Saturday, May 26, 2007

Inclusive growth and Corporate Social Responsibilities

This morning, while I was sitting at a bench in my bldg, lost in a thought. Just then an old lady from our bldg walked towards me and sat beside me. I warmly greeted her and began enquiring about her health. She said that she was fine, but her kids are worrying her more than her health.

To give a brief background about her family, she is a Gujarati lady from Surat settled in Mumbai after getting married. Her husband expired some 20 years back. He worked as a sales man. He always struggled and managed to meet his family needs. When he died, her eldest son, Manish, was 14 years old and Bhavin, the youngest one was 10. Manish had just completed his SSC and was planning to persue HSC in commerce. Due to the catastrophe in his family, he choose to abondon his plan for further studies and start to work so that he can help his mother run the family. They did have their cousin's help for sometime, but then how long would they survive on that. He and his mother worked hard and helped Bhavin to complete his engineering. After completing his engg, Bhavin got a cool job in an infotech firm. He worked there for a couple of years and got married. Bhavin was a hard working fellow and due to his work, the company had sent him for an overseas assignment. He stayed in US for 2 years and is now back in town. While Bhavin had a good career growth all along, his brother still suffered. He got married before Bhavin went to the US. Manish was just an SSC passout. He remained a small time salesman like his father and would manage to gather some more money through his side business as an insurance agent. Though they were not enough to live a luxery life, but it was reasonably good enough to run a family of 3 comfortably.

Aunty continued telling me, when Bhavin came back from the US, all we wanted him is to get married. Even Bhavin wanted the same. He readily agreed. He is now buying a new house, a big one, a 3BHK. Aunty was happy as she would get a chance to leave the chawl and move on to a bigger house where Manish and Bhavin would stay together with their own wife and kids. That was what Aunty had wished all along. But her happiness was short lived. When Bhavin told them that he would want him to stay in that house alone with his wife and kids. He said that he has bought the house with his money. He wont be getting anything in inheritance from his parent. Whatever he is now is earned by him.

Aunty was very upset with all these. Manish abondoned his further studies so that Bhavin could move ahead in life and would earn for them. Aunty and Manish did everything for Bhavin so that in future Bhavin would look after aunty atleast. But it didn't turn out that way.

I was hearing what aunty and was really upset over Bhavins attitude. She advised me not to do this to my mother and my father. Our talk broke when Manish wife came out and aunty went to the market along with her.

I climbed the stairs of my building to get back home. I was really shocked and really surprised with Bhavins behaviour. How could a well educated graduate could do this to his own family. It was terrible. Aunties problem had occupied my head till I reached home and sat down to read the newspaper.

The headline of the newspaper talked about our PM Manmohan Singh appeal to the corporate world to now work towards 'inclusive growth'. The Corporate world should now work with the government to help the poor and the under previleged. The haves must now help and work for the have-nots. Initially there were opposition from the Corporate world. A thought crossed my mind. Isn't this similar to aunties problem. Here the govt had implemented policies for the Indian industry to grow rapidly and expand globally. The economies are growing and flourishing like never before. The urban India is growing. But the backward class are not benefitting it by anyway. The poor, old and the under previleged are being ignored in this growth race. All what the govt had asked was to help them for a common cause. The time has come now to include the have-nots in the growth and expansion. You just cannot ignore them in the race. After all we are Indians representing India globally. This should be treated as a part of Corporate Social Responsibility. Something which the young and dynamic Indian industry should incorporate in itself.

Lets face it, we have dependended on the govt for the last 60 years for the growth of the backward class. The effort were not that fruitful. The industry were on the growth pattern in the last decade. It would be good that the corporate bodies would also chip in and help the govt in this cause. Imagine, what would be the state of Manish and Aunty 10 years down the line. What was their fault, just that Manish and aunty helped Bhavin to grow and prosper. Is this they way how they should be treated? Is this the way the under developed should be treated?

As an individual, we cannot make a big impact when it comes to Corporate Social Responsibility. Believe me, we do not own the TATAs, Birlas, Mahindras and the Ambanis. We can hardly make a difference. But since this huge growth has benefitted us with big pay packet, we can donate some amount to any of the reputed charitable organizations working for a genuine cost that we would like to support. What we earn will remain on this earth. Why dont we just keep the amount that we need and donate the rest to the people, maybe 2% - 5% of our annual salary. Instead of donating, sponsor a child for his school or college education. Does that take too much of your time?

Instead of giving economic benefits to companies building or occupying SEZs, why dont the govt provide benfits to the organizations promoting CSRs? This would surely attract Industry's attention on this.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Tribute to Koushambi Layek

It was a hard day at Job Hunting. I was really tired after a walk in at an MNC. Before going back home, I took some time out to have a cup of tea at a nearest restaurant. While I was going through the papers, I was reading the article on Koushambi Layek's murder. It apparently described the incident as to what happened at the murder night.

While I was reading through, I saw two fat middle aged ladies dressed in Saree walked into the restaurant. They looked to me like a gossip mongers exactly as we see in the movies. They took the table beside me. One of them saw me reading the article and then began their gossip mill as soon as they sat down. My cup of tea was served. I closed the newspaper and started sipping the tea. I could help stop over hearing the two ladies talk. Their talk did not sympathizes Koushambi at all. They began talking of her character. That pissed me off. Dunno why, but I felt like telling them... "Ladies, Mind your own business. Wonder how clean your children are? It was her own life. She was the best judge as to what she want to do. It was her personal life." I pitied Koushambi. She was apparently cheated and killed by her lover.

I stopped hearing their gossip and began thinking what went really wrong. None of the two were celebrities, nor they were kids to any influential parents. Why did it get to the papers at the first place. Nobody would want the world know that something bad has happened to their lives. I really didn't know. I began cursing the press and the media for making her private life open to all. But then, could it be a blessing in disguise? Since it is open to all, this case would be thoroughly investigated into. Hope this case don't get lost like the others.

After giving it a thought, all I can hope and pray is that justice is served to Koushambi. Hope this case is thoroughly investigated into. God give her family and friends the strength and courage to bear this loss. May her soul rest in peace.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Karmic rewards

In a typical Indian mentality, we look upon people on the basis of religion/caste etc first. Parents would prefer to marry off their kids to a person of the same caste, People would love to have neighbours of their similar culture. People prefer hanging out with Rich friends etc. But I am confused over one thing. What is supreme... Caste, Creed, Religion or Money??? Why do people prefer these instead of looking at the individual.

My personal belief is that a persons KARMA is more important that his DHARMA.

What would you prefer -

  • To marry off your daughter who is a dunkard, jobless youth of your caste OR to her love who is kind hearted, respected youth, who would keep her happy for the rest of her life.
  • Doing business with a spend thrift man who has inherited wealth from his hard working father OR a hard working struggling individual who believe in giving quality work.

It sux to hear when people take decisions without looking at the individuals ability.