Occasionally, I’d love to cover some rags-to-riches stories of people who’d inspire us (like Elon Musk) & instill a faith in our instinct to enterprise. But this one is different. And frankly speaking, not so in a positive way.
Recently I finished reading ‘Code Name God’ written by Dr. Mani Bhaumik – the man behind Lasik Eye Correction Technique and numerous other laser based technologies – and found an interesting reference to the early Independent India. Even at that time, the great American dream was as valid (read imperative) as it is today for the young technocrats vying to theorize or monetize a concept.
Dr. Bhaumik writes about America as flourishing because “there even the most lofty ambition was encouraged if backed up by a will to work hard, whereas in India ambition was often seen as overreaching pride.”
For the unaware wannabes, Dr. Bhaumik moved to US in the year 1959 to pursue his research at UCLA upon completing his PhD in Physics from IIT, Kharagpur (and that makes him the first PhD of all IITs too).
So how far have we come since independence in changing the social substructure of our society? In numbers, how many Mani Bhaumiks have happened from India since 1960, particularly those who did PhD here and decided to stay back to try their luck with the same vigor and flame? And now even after sixty years of existence, do we really have the infrastructure or a social fabric that supports forward thinking?
Here are the choices that an Indian youth has today:
1. More than 18000 H1B visas (keys to America) are yet to be utilized, so if you still believe in flying abroad and living the dream. Just go ahead.
2. Stay back in India as the economic growth parameters are truly positive here.
3. Close your eyes and choose not to seeing the nightmare of truly ‘no choices’ at all.
So what does one do, when the Great American dream has withered away completely and the Great Indian dream fails to take off another sixty years?
Well I truly am still searching for the answer as our Prime Minister takes on opposition through another buzzword called austerity.
Do you sometimes face a similar question (and like many of us, sit on it for the curiosity to pass)?