Changing chalta hai
Indian Administrative Services can lead the charge. If it reinvents itself, its effects will ripple through the system, galvanise change.
Written by Gulzar Natarajan , Duvvuri Subbarao | Updated: December 30, 2017 12:29 pm
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the nation on Independence Day. Modi had said that there was a ‘chalta hai’ culture in the nation. (Express Photo/Tashi Tobgyal)
In his Independence Day address last August, the prime minister decried the “chalta hai” culture in the nation and called upon the people, especially the youth, to embrace a “badal sakta hai” attitude. The prime minister hit not just the right button, but exactly the right button. Yet, in a nation inured to platitudes from leaders, this one too might get lost in the flood. That will be a pity. If acted upon, the prime minister’s message has the potential to profoundly change the quality of everyday life of Indians.
So, what is the “chalta hai” attitude? We all know it; after all, we experience it all the time as we go about our everyday lives. Yet it is difficult to define it. Perhaps a phrase will better capture its essence: “It’s okay. Don’t sweat. This is India. We are like that only.” It is a mindset that not only accepts but internalises tardiness, lack of a work ethic, ineptitude, indifference, inefficiency, indiscipline and even corruption and crime. Some societies, notably the Japanese, are zero tolerance; we are the exact opposite.
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