precisely the point.Perhaps its in our genes.This is the pathetic state of corporates.(Not Infosys alone.)

Yes,corporates provide jobs for lot of Indians.But then Bin Laden also provided jobs to millions.Its actually immaterial to talk about the employment creation as it is not the main motto of these companies.NRN can not make a 100 clones of himself and be the office boy, Chairman at the same time.He knew the fact and that is why he or anyone for that matter recruit people.It is more or like a symbiotic relationship where both the employee and the company can not survive with out each other.

Coming to NRN,mind you he is not so angelic person as it is portrayed and this is not the first controversy he is involved in.There was an ugly episode where national anthem was played like a cheap mobile ringtone as instrumental version in an Infosys function and it was justified as below by NRN,

“Indeed we had arranged for five people to sing the anthem. But then we cancelled it as we have foreigners on-board here. They should not be embarrassed while we sing the anthem.”

Remember the function was taking place in Mysore campus.Tell me what would I make of a man who says our national anthem is an embarrassment to some foreigner(Example of Servitude which I referred earlier) . Mr.Murthy unfortunately is known for such intelligent statements and it makes me laugh when I hear hues and cries supporting the man.Not only that there is a lot more,type "Abolish IAS","Catamaran,SKC microfinance" etc. add Narayana Murthy and do a google search you will get to know.

Getting to the other part,that is the not so tasteful comments on Bhagath's qualification and personal life.It is very unfortunate.To put things in perspective and be honest,I have never been an avid book reader.I just started out and even to me after reading couple of authors I can see Bhagath's book are not so intelligent types. Class,brilliance are not something that can be associated with his books.But what is striking is his simplicity of subject, language(yeah you heard me right),good humor and his ability to strike a chord with the reader.

You seem to claim that his books are only masala filled when in actuality all of his four books convey a message or portray the problems of the society like education(5.someone,Revolution 20-20),violence in the name of religion(3 mistakes of my life),subtly motivational (1 night @ the call center) and the need to abolish regionalism(2 states).MK Gandhi said,

One of the objects of a newspaper(or a writer in this case) is to understand popular feeling and to give expression to it, another is to arouse among the people certain desirable sentiments, and the third is fearlessly to expose popular defects.

Going by that theory Chethan has been doing all of that.His choice of subjects and thoughts behind his books are relevant to current state of affairs.He is cool if not the coolest. Unfortunately,he has made a name for himself already.Nothing can be done hereafter,so chill out bro.The other point I strongly felt about was the allegation saying he is a writer who writes about his love affairs, publishes it and earns a living out of it.

Kindly see this video before saying that he is making a living out of the books,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QE6jzvRL_Yg

My FB status was something like below after seeing that video,

Always thought that Chethan is overrated..But then, seeing his thought of keeping his books price low so that it is affordable for everyone says how far he deserves the attention he gets..
MORAL:There is always a price for everything and there is nothing called luck..


For your information,his books are minimum rated and almost you can buy the original copy for a price which is equivalent to the price of pirated copies of books of other authors. Bhagath's books don't cost more than 100 bucks whereas other Indian author's books are sold at a minimum of 200 or 300 bucks.Mind you that he was not begging in the streets before,he was an investment banker.He must have earned enough there.

Regarding the other not so tasteful comment on his love,that is very wrong.As you suggest its not the affair he has written about rather its about his relationship(love, marriage). In some places the book might have explored into more personal levels but it is very much common in mainstream commercial writing. Mind you that he is not writing books on spirituality,neither he is Vivekananda.Its your fault to look for such stuff in a love story.My point is, to say on the whole as if the book is about his dalliances and affairs is misleading.You can not be that harsh.

There were other objectionable points like tweaking of story of 3 Idiots movie,Karina's fiancee character referring Chethan etc.Everyone who has read the book will know that considerable part of the movie and the plot has been taken from the book and the credit was not given to him.Know that he complained for that and not for tweaking the story.Whatever,I think on moral basis Chethan should have been given credit something like movie is based on book. Regarding the other point,what is so damn wrong in doing a MBA after doing engineering.In reality not everyone gets into a course that is in line with his aspirations.Even the great NRN did electrical engineering masters at IIT and what is he doing now?.What is the logic there?.

And(the funniest of all) what?,if NRN writes about his love it will beat all the records of Bhagath's book hands down?.Dude did you think writing is that easy and people who read are idiots to consume everything.Its not like slogging with the books in a premier institute and get a job,climb up the ladder kinda routine.Apart from skill it requires sense,taste, and heart which most businessmen don't have.And if even such a thing happens what is the title of the book?.A nerd and his romantic escapades?.Come on, you can't be serious?.

To a point I feel the whole episode was blown up after Chethan got involved in it.He has provided unwanted publicity to the gripes written merely as a part of some flamboyant speech that IT barons belt out where they are invited to preside over.

I think this is too trivial a matter to be given importance.Than focusing on the quality of select students (in this case IIT) the entire education system should be looked into and improved. Any constructive debate or criticism on that part will prove sensible than squabbling over student's quality who are already in the top ladder of the Indian educational system.Donkeys can be taken care later,do something about the pathetic insects first.Look down,Mr.NRN 90% is a majority to be taken care than the 10%.We guys will appreciate if you talk in a broader level than to be making narrow comments.

To his supporters,kindly know that NRN is no Christ or Gandhi.In a country where Gandhi is criticized and taken for a ride NRN is actually nobody.The same applies to Bhagath as well he is also not some Bhuddha.But then we can not bash someone on the basis of our likes and dislikes.There has to be a fairness in the criticism.If I have crossed any of that it is simply because to counter the unfair criticism on Bhagath.

Note:I know that at some places I had been harsh.But can't help I had to be honest about what I felt and it is not wrong before the wild accusations of the other party.For the record,if you wanna call me NRN hater I wouldn't mind.But it is actually the corporate structure and the so called management techniques that I hate.NRN is juts a catalyst to that.Also I will support an author against a business man any day.It doesn't have to be specifically Bhagath and Murthy.

Your's,
Not-so-happy-with-the-letter


P.S:This is just to record my objection.No other mean purposes like comment,like generation intended.After 20+ odd years of existence in this world I have an idea about right and wrong and this is simply in reaction to what is wrong.
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