Category: Ignorant Indian

Michigan Radio thread – My reply to Prof. Anil Gupta

Comment thread source Michigan Radio – Fostering grassroots innovation: Lessons India can teach Michigan

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Whoa. Once you realize you are not in a classroom but among your peers and superiors and stop assigning homework, you may yet learn something about real innovation. Kindly read my blog www.chetanprasad.com, subscribe to online magazines like www.instructables.com, scour, collect and read old issues of Popular Mechanics, Popular Science, Science and Mechanics, Mechanics Illustrated, pick up some tools, build, disassemble/assemble or repair something, understand how things are made, design a gadget, hunt scrapyards for a component, be subjected to ridicule and then worthily wear the crown of a critic, proponent or spokesperson of any form of innovation.

I have done enough homework, in fact more than you and I don’t need to constantly re-read your pedantic websites other than to understand your lack of understanding of the subject. So please stop quoting the same 5 websites as if they were the ten commandments. They are not. The real world of innovation is much more accomodative, diverse and evolved than your proverbial ‘frog in the well’ vision.

I also tried to keep it civil, hoping that this discussion will enrich. not just the 2 of us but several others. But your repeatedly supercilious barbs shows I was mistaken. Unfortunately, your pot is already full.

And why is it that you never answer a question to the point, but instead start sermonizing and dodging? I will repeat them again for your benefit.

1. What is the real technological innovation in this windmill you found worthy of a patent?
2. What is the Indian system of innovation?

Since you have challenged my competence, I dare you to concisely answer and defend these questions in an open forum of your choice, instead of hiding behind the privacy of an email. Don’t you think you should, for a change, give the world a chance to grade your answers?

And a double dare. Why not have a debate at IIMA?  Your turf, your audience, your convenience, you and me debating all aspects of innovation. You don’t even have to host me. I will be there. And before you question my eligibility, I am just 10th pass, uneducated and a grass root innovator and fall right into the category you do shodyatras to discover and promote. Well, here I am saving you all the trouble.
Spoiler Alert: But I am not illiterate, ignorant or inarticulate.


NOTE: READ THE COMMENTS. THAT IS WHERE THE ACTION IS

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.

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[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 tharoor.in 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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