A rather precious public policy lesson for policymakers from top to bottom…

Good friend Anantha Nageshwaran sent this wonderful quote.

It is by Dr. M Vidyasagar, ex-DRDO/TCS and presently teaching in US (how to retain such people to teach here). He seems to have said:

One can get a great many things done, or one can strive to look like the smartest person in the room — and the two goals are pretty much mutually exclusive.”

This fits the status of India’s political and particularly economic policymakers really well. We have clearly moved from times when people took a backseat and let teams/institutions/companies develop. It was all about personal sacrifice and getting things done. Likes of Sardar Patel gave up many leadership positions just to let things develop. This was true for so many others as well.

Not any more. It is all about personal accolades, awards and trying to prove one as the smartest person in the room. The whole idea is to to see how the global media etc perceives the person and not the institution. The institutions have become personal fiefdoms of sorts. We make a big deal about some economic reform/policy which most of the time has been picked from some other country (read west) and has failed. But just because it comes from the smart person  using the bully pulpit, no questions are asked..


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