Monday, October 10, 2005

Are Indians unnecessarily more tolerant?

“We Indians are a tolerant lot and we can live and adjust anywhere – right from single room flats to places in downtown Manhattan, from roadside tea-shops to CCDs”. How many times have you heard this?

My earlier reaction to these statements was more of approval and pride for being able to ‘adjust’. But of late, I’m thinking that such a tolerance has lowered our expectations and we stop dreaming big, just because we are satisfied with what we are, particularly when it comes to the ambience we live in.

Thanks to Jam, I was reading a book called ‘The Purple cow’ by Seth Godin.

It starts with an interesting story line. Godin was traveling across the French countryside and was initially fascinated by cows on the field. But the fascination went down after seeing a string of similar looking cows. His argument is that a purple cow in the middle would’ve been much more visible because of the difference. He implies that companies have to new expectations and stand out.

It’s very similar as far as our expectations are concerned. How many times have we accepted a lower or moderate quality service as our ‘Indian’ way of life and tolerated it and moved on without being assertive? Following are common examples.

  • Losing out 30 paisa on petrol

  • Standing in the queue for hours together without complaining to the counter people. This happened in an Indore railway booking center where I was made to stand for 2 hours in a queue. No one else seemed to care. Everyone accepted it as a way of life. One person complaining about the need for more counters might not make a difference, but all the 100 people complaining day in and day out might make the difference between more counters and perpetually standing in queue for hours.

  • I’ve read a lot about the inability of Indians to say ‘no’ and doing a patchy job in the end. Why do we assume doing a patchy ‘lesser quality’ job is okay when the other option is to be assertive and do a better quality job?

I’m not suggesting solutions for all this, and I might even be miserably wrong in some of my examples. But it was just a random thought I had that we Indians think tolerance is good and hence settle for a lesser quality service. Maybe the quality of service improve manifold if we start being more assertive and demand what we really deserve?


At Monday, October 10, 2005 6:37:00 PM, Blogger Allagappan M said...

The link corresponding to "My College" is leading to "Sex Colleges", consider checking it!

At Monday, October 10, 2005 6:43:00 PM, Blogger Govar said...

I noticied it sometime back. My engg college website is gone! :( Will remove the link...

At Monday, October 10, 2005 8:09:00 PM, Blogger Jam said...

Hey Govar,

First of all ROFLMAO regarding your engg college site link.

On a more serious note, just stop and think about how we Indians can be more assertive. Although I respect your viewpoint that maybe if a 100 people stand up and start asserting themselves, maybe changes will happen. But seriously, do you think a 100 people actually care. Even if they do, are they all in the same place.

Example in point would be JANAAGRAHA, a citizens initiative in Bangalore to make local govt bodies more responsible and accountable for their actions. Worked for a while, but then I guess looking at the mess that Bangalore is today, I dunno if they have actually succeeded at all.

Food for thought.........Jam

PS: This doesn t mean that I m gonna be taking all the bullshit dished out to me lying down. I ll obviously try and make some difference. Ramkumar at least taught us that much, didn t he?


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