What Can we learn from the West? A speech by Narayan Murthy

Picked up a book….A Better India…A Better world….by NR Narayan Murthy….it is a collection of his speeches he had given in different occasions…..This was a speech he gave at Lal Bahadur Shastri Memorial Lecture in New Delhi…just writing a quick synopsis…..for each point….we can debate both ways…but his perspective was quite interesting…you views on what you think of these points are welcome!

1)      Indians always put self and family interest before that of the community

It is easier to give bribe to a police officer in India than in western countries. People litter the street but keep their house clean

2)      We have an apathy in addressing community matters

We as individuals see a problem but don’t do anything about it..cause it is someone else’s problem…eg Milan Subway gets flooded evey year….but it is the politician’s problem to solve the issue….Westerners are more proactive in solving societal problems

3)      Indians have an intellectual arrogance

We boast and gloat over our past..and think we are a superior race

4)      There is an overall lack of accountability….

 In the west..whatever your position you are accountable for what you do..In India the more important you are, the less answerable you are …our politicians are a good example for this!

5)      There is no dignity of labor

We look down on people doing menial jobs…whereas unlike in the west even the most menial job is looked at as important

6)      Indians become intimate without becoming friendly:

Westerner can be friendly but yet not be intimate…..they will not ask you personal questions…..and yet be friendly… Ask for favors from strangers without hesitation

7)      Let personal relations interfere with professional dealings

Relations are given higher priority that merit in our country..

8)      We are the most thin skinned society in the world…get offended by nothing

We see insults where none are meant….

9)      Punctuality is not a virtue

Indian standard time…we all follow that don’t we…

10)   Independent thinking is normally not encouraged; Y

You are not suppose to think differently from your elders and bosses..This is by and large true…..things are changing slowly…

11)   Contractual agreements are often dishonored

Highest number for students default on their loan contracts…time contract for customer are not met…



Filed under Book Review

5 responses to “What Can we learn from the West? A speech by Narayan Murthy

  1. Manoj

    Though I liked some of the thoughts 7, 8, 9 🙂 and 10, but the overall tone is ‘negative’. I would not like to generalize things in this way…there is no hope shown which apparently is not the case.. More indians are becoming aware of social issues and their responsibilities..like the floods in Mumbai.

  2. adb

    I agree to most of NRNs views. But I think the missing point here is…pride. We don’t have it the way the goras do. Most of us are proud Indians but every other Indian would rather settle in a ‘phoren’ country than here…the reasons vary with ppl. The crème de la crème run away to developed countries to run their hospitals, plan their infrastructure and support their space programs. Who needs them more…. a developing country or a developed one?
    Although we have pseudo pride about everything that has the word ‘India’ we don’t have pride in our work, actions, heritage, thinking…..basically nothing. If we did then probably we wouldn’t be the way we are. Not many consider one’s work responsibility….it’s just a job = Loss of accountability / corruption. Pointing out something wrong in a job that a gora is responsible for is the biggest insult that you can inflict on him. This holds good in any level of their society.
    Our actions are more based on convenience than consideration for others or ourselves in the long run. Heritage is what attracts many goras to our country. How many of us have explored our own country? Pride..rather the absence of it is what makes Switzerland / Eifel Tower a favorite destination to us and not Manali / Taj. It’s the same thing that’s making many of us ape western culture. Funny to see Kurtis going west and Halter Tops coming east.

    A typical german dude waits at a red light before the STOP line even at a deserted junction not because he is dumb, but because he is conscious of the inconvenience he may cause by jumping the light and also because he knows that there will be a responsible police officer watching who will screw him if he does so; Both of them proud of the fact that their actions is what makes their children walk on any street carefree (w.r.t vehicles atleast). Neither of them gives it so much thought as I did. For them Red means STOP. That’s their heritage!

    I hope atleast our generation and beyond can make a positive difference!

    Wow! My comment turned out to be bigger than the blog 😛


  3. Shilpa

    🙂 @adb yeah the comment is longer than the post…but u know what…I like it!!
    @manoj…well I was in a negative mood when i wrote this post….maybe if my frame of mind was differnt…I would have given a positive twist to NRM speach!

  4. Hiren

    I have read that article and its very interesting and eye opener

  5. wonderful interprepation as welll as presentation. This really helped me teaching this speech to my Diploma Engineering Students. thanking from core of the heart…

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