Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Narayana Murthy as Prez would be a shame

This is excertps
from the Blog of D.P.Satish from IBNLIVE:COM

I write this at my own risk. I know I invite the ire of Indian IT professionals by talking this way about their patron saint.

Kannadiga software pros, their parents, and other Infosys worshippers will call me an insane journalist. Naive Kannada enthusiasts will say I am anti-Kannada or traitor. Shouldn't I be proud that a son of the Kannada soil is getting a waitlisted ticket to Rashtrapati Bhawan?

Let me be blunt. N R Narayana Murthy will make a poor President.
Outlook special issues editor and an obsessed Mysore Kannadiga Krishnaprasad has posted a shocking report about our potential President on his popular blog site www.churumuri.wordpress.com .

It talks about an incident that happened in Mysore last week, just before our President APJ Abdul Kalam exclaimed that Narayana Murthy would be "fantastic" as the next President of India.

It is a pity that only two much respected and unbiased news papers in Karnataka ' Deccan Herald ' and ' Prajavani ' dared to report the same incident.

" As the mascot of the new, emerging, rising, shining, strident, resurgent, pumped-up India id est Bharat, Infosys founder N.R. Narayana Murthy wears the tricolour on his cuff links. So, you would think that his hairs would stand on end hearing the National Anthem being sung on his campuses.

Well, think again.

The President (the real one) was in Mysore on Sunday. But what greeted A.P.J. Abdul Kalam was not the mellifluous rendition of Rabindranath Tagore's poem by human beings, but-in the grand tradition of call centres that India's IT "revolution" somewhat exemplifies-a prerecorded electronic version that sounded more like a cheap non-polyphonic cellphone ringtone.

Reason? Hear it from the host of the show NRN Murthy.

"Indeed we had arranged for five people to sing the anthem. But then we cancelled it as we have foreigners on-board here. They should not be embarrassed while we sing the anthem."

Yes, you read that right. He thinks that foreigners should not be embarrassed while we sing our national anthem. We want him to be the next President.

Infosys said last year it had some 1,800 foreigners on its rolls. But there are no precise figures on how many foreigners were at the Infosys Leadership Institute aka the Mysore campus, which is designed to seat 6,400 students , yesterday.

But it is on record that it had offered jobs to 126 students from 82 foreign universities last year.

Even if that figure of foreigners is ten times greater, does it mean Mr Murthy's company is willing to slavishly mute his nation's anthem for their sake?

If that is OK, why is it difficult for Infosys' iPod wearing foreigners to listen to a 52-second, five-stanza number? Or for their faculty to make them listen to it?

But, above all, coming to a foreign country, to a foreign city, to a foreign company is all about learning, appreciating, assimilating, understanding, and respecting that country's, that city's, that company's culture.

If Infosys' foreigners-all 126 of or whatever multiples of them-are not doing that, then they have missed a vital ingredient of their education and even more vital ingredient of their excursion.

Narayana Murthy is being spoken of the "fantastic" next President. Hopefully, the first Kannadiga to be Rashtrapati will not have similar views of the rashtra geethe being sung in the presence of foreigners."

Every one in the country knows Narayana Murthy's views on reservation. He has always been opposing quota and saying merit alone should be the criterion for education and jobs. It shows his ignorance of India's caste struggle and its background.

Nagavara Ramarao Narayana Murthy, son of a school teacher, went to a government school as his father had no money to send him to a private school.
He now forgets that government-funded schools, "cowsheds", as he calls them, have made him what he is today.

And do you think our politicians will vote him to Rashtrapati Bhawan?
His views on Indian languages lack self-respect and pride.
He believes people without a knowledge of English have no future in India. Will leaders like Mulayam, Lalu, Paswan, Karunanidhi, Deve Gowda, and Bal Thackeray ever support him in their wildest dreams?

NRN may not be a greedy businessman with his eye only on profits. He may be good at heart. But his corporate philosopy allows no space for healthy cultural pride. Corporate success is his mantra, and he is blind to everything else around him.
Narayana Murthy often sees cultural questions as parochial concerns. To have such a sell-out manager as President would be a shame to those of us who pride ourselves on our cultural identities.

Narayana Murthy is a hero to decultured middle class Indians who have made money because of economic liberalisation. He is a "beacon of hope" to armchair journalists. But for the majority Indians, he has now become a symbol of middle class nonsense and upper class arrogance.

Since he is being suggested as a successor to President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, I think it's time to debate whether corporate leaders are fit to lead in public life. Can they do us good, or does their blinkered view of the world make them dangerous?
Would we be better off if we barred people with corporate interests from holding public office?

As a Kannadiga and an Indian, I respect what he has achieved in just 20 years. But at the same time, he is just another businessman who created an empire. Infosys is in no way different from the other money-focused corporations of the world.
Let s be honest. Let's admit the truth and put a full stop to this Narayana smarane (Bhajan)!

But then, if you were more cynical, you'd say the President is just a figurehead. What do we care if it is Narayana Murthy or Narayanbhai Rathwa?