Month: October 2011

Shashi Tharoor is wrong. Indians cannot innovate.

This post was long pending and lazily taking form. But a particular incident accelerated its publication – a few tweets exchanged between me and Dr.Shashi Tharoor MP, Diplomat etc.

sashitharoor_1st tweet



[I have been trying to hear his speech but have been unable to do so due to a tech glitch. Not sure if it is at my end (I stay in India) or the host site. Will keep trying. In the meantime I checked for the speech. But they haven’t put it up yet.]

Now the meat of this post. At the outset I cannot accept a superficial opinion of how well India is innovating based on an armchair expert’s understanding of what innovation is. Such well meaning people have unwittingly caused more harm than good. We have been subjected to this lie for centuries. A look at our history (err-mythology?) and our text books which perpetuate this lie are proof. This lie which has been bandied about recklessly for centuries has made us complacent. What we need instead is a jolt of reality, a shocker to wake us from this reverie.

Dr. Shashi Tharoor is basically a well read, well educated, widely traveled diplomat, author and nouveau politician of certain repute. The fact that his only claim to the Indian tag is ancestry and matrimony may be the only dampener. That not withstanding, he should, like many other celebs and politicians, realize that they are basically ‘media magnets’ at such events (Launch of the India Innovation Institute – University of Toronto) . Not experts on each and every institute and organization they inaugurate. What if Mallika Sherawat assumes she is an expert on cancer just because she once inaugurated a cancer hospital.

Why did Shashi Tharoor make this statement? What makes him and his ilk experts on innovation? Why do they mask our lack of innovative spirit as globalization? Is innovation so simple and pedestrian to define and judge? Has such careless talk of big, earth shattering innovations scared and prevented the Indian tinkerer from experimenting? Have such references set the bar too high? What is innovation?

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The Killer buses of India – MADE IN INDIA



  • On 24th Sept 2011,  the headlines screamed of Gourav Surekha and Ashwin Raghuram, 2 young commerce students, losing their lives to a BMTC bus.
  • On 1 Oct 2011,  Pooja Salgaonkar, a 24 year student from MCC was run over by a lorry.
  • On 2 Oct a young boy was run over by a private bus in Bangalore.

4 more victims added to a loooong list, a never ending list that we care about no more.

Going by reports, it may be  safe to assume that the youngsters were negligent. But negligence need not necessarily mean a death penalty. A mature and responsible society analyses the cause and plugs the holes. Something we Indians never do. A. Because we can’t understand the problem, B. We have no solutions.

To begin understanding the problem, lets start with a key indicator in all such reports.

“Crushed”, “Run over”,” Mowed down” –  three words essentially used when it is any accident involving a bus or lorry.

This is the problem and therein lies the solution.

When you read these three words, the questions that should be asked are:

  • “Why only a bus/lorry?”.
  • “Is it that a car is not heavy enough to crush a person?”.
  •  “Are all buses killers?”

Now delve a little more on the words “run over” & “crushed” and the answer is obvious.

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