As a USA-Indian bi-national, I am wearing my Indian hat for this article.
Indian businesses, over the last several decades, have become fascinated with the West. From corporate culture to organizational structure, from skill development to models of innovation, almost every business concept we have, let alone education or lifestyle concept, is an adaptation of Western models.
Much of this is motivated by our yearnings for us to also be someone. To make our community proud. To do things in the correct way. To have our place on the world stage. Or, the other hand, to escape from cycles of poverty and financially secure our family and progeny.
Yet little do we realize that we’ve yet again fallen into the same trap of colonialism that we’ve been mired in for centuries. For Indian businesses continue to neglect their own heritage and the country’s own well of profound wisdom, yet again prioritizing outside influence above its own.
Yes it’s good to learn from outsiders to challenge our prejudices and integrate new knowledge. No doubt. But this should never be to the point of replacing our own. For on this land, we have mapped out intricate decision-making processes at depth. We’ve had discourse among contradictory perspectives with profound maturity. We have methods of inquiry that can take us to the height of self-realization.
Yet, our projected value in international business is we provide a large pool of cheap, hard-working, technically-skilled, labor that speaks polite English…and some clever jugaad.
These qualities barely scratch the surface of our actual value.
We have the world’s most resplendent diamonds in our satchel. Yet, we are peddling cheap plastic trinkets.
Some of our wisdom is archaic. And some is no longer relevant. Our gems need to be polished. But to toss away our precious stones and to clamour simply for foreign business concepts, trends and ideals is to deny our core source of strength.
Whether we are replicating Western products or lifting Western business models, India will always be thirsty for real innovation until we learn to drink from the fountain of wisdom within.
It’s not easy to soak modern business principles with deep, internal wisdom in this mechanized world we live in. I can speak from from my many years and numerous attempts to do so. But after all I’ve seen and gone through, I feel it can very well be done..and should be efforted by all of us as principle. This project is an experiment in that process.
We owe it, if not to the world than at least to ourselves, to bring this wisdom to the forefront through our work. Our heritage of wisdom in India should be our value proposition to the world. If you feel we can help you express your core self, your core wisdom, the wisdom of this land, and help it shine through in your own offerings, please get in touch with us.