Satya Narayana Nadella, the Microsoft CEO. Another Indian holding a key position in one of the world’s biggest companies. Over the past few years, many Indians have made their presence felt on global business stage. But this has raised some inevitable questions: why is it that India’s tech and other geniuses flower only abroad? Why does our system kill future heroes, while the US helps raise even ordinary Indians to iconic levels?
Multi-national giants like PepsiCo, Motorola, Deutsche Bank have Indian-origin persons in their top leadership positions. Just a few of them together are managing business worth over $350 billion. No wonder, CEO’s are termed as India’s leading export and the subcontinent has been termed as “the ideal training ground for global houses”. But why is that every India-origin person to win a Nobel Prize after 1947 in the sciences have not been an Indian citizen anymore? Does it represent a flaw in our system? Indeed, it does. While it may sound churlish, but all the Indians who succeeded abroad had just one thing in common: they all abandoned India.
True, Indians’ inherent focus on good education and their ability to adapt to any situation have played a part in their rise to top positions at global companies, but could they have achieved the same heights if they had stayed here? The answer is a plain NO. Our system doesn’t allow us to do so. We are encouraged to be a talker rather than a doer. We think this makes us argumentative and democratic, but actually it makes us obstructionist rather than problem solvers. We are not risk takers, but risk avoiders. In our country, if a kid wants to be a cricketer or an artist, he is discouraged and asked to crack a IIT-JEE or CAT, since IITs and IIMs are seen as a way to big jobs.
We are simply unable to tolerate success. If someone talks about a successful model here, he is bound to be bought down. Also, we like mediocrity more than excellence. We want to be surrounded by non-achievers who agree with us at every moment, rather than someone who has his own ideas and a non-conformist. In simple words, our successes and leaders are due to a historical accident rather than a real effort.
A Satya Nadella, belonging to Manipal, would never have made it big in India since he is not from the IITs. He might have been working as a coder in TCS or Infosys with a big package. But a CEO? Probably not.