How funny, one wonders!

N.R.Narayana Murthy is a great corporate icon! He is much admired and almost held in high esteem, not only by his peers but in the rest of the society. So, he has accumulated lot of fame and also carries the burden of living up to his own earning of this vast goodwill and the sort of moral authority.

That is why we find whenever he commits any small misstep or too-smart-type employment of language, one or many of his admirers feel a bit taken aback or even embarrassed!

In a recent article in the business  weekly, Business Today(August 9,2009),there is a guest column and in which he has written about his long time colleague ,Nandan Nilekani who has just taken over as the Government of India’s unique identification project. Nothing wrong in paying tribute to a deservedly very highly rated colleague like Nandan Nilekani.

But then, the style of language employed or deployed by Murthy, while not in any way less than beautiful, the trouble is, it is more than beautiful. It verges on the PR hype in a less than mature manner.

Here is one sentence:”That was the day I realised that Nandan was destined for nobler stuff in life than just the next Maybach car or the next Beaujolais wine”. No harm if we take it that way it was meant to be.

An effusive tribute we all pay to our close friends and admirers and we take it this way only here. The serious point we want to make here is this:
Leaders and  achievers like Murthy who wears his adherence to values and morality on his sleeves, have to take up more serious subjects on which the society and the people, not only his peers and others in the corporate world and even in public life would like to hear from such an achiever and articulator.
For example, why the US economic and financial had come about in the way it did?

What short-term and long-term implications the crisis, the global meltdown, the recession, the depression and what other aspects you like to look at, when such a crisis is likely to ease…

Such topical questions and issues, if taken up by such corporate leaders like Murthy, such views would command much more attention even in such a context like paying tribute to a fellow achiever like Nandan Nilekani. Why we say this?

Men like Murthy must now come into the open, in the public domain. He can be called upon by the Government of India and we have said so on more than one occasion that Murthy like persons must be called upon by the government to assume bigger responsibilities.

In fact, we like to take some credit for Nandan being called upon by the government. In the last few months we have in fact said so!

The point is that India has a long way to go. There is still an unacceptable level of poverty in our midst. No week passes without an article or other detailing the sort of malnutrition of children, this time in Maharashtra’s Amravati district, last time, it was in the four districts of MP…

Murthy can come out with so many innovative solutions to so many issues. The e-governance project itself is a big area for many innovations. Democracy, freedoms, individual rights and freedoms, human rights, women rights…

Even today to visit a government office is to enter a sort of hell!

So, we have to devote our time and energies to help the last man, unto the last is still the greatest message and the challenge. Let us hope our leaders, corporate leaders shape up into real leaders of the society outside the corporate cosy environments.

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