We have all heard about the 4Ps of marketing, the 7S of strategy, or the 4 Cs of strategic analysis, but what are the 5 Cs of India ? This is a thought that came to my mind as I spoke to a Chinese colleague recently, describing India to her, “what defines India?”
5 things stand out about this country to me, these are elements that make us different from others, keep countless languages and regions together, bind various religious belief…….
Contradiction : if somebody occupies my family land in the village, it can take 20 years to win the case in court. Yet, I got a verdict for compensation against a builder in a rera court in Mumbai in 1 hearing of 30 mins. As a successful professional, if I want to start a business, I have a choice of funding options – banks, angel investors, VCs. But if I am young and passionate, and don’t have a family to fund me, fund raising can be a nightmare, unless you have a digital idea ! We have the most vibrant democracy in the world….even our voter turnout is good, and yet we put more criminals into parliament than any other country.
Contrast : as the plane lands in Mumbai, looking out of the window, one sees slums all over, and fancy 5 star hotels and high rise apartments co-existing. In a drive to a village in India, modern cars compete for space on the road with bullock carts. Drinking water still comes from a handpump, but cricket is seen on a mobile phone. The weather report will talk of a draught and floods in the same breadth. Of cold winds and heat waves. The contrast in wealth, in the weather, in infrastructure, in the haves and the have nots, …..everything can be of such extreme, and yet co-exist, for the most part, peacefully.
Constant : in some ways, India never seems to change. The traffic remains a mess in every city. Petty corruption remains rampant. Issues regarding gender discrimination, petty politics at election time, reservations, demands to sack the cricket team coach when we lose one series continue to hog the headlines. These are the pet peeves of this nation which we can’t give up.
Change : the country is changing, is evolving. School syllabi are moving from CBSE to the IB, landlines have given way to mobile phones, the dhoti kurta is less common than jean’s and t-shirts even amongst village youth. Mud houses gave way to brick houses and now they are made of concrete. Roti has given way to “double roti” as our staple breakfast. Even the masala dosa has become schezuan dosa ! Everything around is changing, at a rapid pace. And change is impacting all spheres of life, across income groups, across geographies. If you wake up after a slumber, India looks, feels, smells, sounds different.
Chaos : one only has to stand at a Mumbai local railway station platform for 10 mins to understand what entropy really is. If one wants to see Brownian motion, this is it. The scene is no different in the fish market at Dadar, or the streets of Garia, or the anaj mandi in Chandni chowk. The din is deafening. Everyone seems to be talking to everyone, all at the same time. People are moving in all directions. Yet, despite this chaos, despite this seeming madness, work gets done. People get to work, trading happens, business continues, the economy grows. The Indian’s ability to suffer, even thrive in this chaos is amazing.
The beauty of India is our ability to live with all these 5 Cs, together at play. We are a nation that is on the move, is not in doubt. But does the contradiction and contrasts in society slow us down? Or create tensions for the future ? Is our ability to change, our adaptability a key strength ? Is it the cause of our resilience ? But then our rigid dogmas create shackles. The economy, societal norms, our policies, …. everything moves in a zig-zag manner, and yet seems to move forward. Is this because we thrive on chaos? Or because we thrive on chaos, we move forward in a zig-zag manner ?
I don’t have the answers. And nor does India, for all the questions we ask about her. But, it is a country moving forward. It is a country on the go. With its shackles or due to its limitations, it survives and thrives.