Article (April-2018)


Fast Forward Toward Civilizational Greatness: Agenda For India

Pradip Khandwalla

Designation : -   Former Professor and Director, IIMA

Organization : -  Ahmedabad, India


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When we waken, we are bombarded by negative news – of terrorism, bombing of civilians, murder and rape, scam, discord, corruption, incompetence. But is this really the world we inhabit? Isn’t there also a world of goodness, constructive creativity and benign achievement that is waiting to be noticed and reported? This book tries to probe the civilizational mess we seem to be in, reveal the good world and most important, propose what can be done to reverse the malignancy and restore health.
The book argues that advance towards civilizational greatness is possible for all nations. That is to say, any nation, given certain choices, can become progressively more humane, creative, and achievement excellence oriented. Examples of how several nations have advanced on the road to civilizational excellence have been provided. The book looks at insights and innovations concerning child-rearing practices, schooling, and education in colleges and institutes of higher learning to advocate what needs to be done to lay a solid ground work for civilizational advance. It explains how movers and shakers with a social conscience - social entrepreneurs - can be groomed and how they can turn into social leaders with beneficent society - wide impact. It describes the excellent work done by a number of civil society institutions and the lessons their working hold for much more widespread excellence in civil society.
It argues what research indicates persistently – that business enterprises that blend their greed for profits with social concern and find innovative ways of doing this win in the market place. The book proposes a model of excellent business civilization. Governance, or rather mal governance is the bane of many nations, especially developing countries. And yet in these developing countries there are several examples of sterling performance by mission - charged government bodies. The reasons why they succeed suggests that what has come to be called ‘agencification’ and ‘New Public Management’ - professional, dedicated, accountable management of government bodies - is the way forward for excellence in governance. It has been adapted by over 50 developing and developed countries with good results. The book highlights several design flaws of democracies and suggests several remedial measures that would make democracies vibrant and effective in developing countries.
Finally, the book looks specifically at India, how it modernised, its successes and failures as a nation, and what can be done to speed up its evolution as a great modern civilization. It specially advocates partnering between government, civil society, and business to spread rapidly humaneness, constructive creativity, and performance excellence. It also proposes the design of an ambitious program of grooming a million change agents a year for this same purpose.