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 #  Help Wanted.  A vacancy for good men. 1000 ethicals needed for India    

 

  # This appeal is today in circulation on all the virtual notice boards of the world.  

 

#  No authority in India is actually asking for these ethicals. This appeal is a muffled, wordless  cry from the hundreds of millions of suffering Indians. The misery  afflicts not only India but is  everywhere, in other countries too. Out of Pandora's box have flown war, pestilence, famine and death, casting their malign shadow over human aspirations;   lone and desolate sits hope. The  poor suffer today, and  a foreboding of danger threatens the prosperous too. We now  stand  'on a darkling plain, swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight, where ignorant armies clash by night'. The world is thirsting for ethical leaders. There is too much greed and too little moral courage among the elite. What I write here is a call to the powerful to turn ethical and reach out and pull to safety the innocents being swept away.      

 

# It is the worst of times, a mood of black  despair. It is also the best of times as there is an open door out of this darkness and into the bright world outside.  That riderless horse called Opportunity waits  impatiently  for us.

# The forces of control and manipulation have cast a darkening shadow over man's inborn optimism and high spirits. Most Indians believe that higher authorities wielding power know better than them what is to be done. This is false. It  has paralysed autonomous action in one's own area of control and effectiveness. This control must be grabbed back by field agents.

# I must now  tell my story. Otherwise,  'in the importance and noise of tomorrow', it would remain untold. 

# Most writers on ethical management today are academicians, professors or management mavens. None of them have been  CEOs  claiming  to have applied ethics, with all its hazards, to their successful careers. I, unlike all of them,  was a CEO, successful in corporate turnarounds, now writing about ethics. And  again I was unlike the normal CEOs in two crucial ways. First I made a lot of money for the companies I revived and none for myself. Second, unlike the  CEOs, I faced deadly opposition from the company owners. The ethical management described here is the purest and most powerful in the world. It is closest to that absolute morality upon  which "the gods themselves throw incense".     

# The pride I display is not of wealth, power or career success. It grows from the knowledge of having added greatly to the common wealth while facing  opposition from the powerful and indifference from the watching public. This allergy to ethical successes is the never admitted malaise that damns India  to being  second rate even with its talented and suffering  people.     

 

 

#  Functioning as CEO, I revived the Sardar Sarovar Project, one of the world's biggest hydro-electric enterprises; I revived the Gujarat Alkalies, India's biggest caustic soda producer and among the biggest in half a dozen other chemicals;a I revived the GSFC, a large fertilizer and chemicals producer; and  implemented the drip irrigation program in Gujarat speedily  through the GGRC, an SPV set up for this purpose by me; . I turned around the KMML and TTP in Kerala, two of the state's  oldest and biggest PSUs and India's biggest producers of titanium dioxide, using the mineral beach sand found there; .  I brought about substantial improvements in GNFC, a company similar to GSFC and in  Narmada Chematur, a mid size chemical company  now merged with GNFC. Gharda Chemicals, a mid size private pesticide company and the  Gujarat Housing Board were revitalized by me.  I was instrumental in setting  up India's first titanium metal plant in KMML. It was my efforts that established commercial prawn farming in coastal South Gujarat.  And many other breakthroughs. I took over all these organizations when they were in stress and no other officer wished to come near  them. That is how I came to be known as  The Turnaround Man of Gujarat. I was the first person and the only one to whom  to whom this phrase was accurately  applied. 

# The nine corporate turnarounds I achieved were without any retrenchment or salary cut, cash inflow of any kind including new loans, asset sales  or plant closures. These should have attracted intense professional interest in India and abroad. Nothing of the sort happened. There has been genuine admiration, including  from my  employees, but it has been expressed in a low voice, as if afraid of the  recoil.

# Today the most prominent voices are of  those who point out the misdeeds of the previous and present  government - Vinod Rai, Khemka etc. None of them have ever revived a big government organization, definitley not a commercial body. I do not point out the wrongdoings of the powerful. Instead I hold up, one by one for the world  to see, the big commercial corporations which I revived. What about corruption? It was  driven away, as a biproduct of the organizational  revival.

# The ills plaguing our country cannot be cleansed by directly attacking them which is what most are advocating. They will vanish automatically with an ethical leadership in an organization. I proved it beyond a shadow of doubt. In spite of this, or perhaps because of it, people are turning their gaze away from my example. In a nutshell this is cause of our continuing failures. They  do not look at ethics because it sets the bar too high for their liking. Looking at me they see the difference, they diminish in their own eyes  and their self worth comes down. That is the reason.      

 

 

# The Financial Times of London recently  published a ranking of CEOs in UK for the  value they deliver to share holders. The increase in share value of the company during the CEO's tenure divided by his total compensation is the measure by which CEOs are ranked. For the biggest 100 companies, the average ratio was 339, for the biggest 250 companies it was lower at 120. The highest score for a CEO was 3631; that is for one pound paid to him he created 3631 pounds of additional value for share holders.With the share price increase of Rs. 200  during my   time in GSFC, the share value of the company increased by Rs 1600cr. for its 8cr. shares.  My  total salary for the 3 and half years in GSFC was Rs 16 lacs. My  score would be 10000 which is  higher than the  best in the FT rankings. With the EPS going up from minus Rs 48 to + Rs 37, a swing of Rs 85 which  taking it over 8cr shares, comes to an annual postive swing of Rs 680cr which would translate into the net present  value of the company going up by Rs 5000cr. and the ratio  for me  would go beyond 25000!  For those For those three and half years, I was probably  the word's most cost effective CEO;  taking little, creating a lot. Today's billionaires, corporate wizards and management gurus,  having  gained fame and fortune for far lower ratios,  would find it difficult to accept these figures. They would prefer to ignore it in the time honored Indian fashion so that they can justify  their money making exertions. My success suggests they are all over paid. 

# In each of my company turnarounds we overtook the most prestigious private sector company towards the end. In GSFC, from a paralysed shattered condition, we overtook Tata Chemicals by the end of the third year in  every measure of financial performance. Similar was the position in my other turnarounds. Yet these were viewed stony eyed , like  a reproach, particularly by the owners. 

 

# Gujarat is one of the well springs of traditional and modern Indian business culture. Yet no businessman of Gujarat has dared to do what I did - ethically revive big commercial organizations for the public interest, taking a steady  and modest salary, without the prospects of growing rich with the commercial success of the organization, and  knowing that such succcesses would create powerful opposition  to him personally  and that the direct beneficiaries of his success would abandon him when he came under attack. The true  beneficiaries of my successes were  the people of India.  I call upon them to read what is written here and know that ethics is the key which will open the door to India's golden age, an age  which waits to be born, and awaits its ethical midwives.. 

 

# In all my asignments as CEO or Head of Department, I also functioned as the de facto CVC, CAG, CBI and Right to Information activist within the organization. Today there is an impassioned talk of a life and death fight against corruption. The organizations I handled were the most cash rich in Gujarat and  Kerala. I tackled corruption and, frankly,  it was not much of a fight. The corrupt are stupid and apt to scare easily. It was no contest. Corruption headed for the exits and caught the first bus out of town the day I joined. The present national upsurge against corruption leaves me a little uneasy. It pretends that senior officers like me can do little to fight corruption in their organizations with the existing laws. This is false. May I remind such persons that there is already a law against corruption which  is a criminal offence. It is in effect, theft of the organization's resources. Is the CEO supposed to watch this while twidddling his thumbs, merely because he wants to avoid unpleasantness which may align some powerful persons against him?  Raging against corruption in general provides a vicarious satisfaction but we are hitting out at a straw man. The real failure in India society which contains within itself all other failures is the intolerance towards the ethical  action in the public field.

Corruption is nothing. As a CEO and Department Head,  I could remove it as easily as swatting a slow moving fly.

 

# Some among the leading business figures of Gujarat, a state which is the nursery of Indian business culture, privately accepted that I had set new benchmarks of business excellence in the serial revivals of  its admired and famous  PSUs. Most of them admitted they could not have done what I did. With the low rewards and high hostility, they would not  have even tried.  By a cost benefit measure, I was perhaps  the  finest wealth creator in Gujarat history.

# Finest, because it was unselfish, selfless, corruption cleansing, truth affirming, morale enhancing wealth, earned with modest wages, swimming against a current of opposition; the purest, 24 carat riches distributed among the commons. It overthrew the existing models of wealth creation based on fear and greed. It struck a chill in the minds of the venal and reproached the merely honest, the merely intelligent and the merely cautious.   

# In the US such a record would have made me a folk hero, a sort of common man's Warren Buffet, one who made wealth for others and not for himself. 

# My successes in corporate revivals were  comparable in scale and quality  to what the best have done in any field.  Yet the stadium remained silent for me as  I scored century after century, won match after match.

# Each of my organizational succeses economically benefited thousands of working families and investors.  

# Ethics works, ethics works , ethics works. But it works for public interest, for the wealth of the commons, it works for the legitimate stakeholders. It does not work for private vested interests, special cases or "khas kissa". The ethical does not allow the owner, whether he is the private promoter or the government, to take out money. That is why the ethical is blackballed.

# The ethical does better business than the established business hotshots and management stars. He tells them - My EBIDTA is bigger than yours. Sorry, just joking! 

# There is something infinitely better than how things are being done. today  A corporate state, no matter how efficient, is not what the India genius seeks. Such a state will become a cover for the strong to dominate the weak in the name of efficiency. A corporate state will never satisfy the  deeper hungers of Indian civilizational aspirations.

## None of the Indian top businessmen/corporate leaders/ masters of the universe have ever stooped down to nurse a sick PSU  to  health; Modern Bread has closed down, HUL, the most reputed among Indian private sector, could not revive it but  I could have done it; many other iconic names, PSUs which once employed thousands, perished and are not even remembered; so many proud working class families dispersed to the slums. For their undisputed achievements the market has amply rewarded these businessmen monetarily. Society does not owe them anything further. But he who revives sick PSUs, 9 of them serially as I did, exhibits an ethical striving  that cannot be rewarded by the market; he is owed an unpayable debt by the entire society, a debt which should forever be acknowledged..

# What I did  should become  a beacon to the future. Because what I did can be repeated all over the country,  hundreds and thousands of times , by persons  who possess the modest cerebral abilities that I had.

 # Those who doubt this score could ask a cross section of the employees of these organizations, particularly the more junior ones, about it. Some would criticise me for my ego,  impatience etc ( being described in these terms is the risk an ethical should be prepared to take)  but all would accept that not only was the organization improved in its business parameters but also that his improvement was ethics led and without any government or outside help. 

# In general, those who do not know  me personally but only know of me will be generous in their praise. Those who were in any way my peer group at any time will be the most reluctant or else damn me with faint praise. My successes point a finger of reproach at them as they were in a similar position to mine yet chose not to chance hazard.   

# It is  more difficult to bring one sick PSU back to health, particularly when  it is done without financial assistance, retrenching a single worker or closing a plant, than to give hundreds of land allotments, industry permissions and pollution  and forest clearances sitting in the government. A great many such bubble reputations have been created. It is easy if the normal democratic voices have been suppressed or bought over. The ethical revives his company competing in the open market, with transparency,  without harming anyone, without burdening the exchequer, without enriching himself or his friends, with the principled  support of all legitimate stakeholders and against the hostility of the powerful. No government assistance here, no match fixing here.

 

# None of India's leaders understand what the country really thirsts for. The people  wish to see practical ethics being demonstrated in the running of our  institutions. The people will then see that ethics and real life success are two names for the same thing.

 # Many will find it difficult to  believe that one person, without the   prospect of  serious money or  glittering prizes, could have wrought the  organizational revivals of so many commercial/ economic organizations over a full sprinting, heart pounding  twenty years.   

# The organizational morale brightened even at the knowledge of my impending arrival. The influence peddlers and  the  corruption agents, pale with fear, fled through the rear  gate.  

# An Indian revival can happen only through the revival of its institutions and economic organizations, in fact the two are identical, a country's revival means the revival of its key institutions/ organizations. These revivals will come about only by the efforts of the organization head, in other words if they act ethically and independently; they can never come from a centralized planning body target setting or policy guidelines of the bureaucracy. Such an ethical will invariably face the opposition of the politicians and other power brokers. What defines an ethical will be fully explained later. The struggle for the Indian revival will be the struggle between the ethical heads of its key organizations/ institutions and the country's politicians. If the organization head is sufficiently ethical, he will prevail. By prevailing I mean that the ethical head will be successful in reviving the organization though he may face career dislocations as a result. As long as there are sufficient number of ethicals willing to face this, India will be OK and none can prevent us from becoming a great nation.  If the organizational heads insists on getting along with the politicians, as most of them do now, then we are lost and our country's future will be identical to its present or even worse. The organization/ institutions referred to are universities, colleges, schools, research institutions, railways, airlines,  PSUs, water and electricity providers, private sector companies,  hospitals and all other bodies from  whom the common citizen seeks the services needed for living a life of dignity. If the majority of organization heads are ethical, two things will invariably happen. First, the country will progress and the common citizen will look to the future with hope. The other consequence will be continuous and permanent conflict between the ethical organization heads and the country's politicians. This struggle is good and is a sign of a healthy society. Only in a sick society is this struggle and conflict absent as it indicates collusion between its elite; this is the state today in India. It is the duty of all patriotic Indians to support the ethical in this conflict.

# There is one incontestable truth which is generally not recognized in public discourse. The politician can never improve the functioning of any organization. This can be done only by the organization head. The only thing a politician can do is to either support the organization head or oppose him. A good politician, a rarity today, would support an organization head because he is ethical and oppose him if he is unethical. The usual politician does the reverse. All the politicians making tall promises to the people today should say to the electorate - " I will not be directly able to fulfill the promises I have made to you because I do not have that capability, for this I need ethical organization chiefs. I promise you that I will search for such ethicals/ have already found them, and will post  them to the organizational service providers such as water boards, electricity utilities, transport corporations, PSUs  and others so that whatever I have promised you, they will provide, with our active support. I promise that I will stand by such ethicals, never asking them to do what is wrong and always urging them to work for you. Where such an ethical chief succeeds in fulfilling the promise I made to you, I will publicly give him credit; the only credit I take will be of having located him and standing by him , protecting him against the attack of the vested interests." This is the only promise any politician should ever make. This is the only promise today's politician never, never makes. Will Narendra Modi ever say this? Will Rahul Gandhi?    

The experience in Gujarat and Kerala vindicate the assertion just made. Neither before me nor after me, even with the same political leaders, has there been a corporate  revival like the ones I brought about. Politicians cannot bring about coprorate revivals or organizational improvements. ( Neither can the familiar, "brilliant and articulate"  IAS officer who shines in the capital cities and the other centralized establishments of the country.) Politicians cannot bring about any improvements in a country. They can only allow it to happen. They can also  prevent it from happening as they have been consistently doing in India. Only ethicals in positions of authority can improve a country. The ethical cannot do what a politician does, which is to induce a willing suspension of disbelief in otherwise shrewd people and convince them to vote for him. It would be best if there were a parnership between a good politician and an ethical, if wishes were horses. But the true ethical does his job of breathing new life into institutions, regardless of those pitted against him.

 # Could the CM/Minister of Gujarat/Kerala have revived the organizations listed here without me or an ethical of the same calibre? No, they could not have. Could I have revived them without the active support of the CM/Minister concerned. Yes, I did do it without their support which was merely verbal. I asked for nothing from them except to be left alone. Even this wish they repected only till the organization had fully revived.

# India's failure is the failure of its elite which is the absence of a sufficient number of ethicals amongst them. What they lack is not intelligence or managerial capability but a commitment to ethics.  Having bad politicians is a big handicap for any country though it is a handicap that can be overcome if there is a critical number of ethicals within its elite. I was able to improve organizations given to me in spite of political opposition.  But if the country lacks ethicals among its power elite, then that is a terrible affliction. It does not matter how many  clever or brilliant men and women it has. That country will always lurch from crises to crises. This explains India's condition today.                     

# Marx had said that the point is not to interpret the world but to change it. A great deal of our time in India is wasted in trying to understand the reasons for failure instead of acting and learning by doing.

# As a philosopher, Marx was thinking of the whole world.  When I talk of changing the world, I do not mean the entire world but that little patch of it each one of us controls or influences. Each one of us does control something, no matter how small, and the radius of this control grows longer with the intensity of our efforts and the power of our convictions.   

# I do not  accept the reality around me if I see an alternate arrangement or design which I, with my own capability and resources, can bring into being. I work alone. I am not a networked person. Because I know that I have to do it on my own, I put in all the effort needed to make happen that which I imagine. Explaining why something could not be done, a skill everyone in government displays, is pathetic.

# I do not spell out what I plan to do or what should be done or what are the mistakes and crimes committed by Indian rulers, their corruption, J'accuse  etc. I expose no corruption here, no crimes are listed out, no sensational documents will you see here, the weaknesses of specific official policies are not analysed here. This is what others do so well and I do not wish to compete with them, I am sure to lose. Look at any news paper, magazine or TV show. These wise heads are all either criticising the government or ruling politicians ( none will criticise any private business man or company)  or denouncing them. None of them will tell us of what he/she did in his professional seat which could show the way to go. It is not modesty but the absence of any thing worthwhile and ethical in their record that stops them.    You will see here no such bystander commentary. You will read here of what I have actually done in my professional career, it is successes I talk about. While there is considerable analyses, these  emerge logically from my professional experiences. I do not tell others what they should do except to say that  that they must think and  act independently while sitting in that chair. Surely no one can object to this prescription!  But  opposition there will be. Indian decision makers are afraid of freedom and consider it a punishment, an expulsion from the sheltering group cacoon. They know there is safety in numbers and danger in walking alone.  

 

    #  My successes  show us the path forward for our country. All those  reeling from the daily body blows of bad  news  over the morning cuppa may find something to finally celebrate. The celebration is not for the turnaround results. It is for finding  that magical key that opens to us a great wealth lying hidden from common view. It is a key that can be used in every situation that troubles us. It can be put to use by any person of modest abilities, abilities which most Indians have. This key is the ethical impulse. Every human being is born with it. We all had  it with us, this Aladdin's lamp, but no value was put on it  and so  it was cast away,  a worthless trinket .  Now is the time  to shake off  despair and  to  dance and to sing. This precious heirloom, this magic charm that grants all our wishes,  was lost but  is found again. Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice!   Nothing need ever hold us back again. The  walls we see before  us are doors we can open and walk through. 

## As only ethicals in positions of power and influence can bring out this ethical resource into play in the public sphere, the absence of ethicals is the root cause of all our ills. Everything else, the fiscal deficit, the current account deficit, low GDP, poor investment, poor nutrition and an endemic hunger, weak PSUs, criminalization in politics  and everything else that agitate our  ever vigilant articulate classes are the effects of the absence of ethicals in positions of power. They are not primary causes. The primary cause is the absence of ethicals. The only real task before the nation is to locate, nurture and honor the ethicals. They, working in the field mode,  will find localized solutions.  All our ills will vanish. 

# The supply of ethicals is largely demand driven. People should demand more of them. 

# I will elaborate on this important fact. Fiscal deficit, current acount deficit, low GDP growth rate, poor business investment  are not independent situations but the aggregate statistical representations  of a large number of failures and slowdowns in numerous field efforts over the length and breadth of the country. The fiscal deficit will come down when the wastage and corruption in the government expenditure reduces. At the same time, income to the government can go up when government and private corporate sector does well and pays more tax. Both these effects will be felt when a large number of economic functionaries in the field  turn ethical. An ethical in the field reduces government expenditure as will be seen  later and increases government income. The converse is also true. Ethical failures in the field are also responsible for Curent Account Deficit, low GDP and other macro indicators of our infirmities. These weaknesses appear not because of wrong policies. Policies lost their relevance a long time back. Expecting new policies to cure the breakdowns in the field is like turning a steering wheel that is no longer connected to the wheel on the ground. Things have broken down in the field and not in the ministries. Those crafting the policies are as brilliant and articulate as ever. The work in the ministries moves ahead with awe inspiring decorum.  The quality of discussions and follow ups impress anyone who witnesses them. What they churn out are policies, endless streams of them, like a magician pulling out  coloured strips of paper, yard after yard,  from his mouth in front of delighted children. Policies are irrelevant now. Their monitoring and coordination role is thorough but they are pressing buttons on a panel which has only the most tenuous connection with the real activities in the field. This is not where the effort is lacking. The A  team sits in the central ministries while the C teams slog it out in the field. It must be the other way round. We will be better off if the relative duds are sitting in the central ministries and the stars are in the field. Those in the field will become stars if  the antipathy to ethicals is removed.  It is only sustained effort in the field which can pull the locomotive of growth out of the deep hole into whch it has fallen. Only ethicals are capable of putting in any sustained effort in the field and making dramatic improvements in economic performances of those individual growth motors which together go up to make the national statistical numbers. None of my successes had anything to do with new policies.  But such ethical action in the field is actively opposed by today's leadership elite. This is the situation we are in today. Every where ethical action is subverted and the ethical agent is seen as a dangerous destabiliser. Every man and woman in the street , every school boy or school girl, every labourer in the field  understands  this instinctively. My professional experiences spell it out clearly for everyone to confirm  this with crystal clear clarity.             

# This simple understanding will put  the experts, analysts, and ' those who know' out of business.  That is why it will be resisted. "Such a simple solution? If we accept this then nobody is going to ask us questions like 'Sir, what in your view is the real problem we face? What in your view  needs to be done? How do you think corruption can be fought?'  So let us not listen to what Luke says. He does not have a wide canvass thinking, and the determining  interconnections." My reply to them is that  'I was able to win practical victories  only because I limited my  attention to  the field I was tilling and never tried to understand the big picture. I confined myself to reviving the organizations given to me, all of which were  facing crises. Would you not like to know how I did it?'     

# An ethical leader of an organization  leverages and amplifies this ethical impulse within his team members and thereby achieves the organizational objectives. He creates nothing new but brings out that which was hidden and brings to birth one of the potential futures, the  future that we choose. Such an ethical can never, repeat never, fail. This is a big claim to make but it is a claim supported by my experience. But an ethical must be in a position of power, authority or influence, even self created. This is a necessary condition. Being ethical in your private life is a meaningless statement.   

        

 

# I assert that the the ethical impulse and the ethical aspirations that grow out of it are the greatest economic resources of any country. The nurturing and drawing from this resource  is the only task of the country's leadership. Every individual is born with this ethical impulse which can be turned into ethical aspirations if he/she is led ethically. A leadership which does not do this is working against the country's interests. By this yardstick , the Indian leadership today is not working for  the country's interests. The Indian politician suffers from one fatal weakness. He is deeply  allergic to any ethical action in the public affairs. This aversion becomes greater as the public begins to see a specific ethical action as a success. He opposes ethical action because then things in that organization are no longer in his control. The politician will never  be in the vanguard of any ethical revival in public affairs. Having said this it must be admitted that the real Indian failure is not that of the politician but of the educated professional elite. The politician cannot stop a member of this elite from functioning ethically if the ethical is determined to do it. The Indian elite has chosen not to be ethical. No politician was able to stop me from functioning ethically and reviving organizations entrusted to me. He turned against me only after I had successfully transformed the organization.  The Indian failures are failures of the Indian elite.

# The Indian politician has developed some unsavory traits and has a reputation to match. He is able to brow beat and dominate most Indian civil servants who rationalise their servile behaviour by invoking the democratic credentials of the leader - he represents the people so his direction have to be obeyed even if his instructions are oral. I have always held that the people of his constituency elected him sometime in the past  with perhaps a 35% vote. They elected him to work for their interests, in other words, the public interest. They did not elect him to work for his personal interests. It is in the public interest that the organization I head should function efficiently and without favoritism and carry out the tasks allotted to it. The people , even those who elected him, would not like the organization to favor any individual person and thereby weaken itself. So the logic of the democratic argument by which the politician/ minister insists on his instructions being followed collapses if his instructions are not in the interests of the organization which is identical to the public interest. If the matter to be decided is in my power, and the instruction is oral then I am not obliged to carry out his instruction. Even if it is in writing concerning a matter within my powers, and if I feel it is not in the organization's interest, I would not iimplement it but reply, pointing out the inadvisability of doing it.  If a matter is in an officer's powers he should never refer it to a higher authority for guidance or confirmation. Too many  civil sefvants do this and this is why the politican and also higher level bureaucrats feel they should be consulted before any important decision. If the matter was in my power, no matter how 'important' it was, I took my own decision.  As a result of my consistently applying this logic, no minister/politician was able to force his instructions on  me. Knowing my stubbornness and  because I  sought no favor from any politician, most of them preferred not even to ask me knowing full well the result .  The politician has become a bully to the civil servants as most of the time this democratic argument is the rationalization the civil servant uses to give in. If more civil servants had acted as I did, then the Indian politician would have been   better  behaved. So while  the politician is blamed, the real fault  is that of the civil servants who, in order to avoid a conflict or for some more selfish personal calculus, allows the politician to get his way. The civil servant is responsible. We should stop blaming the politician for all the ills of our country.

#  For the country's revival, there must be a nationwide confrontation betweeen an ethical elite on the one hand  and the country's politicians and civil servants aligned to them on the other. This ethical elite should comprise not only civil servants but also anyone on a position of authority within and outside the government including if possible - most unlikely - a few politicians. For this to succeed there are two conditions which are essential. The confrontaion has to be between an ethical decision maker and the politician's camp. Such a confrontation will happen when the  head of the organization defends his ethical freedom to act within his well defined powers. Second, these confrontations must be independent of each other, and enacted by ethicals without any effort at any sort of coordination whatsoever. Any  campaign coordinated with others will fail. But such  confrontations are  inescapable if the country is to reach anywhere near its potential. I say this looking to the sort of politicans/civil servants  we have. If such confrontations do not happen all over the length and breadth of the country, then India will either have some sort of overthrow  of legitimate authority in different parts by local authoritarians whose calling card will be force or the threat of it- this is already happening - or we will have anarchy with increasingly violent skirmishes between different groups with the police looking on. I am all for the confrontations which will see the country qualitatively and democratically  transformed. But these struggles must be between right and might, in the defence of an ethical action  against .power. Such confrontations are more likely in the defence of creating something productive  than in stopping/ destroying/ attacking a perceived wrong doing - creating something is more difficult than bringing down something.  Once these ethics affirming  events happen in a large number, the civil servant who swims in the politicians' slip stream will quickly  join the good side. The alternative is nightmarish.

#  What  will each of these mini transformations look like? It will look like what I did in my career. Each individual's life circumstances and trajectory is different but if he is an ethical, the impulses that move and guide him will be like mine. How many such ethicals is a critical number capable of starting a self sustaining reaction ? About a thousand should do. A thousand ethicals in India would make us a great nation. Where will they be positioned? They will be Vice Chancellors of Universities, school principals, CEOs of PSUs, Army chiefs, scientists, civil servants, policemen and others entrusted with growing the nation's resources.  Every such ethical values the successsful pursuit of ethical goals  more than holding on to his post. Each such ethical will create huge wealth for the common wealth and comparatively little for himself. Making wealth for onself and then donating part of ot for public causes, with effective publicity, is inferior to making and chanelling  it directly into  the common wealth, as  I did. A corporation led ethically displays the highest CSR even without setting aside a single rupee towards it. 

#  These confrontations must not be proactively sought, one must not go looking for a scrap. Just acting ethically in our jobs will bring the politician and his civil servant enablers to you, determined to start hostilities. The best way to reply to them, the only way really,  is to continue acting ethically. That way you win. But keep in mind the likely consequences. The politicain civil servant combine will first make things difficult for you and then move for the destabilising steps. They will talk among themselves what an awkward fellow you are,and how rigid. But as you are an ethical and consequently successful in the field, the public perception about you is high. No matter how rotten the set up, they need field successes. So they will finally act against you but softly and not vindictively. As the issue which triggers the dustup is one where you have acted ethically, you will have some support even in their camp. They will remove you but your field successes and ethical image will cushion whatever the blow. But do not be under any illusion that you are protected against the power of the politician civil servant combine. No intelligence is required to issue a transfer order. Most of the time you will stand alone, no court or any other authority will intervene. Even the stakeholders who benefited from you will abandon you. The opposition politician will not support you as they too do not like the idea of an ethical oficer even if he is in conflict with politician opposed to them. At best they will use the occasion to attack the ruling politicians. But in the eyes of the world you stand taller than the politician or the highest civil servant. You proved two things. First, that you could deliver results in the field. Second,  that you were prepared to make a stand that could result in you leaving leave that  particular chair. 

# A civil servant  taking an independent stance behaves in one of the two ways. He can go after the wrongdoers who are openly flouting the law. This he does with a crusading zeal and which draws a large number of onlookers who are pleased that strict action is being taken against such persons. It could be demolishing unauthorised buildings, arresting criminal builders and land grabbers, removing hawkers, cracking down on those indulging in illegal economic activities like mining etc. A policeman can round up crimnals or stop illegal gambling and bootlegging, enforce strict traffic laws etc.  Such actions are immediately visible to the public. The pubic which has ben long pushed around by such elementts, relishes them being hauled up and chased out. The officer carrying out such clean ups becomes wildly popular for a time. Life may imitate art or art imitate life but many films have heroes doing such stuff though with greater violence. Politicians find it difficult to confront such officers as they often have a good media coverage too. The other kind has a longer term plan and launches no punitive actions against anyone. He quietly builds up the organization entrusted to him ethically. His first objective is not to harm the wrongdoers but to prevent them from doing further harm usually by reforming and coopting them in his task of organization building. His primary objective is to bring out the submerged capabilities of his team members in the pursuit of the organizational objectives. Such an officer's public profile is slow to build up but once having emerged, his fame lasts much longer. The politician sees the greater threat in the second sort of offficer. The first kind burns out quickly and  often becomes tainted himself later as he sees what threats can do. The second sort cuts the politician's linkages far more permanently. His overriding task is not to clean up but to build. The cleaning up happens as a biproduct of the building up process.

#"  What about an ethical politician? Maintaining the political establishment is the cost we have to pay to have some sort of democracy. But an ethical politician is a contradiction in terms. There is no such thing. Some politicians are honest, hardworking, articulate and extremely intelligent. But none of them will look favorably on an ethical working under him, far less support him. The ethical politician is one who will support ethical action in the field. As this will cut down his leverage, it is most unlikely that even an honest politician  will ever support it though the extent of his opposition would vary. The kind of politician we have will use the fiction of popular will to increase his leverage. There have to be checks to his arbitrary use of power. But a politician is not the government. The lawful authority at that particualr time and place is the government. We should never let the politician claim that he is the government.  

# Who are the Indian elite? The elite is that group of persons in society who because of their wealth, power position and influence are dominant in that society and determine its views and responses in different situations. It includes the senoir members of the civil service, the armed forces, judiciary, educated businessmen, the professional and managerial clasees, media personalities, intellectuals for hire etc. I do not include the run of the mill politician among the elite.Without the collusion of the elite, he can do no harm.

# The the Indian failure is the failure of the Indian elite.  These men and women of  erudition and learning,  with their degrees from prestigious schools of learning, sincerely think they are working day and night for the country's betterment.. They have developed undoubted skills in what they are doing and they impress everyone with their deep understanding of the make believe world of smoke and mirrors  they have created around themselves primarilty to justify their parasitic role. They are sincere and work very hard at their fruitless task so my accusations would seem to them not worth replying to. Their aim is accurate but they are shooting at the wrong targets. These are not real tactile goals which can motivate the common man but abstractions. As a great deal of money is spent following their prescriptions, some sort of material results are visible which they point as justifications for their effort. "It is true we have not achieved everything we set out to do but you cannot ignore our real achievements. The next quarter will be better." When you spend Rs. 10000 cr., something is bound to come up. But the moot point is could you have done it  with less , could you have done it in 2 years instead of 4 years it took, was it at all necessary, could you not have done something better with this money or if you could think of  nothing to do with it , taxed the people less? And how much money was wasted in the process?  

# They are not wilfully doing that which they know is wrong. They lack that deeper intelligence which sees the link between morality and practical success.They are unwilling to put into place levers for translating this moral desire, which is human and universal, into practical results. To their trained technocratic minds any talk of morality is a non serious intervention,  from which one should quickly turn away with a deprecatory shrug or witticism. 

# Ethics is the practical expression of the desire each one of us has to materially better that small infinitesimal part of the world each one of us controls. One is  not speaking of spiritual enlightenment from an all seeing master with a mystical smile and hypnotic eyes but material improvement in which every participant  is a prime mover. This ethics is not a set of moral rules but a scientific discipline which improves with use. As this discipline is scientific, transparent and draws on the capability of individuals in the team, there is no conflict within the organization and no allegations of wrongdoing, calls for enquiries, demands for CBI investigations. The only conflict which arises is the one foisted on the ethical head of the organization by the unethicals who can remove him from his post. With an ethical at his post, the organization will improve but it is the task of society to fight off those trying to remove him. It is wrong to expect the ethical to fight for himself as he is busy fighting for those he leads - the stakeholders and the larger  society. In a war the King or  the General must be protected to the death from attack by the opposing enemy forces. Those opposing the ethical, as long as he remains ethical at his post, are the enemy and should be prevented from harming the ethical. That is the rule of the partnership between the ethical and society. It is a partnership, let me repeat. Without such a partnership, an ethical like me will as rare as a snowflake in a furnace. This is India today.  

# Any non ethical approach to the nation's development is bound to fail because it shortchanges those who are weaker. These weaker sections will fight back and throw spanners and roadblocks in the development path. The weaker sections will oppose it either actively like the naxalites or passively  as the vast mass of Indians are doing - by a total lack of interest in national development and  demanding more more  from persons they regard as brigands with  sweet tongues - their leaders and the earnest bureaucrat who prompts the politician with supporting facts. Now and then anger will boil over on some particularly offensive failure when for a brief period they will go berserk -  a child dying needlessly in a hospital, a girl raped and even some accident on the road which they in their blind rage will connect with the  official betrayals happening around them. This is  how the weak and defenceless show their anger. The government agencies, lacking  proper leadership,  will repeatedly fail in handling emergencies and even routine expectations of people.  Most proposals for big social and economic projects and transformations will be opposed because of this upwelling anger and  the knowledge that they are being taken for a very long ride by persons  who are little different from confidence tricksters, Harvard, World Bank, IMF trained though they might be.  We see this happening now. Almost every project is opposed on one ground or the other. The engine of development has stalled. It will not move ahead till the people see ethicals in the driving seat who are  trusted by the people.  People will not believe a politician, a bureaucrat or a technocrat or an economist or anyone who wears the familiar coat of official subterfuge. They will only listen to an ethical who has a record of speaking the truth and generating organizational revivals.      

# The ethical approach is the only true development path for our country. The present bureaucratic and technocratic approach is failing and will continue to fail. Not because of corruption but because bureaucrats and  technocrats  aim at wrong targets and underestimate the common man's willingness to follow inspiring goals. They are aiming too low and unwilling to lead in the field and instead  telling others how they should act. Sorry , but his wont work. Please put on your outdoor kit and start walking. Otherwise get out of the way. You are a part of the problem, not the solution.

# All Indians want to follow inspiring goals which will lead them to material well being. Most conflicts will cease when people see an ethical approach. Indian leaders - politicians,  bureaucrats and technocrats underestimate the capability of the common man to walk on paths of high endeavor. That is because they themselves do not want to lead on the field. As this field leadership can be done only ethically, they shy off , and prefer to say that Indians will not accept such leadership, that they are traditional. Indians can be  revolutionary and follow uplifting goals if they are led ethically. The Indian failure is the failure of Indian leaders, not of the Indian people. The Indian leaders are not worthy of the greatness of the Indian people. A great, magnificent, high spirited horse which contemptuously throws its weak-kneed   rider  off  repeatedly.  

# The fault is not of this or that particular person. If that were the case, one could be optimistic as a new group of leaders could set things right. Our problem is a culture that distrusts ethical action in the organizational  field. As a result there is a near absence of ethicals in important positions in the country. And so the greatest treasure we possess, worth hundreds of trillions of dollars, that resource which lies deep within the ethical heart of every Indian,  lies unused. Without this hidden capability being put  to use, Indian greatness will forever  remain that which might have been. Our hostility to ethical action has closed the gates which open onto undreamt of  prosperity for every Indian. Only the ethical key can open this gate.   

# India is not looking for one national leader to rescue it from the morass it has fallen into. Neither Rahul Gandhi nor Narendra Modi is the answer. It is too big a job for one person. Our country needs a thousand ethicals like me, to light fires that will demonstrate the success of ethics. It is these thousands of points of light that will brighten India. Then national and state leaders would be irrelevant. They would have only nuisance value, able to create problems for the ethicals but unable to stop them.  

# India also does not need more of the aggressive, dynamic result oriented corporate executive types. There is no shortage of these , in fact a surplus which we are exporting. They will always align on the stronger  side and will always chase money and influence. They will never work for the weak and vulnerable against the opposition of the powerful. The powerful do not need help from the noble and generous spirits. They have enough paid agents to do their bidding.  India needs executive leaders for the  weak and vulnerable who represent the real public interest. India needs these executive leaders to be as good or better than the best of the corporate camp as the task is more difficult  and hazardous and less attractive than working in plush corporate suites with high salaries. India is looking for more persons like me who will fight for the side that is losing, do it successfully and who will do it for a pittance. The only expectation such men have is of hearing the cheers of the citizens and  stakeholders once the victory is won. India needs a thousand like me.  

# How does one work for the weak and vulnerable and against the powerful? This is done simply by becoming ethical in our professional efforts. You do not have to work directly  for those identified as weak and vulnerable. You do not have to man the barricades. By being ethical professionally, the effect is identical to working for them, withoutt any radical pro poor rhetoric or even knowing those who are benefiting. Become ethical and you are automatically working for the weak and vulnerable, those you do not know and those who cannot pay you. And in purely corporate executive ability you will be distinctly better than the best of the corporate stars. The number of such ethicals in positions of power is the purest measure of a nation's achieved greatness. The potential greatness is of course far higher. We reach towards this potential greatness as more and more among the powerful turn ethical. Those already ethical become better.  There is no other kind of greatness in any nation.

# Let me substantiate this assertion that the number of ethicals is the most accurate reading of a nation's greatness. That nation is great which consistently strives towards increasing material success in all field along with fairness in dealing with the aspirations of the weak and vulnerable so that this material progress is not blocked by roadblocks and civil unrest on account of perceived cronyism. As this progress will remove vested interests in all fields, there will be opposition from them. This opposition will be directed at  ethicals as only they, in widespread positions of authority, can make such progress happen. Without support from the large mass of people and particularly from those who mould opinion and weild progressiveinfluence, the ethicals will be small in number facing deadly opposition.  This number can rise only if would be ethicals draw around them powerful principled support from persons who expect no quid pro quo. The number of  ethicals will grow  only because the opponents of the ethicals in public life have been effectively countered and held in check by those who see ethicals as beneficial to society and worth defending. All will know  the ethical has powerful support from a large number of people, people who will stand by his side. The dominant aspiration of the nation is now to progress as a significant number of people want national progress which they know can come only through ethicals. The presence of a large number of functioning ethicals in any society is proof that there is a real active demand for them . The nation will progress and reach great heights as this progress will be on ethical lines. As this happens such a nation, built on fairpaly and each person's capability, will achieve what it is worthy  of.  Such a nation is a great nation.  .  

# A commercial corporation led ethically contributes the most to  corporate social responsibility even if it does not spend a single rupee on it directly.

# Things will not improve merely by preventing wrongdoing and corruption. This is is one of the most misleading  fallacies  in currency today. It dissipates much of our energy as we try to identify the misdeeds and punish the wrongdoer. Things will only improve when the right things are done with conviction, courage and determination and if necessary, against opposition. Let me make this clear. The right thing is that which materially benefits persons on a sustainable basis  by increasing their productive capacity through ethics. Those who do this are ethicals. The creatures of  darkness can be eliminated  only when there is a flood of ethical light and not by trying to identify and destroy  them. This zeal in hunting the wrongdoers  is not an honest well meaning endeavour or even a mistake but a deliberate attempt to fudge issues, muddy waters and throw red herrings accross the trail. The purpose is to comprehensively bury any thought of ethical actions as a remedy. Most persons in India in positions of power and influence see  ethical action in the public field as a greater danger than corruption and favoritism.

  Listen to any debate on  the TV screen on public affairs. Some noteworthy aspects of such debates must be pointed out. The first most glaring, but not most important, is that there is no criticism of any big corporate of the private sector. Surely their wrongdoings could provide enough material to engross any viewer. Second is that almost the entire proceeding is a form of criticism of some shortcoming of a public authority. It is quite easy to predict who will support the criticisms and who will oppose it - the lineup is strictly according to the camps they belong to. The most distressing feature of  these discussions is there is never any talk of the need for ethics among those in public and professional roles. Nobody highlights the need for ethics among decision makers. Nobody has ever said that ethics can lead to great success in our public roles. Those who, facing headwinds, yet stood by their convictions and created practical organizational successes are never mentioned. Even the need for such role models is never stressed. There is atleast one example of such serial successes!  Are they embarrassed to talk about successful ethical fightbacks? Contrast the respectful attention with which the views of  economic and management thinkers and industrialists  are treated and the stony silence which is displayed towards my successes.  They do not talk of this one path which is sure to lead to organizational successes. Courage, grit , determination,  plain idealism - these can overcome overwhelming odds and gain  breakthroughs in those engagements in which the common man has the greatest stake. Yet none talks about these old fashioned virtues. Do they feel diffident  doing it considering that in thier own lives they abandoned them pretty early.? Do they feel resentful  in acknowledging it in others? Or do they think they will be the object of the sarcasm of their clever friends for appearing naive and sincere? Perhaps  they believe with Wilde  that a little sincerity is a dangerous thing and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal. But he had also said, maybe with greater sincerity, that a cynic is a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. A cynic's view of  life is a self fulfilling prophecy. Of the two, I prefer sincerity.           

# The other fallacy , perhaps even greater than the preceding one, is our belief that problems in the field can be solved conceptually by brilliant thinkers in centralized seats.  This provides the moral justification for the mental enslavement of millions of Indians who are encouraged not to think about government policies and be the passive recipient of government largesse. Without this paralysing belief, the ramparts of oppression in the country would have fallen and the need for largesse and  of the powerful helping the weak itself would have disappeared. This belief in thought at a distance rather than at the place of effort puts into position the most unproductive and action averse persons in positions of reponsibility. As these persons are skilled with words and abstractions they are thought of as the most competent. Having these persons chart india's onward course is the most terrible burden this country faces. Our caste system which elevates the men of learning to the highest level  provides the social ballast for this ruinous attitude. Some of these persons will point out that they are far from idle and are working day and night on real life opportunities. My advice is that then they should leave centralized  Delhi establishment and the State capitals and move to take up a hands on responsibility of a field unit where their real score card of ability can be seen objectively. My guess is that none will offer to do this. They are quite happy in their frantic inactivity. The promotion prospects too are better here. As these persons are held up as the models of success, this sickness infects others too. They too model themselves on these personalities. Understanding a complex situation is preferred to taking steps to tackle it. Any visitor to Delhi is struck by the tremendous speed of the way thingsappear to  move there  and how busy everyone in positions of responsibility will look. There is no forward movement, they are spinning round a central point like a top.

 There is a constant clamour for new policies to kick start the Indian economy into a high growth gear. But the machinery down the line is deeply demoralised, flabby and unresponsive. New policies will not cure the patient. What is required is ethical leadership at the place of effort , of the kind I was able to provide. But this ethical  leadership is deeply distrusted by the Indian ruling elite. New policies will not work. In no assignment of mine did I ever enquire what were the policies of the government. I just got down to the nuts and  bolts of  day to day organiztional fine tuning. This approach is a no no for our over refined government functionaries who see complexity in everything and are never prepared to cut the Gordian knot. "    

# Both these beliefs are wrong and both these are demolished and swept out by ethical direction seeking in an organization. As these beliefs are exploitative and provide leverage and income to the powerful, any attempt to dispel them encounters opposition. That is why the ethical faces hostility.

# These beliefs trace their origin to two  traditional Indian thought pillars. The first of these is the equation of goodness with purity. You are good if all that is impure and sinful has been purged out of you. Remove what is bad and what is left is good. Good is the absence of bad. So in India all the  effort to improve public life is expresssed in trying to root out that which is objectionable. As corruption is the most visible manifestation of public wrongdoing, it becomes the target of much indignation and cleanup measures. Do nothing wrong and you are a good public servant. You are not required to do good, just to not do that which is wrong. Nobody talks of being ethical, just of being honest which is identical to not being corrupt. Ethics as a positve force for good in public affairs is given no importance, in fact anyone claiming to be ethical is pronouced as being an egoist.. The other is the understanding that thinking and acting are two separate functions, and that the thinker and the doer are necessarily different individuals. This also asserts that thinking is prior to action and not a part and parcel of it, that thinking is superior to action and that he who does the thinking is superior. This is why thinkers are given such a high status in Indian consciousness. This has had such disastrous results in sapping Indian self confidence. An entire class of thinkers on public affairs has occupied vantage postions in the establishment all of whom are parasites sucking the lifeblood out of the Indian sense of purpose.

# These  mistaken convictions, which almost all Indians share, explain the paradox witnessed in our country today - a near universal condemnation of corruption and other weaknesses in the government on the one hand, and on the other, the refusal to publicly acknowledge my ethical successes which glitter so brightly   on the public stage that even a near blind man would be able to sense  the light.           

# My  record of coprporate revivals - audited, vouchsafed and applauded,  stands undisputed and proclaims me  the world's finest turnaround CEO. I preach that which  I have practiced.

# This site serves a public purpose. Let me explain because this is important. Till 2010 -11 or even 2011-12, when the India emerging story was on track, a plea  for ethics in public life would not have had much traction. The powerful men and women guiding India's course forward, the national leaders, businessmen, economists, the dynamic go go civil servants and other drum beaters of the India emergent story  were on a roll. Any scandals on the way were the cost of a nation progressing within a free market, nothing to get worked up about. There would be some bad eggs but our anti corruption agencies could sweep them out. Many of them privately believed,  and demonstrated  by their conduct, that greed was good. One of India's leading industrialists displayed a Tutankhamun like desire to be remembered by later generations by building the world' s largest residence  which perhaps brought him bad luck and  now reportedly stands empty, in unintended irony like a giant tomb .  Anyone talking of ethical rejuvenation of the country as an alternative national strategy would have been laughed out of court with the remark that such matters were better left to the big boys and to  the men who know these things. Parvenus like me should keep out. After 2012 -13, and a series of disasters both economic and moral, (though most persons do not admit that these are closely linked, economic failure following moral lapses),  this belief in India's economic strategy has vanished. It been replaced with Cassandra like wails. What we have now,  now that the music has stopped, is  puzzlement as to what has gone wrong. But that something has gone wrong is now accepted. Yet nobody is talking of a new strategy except saying that the next quarter will improve. Our Finance Minister even while he says this has a beaten look in his eyes, like a general rallying his troops who are in full retreat. The only consolation for our ruling elite is the knowledge that the Indian people can be fooled all the time, if not by the same leaders, then by a different set who will pedlle the same medicine in a new different shaped bottle. They also know that they will always be able to cushion themselves by being on the right side of the powerful, so no question of turning ethical themselves and facing any kind of professional danger. But perhaps  the people are waking up. Sometime last year I felt that as the earlier policies had clearly  failed , people might just listen to the new direction which I  was in a unique position to urge. So the ethical message that is elaborated here and in my memoirs places before Indians a real choice, a choice which if they are wise, they wiill be forced to make. After the party, the hangover sometimes brings surprising wisdom. People are in a chastened mood. Maybe it is the right time to make my pitch.

# Today it is reports of failures and allegations against those in power   that one comes accross in the Indian media.. In this site you will read of the extraordinary successes that I could achieve in the pursuit of the public interest. My willingness to take serious career knocks in the pursuit of ethical goals is the highest and purest form of success and sits at the apex of my achievements. While I am critical of those who opposed me, I do not accuse anyone of criminality or illegalities. The charge against them, proved beyond a shadow of doubt, is rank stupidity. This stupidity, while not criminal, has destroyed lives and hopes. They ought not to have opposed me as I was successfully working for their own proclaimed  interests. I am putting forward a new discipline which leads to victory without harming anyone. What I ask is only that those in power use their independent judgement in deciding issues which fall within their rightful authority which no one is doing today. Is this too much to ask?  This is a recognition that each person has within himself/herself the capability of making a difference in their field. I am paying this compliment to every person in authority by asking them to think and act independently within thie powers.  There is a bright side to all the gloom which the country is going through. The bright side is the alternative we have not looked at and this is what I put before the people of India. It rests on the most objective  foundation there is, that of the objective experience of a fairly senior officer who operated the levers of some of India's most important  and representative economic organizations and improved their working. The fact of these successes is not challenged by anyone. Only by turning one's face away can the lesson of my example be denied. If the people of India want some good cheering news they must read what is written here. They will realise that most of the problems seen as troubling us are really opportunities which can be converted into successes just as I turned around the sick organizations that were handed over to me.

# My sense of certainty about a breakthrough into a better future rests on an even more fundamental fact, that of the human heart. The ethical impulse I talk about,  that which triggers creative transformation, is present in every human being. It can be stirred awake by the creation of an ethical environment by an ethical leader,  invariably leading  to an economic advantage. This is the great resource that lies waiting to be unbound and unleashed to an awe struck India.      

# Most readers would reject what is said here. The change in world view demanded may be unacceptable. But some may be convinced. Others may find some uselful insights and a few could just  have an enjoyable read. Some will not understand what is written here, some will understand  it only  too well. Both will turn away. Some will discuss my motives and others will psycho analyse me, ignoring  the contents which may  reproach their  timidities.  It would not matter if not even  one  person agreed with it. But if none thought these issues worth even a discussion then that would be a cause for demoralization. The real sickness of our times is not differing opinions but a willed  indifference to fresh thoughts and ideas. Behind this indifference  is a fear of the  dangerous paths independent thinking may lead to. Analysts and commentators who usually never speak about their professional experience  for the simple reason they do not have any,  will see in what I have written something which they could never claim viz conclusions forged out of the raw material of one official life. The events of my professional life had a direct , shaping influence on the analyses and conclusions put forward here and in my book. No punches are pulled and many are taken. This precious insight is something none of the analysts currently on show have. Even the mainly civil servants, judges, military officers, industrialists, professioanal managers, journalists and TV personalities, not to mention politicians and many others who sketch out the big picture, never, but never, talk about the forming events and principled conflicts in their careers and lives which defined their current conclusions. This unwillingness to acknowledge any link between what they profess now and the significant events of their professional lives is suggestive. They will make it clear that  "I am not talking about what happened to me, nothing subjective; it is about the general issue, not my personal experiences."  Perhaps there is no link and what they say has very little to do with what they actually did during their careers. In such a case what they say is worhtless.  They admit they have learnt nothing, at least nothing they can admit, from their long innings in office. What they have actually learnt but dare not admit is thet one has to trim one's sails according to the wind that is blowing. Any firmly held belief is a poisoned chalice. They are heard only by persons who are waiting for their turn to speak or be seen or by  the arm chair strategists.  None of these paper warriors  will ever admit that for over thirty years  I actually did what  they are urging those in the government to do. They, the elite who are the primary beneficiaries of the present set up,  are determined to deny that  ethics driven revivals by individuals are possible in big organizations. Their fear is that once they admit this, the bar would be raised and each one of them would have to try to become ethical. This prospect terrifies every one of them. Their ethical failures in their own organizations, which are largely acts of omission and not  commission, of cowardice and subservience and not malign deeds ,   would be spot lighted once the ethical standard is set for individuals . They are all looking good now because  only the worst wrongs are being highlighted. Their own weaknesses are well hidden. In fact they do not call it weaknesses. They  call it being practical. 

Thus neither the professional commentators, thinkers and analysts on show, nor the executives of the power elite, will publicly accept what I say. They will do this, not by refuting my assertions, but by ignoring them altogether.

# Most persons, even if they are highly competitive by instinct, find little difficulty is in acknowledging and praising the acheievements of a sports star, a charismatic actor or an musical artist. These performers have developed a skill, ethically neutral, which the normal person is unable to develop at a late stage in his life and does not even wish to. The normal person does not feel belittled by the celebrity's success. The celebrity  has developed and demonstrated a great skill but no moral superiority over others. We find it easier to accept a moral superiority in a person who has wirthdrawn from active professional life or is actually dead. Those who praise the Mahatma today would have been hostile to him if he were alive.  But when an ethical succeeds in professional life, it is not because of a skill but because of a moral striving and because of it. This ethical success is jarring to most because they too could have attained the same success had they turned ethical. So the succes of an ethical person points a finger of reproach to those who chose not to be ethical in their professional sphere. That is why it is so difficult for even the most conventionally  successful to acknowledge an ethical success. It is even more difficult for a person, honest and intelligent, who chose not to be ethical and was not even successful. So most persons turn away from an ethical success even when they are aware of it particularly if the ethical is personally known to them or there is a kind of a peer relationship betwen them. The ethical's success is most sincerely admitted by those who do not know him,  only know of him,  or do not  see themselves as in any way competing with the ethical.  That is why ethical successes are not talked about among the conventionally successful and those who have a stake in their success. Talking about the ethical would mean black balling in that club. The success of celebrities does not harm any one. There are no victims of a Tendulkar century. But an ethical's success does put the vested interests in that organizations out of business. These persons will ensure that the praise for tthe ethical remians private and does not spread. These vested intersts lose a lot whereas those who gain do so modestly even though their number is very large. So the motivation  for those opposing the ethical is much stronger  than of those who would support him.

# The success of  politicians,  business men and top corporate leaders does not cause any sense of  moral insufficiency as it is felt that such persons are unscrupulous and even ruthless and that is how they got ahead.     

#Some, after reading what is written here, would accuse me of egoism, beating my own drum or even hubris. If improving the material condition of a number of organizations, creating great wealth and benefiting a large number of its stakeholders and facing the anger of the powerful without taking anything for oneself and wiping out corruption as a sideshow, and then talking about what one has done  long after one has done it, in fact after one has retired from professional life   - if this is egoism or hubris, then the Government of India should announce a policy asking for more such hubris from those in authority , a call to which all sections of society should join. To those who point out that one has been adequately rewarded by the salary and other conditions of service and one should not expect anything more, my answer is that the same salary was paid to my predecessor under whose management the company had come to its knees. No system in the world can justify treating the two persons  the same. In any case the ethical asks only for honor and respect over and above what is given to those who were unable to revive organizations and never for monetary payments. To those who say that others have also done equally good work, then let this work be weighed in the balance by objective criteria which the stakeholders of that organization would agree with  and please honor him/her too. But excellence in service cannot be a subjective judgement of the kind that is entered in the confidential reports. If this was a reliable measure then every Secretary in Delhi would be an "outstanding officer'. This will pass muster in the files but the people of this country will not accept it. Wherever I worked, the stakeholdes publicly saw  my work as exceptional.  

#I present here conclusions which are event based and follow naturally from verifiable records and the memory of those who witnessed what I did.. These are immeasurably superior to the free floating conjectures and analysis of the rabble of commentators who stare at you from the print , TV and staged events. What I have written here and in my memoirs must be read and considered by every thoughtful Indian. I stress this with all the vehemence I am capable of.

# Most IAS officers and other civil servants point to the near impossibility of any one officer changing and improving the organizations  we work in. My record in the government, elaborated here and in greater detail in my book, will blow this excuse to smithereens. No officer can take this excuse after reading what I have written. Which is the reason they will not read it. The people of India are  tolerant of official lethargy  because they too believe nothing more is possible. After reading of what I could do, they should demand much higher levels of performance from the country's civil bureaucracy. That is the purpose of this writing effort.  

#My successes rip off the alibis for inaction, compromises and failures of the Indian elite. With modest natural abilities but with ethics as my guide, I achieved well documented  successes in corporate revivals and field development efforts.  Every Indian must know of these and then his downcast spirits will take flight like luminous meteors. What I write of  reveals the open sesame for India's revival. 

# What is written here is not analyses or commentary of the kind which is seen in so many news papers, journals and TV interviews. Everything  here is a conclusion which has emerged out of a  real life, mine own. Specific instances and persons are talked about. Having fought with almost everyone important and burnt all bridges, I feel no hesitation in venturing into minefields  others  would avoid. The persons with whom I had conflicts and confrontations are clealry identified; in our country most persons  in responsible positions are loathe to acknowledge the conflicts they had; even where they do so it will be with statements like 'some persons' or ' vested interests' etc.or even "our good friends", "some one for whom I have the greatest respect" etc ; the thinking is that it is better to avoid a complete break, life is uncertain and we may need their help tomorrow. No such inhibitions have influenced me.  But what is written here is the truth to the extent that I could discover it. There is a one to one corespondence between the events in my professional  life which are told  in my memoirs and the conclusions drawn  here. These conclusions could be wrong only in the unlikely circumstance that my life and the encounters I faced were so unique that no lessons of any kind can be drawn from them, they were sui generis. It is possible but I doubt it.  What I could do and what happened to me is what would happen to anyone else who did what I did. Lessons can be drawn from these and they illustrate a basic reality of the country.  

 

That which was successfully  practiced is what is spelled out here. Not practice following theory but theory emerging out of successsful practice. First practice, then theory. There are more fresh  truths and insights here than what could be learnt from a hundreds of conferences, seminars, TV discussions and Davos type conclaves of the rich and powerful.   The experience of one lifetime spent in the successful revival of so many organizations and the consequent conflicts  is more than sufficient to draw some conclusions. Most of these are in the nature of revealed hope paths out of the impasses each one of us faces   and some describe sterile dead ends which we ought to abandon immediately - the destruction of misleading illusions only after which is the truth grasped, the correct path seen. These illusions are lucrative, so demolishing them will be fiercely resented.  I am not an commentator  who has gained his knowledge of the world around us from reports, libraries,  journals, studies and interviews with the distinguished. No documents are referred to , only my memory spoke to me.  My understandings narrated here are forged from a real lived life, which is my own. Action was the drum beat which urged me forwards. I acted first, out of some intuitive beliefs and a general understanding of the world around and never from rule books, and drew my conclusions afterwards.  It is these conclusions that are presented on this site. The actions are described in greater length in my memoirs. Both this site and my memoirs are very different from anything  you may have read tilll now. This is reason enough to read what is written here. But this is not a feel good book. As I mention repeatedly, doing good is never feel good. I learned directly from life and never took any superfluous  advice. When you seek directions autonomously , the measuring instruments and score card of the experienced world  directly tells you every second  what is happening and also the best way to go, and any corrections can be made in real time by constant feedback. In such situations all advice is superfluous and  I made my own decisions. This book is about how this process played out. Here you will find no hackneyed phrases, no buzzwords, no metaphors from the world of sport, warfare, weather, physics, hunting ; everything is fresh-minted from a real life. The accounts narrated here were played out on the  business stages. These are real as you can get, success or failure are splashed in primary colours, of black and red. They cannot be faked or if they are, time will expose them. After every success , I faced opposition from the official stakeholders who benefited the most. The conclusion is damning  - ethical success is opposed in India. It logically follows that most of what are  shown as successes in public life in our country would have a question mark around them and need to be examined carefully. This implication will multiply manifold the number of  those who will be opposed to my conclusions. They are the vested interests who will oppose the ethical.  And thereby hangs the tale which I now narrate. 

 

# Each person at the head of any organization , government or private, must think independently to be ethically effective. The phrase Seeking Directions,  in its two opposed meanings covers the entire spectrum of a civil servant's ability to act. One meaning would be seeking orders or guidance  from a higher level. The other meaning refers to a way of thinking and acting which is at the other end of the spectrum. The ethical leader seeks directions autonomously looking to the needs of the organization to grow and flourish. He assumes that the powerful stakeholders of the organization, those who posted him and can remove him, will be satisfied if the organization does well by objective market measurements. He does not try to please the powerful in any other way. Those who experienced my ways of working both in Gujarat and Kerala,  will agree I was such an ethical. There is no point in writing about ethical management unless one has successfully demonstrated it in the real world of business. I did  this.

#Real freedom is experienced only in our main  professional pursuit which provides us our living. Freedom is not hiking in the hills on weeekends, wearing unconventional clothes to office now and then, eating at quaint places, roaring down the highway on a powerful  bike or bungee jumping. Real freedom is when we seek directions autonomously in our jobs, at the place of work in our main occupation. Freedom allows you to see the world afresh and gives you the elixir of creative thought and action, makes your life full of meaning. But it is bought dearly. That is why it is so precious. The price for this is the hostility, and anger of the powerful. This freedom will inevitably set you on a collision course with them. Your shield against them will be the great successes that will come your way, successes which will add to the kitty of the public interest. But if you work outside big organizations and are self employed, then this freedom, this autonomous direction seeking, need not result in any hostility from anywhere. So the person who wishes to be free and yet avoid the anger of the powerful must work on his own. If you work in the government or a big organization and still wish to act ethically and thereby be free, you must work in a field assignment where you have independent powers. The positive and successful results will provide a shield  against the hostility of the powerful. Even the most unethical set ups  desperately need field successes, so they may tolerate the ethical. But it may be impossible to act ethically while working in centralized Ministries, Secretariats or Head Offices unless you are the top man. So my advice to all ethicals is to stay away from the big buildings. Walk along the hill sides and on the great open plains where the wild winds blow.      

# Nobody chooses to be a rebel. One can do it in college but that is only a pose and is  forgiven provided it stops there. It usually does. In real life it is almost always the weak who rebel and this act is always against some condition which restiricts their freedom or keeps them in a subordinate postion unjustly. The rebel whose postion is weak almost always fails in his effort to win for himself that measure of fairnes and dignity he is entitled  to as a human being. The rebellion of the weak can succeed only if it is a social movement on a large scale and is led by charismatic and dedicated  leaders. But what about a person in a positon of some limited power and influence? Such a person is not usually a rebel as then he would be pitted against the very establishment from which he draws his power. But the role of a rebel IS THE INEVITABLE CONSEQUENCE  for such a person if he decides to SEEK DIRECTIONS AUTONOMOUSLY IN HIS OFFICIAL DUTIES, in other words, if he functions ethically. The weak person rebels against unjust conditions. The strong person positively fights for that which he sees is good and which he feels he can himself achieve in his own organization which he heads, with his own powers, without any outside help. As he succeeds in this, the powerful including the official  stakeholders turn  against him. He does not go looking for fights; conflict is thrust on him by those who are nominally the owners of the enterprise.  He is then engaged in defending his organization's interests and stands up against these persons. Once a person heading any organization takes up an ethical role, then success in the organizational goals and conflict with the powerful is the inevitable consequence. But he rebels not against that which is wrong  but for that which is right. Society benefits greatly from such persons.

# A few words about the whistle blower who is in the news now. I must concede that he displays a higher quality of courage than even the ethical. The ethical is never in any mortal danger as he is in a position of lawful authority over the organization he rejuvenates. The whistle blower is usually in a subordinate position. As he sees no way of reforming the organization which is indulging in criminal or immoral acts, he decides to walk out of the organization and show to the world the wrong he cannot prevent. The  whistle blower  spills the beans publicly because he works in an organization that is headed by an unethical. In an organization headed by an ethical it would be most unlikely that there would be something to blow the whistle about. But if there was, the employee of conscience would not have to go outside. He could walk into the chamber of the ethical head of his organization where he would be welcomed with a cup of tea and  listened to patiently, with a promise of secrecy. After that the ethical head would, after carefully concealing the source of his information,  be.off like a blood hound to put a stop to the wrongdoing. This is how I nailed the handloom scam in Gujarat. Those who came to me and confidentially told me about it  never had their names revealed. An ethical head of organization would treat a whistle blower as a patriot which is what he is. But here we must make a distinction between te mercenary and the idealist. Those who let out secrets about Ranbaxy and UBS were handsomely rewarded for it. They were in far less danger. Blowing the whistle against the government is the most dangerous act and you risk imprisonment. It is even more dangerous to blow the whistle on a criminal organizations. Then your life is at risk. Happy is the land that does not need whistle blowerrs. Happy is the land ruled by ethicals. .   

# A civil servant must be impartial. But it has to be impartiality between persons. One cannot be impartial between truth and falsehood. If one person says 2 plus 2 is 4 and another holds it is 6, then settling for a figure of 5 is not being impartial. Selecting some facts while discarding others so as to project what is convenient at that time is twisting the truth.  I was a partisan for the truth wherever I found it. This truth has to be discovered scientifically and logically and based on facts and verifiable results and not by emotions alone. But emotions , provided they are generated by creative and unselfish impulses, can often point us towards the truth and correct solutions. These emotion generated hypotheses must be tested against the objective facts. Scientific logic and search are more likely to lead to solutions if they are charged with a truth seeking emotion. The pursuit of truth in our professional lives leads to undreamt of successes. But the real truth which is precious is never writtten on a tablet or signboard or even in a book. That truth which is known to many is has little value. The fact that the name of India's capital is New Delhi is of little value. Only the undiscovered truth has any value. This truth is location and  time specific and resides in a particular situation at that time. Discovering it means junking all those convenient half truths and rationalizations which serve vested interests. It is best discoverd by ethical direction seeking. This is not just the truth but is the solution to that which we were struggling with.  This is why truth is so highly valued in all religions and cultures. Truth is not an inner feeling of righteousness or the wisdom of the ancients. Both these must be discarded when we deal with a real life sitauation. Let me repeat, truth is the solution we are seeking.  But truth does not have the big battalions of wealth and power to back it up. Most likely these will be ranged against it because the discovered truth will upset some arrangement that is  convenient to the powerful but unjust to the rightful stakeholders. "                

 

# This   is a digital doorway leading to my  memoirs. I served in Gujarat and Kerala in the Indian Administrative Service for long. I also worked in two private sector organizations in Mumbai. Being posted as CEO  to companies when they were in distress, I was able to turnaround or substantially improve nine of them. The corporations I headed were among the biggest and most important in Gujarat and Kerala. I do not complain that I was not given crucial assignments. I was. But they were in a critical state when I took charge and there was no interest among other officers for these assignments because the task was dificult. But I do charge the owners of all these companies of turning against me once I had revived them, like a child wanting its toy back as soon as it is repaired. 

 

# My academic record was mediocre and I  possessed no exceptional personal capabilities. I thought myself as  The Person  Least  Likely To Succeed   in my IIT class. 

 

# I was awarded the Distinguished Alumnus Award by the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai in 2001.  IIT gave me  the priceless boon of polishing and developing my mind, its annual tuition fee was Rs 200. Yet  it called me and honored me. Sherwood College, the school I studied in and imparted the finest all round  education possible, had me as its Chief Guest at its Founders Day celebrations in 2014. These were the only awards and recognitions of any value I received in my lifetime. Sherwood and  IIT  gave me pricelesss boons. In return I could do nothing for them. The commercial corporations which I enriched by thousands of crores, far from honoring me, subjected me to unconcealed hostility. The driving passion of my  two Alma Maters  was  the pursuit of truth. Pelf and power was what drove the owners of the organizations I worked for.   

 

# Because of my serial successes, I was  known as the Turnaround Man of  Gujarat. Many referred to me as the Man with the Midas Touch and some as Parasmani. My efforts created thousands of crores of new wealth and presented to the world a  new model of ethical business success, something which most persons had thought to be nothing more than a  utopian  fantasy.

 

# Faced with the choice of  maintaining good relations with the powerful and improving the organizations under my charge, I chose the latter. I allowed no interference -  political, administrative or of power brokers - in my organizations. This generated intense hostility against me among those excluded who then  combined   to  remove  me from my post as soon as the organization had been revived.

 

# My memoirs highlight the practice and theory of ethical management in the revival of commercial or economic organizations. It is an uncompromising but true account of my professional experiences and provides  insights  that can be drawn from them.

 

# I show how ethical management produces results far superior to existing corporate and civil service models. But it faces intense opposition from those who benefited  from an unethical set up. i define an ethical as a person in a position of power and responsibility who, working for those he does not know and those who cannot pay him back, yet achieves the practical business goals of  the organization even while facing the opposition of the powerful. The ethical is strong, not in the sense of his ability to coerce others  or take what he wants, but becasue he creates  a sheltering canopy for  those who need it. There are so many who do need it.  Strength is the ability and desire to nurture others. Stregth is also the willingness to face the enmity of the powerful and also the grit and stamina to face adversities and setbacks in the running of the organizations , day after day, month after month, without quitting.  Honesty and intelligence are such minor qualities that they are not worth mentioning. A commitment to ethics overtops these qualities. An honest and intelligent person can be and  is quite often unethical. Being honest he feels he can commit the lesser sins. I recently read a piece by a  senior journalist protesting that an officer who was under some sort of a cloud for allowing some sanction without proper scrutiny was one of the most honest officers in the country. Most likely his assessment of this officer is right. But honest officers are known to accommodate the powerful without taking anything for oneself. The career path becomes much smoother. Politicians particularly like such honest officers as they provide some respectability to unprincipled decisions. Officers like me are the real threats. We cannot be controlled.

# During my career I took a number of bold and unconventional decisions having large monetary  implications. Perrceptive observers told me that if anyone else had done this, there would have been serious allegations. When the persons who would normally make these allegations came to know about it, their doubts were dispelled when they realized  who had taken the decision. If Mr. Luke has done this it must be bonafide, was their reaction.  Ethics and transpareny gave me an invincible shield of protection throughout my career. This forgivng attitude covered even one big wrong decision  I took even though the organization was not harmed. This decision, taken in the SSNNL, has been described in my book.

# Among the unethicals are the good guys - corruption fighters, PIL activists, environment crusaders, human rights defenders, the CAG followers and sundry other pure souls who feel that one just has to prevent wrongdoing and track and punish the bad guys and then what you have will be crystal clean, pure  and throbbing with health. This belief is childish. Good things do not automatically happen because bad things are stopped. Stopping the bad things is the easiest part. Good is not the absence of bad. Good happens in an organization when there is an ethical direction seeking at the top. It comes about when the person at the top does positive things while leading from the front and facing the opposition of the powerful. Those who target the wrongdoers forget this. It would be far more cost effective for society to ignore the wrongdoers who should be dealt with by the law enforcement agencies, and instead, reward and honor the ethicals who revive organizations. But this would leave most of the crusaders dissatisfied because they have the psychological need to say that they are better than someone powerful who is bad.  Praising an ethical would leave a sour taste in their mouths. They would have to cede the moral high ground and lose their professional briefs too. Also while everyone , including  politicians, will say that corruption etc is bad, none will ever say that ethical direction seeking within the government is good. They like it as much as a cobra likes a mongoose. So they know that supporting the ethical is not a good career move. Far better to attack the wrongdoers and then nobody is unhappy. The ethical within the government is a far more dangerous threat to the powerful than the anti corruption movement.

# There appears to be a paradox in the full throated condemnation by the Indian public and media whenever a powerful person is accused of misuse of powers and financial wrongdoing on the one hand and the indifference displayed when an exceptional ethical breakthrough becomes evident. The reason is not difficult to guess. An ethical success provokes feelings of inadequacy and guilt in almost everyone as they contemplate their own record of appeasement to the powerful. But when a person of influence and standing is seen to have indulged in some nasty act, the common man's usual reaction is of righteous indignation. It is also  tinged with satisfaction that,  whatever his own many shortcomings,  he was at least  better than the person in the dock. He feels a sense of relative superiority. He feels good though he will never admit it. The indiscretions of the powerful are  juicy stuff  to be chewed over with relish.      

 

# BJP to CPM, and all political formations in between, they  know how to deal with an ethical who thinks the organizational and public interest along with possessing  the power to do so is a  sufficient warrant  to act!   At  these times I  was isolated and stood alone. The opposition to  ethical successes was not imagined by me, it was real and formidable, and caused me severe personal dislocations but no personal  harm and none was intended by those who opposed me.  

     

# In all the  organizations revived by me, I left behind systems of transparent information flows and structured decision making. In every such organization, including Gharda Chemicals, these systems were retained and constituted the mechanism for day to day functioning after I left. None of my decisions, including those involving huge financial ones, have been questioned. Even those who ousted me began to privately speak glowingly of my contribution once I was safely out of the way   My  ways of working and contributions have stood the test of time even in ideologically opposed camps like Gujarat and Kerala. I estimate that my ethical model created real and potential future wealth, additional to what would have been created in my absence, of more than  Rs 10000cr. by  all these efforts. This is wealth which would not have been  otherwise created. To illustrate, nobody,  not even the brightest star from the private sector from India or abroad, could have revived GSFC the way I did - unaided,  unrewarded and unsung. In a society that valued the purity and scale of material success, I would have been a national icon. The scale is judged by the monetary size, as valued by the market, of my contributions to the wealth of the commons. The purity is evident from the hostility,low material reward and lack of recognition  that I willingly accepted while creating this wealth.

 

# My actions spoke   loud and clear - I did not work for any politician, only  for the public interest and the  stakeholders of the organization whose head I was. Most of the other IAS officers saw my actions as a slap on their collusive faces and kept a safe distance from me,  perhaps worried that the surveillance lights would spot them. As  I  stood alone,  I lost this one  last illusion.  Not only will  the politician oppose the  ethical, but even those who benefit  from an ethical  do  not care very much what happens  to him afterwards. It was a sobering  thought.  India is no country for bold men. None will cheer the warrior even as he wins the great battle that saved a city. The rainbow is an optical effect  and there is no pot of gold at its end. After this I decided  it would be  my own self worth I would try to increase. This is the most precious thing there is. Once gained, it is never lost. Of course it can come only from genuine achievements. This new pursuit  has saved me  from any further disappointments. I would now work only to increase my own self worth. This internal applause alone will do.  

# Those who opposed me demonstrated their superior fire power time and again. Each time I proved to all that I was better than them at  managing the resources of the commons. It was no contest, I won hands down every time. 

 

# All these revivals and turnarounds under me were achieved without any cash infusiton from outside and without retrenchiing a single worker. These turnarounds happened so quickly and almost, as it appeared, inevitably, that I received some friendly advice not to make it look so easy but  to spread it out over a longer period! Today I am confident of turning around any organization which is not yet certified dead. But there are no takers. It is the ethical baggage I carry that dissuades them. The Government of India considered my name for heading HMT, which is very small and very sick, - turnover for the first two quarters of 2012-13  is Rs. 84 cr. with a loss of Rs. 53cr.,  but somebody  decided against it, perhaps for fear I would actually turn it around! The company  has some prime lands. I could have revived it without breaking a sweat. I was at the top of my form and I had gained momentum from the skills developed by my successes. I could have added another Rs 10, 000cr. to the national wealth in the next 10 years. But the ethical tag blackballed me. 

 

# I am presentling my achievements somewhat  prominently also because without these my ethics would not be taken seriously at all. What right would I have to talk of ethical successes if I did not have any or if having had  such successes, I did not write about them. Then I would be no different from a professor of ethics, and a poor one at that! The men of power, wealth, or long experience would smile disdainfully, and remark that what I talked about was something out of cloud cuckoo land. These successes will make clear that ethical management did win astounding victories in their own fields. And unlike them I did all this without any possibility of becoming wealthy or personally successful  or any sort of reward , in fact against opposition. A system of values  which can do this is surely superior to their money and chair driven exertions. It is worth a respectful look. In fact let me say it without ambiguity. Ethical management can make India a country great in wealth and material prosperity. The present policy driven administration or even creating a broad highway for the  free market  can never do this. 

 

# There is  nothing personal in  the hostility I faced.  It is a characteristic of our public life which  in some form or essence, is repeated in hundreds and thousands of cases, every day, somewhere or the other in our country. If I was the only person who had ever experienced this,  then this story would not be worth narrating.  This hostility among the powerful   towards  ethical action  is all pervasive in our country and  has kept India weak, divided and forever hobbled with conflict , controversies and factions. Our human capabilities of brain, heart and soul entitle India and its people to a far  better life than the obscene wealth, middle class angst and grinding poverty of the masses that we now see.

# But there are some basic decencies in India. This  must be conceded. If you have succeeded  ethically and increased the  the common wealth, then, other than being shifted out,  you will not be harrassed. No matter how many powerful persons you may have upset, they will not try to damage you after you have left. I was never harrassed in any way after my dramatic departures. I ascribe this to our culture. Indian culture is very forgiving. It pardons incompetence and even corruption. For those who successfully fought for others and paid the price, it has the highest regards although this is never expressed. One can act independently within the government if one is  willing to be pushed around. But none will carry a vendetta against  you. Those who point to the impossibility of acting freely withn the government are wrong. There is more freedom to act in the government than in the private sector.   

 

#Everyone wishes to be ethical but most give up when they see the frowning face of Authority. I was stubborn and kept an unwavering ethical keel. But ours is no country for  bold men. Ideals die young here.

 

# There are  two fundamental realities that face India today. Both these are contained in my experiences. My book revolves around these. This is why it is so important for every thinking Indian to read or at least know about my experiences.  The first reality  is that all of our difficulties can be convertd into opportunities by an ethical approach  in which success  is certain and failure impossible. The other fundamental reality we face  is that the ethical approach will be opposed tooth and nail by today's leadership. This is  the tragedy  India faces. Every thing else follows from these two fundamentals. 

 

# It is a tragic scene we behold.  Great hopes lie suppressed and anger sweeps the land.  Mother India distraught and weeping, her children cheated and deceived, hopes betrayed, promises broken.  But within this cathartic scene  lie the seeds  of a different  future, a brighter better future, a future where we become what we were meant to be, just as a seed has within it the capability of a giant oak.  We just have to break the chains which imprison us. Only ethical leadership will do this.

 

# The ethical engine is powered forward by a scientific ratio and not traditional morality. Ethics works on an understanding of human motivation. Ethical management releases man's suppressed capabilities. That is how its amazing victories are won. It is not becasue of the personal  skills or ability of the leader in performing field tasks better than any of his employees. They are capable of doing it far better than him. He only opens the locks that hold us back and brings out the hidden capabilites of each team member. An ethical leader is one who uses this scientific ethics with courage and single minded dedication towards the organizational peak performance. The ethical leader has the courage to face those stronger than him.  Moreover the ethical is prepared to  to suffer personal setbacks in the defence of his organization's interest. This is essential, for without this he cannot be called ethical and will definitely fail. The failure in Indian leadership is largely here. No one is prepared to take a stand which may endanger his future prospects and anger those who could help or harm him. With this attitude one may as well hand cuff oneself and hand over the key to your controllers. This is what the Indian bueaucracy has largely done. The ethical leader always sees himself as free to do whatever is good for the organization and public interest and not in violation of  government policy as long as he has powers to do so. If he has the power he will not ask anyone  Except in the rare cases, the ethical leader will find the keys to the organization's revival and make it happen INVARIABLY.  An ethical leader never fails. If he fails, it means he has not scientifically applied ethics here.  He was  therefore not ethical in this particular case. It must be repeated that ethical is a term for describing a scientific approach to organizational revival by motivating its employees. It is not a term describing a traditionally moral person. No adverse personal  judgement is implied by calling a person unethical. Such persons could display all those qualities which in society's eyes make him a good person.  It is similar to saying he is not scientific in his professional work.  A gardener will not be called a good gardener if his plants are in a poor shape. A heart surgeon will not be called a good heart surgeon if his patients have a high mortality rate. The same way, a  leader cannot be called ethical if he fails. To repeat, an ethical leader NEVER fails in the task alotted to him as long as he remains ethical.  Because of powerful opposition, he may be removed before he completes the task but that is not failure. Even during the time he was there, people will say he was successful. So when we talk of an ethical leader, it is a very exclusive club we are talking about. Perhaps the most exclusive in the world ! This is not hubris. In fact, it is very far from it. An ethical is condemned to walk alone, facing the slings and arrows of an outraged elite. But ethicals are self appointed. No application form is required to join this club. Any person holding any position of power and responsibility can become ethical by just deciding to be so. His capabilities will increase many fold immediately though he will become more vulnerable to the anger of the powerful unethicals. I always knew that many persons, who being unethical and consequently unable to achieve successes like mine, were inherently more capable than me and could have surpassed mehad they turned ethical.

 

# The ethical leader  continuously seeks ethical directions. Ethics then tells him  what must be done, never what should not be done. Unlike the traditionally moral person who defines himself as moral by the wrongs he did not commit, the ethical person sees himself as ethical because of the positive things he did. The traditionally moral person rejects wrong doing because of the fear of adverse consequences to him personally including lower self esteem. The ethical goes ahead to do the right things, as revealed to him by ethical direction seeking, even while being aware of theharm that may result to him personally because of it. So there is a world of difference between a traditionally moral person, otherwise known as  the honest and intelligent person, on the one hand , and the true ethical. The ethical does not try to please the powerful and  does not even not try not to displease the powerful. He assumes that organizational success under him would please them and organization weaknesses would displease them. The fact that this is not so does not change his behaviour. Belief in a moral world is not an option. This belief is not a reflection of the world  as it exists. It is a transformational vision which will create a moral world within the radius of his control. This ethical world that he creates around him is successful in all its organizational goals. Practical success is not at the cost of ethics but because of it.

 

# Being ethical refers to the purity of the effort put into ethical action. As long as you pursue ethical goals day to day  in your professional area of striving, you are ethical. Being ethical does not require long years of meditation and self denial or any such discipline. As long as your efforts are ethical, you are an ethical. An unethical person can turn ethical in a day if he so decides. The first person to know if you are ethical is yourself. Later others will come to know. Your being ethical will be known to others by two distinguishing features. First you will be successful in your professional endeavours, winning the trust of your stake holders. Second necessary condition is that you will have powerful enemies, usually among those who legally own the organization. Opposition of complete ousiders is trivial and does not count.

 

# The ethical is identified by his record of what he has done and not by what he intends to do or what he feels is worthwhile doing. After a thing is done it will be added to his tally. This simple filter will keep out all the advisory experts, thinkers and policy planners and other busy bodies who keep talking about what should be done. They should be asked- What did you do/are doing when you occupied/are occupying  a seat of authority? And who were the powerful persons in your own establishments (those in the opposite camp  do not count) who opposed you? What, you had good relations  with all  those that matter and none among the powerful, particularly those who appointed  you, opposed you?  Sorry, you  were not an ethical.

# Let me anchor this assertion in today's reality so that the reader will appreciate its validity. The IPL betting scandal has dismayed millions of cricketing fans in India. Most people know it has been going on for quite some time. If an ethical with some authority  in the BCCI or IPL or the Ministry of Sports or one of the players had raised a red flag and instituted  some effective checks on the players movements and phone calls during the playing season, and a low key but effective vigilance and made it repeatedly clear to them in friendly counselling sessions the red lines which should not be crossed, then this scandal would have been nipped in the bud. The ethical who did these things would have faced the opposition of many powerful persons. This opposition would have come even from top cricketers and other commentators and they would have been furiously attacking the ethical. QED. Those in the establishment who did not attract powerful opposition, as  they repeatedly failed to  red flag  this desease,  were unethical. I do not recall any person within the cricketing establishment who attracted the open enmity of the powerful as he/she used his/her legitimate authority to put some genuine fear into those who would otherwise be prone to indulge in such activities. I would have done this if I was in such a position. The Police are excluded as they are not a part of the cricketing establishment. The conclusion is that everyone, yes everyone, within the cricketing establishment was unethical. This is what I mean by saying that if you are not ethical when the situation calls for it, then you are unethical. But I did not know about it, no one brought it to my notice, they will reply. It was their job to know about it by a proactive investigative audit.  

 

# There is the Primary Ethical who pursues the ethical path  regardless of opposition and personal setbacks. He is able to influence and convert to ethical behaviour  those over whom he is in some position of authority. These Secondary Ethicals  turn ethical only if someone in a position of power over them  behaves ethically. In any society the number of Primary Ethicals is very small but almost everyone is potentially a Secondary Ethical. In time, some of these Secondary Ethicals will turn into Primary Ethicals. The number of Primary Ethicals in any society  is directly proportional to the desire of that society to progress ethically. Only a Primary Ethical can stand up to the opposition of persons stronger than him. A secondary ethical cannot do so unless he works under a Primary Ethical. On his own he will quickly fold.

# A philosopher had said - "Mankind always  takes up only such problems  as it can solve; since, looking at the matter more closely, we will always find that the problem itself arises only whenthe material conditions necessary for its solution already exist or are at least in the proceess of formation."  We never take up a problem that cannot be solved. Nobody tries to revive a man who has been  dead for a month. Today it is impossible to turnaround  a factory which used to make tape recorders except if some new  technology has developed which produces a superior product. That is why any organization which is capable or was once capable of serving a useful social or economic purpose of the present day can be revived. This applies with greater force where a new plant is set up. Nothing that is worth doing is impossible. The conditions for its success already exist. But the solutions will not come to us on a plattter. It has to be sought  ethically, that is scientifically. By scientific I do not mean exclusivley physics, chemistry  and thermodynamics but the scientific approach of pursuing cause and effect relationships, even while searching for human motivations. The forces that shape this world have an intelligence that pose only those problems to us that we can tackle. Nothing we wish to do, provided it is an intelligent wish, is impossible. But courage is required, and stamina. Consequently any failure to achieve success is entirely becuase of the limitations of the person leading the effort. We are judged harshly  for failure. History is a pitiless judge. This philosophic insight is one of the profoundest in philosophy. It is a trumpet of  hope to rouse those who are dejected and tired, lost and directionless. What is even more heartening is that the revived organization is different and better than what it was before the crises. The Hegelian dialectic of thesis, antithesis and synthesis is at work. The world we live in is potentially capable of infinite improvement. But this improvement requires the ethical and does not happen by itself. The ethical will be in charge only if society has faith in the transforming power of ethics. Thus only societies which believe in ethics can progress.

# This reality of a solution being implicit in a situation, which is seen as a problem,  resides not only in organizational situations but also in individual enterprises and initiatives. In real life, individuals, even the most daring ones,  will set themselves only such tasks which are intuitively seen to be possible. Our inbuilt intelligence and expereience of the world of objective reality will tell each one of us what it is that we can wish for if we are to act on this wish in the near future and if our wish is not mere day dreaming without any intention to act. Such day dreaming will have no  limits.  None of us will ever begin to act on an enterprise which our logic and knowledge tells us is impossible. Usnain Bolt will not seriously aim at doing the 100m dash in 8 seconds. But any worthwhile enterprise will call from us a commitment to bring into play our full mental , physical and nervous stamina and perseverence. While beginning any such enterprise we will keep in mind the possibility of an initial lack of success. But if we are convinced it can be humanly done, we will see such failure as resulting from some inadequacy on our part, some effort which was not properly directed. As we are committed to the success of the enterprise, the effort suitably modified in light of the feed back, will be relaunched successively till success is achieved. Anything we set ourselves to do, can be done. But depending on how noble and enlightened the effort, so much will it demand from  us of our effort. The only requirement for an enterprise  to succeed is the commitment from the executor to deploy of his effort, whatever it takes. The more daring and risk taking  the person, the more effort  will he demand of himself as he takes on that which challenges him. Daring means this quality of demanding more from oneself. It is definitley not fool hardiness. What looks risky to others does not appear so to the risk taker. To him not taking on this effort is the real risk, a risk to the organization or the cause he serves. This is the risk he is not willing to take. People see his action  as a risk because it is  something they would not do, being unwilling to put in the all out effort and thereby face failure. But the person who pledges his entire effort to the task undertaken  does not see it as a risk. The risk arises only when you undertake a task without committing all your resources to it. So I confidently assert - Nothing is impossible if you really wish to do it. This is a scientific principle.  

# Let me explain what I mean by failure. Failure is the unwillingness to pursue an ethical effort. It does not specifically describe the result. In fact there cannot be a failure resulting from an ethical effort. Success is defined as the result of an ethical effort. Whatever emerges out of an ethical effort will be seen by the employees, stakeholders and the common people as success. An ethical effort can never fail in this sense. We are not celebrating the bitch-goddesss Success. We are celebrating a consistent ethical effort and calling it success. The objective results of such an effort will always surpass the best of corporate performances which are held up as the models. But an ethical effort by one person may surpass that by another in identical circumstances. I readily concede that the natural  abilities most of my colleagues in the IAS being greater than mine, they would have done better than me in each of my assignment had they turned ethical to the extent I did. But in an ethical effort, there is no permissible quota for wrong doing. "I will allow some transgression - a transfer, a financial assistance, some commercial favor, and similar things only when the pressure become too much or if i will suffer by not doing it. Other than this I will be firm as a rock. This is the last, positively the last time. Yes, the last time ,dammit !. After this it will be a firm no." Sorry, this wont do though it is very common as most readers will recognize. Even a drop of poison is not allowed in the milk we drink.  

# The choices decision makers in India face is not between agriculture or industry , between social equity or material progress, between tribal rights or development, between forst conservation or coal and mineral extraction, between fiscal prudence or pro poor programs or any of the involved debates which occupy the time of our leadership. It is between taking an ethical path or persisting with the unethical practices of least resistance. The unethical approach will see problems that will tie us into perpetual debates. The ethical effort will reveal solutions that will propel us into perpetual and meaningful actions. A conversion to ethics will liberate the energies and potential of millions of people. This is the real choice. Most of the present discussions on policies are pointless and gives precedence to the talkers, pen pushers and seat warmers who are the least productive agents. Let each decision maker choose ethics and then the solutions will follow.  

 

# It is a difficult path the ethical walks on and he always walks alone. Those who benefited under him did so because of ethical environment he created in the organization. He obliged no one personally. As the friendships between the men and women of influence  usually begins and is sustained by the giving and taking material  favors, though rarely of a directly monetary nature, the ethical has no friends among the powerful and influential. Each one of them knows that they will get whatever is rightly due to them so there is no need to cultivate him; they will never get what they are not entitled to, so let us keep clear of him.  But he is no mystic or a lotus eater  who has withdrawn from life. Quite the contrary. He is passionately interested in improving the real world around him. He walks alone because this is the way to deliver the maximum benefits to those he leads.

 

# In a society where succcess itself is defined as winning the goodwill of the powerful, the rich and the well connected, an ethical role in the running of business would invite ridicule. That is why the ethical role has so few supporters except among the weak and the vulnerable who  benefit  most from it. Today management literature reserves its highest accolades for those exhibiting  a quality  called 'leadership'. Earlier this term was used for those who had earned it fighting for others on behalf of some cause.  A  leader was seen as someone who took risks for those he led. Now the businessmen and executives, who have no intention of taking risks on behalf of anyone, definitely not for the weak,   have jumped in and have appropriated this term. But this 'leadership' is by the strong and for the strong. These golf players and frequent flyers will never fight for the weak, so how do they call themselves leaders? This term is now nothing but a euphemism for a sugar coated aggression and greed, making symbolic concessions to corporate social responsibility. The real corporate responsibility is for the management to be ethical. A leadership for the weak and vulnerable, which is what ethical leadership is, would be dismissed without comment among today's business heads and management thinkers. To them such leadership is reserved for the trade unions, NGOs and the Mother Theresas. But the weak and the vulnerable need the ethical in their daily economic  life, having no one else to lead them and so many to mislead them. To me that was good enough reason to be ethical. There is a vacancy for good men here. The management field is crawling with leaders for the strong  and well off. There is a shortage of leaders for the weak and the vulnerable. So I decided to pitch my tent here.

 

# It is the defeated side the ethical joins.  They are defeated, but not destroyed. Defeated  because abandoned, but being  yet worthy, must  be restored. To use a term our business experts will understand, the returns here are far greater. And if you fight for a lost cause, you do not have to fight off others who are after that chair. They will stake a claim, but only after the organization has come back to health and your work is over. 

 

# The ethical leader sets up systems wherein all are treated fairly and their strengths utilized.  In a socially unjust set up the weak and the vulnerable find themselves patronized at best and marginalized usually. They are excluded from the benefits due to them. In an ethical arrangement, they would get their dues without discrimination and treated as complete human beings entitled to respect. But the ethical leader is not a spokesman for sectional interests. The arrangements he sets up benefit the organization and all its stakeholders fairly.

 

# The material in this book is not Prahlad, Porter or Peters . They worked for rich corporations and in the process became rich. It is not Paul Coelho though there may be a superficial resemblance; he too became rich preaching of the mystical loner who shuns wealth and comfort. It is not, God forbid, Chetan Bhagat. None of them actually turned around a corporation and were far too intelligent to have worked against powerful interests. In fact they made men of wealth and power feel good about themselves portraying them as historical agents of modernization and change or even heroic Ayn Rand characters - the man of destiny silhouetted against a dull, disinterested and greedy world. (To Ayn Rand I would say, I did more than what your heroes did but did it  for altruistic reasons, so that leaves your philosophy in shambles! There can be altruism among the powerful. But perhaps Ayn Rand would have replied that doing a good deed increases our self worth and so it too is a selfish act. I would agree with her on that. )  There are no management terms here in the book. This is not even a self help book. On the contrary! In fact,  the book may convince you to act in a manner prejudicial to your own material self interest, though it may liberate your soul from a meaningless existence. It will not help you in your career, get ahead in life or even get along with people. The steps outlined here will align powerful persons  against you. This book will appear foolish to those who have done well materially  in their lives or wish to do well and even to those drones ( the vast majority among the well placed - about 90%), who are without any driving ambitions and just desire to live pleasantly and safely. 

 

#     What is in this book is heady stuff and not for them. They espouse the self serving belief that a person holding a position of power and influence can be ethical without coming into conflict with the powerful and without making any sacrifice in one's career. This belief is wrong and the book will show why. What is written here would destroy their self image which has been so carefully built up on such ratioanalizations. It would taste of gall and wormwood to them.  But if you are different and  relish the whiff of danger in the pursuit of a good cause and feel  thought  intoxicated by  a  " possibility beyond already existing reality ", and are prepared to fight for those who cannot pay you back and those you do not know, and accept losses and personal defeats on the way,  and are a patriot in the true sense  of being "one who tries to make his country worthy of his love", then read on, read on. This book may be for you.

# A patriot is one who tries to make his country worthy of his love. This is the finest definition of a patriot. Let me explain. The poet had asked

                        Breathes there the man with a soul so dead,

                         Who never to himself hath said,

                          This is my own, my native land? 

  Every one loves his country but the real patriot recognizes there are blemishes and imperfections. Most of these he cannot remove but he does not see or even experience the whole country. He sees only  that Little India which he experiences  and sees daily. A small part of this Liittle India is within his control. This he/she can improve and this is the only real expression of patriotism for any individual. His love is expressed in wanting to improve that whixch he loves.  A school teacher has with her those thirty or so children for a few hours every day whose minds she tries to open up. This is her Little India which she can influence and improve. A mother looks after her children the best she can. The soldier guards that bit of the border he is asked to defend. A company CEO cannot improve the entire country but he has power to strengthen his company. This is the only way he can show  his patriotism. A thespian, if he is good at his craft, can recall to us those qualities we  the audience had forgotten and fortify our resolve to live better lives with courage. A doctor too by treating his patients with the utmost dedication  improves that Little India he has control over. Each one of us can be a patriot regardless of what is happening in the rest of the country. What happens in the rest of the country cannot prevent each one of us from being patriotic this way. In fact the worse the situation elsewhere, the more urgently one has to work.  But patriotism has to be exhibited in your main professional field by doing your best to improve that little patch of land you nurture, tha Little India around you. This inevitably leads to adopting ethical principles as this is how the optimum results are obtained. To be a patriot one has to be ethical   in one's professional  life. If you are ethical in your professional life, it means you are contributing the maximum to your country through your professional  work; you are a patriot  and nothing more is to be done to show your patriotism. Being ethical is a necessary and sufficient condition for patriotism. Giving macro analyses and policy panaceas for our ills is sham patriotism. Same goes for waving flags and singing patriotic songs while acting unethically in one's professional assignment. But this real patriotism is a hazardous vocation. That is why real patriots are rare.

 

# The Indian middle class is angry with the corruption within the government. The agitations are being waged in the Indian streets and maidans to win the heart and mind of every Indian. My journey was different but perhaps more hazardous and lonely. I worked for thirty five years within the government and, against powerful opposition, revived more than a dozen organizations, including nine commercial ones. I was a rebel within the government and displayed more courage than those who left the government and now speak from public platforms. My successedid not require me to atttack anyone, I only defended myself against the enraged attacks of the unethical powers. I accused none of wrongdoing, preferring to clean up and then prevent further wrongs. I left no victims in my wake. It was victors I created. The governments can be reformed only by more efforts like mine, from within and not from outside. The agitations on the street will create not one additional grain of food or an extra  unit of industrial production. In fact it may slow down enterprise. It is only persons like me working and taking risks for the public interest within the fortifications of power who have brought about real change in institutions. But it is more thrilling to attack people and this attracts more support than what I did.

 

# But there is one positive aspect to what the movement against corruption is doing. The powerful forces who earlier were in the vanguard in attacking an  ethical like me will now be under attack themselves. The ethical will find his main foe considerably weakened. The ethical would now  have greater freedom to act within the government. In addition, now that the convention among  the corrupt of not attacking each other is also not in place, they will be exposing each other which is a very good thing.

 

# Ethical leadership and management are not being proposed anywhere as alternative paths out of the country's ills. To most men of power and influence in India, an ethical success is a cure worse than the desease. Looking at an ethical success  they would, like King Pyrrhus say - " A few more victories like this and we shall be utterly ruined." For them the price paid by the powerful is too high. It is not a victory but a defeat for them. The left hand side of the ethical  menu delivered wonderful fare but the right hand side payment bankrupted them.

 

# Let me give a logical demonstration of this  absurdity. If removing corruption,  but without bringing in ethical  functioning, saves the organization x amount, then ethical  functioning would create an additional benefit of 10x, with a bonus of zero corruption thrown in free. Yet  everyone froths at the mouth against corruption but no one is championing ethical  leadership. Similarly  those who expose scams are rated higher than the ethical who may have revived an organization creating huge additional wealth  and, as a biproduct, wiping out corruption completely. I am unknown while the anti corruption campaigners are folk heroes. A benefit of x is preferred to 11x! It appears illogical  beyond belief. It is not illiogical  but a carefully thought out reaction of those  in power. The benefits of  ethical  functioning would go to the organization but it would stop their cash flow and leverage  completely and that is why they oppose it. For this very reason the common people must support it. They do not do so because the common man mistakenly equates mere  honesty and intelligence to ethics. An honest and intelligent officer is capable of being unethical and siding with the powerful without taking any material benefits. He  covers up the wrongdoings of the powerful or he pretends he does not see it even though it looms up in front of him like the Himalayas. He frequently does this and that is how the government functions because a government composed 100% of the corrupt could not possibly function. They would cheat each other and the illegal work could not be done. They need the honest, hardworking and intelligent officers to provide the justification and respectability, do the paper work and defend the decision. This is a sort of partnership! Such honest and intelligent persons insist only on one thing - that the proposed action has the tacit approvel at  the top. The number of corrupt persons in the government is comparatively small. Most persons in the government are honest and intelligent but not ethical, lacking the courage required. An ethical person is prepared to stand up against the powerful on behalf of the public interest. Only ethical persons benefit society.

# Contrary to the common understanding, the proportion of the actively corrupt in  government organizations overall is not high. I would put it at 5% though in some notorious offices it may be higher. The identity of the  corrupt officers and staff is known to those who make payments, the middlemen who arrange it and also to the honest officials in that office even if they are not officially caught. The rest of the employees are the ones who are honest and intelligent but unethical. They are the mainframe or flywheel which keeps things happening and gives an air of normalcy and business as usual. Their motions not only help cover up corruption but more important, allows the predominantly unethical acts which are done in government offices to go ahead. Unlike the corrupt, the uethicals are never identified, or exposed. They have a squeeky clean image. It is these persons who are the real stars in government non functioning. They cause more damage than the corrupt officials. An ethical organization head like me can convert both these groups into ethical functioning within days at the helm.

# The honest unethical does not see any danger from the corrupt elements in the office provided these corrupt elements observe decencies and are outwardly  respectful to the honest unethicals. This requirement is always met as the corrupt are usually most friendly and respectful. The corrupt official sees himself as an entrepreneur working within the government providing much needed services to the needy. He works very hard, service with a smile is his motto. The corrupt and even more , the honest unethical, see the ethical in their midst as the common foe. The ethical can control the organization if he heads it and then the corrupt and the unethicals will fall in line; if not, he is toast. But as the chief, his opposition will come not from inside the organization but from the outside, from the powerful who are thus excluded.         

# More than corruption, the real damage in the government is the wastage in unproductive schemes and worse, in not taking advantage of the great opportunities which an ethical eye would spot and convert into practical achievements. Compared to these, the loss because of corruption is negligible. That is why instead of trying to remove corruption, the nation should encourage ethical leaders. Merely trying to remove corruption is like spraying an overdose of pesticide on a flowering  field. It may kill the pests but will also remove the fertility of the soil. It will sap initiative in organizations just as excessive pesticides kill the micro organisms in the soil. New and even more deadly pests will emege against which the normal pesticides ( or anti corruption measures )will have no effect. Morality would be reduced to a method. Follow the laid down procedures and, whatever the out come, the process is acceptable. Bureaucratic rigidity would be established and and following a methodology  of decision making would vindicate  the effort. Rules and procedures would be paramount. The results would be secondary. This is already happening. Ministers defend a decision by narrating all the steps which were taken and how everybody was consulted. They never give the logic of the decision and explain the benefits of it. "Based on the relevant opinions, the Committee met and took the decision and all laid down procedures were followed. so what is wrong with it?" they ask plaintively. The objective  oriented dynamism is being  lost. No decision should be justified by the procedure followed to arrive at it. The tail cannot wag the dog. The decision must first be arrived at, preferably by the person who is to implement it. Only then should  the procedure be followed to implemnment it should be gone through. The procedural aspect requires the least brains, it is mechanical work,  and yet the skill  in  this is what is accorded the highest respect in the government.  The ethical approach would be a casualty in a system of mindless rule bound compliance which is what the movement will lead to. This movement will seriously crimp decision making and slow it down in the sands of procedures. This movement assumes that removing corruption is enough. At present corruption provides some incentive to work. With this also gone, things will come to a stand still as people sit back and play safe.  The ethical incentive is a thousand times more powerful than that of corruption. This is what needs to be brought in.

 

# The techno solution providers, sensing good business opportunities, will suggest IT as a painless way to cut corruption and wrongdoing. Information technology will be effective but only at the cutting edge level. To the customer or beneficiary, wrongdoing  would appear to have vanished. But it may have just travelled upwards and become invisible. It  is also likely to get much bigger. Corruption and wrongdoing which was earlier more democratically spread among the subalterens  will now be the preserve of  higher functionaries. Aided and covered up by technology, it is far more dangerous. A similar effect is seen in tightly controlled near dictatorial  regimes with surveillance by  the party cadre and/or police. Here too corruption and wrongdoing moves upwards and the citizen experiences corruption free and efficient functioning of public services. But it  has merely But it  has merely expanded and become invisible to public scrutiny. The corruption, or rather,  what is worse, a state business nexus, takes the form of giving away the public rights to the commonwealth of land, what is under the land, air, sea, beaches, coast, water , the electro magnetic spectrum, access to common paths and other misappropriation of public interests. The citizen ends up paying, not in the form of bribes, but  in the form of  having to pay for what was earlier nominally priced, cutting back of social services and higher prices for essentials including power, unfair working conditions and low wages, and curtailment of fundamental rights, police surveillance  etc. This model will fail as people realise the corruption and exploitation  from which it draws its fuel. All development has to be of the people. This model cannot accept this. As my experience in Gujarat showed, it is intolerant of an ethical functioning within it. Like many autocracies, it may win elections but this model is anti democratic in spirit, and serves the interests of the economically dominant classes; all achievements are ascribed to The Leader who thereby acquires the status of a economic wizard. As I proved in Gujarat itself, the ethical approach is immeasurably superior to this model. 

 

# Most failures in the public field are the result of ethical failures by the leadership. Similarly, ethical  leadership ensures successes. By leadership is meant potentially every one of those who hold positions of authority/control over organizations. In this group are included the Prime Minister, Chief Minister and other Ministers but also the higher civil service and those in decision making positions in the public and private sectors. All those who have some control over an organization's or a  nation's resources are a part of the leadership I talk about. The Prime Minister or Chief Minister or other Ministers, Cabinet Secretary, Chief Secretary cannot be blamed for my failure to run my organization properly. These failures, wherever they occur are individual failures of character and not policy failures. What is the point in changing policy? Yet in every discussion one hears of,  the talk is about what policy changes are required to deal with organizational failures and  corruption. In other words, it is the fault of the system! Please do not point the finger at me even though I head the organization which is underperforming !  This is an attempt to shirk one's own responsibility which requires one to act independently while esponsibility which requires one to act independently while sitting in a seat of authority. In every organization there are unnecessary costs and neglected opportunities for benefits which is the duty of the CEO to exploit and the politician has nothing to do with it. Even if, and particularly if, the politician opposes such measures for improvement, the ethical leader should press on regardless. I saw myself as working not for the political leader  but for the people he led. All the conflicts I faced grew out of this choice.

## Very often individual failures of our functional leadership are aggregated and shown as a new entity, as a collective failure. One such measure that is frequently talked about now is the fiscal deficit. For the common man's understanding, the fiscal deficit is the amount by which the government's income falls short of its expenditure. Today it is high at around 5.5%. This fiscal deficit is treated as some mysterious economic or monetary  force which which springs up independently. We frequently see the grave and anxious faces of our finance boffins as they srtruggle with this problem. But the fiscal deficit is not their creation and the solution is also not in their hands. The fiscal deficit is the counterpart of the ethics deficit among leadership. A thousand ethicals like me in positions of functional leadership in the field could bring down India's fiscal deficit to a level consistent with future growth and social objectives. The wastage and corruption which bloat up government expenditure would vanish. At the same time income due to the government and profits of companies too would rise with coresponding increase in inflow into official treasuries. Let me show how. During my time as Commissioner Cottage Industies, a large number of bogus handloom  societies were weeded out. Out of 1050 societies, only 95 survived  our field inspections. The rest, 955 0f them, found to be fictitious, were derecognized and barred from further assistance. This was perhaps the most comprehensive  cull, in Indian administrative history, of those zombie units which consume development funds.  The amount saved was comparatively small compared to the huge scams now reportedly happening in the more 'advanced' sectors of the economy. The profits of all my companies rose, adding to the government's income. And so on ...

# The fiscal deficit is a respectable term, a sort of mask, an alias for something never admitted , something disreputable and always hidden, the elephant in the room. And that something is the ethics deficit. It is an unpleasant reality every one expereiences, like the stink of untreated sewage never  talked about and countered by burning agarbatties, but which in economic terms  has such a massive impact on people's lives. Not only does ethics deficit explain our failures but ethical management could show us the way out into greater economic well being and greater equity for all our people. Yet no economist or management thinker talks about ethics as the solution. It must be repeated ad nauseum that removing corruption alone is not the answer and that honesty and intelligence is not the same as ethics.

# The fiscal deficit is not a real independent condition but is the statistical  manifestation on the public finances of  the ethics deficit among the powerful. If the government wants the fiscal deficit to reduce, it should ask all important leaders and officials and also the private sector to become more ethical. They should be asked not to follow whispered sugggestions but to seek direections independently like I did.

# For a government to ask its citizens to tighten the belt of fiscal discipline, without the government subjecting itself to ethical discipline , is immoral. The poor  who benefit from pro poor programs, and the middle calss who use public services, are being asked tp pick up the tab for the waste and corruption by  the powerful, which is what the fiscal deficit is. If the government had been ethically disciplined, there would have been no need for fiscal discipline and the fiscal deficit would vanish.

# Most of what are seen as macro issues or Problems Facing the Nation is a shorthand to describe the conditions which result from  innumerable ethical failures in the field. But their ethical origin and solution is deliberatly hidden. Instead it is handed over to academicians and experts who make a living talking about it. A real concrete situation, arising out of some human weakness, develops in the field from a leadership weakness. It is then agggregated over an entire region by mindless statisticians and presented as a brand new abstract entity which then becomes "a problem" existing only at the national macro level. Once this happens there is now a new national abstract problem which justifies the creation of a new department at the national or state level and this creates opening for experts to move in. The real work to be done in the field is given a makeover to show it cannot be tackled in the field but must have "a wholistic approach which recognizes backward and forward linkages etc". Policies need to be framed for which a whole battery of policy makers arrive in town. The discussions which now take place are too complex to be understood by an ordinary person. If an intelligent villager were to walk into one of  the chambers of the government planners where his situation was being discussed, (this is mst unlikely as he would not be allowed anywhere near),  he would not understand a thing. Much of what is discussed is reality converted to a high level of abstraction, like Plato's shadows on the wall of the cave,  with many acronyms and other esoteric terms having only the vaguest resemblance to reality. This purely abstract entity, "the problem', is seen as something real through a proces of reification. It is this reified thing which is now talked about.  Something in the field which should have directly been solved in the first instance has now become a full blown national problem which will be unrecognizable to those who experiences it at first hand. The experts and the joint secretaries who can do nothing about it, take it over and they will talk about it in a language nobody in the real world will understand. This is the intention and not accidental. This ends up convincing the common people that "The Problems Facing the Nation" are very complex indeed which is beyond their understanding. An entire school of expertise grows around these abstract issues and they guard their turf furiously. There are today experts on drinking water, poverty, environment, forests , corruption fiscal deficit and a host of other ills that beset mankind. This would b OK if they were out in the field successfully tackling these ills. But they sit in Delhi and other state capitals making presentations in conferences.

# These challenges are shown as complex. Nothing could be further from the truth. The solutions are difficult but not complex; just as farming is difficult but not complex and financial jugglery is complex but not difficult. It is the heart and not the brain that is required to tackle the challenges that we face. A willingness to struggle continouously in the field with all its uncertainties can find solutions to these challenges. My book describes a field oriented method to find solutions by seeking directions autonomously which is the polar opposite of the centralised system now prevailing. It is this determination to ignore the ethical way that is stunting our nation. Our government is an entity whose head has grown very large but whose limbs are withered for lack of use. Its leaders are looking at screens and pressing buttons which are not connected to the real world. I am not making the trite observation that our schemes and plans are good but the implementation is where we are weak. I am saying something else entirely. It is that planning and devising schemes cannot be a separate activity from implementing it. The person who plans must also implement it with accountability for success or failure. The person at the spot must be the one who designs the schemes. This huge head which is a malevolent presence shadowing the exuberance of forces in the field must be drastically shrunk. Those who sit in the country's over centralized  capitals looking so intelligent, crafting all these elaborate schemes with convincing presentaions and talks, must be given the task of implementing whatever they have formulated. In hunting this would be equivalent to insisting that the person must eat whatever he shoots; subject to this , you can shoot anything!  In one stroke you will make the Indian government machinery accountable. Which is why this suggestion will be savagely ridiculed, asssuming it is at all taken seriously. It will create panic among those who look so smug today, bemoaning the lack of implementation. The person who implements it will have the motivation for it only if he/she is the person crafting it. But this move will turn upside down the hierarchy which governs us which is  built on the principle that the man of intelligence does not get his hands dirty with stuff in the field. This belief is what makes possible the exploitation in our society. It also explains why the government consistently  underperforms. There needs to be a massive decentralization of functioanl powers. Only the very broad directional strategies and policies should radiate from the centre. The problem of implementation will vanish.

# But the difficulties  for those sitting in those Bhavans in Delhi and their equivalent in state capitals would grow to their proper size. Making field problems into abstract entities allows them to be  discussed in a relaxed environment where  solutions are found in centralized establishments. Here analytical and verbal skills are more important than nerve, guts and character. These old fashioned virtues are needed by an ethical who functions in the field. This reification of complex real world situations into elegant cerebral entities makes it seem all so easy. Development of this great country is made to look so easy by those who have the symbolic and analytical skills and the administrative  footwork to get postings in the capital ciites of our country. They have, with a clever and dishonest trick, made that which  calls for the highest ethical dedication and risk taking commitment - the revival of our country,  into a facile and facetious skill. Our countrymen,  who respect that which they cannot understand, assume that  the convoluted phrases emanating from our officials must be an accurate description of the complex state of affairs. Let me tell them there is nothing complex about field and organizational development. It is difficult but not complex. It does not need so many office workers in Delhi . Can anyone tell me what  that huge Krishi Bhavan and other similar establishments are doing in Delhi ? Just creating work for each other. If they were all to be wound up, national development would not only not suffer but would actually speed up. These Bhavans could  be converted into hotels for the middle classes.

# Let me explain what I mean by saying situations in the field are difficult but not complex. If we at any time try to look at the entire world, or a country or  a state or even a village and try to propose solutions, and we try to do it from a study table or office, its complexity will defeat us. But in our real indivdual lives we are not required to do this. At any particualr time, when we stand facing a specific situation in the field, the solution is obvious. We are not dealing with the entire macro picture but with a situation which our instinctive knowledge allows us to understand. What needs to be done stands with a demanding clarity before us. No detailed discussions are required. If there are uncertainties, these will not be solved by discussions and 'further studies' (a phrase beloved by time wasters and bureacrats) but by taking the first approximate steps and making changes with the 'eye on the ball'. We must think on our feet and not on our seat. Thinking follows action and not the other way round. In this action mode, the quality of our effort improves incrementally. Sitting in the office we see problems, in the field we see solutions. While solutions are not complex ie they do not require analytical skill, making thing happen in the field is difficult. Farming is difficult but not complex. The rain, the sun, and the cold assault the farmer, mosquitoes bite him, wasps sting, snakes slither in front, the muscles ache, the sweat pours into his eyes or perhaps it is tears, his crop may fail, or with a bumper crop the prices may crash, the may be no one to buy.. and a thousand other misfortunes. Character is required, not the glib phrases of a financial analyst. But it is only the person in the field mode who gets things done, not the policy formulator. How does the peson in the field mode innovate? He does it in two ways. First when he instinctively feels some new practice may give a better result, HE TRIES IT OUT in a limited scale and then proceeds ahead looking to the results. Second, he comes to know of a new practice elsewhere and then, after visiting that field, TRIES IT OUT. This is how 99% of the innovation in the field takes place. There are too many policy framers in the government and not many willing to work in the farmer mode. Things are not complex, things are difficult and the difficulties are in the fileld. The difficulties are not conceptual or intellectual but of human muscle and thought  endurance. This quality of endurance in the field is almost absent in office bound civil servants. Yet it is the policy framers who are seen as the doers  and not the actual doers in the field. The qualities required for a doer are guts, courage and commitment. The top bureaucrats and policy framers would guffaw helplessly at this assertion. They would point out that it is verbal skills, ability to present abstractions as real entities and basing  solutions using these entities,  personal tact, diplomacy, humor at the appropriate time, a network of influential friends where this plant of friendship is watered with frequent give and take, making convincing presentations, willingness to make comromises so that not the best but that which  is acceptable is proposed, ability to get on with the important and powerful people, and most important making intelligent assessmensts of what the superiors will accept - these are what is really important for a civil servant to succeed. They too are right and it is these qualities which will bring success to the career of a civil servant. But such capabilities contribute little to a successful effort in the field where it is the Farmer mode that works. And this is the reason India has such brilliant and impressive talking  civil servants with such dismal scores in the field. It is a kind of administrative flim flam they present. If competence is defined as the ability to bring in the intended  changes in the field, then they must be judged incompetent. Yet the common Indian who judges the authority figures by how they talk and explain complex issues sees such civil servants as competent. Indian culture too values the man of knowledge and intelligence higher than the person who acts sucessfully in the field. They sound much more impressive than the man of few words who acts in the field. He is a person of few words because he knows the infinite variations of conditions in the field because of which all solutions are site specific and it is foolish to talk in a macro mode.  This is what most civil servants do. They generalize, they make policies telling others what to do and what not to do.

# The real world is complex only if we try to find a single  theory to explain a whole class of events. Actually what each one of us expereiences directly is not complex as long as we do not try to reify it or drape it in some kind of theory.  When we directly witness an event or a situation and instead of wondering at its uniquenesss, try to present it as an example of the xyz effect, with an  air of academic interest and some cringe inducing humor pasted on, then a dissociation from reality happens and we hand over our thinking to others. Many thinkers have monetized this money making opportunity and written best selling books explaining some events or trends. Every situation  is in some intricate way connected to something else but if this is so universal, it is not worth talking about. What is worth thinking about is  that situation itself which, in some way, is different from everything else that has ever happened. Looking to its singular qualities, we have to fashion a response which will aid us in whatever is out task at hand. It could be looking at a flower and realizing how different it is, in some way,  from every other flower one has ever seen and then looking at its beauty amazed. Or it could be standing in the field and, taking in the real life situation there,  deciding how to make the drip irrigation program successful.  A reification of the event will stop us from thinking about it and speed the search for some standard, routine response after having switched off real time thinking. But once we see that event as brand new and which demands of us an understanding response  , we will act in the right way.

# Reification is also a weapon in the armory of authoritarianism of all kinds. If you can reify individual human beings and make abstract an ever changing unique reality, then you can commit crimes and be unjust and call it progress. Most of the great cruelties and massacres and genocides are made respectable and acceptable by reifying individual human beings and the choices they face. The US bombed Iraq and found the death of a half million children worth the cost as it was fighting for "freedom" for Eyeraquees, a brilliant but monstrous abstraction. The Soviet elimination of the kulaks, of millions of counterrevolutionaries in the icy gulags, and the murder of its best in show trials, the Nazi  anihilation of millions of sub humans - untermensch-  was  preceded by reification of real breathing, blood and bones human beings.  Indian authoritarianism is a more refined one arising out of an assumed superiority and condescension towards those who are not familiar with the reified, abstract terms.  Making abstract that which is real has been an effective method to numb and sedate millions of Indians. The reification and abstraction of a unique ever changing reality, different at different places  and times has effectively emasculated the sap that naturally rises in every human being. The blood is drained drop by drop and not in any sudden violence.  "We will do your thinking for you. You do not understand the world around you, it is not as it seems to you. Bad things can happen if you think and act on your own. You do not know what we know. We have doctorates from the world's greatest universities, economists, planners, financiers, all of who can make erudite presentations of the complex reality you cannot and never will understand. Leave it to us. We cannot pick up a shovel or walk the blistering hot fields with you but that is not important." The answer to them from the field operatives should be - "Your knowledge is worthless. You cannot do what we have done."  

# Reifying a complex set of independent facts into an statistical or a category entity is acceptable only as long as we constantly keep its purely abstract nature and origin  always in mind. Treating it as something real to which human intervention and actions can be applied is an illusory exercise, some thing which the Indian government constantly attempts. You cannot change an abstraction by treating it as real , you cannot punch a shadow and make it go away, you have to act to change the substance behind it. Whitehead called it ' the fallacy of misplaced concreteness'. The government, with its supporting chorus of experts, is constantly grappling with such vaporous forms. But it serves the purpose for which it was designed. The people do not understand it, there is nothing to understand, but impresses them with its complexity and makes them nod their heads in admiration at the brilliant minds that talk about it. They will not ask any question for fear of displaying their ignorance.     

# There is too much knowledge, intelligence, confidence,cleverness and cold calculation in our leadership, only felt emotion is absent ; the harshest charge is answered with a complacent good natured smile and a first name chumminess with the inteviewer. Many of them have the smooth, well fed and manicured look of the luxury hotel, spa and gym habitue. Some emotion, even anger, honestly conveyed, may beget more trust in the common people. The people respond to the truth no matter how clumsily stated and this truth releases their capabilities; they detect falsehood quickly and it signals them to hold back their best. This explains the performance of organizations, and as nations are collections of organizations, of nations as well.

#  As implementation of government schemes are done by lower level functionaries who may be subject to unbearable pressures, most field report should be looked at sceptically. I  would not go so far as I.F Stone, an American journalist, who said that all governments are run by liars and nothing they say should be believed. But those in governments do speak falsehooods in a convincing manner. There is no deliberate intention to mislead but they rely entirely on documents supplied to them from the field. These are made up in a way as to be most convenient to the authority supplying them. They are quite often misleading where the facts are controversial and cannot be independently verified by a common man. Very rarely would a senior official go to the field, as I did  with the handloom societies, to physically verify the claims of one's own department. They end up swearing by falsehoods, believing them to be true. If they just visited the field more often independently, government reports would be more trustworthy.   

# Keynes' term "Animal Spirits" is not an immoral or even an amoral force, akin to the neighing of horses or the baying of hounds or " the brokers roaring like beasts on the floor of the bourse". This term refers to the  native sense  of optimism, risk taking and the desire for achievement , not confined to the businessmen but inherent in every human being whether he/she is a farmer, an industrial worker, a weaver, a housewife, a mother, a school teacher or a jawan on the border. The mistake which the finance policy planners make is in assuming it is only confined to business entrpreneurs and the animal spirits of only the business community needs to be unleashed. The country's leaders should  try to unleash the animal spirits of the entire country. These will surge up when Indians all over the country perceive ethical functioning in the organizations they work. When this is established, the government needs to do little and the creative engine of development will move ahead on its own. This is how I achieved all the turnarounds narrated in this book. It can work for the country too. Conceptually, the country's revival would be my achievements multiplied a thousand times.

# Perhaps, with one exception, there are no big canvass national problems just as there are no macro solutions for our country. There are issues at the micro level all across the country exisiting in various organizations. These could be seen as problems by those who do not like to act but prefer to analyze, or they could be perceived as challenges with built in opportunities to the ethical leader operating at the spot. The ethical leader always operates at the spot and only from the spot and never from the centralized policy making establishments. He knows that a policy based leadership is a fraud on the people. No nationally prescribed policy solution is going to work because the precise mix of factors is different in each situation. What will work is ethical  leadership at that particualr time in that particular organization. What will definitely fail  is the absence of ethical leadership there and its sustitution by a centralized policy driven functionong. So the only true big national issue or since I am an optimist, the national opportunity and sure fire solution, is for all leaders, wherever they are, to begin acting ethical and advising all around them and down the line to do the same. This is the only one big policy issue facing the country. All good things will fall into place and follow. All solutions are local and specific and will become visible through an ethical lens at the site , in that lighted circle of understanding that  accompanies the traveller. This is the biggest issue facing the country and is systematically being ignored. It is being lost sight of by every one. 

# But my acting ethical is not ruled out even if every other leader or person of importance decided to remain unethical. I can still act ethical and "win marvellous victories' even in an otherwise unethical world. This is what I continuously did. I would have no right to preach ethics if I had not achieved practical business victories with it. Without these astonishing business successes my views would be hard to distinguish from any of the hundreds of business books that have been written. Without these successs being narrated here, the hard headed, experienced practical men and women dominating the government and private sector would be able to convinvcingly say that the sort of ethics I talk about ,while being most admirable, does not work in real life. I have shown that it is in real life that it actually works and it is their careful, cautious and calibrated but timid and selfish  responses which are failing spectacularly. Ethics is the most practical way to real success in the field.   Every person who wishes to be ethical can act independently even if the whole world were to scowl.

# The Indian economy is slowing down as the government is under attack on the major issue of having taken wrong decisions. The government is countering with a battery of " reforms". A curious fact is that  the reform of its own functioning appears to be off the agenda. The top leaders of the country are silent on bringing in ethical functioning at the top as a reform. They just need to take one step. Become ethical , not in your policy pronouncements which are today meaningless though they raise the most strident reactions - witness the FDI in Retail debate -, but in your day to day actions. And ask all officers in a decision making level to act independently and not ask for guidance from above.  Persons down the line will get the message and they too will act acccordingly. The number of ethicals in the government whose actions are autonomously generated is miniscule in the country and most persons need to see the person at the top setting an example. This reform would add more wealth and voter satisfaction than anything else. The Indian growth rate would shoot by 10%. Yes. it is a GDP growth rate of 15  - 20% we could be looking at. My success in widely different assignments shows that an ethical can handle complex field level challenges better than the usual civil service and corporate models though the corporates and civil servants can talk far better, just as Harsha Bhogle or even Navjot Sidhu talks better than Tendulkar or Dravid. In general, in any bureaucracy, the smooth talkers, the articulates, are precisely those who have have not been particularly successful in the field  and are better at deciding policy than working in the field under uncertain conditions. The trouble is that in the government these persons are over represented and that is a reason for our failures. They come up with too many policies as a way to assert themselves and most of which are nothing more than logical word games in their minds. But they give a good impersonation  of competence because of their verbal fluency and this is the basis of the inflated reputation of the Indian bureaucracy. The much vaunted dynamism of some of them is nothing more than   the skill  to guide a favored few through the thicket of obstructions and fences which they themselves have erected. Their record is unlikely to show any creative and ethical effort in the field.  Why dont the government and opposition parties, not to mention the entire phalanx of experts ever ready to comment on any public issue. including an increasing number of business men and women who would never talk about their own organizational weaknesses, ever suggest ethics as a solution? Why do they find ethics so scary?

# They correctly see it as a deadly danger to the existing way of doing things. It would ovethrow the present lucrative patterns of deception, domination and control which have allowed otherwise worthless but clever persons to corner so much material wealth and opportunities while denying them to the more deserving. That is why they are all united in not allowing ethical  functioning in any of their establishmments. This is the only reason for all our country's ills. All patriotic Indians must support ethical leadership wherever they see it becasue the ethical is busy enlarging your capabilities and fighting for your family's future. And better still, if you are in a position of power and authority, become ethical yourself.

# How will this additional 10% growth rate emerge when the best efforts of the government have taken us only onto 8% , a percentage that is now rapidly silipping to sub 5%? This additional 10% will be the capabiliites that are freed when persons work in an ethical set up. Unethical leadership prevents the potential within persons from emerging. No one is able to give his best when he works in an unethical set up. The realization that the organization is manipulating you and others in some way or the other will convince you to hold back your total commitment to the common effort. All my successes were because of this incremental release of new and vital energy at the realization of ethical direction seeking by the leadership. Creativity too , which is the ability to find new ways to solve problems, is released in an ethical effort. There is no need for FDI to create fresh investment in the country. All the investment we need is lying incactive because of our unethical leadership. Release this submerged potential and see the growth rate shoot up.

# If the number of ethicals is so miniscule today, from where where will all these ethicals  be forthcoming, is a question that could be asked. Potentailly there is no shortage. Within every person there is an ethical being struggling to emerge. Every person, no matter how unethical today, can turn ethical overnight. It would also help if people created a demand for them by honoring the ethical wherever they are found, which is not being done today. The ethical fights for those whom no one else fights for. Yet no one fights for the ethical when he comes under attack. That is why the number of ethicals is so small.

# The number of ethicals can never be large. Just as a small amount of sugar can sweeten the milk,  a pinch of salt savor the dish, and a bit of yeast make the dough rise, a few grams of catalyst ignite a reaction, in the same way a few ethicals, say less than 5% of  the power elite, say a thousand individuals, spread over the country,  can rejuvenate Indian society and save the country. But the rest of the power elite and other stakeholders  must defend and respect the ethicals because the ethical is fighting for the organization , unmindful of his own interests. The ethicals should be seen as the advance guard of the society and an expression of the nation's will  to develop its full potential. It is repeated here that an ethical is one who succeeds in the practical task given to him. Society is not required to defend a person who fails in the task allotted to him even though he may claim to be ethical. Such a person is not ethical. But please do not attack a person who succeeds beyond expectation in his work while keeping his hands clean and winning the  trust of the stakeholders. Tendulkar would not be attacked after scoring a match winning century merely because  the Chief of the Cricket Board and other officials were upset with him for his independent stance, though to be sure, Tendulkar's successes never inconvenienced the powerful men who run Indian cricket; besides he made some serious amount of money personally!  But such attacks  happened to me, time and again. And this is what will happen to any ethical, as the opposition to me  was never personal. In attacking the ethical, we in India are atttacking our common future.  We do not need enemies. We are doing the job of destroying our future  hopes quite well  ourselves. The ethical is a craftsman who creates a future vision  for the country through individual organizations. A nation which does not honor its ethicals does not efffectively have a reality based  vision of the future no matter how well its economists, businessmen, politicians, intellectuals and others who can be heard in seminars, conferences etc, actually speak. And let me admit it , they do speak well. We Indians are good speakers.

# A  good society would place the ethical above the person of wealth. If he has been successful in business, the market has already rewarded the person of wealth.  Further respect by the society is not justified. The Ambani, the Tata, the Birla have already been rewarded with wealth by the market. They have no further claim on society's estimation unless they go out of their way to be ethcial and expose themselves to danger for the public interest. Their successful business ventures, no matter how creative,  have been rewarded monetarily, and no further credit for these is required. Their present high profile is entirely because of the build up by the commercial media which needs their monetary ad support and other ways.  The members of the elite would be valued, not by how much they took but by how much they gave. This ratio, of how much material wealth a person created and how  much of that he took for himself and his associates, should be the measure by which society judges a person and bestows her honors. (My efforts at GSFC created a ratio of 8000 as explained above, which is perhaps the highest any Indian corporate chief has ever achieved.)  By this yardstick the ethical would stand very, very high, higher than India's billionaires, politicians and civil servants. He had power but used it for empowering others; made money but made it for others; fought but in the defence of the common wealth. Every society gets the kind of leadeship it deserves. If that society values wealth and power, then its leadership will comprise men and women who pursue their own interests, enriching those who help them. If it values the ethical who works for those he does not know and those who cannot pay him back or help him in any way, then the society will have a leadership where the ethicals, even in a small number, will be the direction setting and dominant voice over the others. Today in India wealth and power are deferred to and the ethical is slighted and attacked. With none to defend him, he fights at his own risk and cost even after having benefited society. Not surprisingly, the ethical is practically extinct, having been hunted out ruthlessly.

# The stories narrated in this book provide the key to the country's potential greatenss. In a microcosm are found the answers that elude us. We see the world in a grain of sand. Today the TV screens bring us endless exposes of scams and discussions on what ails the country and new laws that are required. So many wise men and women engage in this pointless activity. They do it for just one reason. It is a feel good activity with no downside. None of them  talk about the wrongdoings in their own organizations or even criticize them. ( I am not ruling out the possibility that the participants in these discusions are being paid in some way. The TV channesls whose rating go up by these discussions would be happy to share the benefits.) There appear to be no answers other than more laws and punitive hunts. But the true answer is staring us in the face. Our decision makers are unwilling to take decisions independently and face up to the consequences. This is the real answer to what ails our nation. My book revolves around this concept of autonomous direction seeking. In this book , unlike the TV experts, I point out the weaknesses and wrongdoings in the organizations I headed, and how instead of analysing them or asking for new laws or seeking help from others, I set them right. I write of new opportunities which were leveraged and the benefits harvested. The confrontations I had with the powerful, those who could help or harm me and who did end up harming me, are described in detail. I never hid behind the self serving argument that one can do good in the public service without having it out with the powerful and getting a bloody nose now and then. And how corruption was tackled and routed is narrated. I have little interest in analyzing the weaknesses of other organizations except to say they probably arise from ethcial weaknesses, though perhaps not always. I would not presume to advise the CMD of Tata Steel or Air India on what they should do. But both of them would turn more effective and achieve better results if they used an ethical direction finder frequently.

# I urge you to read this book which  was written over two years of bleary eyed efforts. It is a labour of love. The language is harsh at times and even damning, but considering the number of organizations I turned around, the great wealth I created for our legitimate stakeholders, and the number of powerful persons I took on, this is a right  fully earned and paid for. 

# Our power elite lack character.By this I do not mean they have bad moral character. Far from it. Most of them  are good family men, pious and religious and suffer no addictions to mood altering liquids and powders. They are all intelligent and work hard to please or atleast not to displease those who determine their life fortunes. What I mean by character is something else. It means grit and conviction in the pursuit of some moral search. It is a personal quality that forces us into making those promises which every individual is required to make depending on his position, and then standing by those promises; it means having an emotional understanding of human expectations, displaying courage against the strong, possessing a belief in an abstract good which may be opposed to one's own material interests and safety, and a willingness to walk alone; moral stamina and the ability to inspire others to believe in what one believes in. The crises India is facing is not economic slowdown and weakening government authority which are but consequences of the rot. There is something else. It is a crises of character among our elite that we are now becoming aware of. They will fight for nothing, they will defend nothing because deep down they believe in nothing except their own welll being, safety and survival. Whatever serves these needs, they will show as being good for all. This is how they justify themselves and feel good. Daring, noble and dangerous things they wish to do but will turn back at the last minute, telling themselves they will do it the next time when the odds are better. They will never get around to actually taking that leap. The fist is clenched but only  in the pocket. They will run down the ethical amongst them. Bloch's statement, that most men are too cowardly to be wicked and too weak to be good, applies to them. But when a country's elite behave this way, then the possible paths ahead close. Without the elites showing the way ahead, India cannot attain its true potential. India's elites lack courage to risk anything. This is perhaps becasue of India's long history of subjection to despotic forcesand the elite know that standing up for what is right rather than standing with the strong will leave one exposed and isolated as happened to me. In any case why fight for the weak and the vulnerable? One wrong step and one could go hurtling down from the perch one has so carefully climbed on to. It requires a leap of faith to imagine them building that great country which Gandhi, Nehru, Patel, Bose and countless other freedom fighters and patriots hoped for. We need women and men who are different. Our power elites today defer to too many authority figures and unexamined beliefs. They fear freedom and think they cannot make it on their own. They fear even more the ethical who would set them free.

# So how to remove corruption in the government and elsewhere? Support, defend and honor the ethicals. Create a demand for them by putting a proper value on their contributions. This higher valuation will be monetarily cost free as the ethical  accepts only respect and honor and not material rewards. Their number will  increase at no cost but this increased number will benefit society by thousands, even hundreds of thousands, of crores. The corrupt persons under an ethical leader would turn clean overnight just as so many Indians turned bitterly against the Emergency once it was all over. The citizen will get the services he is entitled to by an alert and motivated staff. Ethical leadership in the field will remove corruption far more efficiently than a prosecutorial program against the corrupt. An ethical in the field will multiply the number of other ethicals to grow exponentially. Ethics is not a vocatioanl skill but a moral striving. An admininistrator will become better at his job, an engineer will be a better engineer, so will a school teacher, an industrialist, a football player, an economist, a doctor, a gardener, a mason and everyone else you can think of. It is through this magic process the country will be rejuvenated.

# There is another effect which emerges from the rule of the ethicals in society. I make this claim hesitantly but I make it as I am sure of it. In every organization , once I had established myself, the level of moral decency improved. There was greater courtesy between employees and stakeholders as also trust. Falsehoods and wild allegations died down. Promises given in day to day transactions were kept. Self confidence increased.  Women were treated with greater respect and they felt more free and confident about themselves. And many other good things began to happen. This good feeling spread even to those who were dealing with the organization. Many of them including private businessmen vowed to follow ethical  principles in their businesses.  Yatha Raja Thatha Praja. When the common man knows that ethicals are ruling in government and other organizations , then crime will come down in society, particularly those crimes which arise out of injustice as there will be less injustice. Women particularly will feel safe in ethical rule as ethics will replace force as the decisive principle.

# 'We want Justice!' This cry seeks not the  outcome of a judicial process which in a technical sense is justice. The young girls  shout this as an expression of pain and rage and are asking for ethical rule. That incident in the bus was just the spark. The young have the greatest stake in the future. But they see this future is turning to a nightmare  and this scares them as they have longer to live.  Today they pour their scorn at the unethicals who are destroying their future. That is  this great hurt and anger being  felt palpably on the TV screens. As I watched the screens during the last few days, and saw these young girls running up the Raisna Hill with no one to listen to them, great gusts of anguish and grief shook  me. They  had sought assurances but were met by silence and water cannons. They deserved better. An ominous  wind is blowing over our land  and  over those magnificent stone structures of power on Raisna Hill  a moral darkness, or rather a moral blankness descends.  If you look for villains you may not find them. It is weak , unprincipled men who insist on sitting in positions of power but who do not care to equip themselves with an ethical direction finder who have caused this state of despair. I do not see any evil, scary men among the powerful. To destroy a country,  incompetence, arising from lack of ethics, is more effective than any deliberate malign intention. Rape is not a crime of passion or even of lust. It is a repudiation of our common humanity, a reversion to that darkness from which we have only just escaped.  When it happens on a large scale and is a part of a general breakdown of values, it rings alarm bells. That daily  mobilization in Delhi  is not against a specific rape. It is a cry of horror  against the subjugation of right by might,  of  morality by brute force, of angels by demons, and of light by darkness and this  they see happening all around them.  It is against a leadership that has systematically deceived and lied to the common people and treated them as  as mental defectives talking to us in alanguage we do not understand  and having created a society that allows such assaults on a human being to occur with increasing frequency. Where is my  India, they ask. It is an ethical India they ask for, a country where morality, not force, would rule.  Ethicals  in power dispersed all over the country are the pathfinders for those who search for  this  India. We do not need big powerful national leaders whom we can blame when things go wrong. Things will go wrong when important persons stop seeking directions autonomously. As I have repeatedlty said, I ignored politicians, bureucrats and power brokers and used my powers, that is why I succeeded. Our future is too important to be decided by these persons.  Let us take it in our own hands. If anyone is to be blamed, it is the Indian elite, cosying up to the powerful when it suits them and then blaming them when things go wrong.     

# In the aftermath of this incident, the mood has been to punish the culprit and blame the Police. Yet after this, the number of assaults on women and girls, even very young ones, has not come down. The true answer is to have ethical rulers. Those taking part in these debates and demonstrations must ask not only for an independently appointed police chief but also  one who is personally  independent  as evident from his confrontations with the powerful during his career.   If politicians appoint the top police officers, will any independent minded officer ever be made the Delhi police chief? But only an independent minded officer, one who seeks directions autonomously, can motivate his men, who will then provide a sense of safety to the people. A rape prevented is a hundred times better than a rapist punished. Ethicals in power will protect the weak and vunlerable and not be a private security force for the rich and powerful. Those who want assaults on the weak and defenceless to come down must agitate for ethical rule. If the protection of the weak and defenceless drives the police, then rapes too will come down. As said earlier, rape is a crime against the weak. If the weak are known to be protected by the powerul then rapes too will come down. Rapes alone cannot come down while the weak and poor are fair game in other ways. Ethical rule will bring down all crime. Ethical rule will make all of us more humane. We will feel the other's pain as if it were one's own. The ethical in power will feel this the most. All officers down the line will get the message. Society cannot expect the ethicals to spring up on their own. Society must demand such ethicals and lay its honors at their feet wherever it finds them.

# A large number of such distressing crimes have happened recently. There are the crimes described , then the financial swindles like Sharada and Sahara,  and  we have the alleged  government  wrongdoings where huge sums of public money is lost. None of these can be directly  pinned, in a purely legal sense, on our leaders and police and other officials. The Prime Minister, the Chief Ministers and individual officers are legally innocent of these crimes, to take a charitable view. But there is a longer chain of actions and events which links these wrong doings to such leaders. Moral standards differ from person to person in society and country. There is such a range and while there are rogues and blackguards at one end  and saints at the other, this range hangs from the highest peg, that is, the perceived ethical level of the top leaders. The actions of the highly moral persons and saints do not represent  the society's commitment to ethical actions; saints are more likely the more depraved the society. The man in the street looks at the leaders and organizational heads. If he finds them acting ethically, fighting for the truth , succeeding in their practical endeavours and  frequently facing  conflict with the powerful ( this last requirement is essential), then his  own conduct too will attempt to reach higher standards.  When people see politicians refusing to take any personal responsibility for wrong doings by those  working under them, when they indulge in terminological inaccuracies and ignore the truth that stares at them in the face, when many of them are known to have become fabulously wealthy in office and in positions of power, when they defend those who cause a loss to the nation and  to private citizens, when they refuse to act independently and continue to take orders from others merely  to safeguard their jobs, and many others weaknesses, when the people see this, they loosen the self imposed restraints on their own  behaviour,  telling themselves it is a dog eat dog world, each man for himself and devil take the hindmost. In that sense some of the crime and all of the official failures including corruption and program failures are finally the moral responsibility of the country's leadership. If there had been corruption in say the KMML,  or GSFC under me,  then it would have dealt a shattering blow to my self worth and I would not try to get out of it by saying someone else was guilty and I did not know. It was my job to know and to prevent it. That is why I stalked the corridors and plants of the company and constantly looked at the real time readings and made sure there was nothing missing. Under an ethical Police Commissioner the crime would in Delhi, and else where, would not come down to zero but would be lower than what it is now. Same with an ethical Prime Minister and ethical Chief Ministers. Scams and program failures would considerably reduce and it would be successes we will be talking about. If there are moral or other  failings in a school, the Principal must take resoponsibility and not hide under the plea of personal innocence. You are  judged not as a person but as a leader who was tasked with looking after the orgnization. It is Yatha Raja, thatha praja; never is it yatha praja, thatha Raja. If you are the ruler you cannot blame the people for failures. You have been weighed in the balance and found wanting.  

# An ethical effort would  asphixiate corruption and devastate its operations in that organization where an ethical sits at its head. The limitation is that an ethical can do this only in his own organization.  He cannot improve the working of an organization over which he does not have direct operational control; this is why elsewhere it was said that policy prescriptions do not work in the absence of an ethical leader "at the spot". Corruption in such organizations with an ethical at its head would be routed so easily that it would embarrass the anti corrruption crusaders who today fight corruption from outside. The anti corruption activists fight corruption fom outside after it has happened and all the damage is caused. The Auditors too point out wastage and loss post facto. They are not the answer and their efforts, howsoever well meaning they are, will cause only more finger pointing and controversy. None of them would be prepared to  run  organizations like I did. The ethical leader would  prevent corruption from taking root. As explained, the other benefits would be far greater.  The organization would perform better and it would satisfy both the Auditor and the anti corruption activists. But it would set far higher standards of conduct for those who are not corrupt. Ethical successes would strip away the alibis for inaction which are useful to so many now. Its message would be a call to action which would dissipate the present complacencies. The limitations and shortcomings of too many luminaries and "men and women of eminence" would become painfully evident to others and to themselves when they are judged on the scorecard of field action and objective results instead of notings, discussions, speeches and ability to get along with fellow incompetetents.

# Any frontal attack against corruption is likely to become directionless and harm morale. 

# Let me state clearly that no Lokpal is required. Lokpal is a very distant second best to what I propose which is ethical leadership of the kind I exhibited. Why is it that none of those shouting against corruption ever mention what I did and recommend it to all? I not only eradicated corruption but also generated undreamt of benefits though profits.  These crusaders should be applauding what I did  and attacking those who declared open season on ethicals like me. Honor us and there will be a lot more like me. Corruption will vanish like rats against the light. The rule of Occam's Razor tells us to use the simplest and minimum measures  to achieve what we want. Lokpal  will create a Kafkaesque bureucracy which will be worse than corruption.

# Corruption can be prevented quite successfully by an ethical head of the organization. Once the corruption has happened, it in almost impossible to nail the corrupt. That is because the corrupt person is a collecter on behalf of many. He never operates alone keeping all the take for himself. He shares it with others. As a result he has many others implicated in his deeds who will muddy the trail of prosecution. This is most commonly done by the simple expedient of keeping silent and not acting when wrongdoing becomes apparent. A few months back Shri Kejriwal fingered the HSBC Bank for laundering money in India. Recently Cobrapost displayed dramatic footage of  ICICI,  HDFC and Axis Bank officers welcoming unaccounted money and promisng to launder it clean. The financial services industry in India is like a huge sponge soaking up  illegal wealth. In the US, the HSBC and UBS were made to pay heavy fines and grovelling apologies were publicly made by the top officers of these banks. Yet here, after these exposures nothing is heard. The heads of these banks have not been subject  to even a fraction of the heat the US authorities brought onto HSBC and UBS. Targeting the corrupt is like chasing a mirage with red herrings thrown accross the chase.  If these banks were led by ethical persons at the head then such things could not have happened. If the key persons in the Finance Ministry and its enforcement organs were ethical , then these bank chiefs would have been publicly seeking pardon of the government. The media which with terrier like tenacity goes after the government for all alleged scams is not pursuing the Chairpersons of these banks and thrusting its mikes at their faces as they try to get into their cars. The opposition which loses no time in asking for resignations of ministers is not demanding  simialr strong action against these private sector grandees. No CBI probes here! Karan Thapar is not grilling these chairpersons as he loves to do those in the government. NDTV, Headlines, Times etc are not conducting TV debates with assorted commentators to discuss this issue with the heat displayed when government controversies are centre stage. The fact is our elite is unethical and tailors opinions to their own self interests. It is  far better to first put  ethical persons in positions of power and then watch the enforcement. Laws are pointless. They are being flouted. No more laws, PLEASE. 

# During my working years I did not ask for new laws or any outside support. I turned around the organizations which were handed over to me in a sick condition. Some were huge, some medium, some small and covering all areas from civil engineering, dam construction and  irrigation , court litigation,  housing, chemical engineering, pesticides, fertilizers, artisan development, fisheries, minerals etc. No expert sitting in Delhi or the state capitals, or even the financial centres of the world, would have even  a fraction of such successful  field experience; yet these are the experts who diagnose and prescribe curative policies and strategies for the country - the current oracle is an officer of one of word's leading finance companies( a company involved in serious  wrongdoing during the crises), a banker of emerging markets analyzing why nations fail and succeed . Such persons present their case pursuasively by simply showing the manifestations of effect as the cause. The real cause is a deeper flowing current of some location specific  variant of ethics, never perfect but still decisive. This ethical source of successes is never acknowledged far less analyzed.  Ethics is what lies beneath all such successes of countries which are listed as having succeeded. It is suggested we also duplicate the effects here without duplicating the cause, which is ethics. The effect can never generate the cause unless there is an organic link between the two , a sort of virtuous cycle which itself is an ethical concept.  Listening to such persons  is the reason we fail. In all my successes I never used advisory experts  but thought out the revival strategy inhouse; practicing experts are sometimes essential and we did use them. ( A practicing expert  is someone with a specific skill, which the organization hiring him lacks, which is required to set right a specific problem or perform a task, after successfully completing which , he collects his fee and leaves; an advisory expert is one who prepares a report advising  thecustomer how he should act to set right an organizational or some other deficiency. A  management which needs such advisory  experts is incompetent and must be replaced. I recently read that the Air India is asking an IIM professor to suggest ways to cut costs. This is the core role of the management and an outside expert should not be necessary.)  My analyses and prescription for cure is unerringly  accurate  but compared to the  appeal of such a book, my words are that of a prophet crying in the wilderness and would invite snide smiles.  I could succeed   because I acted independently , using my powers, allowed no interference even from the mighty, breaking many icons, frequently coming into conflict with the powerful and personally losing out but only  after having turned around the organizations under my care. No international expert will ever suggest this. The label of expert will be torn off from his lapel. 

# Imagine thousands of such revivals and you are looking at a rejuvenated and self confident India. The trust between the leadership and the people will be restored. Our problems are not so complex as are being made out. It is the heart and not the head that is called upon to show the way when there is an ethical collapse which is what has happened now. Or to put it better,  the heart will tell us what we want, the head will tell us how to get it. The head can never tell us what we want, this only the heart can do. The book you are about to read will enlarge your thinking and you will see the world around you differently and as being fundamentally alterable by individual action. This book urges every Indian  in a position of  power and authority to stop looking at others and act independently but ethically. The Indian elite is called upon to act. This call will be heard by those whose antennae are tuned to receive it. It radiates hope and faith in that future which each one of us can create around oneself. Together we canrealize our yet unclaimed future.

# I am not hopeful of anything like this happening to a significant extent.  The sunk costs of the Indian elite in the present ways of working are substantial and have a long cultural and historical lineage. They will not hear that which is not convenient and they will  not change. The large majority of them are honest and intelligent, but unethical,  and they have no intention of taking a single step beyond this. Acting intelligently and honestly , but unethically,  has worked well for them and given them full security, comfort and prestige of office. Why should they change this winning stategy? Their ethical impulses which they have suppressed lifelong is now a faint inner voice hardly audible. All the real misery and failures in the field have been reified into abstract scholastic entities.   The costs of unethical leadership will not be paid personally by them. It is the poorer and powerlessIndians who will pay.There are more than 500 million of them. Their suffering will provide a  shock absorber to smoothen out all the jolts of an unethical leadership. Their rations could  be reduced, the whip  cracked a little bit harder with  the blood flowing a bit more.

# But this assumption may turn out to be wrong. We need a growth rate of 10% continuously to take care of the pressure of the rising expectations of our people. This growth rate can come in one of the two ways. It is best and most easily obtained by an ethical leadership operating in the decisive sectors of the economy and influencing other areas too. Or it can happen by  the outright plunder of our natural resources and the common wealth through corruption as happened in Russia and also in our country till now under " bold dynamic leadership and reforms". But such an  engine  will not  have sustainable power for long.   Such actions will be bitterly resented and opposed and there will be gridlock in national decision making as is the case now. If the 10% growth rate is not achieved, then we will have serious civil unrest and a breakdown of the state. Already almost 20% of the land area of the country is under some form of control by the extreme left wing groups and they could choke off the supply of vital raw material like coal, water or even highways and railways.  With the perception of venality and incompetence at the top, our police forces and even the Army may not remain disciplined for ever. Bangalore is stinking with uncollected garbage. The barbarians are already at the gate.  Only ethical leadership like mine, not centralized but dispersed over the entire country, can provide the answer. So ethical leadership may no longer be a choice but a necessity. But it will be seen as a necessity only in the eyes of an intelligent leadership. If our leadership is determined to brazen it out with the same mixture of soothing words and weak, unprincipled actions, then the country will descend  into some   form of anarchy. It will happen, as is already happening, not by a sickening jolt but by incremental degrees which make it appear things are being managed. The daily reality will be seen as the new normal. This cannot be ruled out as a study of our leadership shows that it is quite capable of this and in fact may prefer this;  then it is guile, lies, deception and  force which will rule which  they could  feel  is their core competence.   

#My words are likely to remain little more than "the vain breath of a common man". My book will face the same opposition as my practice of ethical management did. My turnarounds at least benefited tens of thousands of persons materially. This book will do nothing of the sort. Those among the well placed  who have no intention of changing into an ethical mode will find the contents of this book personally offensive. It will strip away the  alibis for their compromises and inaction which enabled them to climb onto their present comfortable and secure positions. They will hear the accusing voice of their  youthful and idealistic self  which  died long ago. That dead youth had imagined daring, nobler deeds.  The large majority of Indians who feel powerless and in no position to influence events, will feel what is written in this book to be none of their concern. Better to make an accommodation with  those who are powerful and survive instead of coming out in favor of ethical change. Thet will feel previleged if they have someone weaker than them to order around.  Most persons, elite and the common man, find my indignation and hopes pointless. Big, daring future images of a finer world bring out a polite agreement, eyes dulling, and a quick change of topic, followed by a speedy exit. The conversation ?       " Interesting points you raised, Mr. Luke. Got to go now but perhaps we can continue this discussion the next time we meet. We must keep in touch."  He then hot foots it; next time I am anywhere  in the vicinity, he ensures maximum distance. It looks pretty hopeless to me. A country which does not produce ethicals in a sufficiently large number, and does not even want to, is a country that does not wish to reach its full potential. That is it. 500 million Indians will remain  as hewers of wood and drawers of water. Great human worth is going to waste.  The Indian elite will not change. Not only will they not become ethical but they will not allow an ethical subgroup, an advance guard of path finders to a better world, to exist within them. You can be ethical in your private life but do not try it within organizations , will be the blunt message.  It, the power elite,  will point to its successful businessmen and women, glamorous film stars, technology innovators, software whizz kids, finance analysts, engineering structures, technology and management institutes, its artists, singers, dancers, intellectuals and other sparkling achievers, all of whom have made their private adjustments with the powerful,  to show that we are not bad, in fact as good as the best in the world. Awards for professional excellence are regularly handed over on well lit stages by by a co-opted panel of ever smiling humbugs and watched  by an audience of preening attention seekers. Dont get me wrong . They have achieved everything the award citation gushingly describes. But they  never put themselves at serious professional risk any time fighting for what was right. None of them are known to have taken a stand on behalf of the weak and the vulnerable and against the powerful within their own establishments.  The power elite in India has effectively abandoned those who need their help and feel good about it. They have lobotomized their better selves. They are following the example set by their counterparts in the West and also in other parts of the world with whom they find more in common.  There was a time when men and women of wealth and power did fight for the weaker side. We lost them because we made them feel unwelcome.

# Being ethical means acting this way in our professional sphere, during 9 to 5, that is during our working hours. It means devoting all our energies to the well being and growth of our organization and being willing to stand up against those who work against the organizational interest as seen objectively. It does not mean feel good symbolic acts such as talking indignantly on TV panel discussions, signing on line petitions, filing PILs, candle light vigils, singing songs, weekend social work, lighting lamps, planting saplings, sitting in a darkened hall and identifying with the hero fighting against the suave politician and, most popular-  blaming politicians while never attacking any business or professional  figure, all  as a compensatory mechanism for deferring to power and wealth and denigrating the unarmed  truth  during the 9 to 5 period. Many persons make this self serving error and feel good about it. Most people love the feel good experience, that emotional and lyrical sensation generated while performing symbolic acts. It is great, no risk, no danger, this warm, dreamy, infantile feeling of having perormed a virtuous act, so safe it is, and sure beats the real thing. Ask them to display these qualities in their professional seats and they will feel you have said something indecent!  Let me point out that there is no harm in doing  this now and then and is stress relieving.  But remember that doing good is never feel good, it exposes you to hazard  and risks as you walk alone; such feel good exercises should be done after some stressful real life risky  do good acts.  If you wish to become ethical, act ethical during 9 to 5  in your main occupation from which you earn your living. This is dangerous stuff but will do real good, as opposed to what is  merely feel good.  Nobody, other than your family and friends, is interested in how good you are outside your office. Being ethical outside your organization is a meaningless term. Some civil servants, once they have retired and see no possibility of further employment, turn indignant and express shock at what is happening within the government. Some begin work, NGO fashion, for the weak and unprotected in society. How much better if they had done this while sitting on that powerful chair!  But the Indian elite is satisfied with such  fake poses as the cost is so low and does not alarm the powerful. It marks you out as person who feels the pain of others. An egregious example of this is a film actor who is preaching social reform. He should focus on his acting and convey truths to us that way. Or he should shine a light on the ills of film industry and suggest improvements. But obviously he is too intelligent for that. And, was it not the job of a person who was  a CVC to have nailed  some of the top seeds in the corruption ranking and send them to jail? Or is it enough , during and after service, to talk and write books about about how bad corruption is, how it originates, what damage it causes etc, in an amused scholarly tone? Do not the common people who are its primary sufferers know this ? Being a witty  speaker is not sufficient quallification to be  a tenacious corruption fighter. Yet  in the public mind this individual is a far greater corruption fighter than me. Another person frequently sighted indignantly attacking the government, but never any private sector  business, is a biotech entrepreneur from Bangalore. The fact that she has made a fair bit of money shows she never ethically  took on the powerful in running her business. She would never agree to a TV debate on the ethics of her business. But  the mass of Indians respect such persons and ignore persons like me. Eat your cake and  have  it too.  Every nation gets the corruption fighters it deserves.    

 My denunciation of feel good indulgence is not aimed at the common man as for him life itself is stressful and of constant hazard. For him symbolic acts are a are a sort of prayer and a source of spirtual comfort which is essential, otherwise this life is unlivable. I am targetting the man of power who substitutes feel good for the do good he should be doing.

# The only way to help the weak and vulnerable is to act ethically in our professional area  and nurture the oganization in our care. All stakeholders will benefit, particularly the weak and vulnerable who would  be shortchanged in an unethical setup as is happening now in most places.  Trying to directly help the weak and vulnerable will fail.  They will be the greatest beneficiaries of an ethical leadership so that is the route to help them realise their full potential.

# India's real capacity , largely unused, is huge. The number of zeros could not be contained in a page. So even a 20% utilization of this would look impressive, particularly if the 500 million are safely  kept out of sight. So those who defend the present ways of doing things can point to the very impressive collection of airports, space rockets, nuclear power, factories, highways, sky scrapers, agricultural production, shopping malls, latest model cars, and other manifestations of our growth, to justify the essential soundness of our efforts. But none of these would be respectable if measured against our actual potential that can be harvested today. When Rs. 10000 cr. is spent, something big and shiny has to come up. The real questions, which nobody asks,  is whether it could have been done in Rs 6000cr. and if it could have been completed in 3 instead of the 5 years it took. And, most important,  whether it was at all necessary. The organizations I worked in were fairly representative of the existing state of affairs. I could, using ethical management and without outside help, turn them around in a jiffy, creating great wealth. It is therefore logically probable that elsewhere too, where I did not work, similar space exists for ethical revivals and untapped energies exist to be released. Ethics is the lever which will open up India's huge treasure of unused capabiliites. This is why those who oppose the ethical are, in a real sense, sabotaging the country's future growth. They may not know it but they are. To borrow from Blake,

     The ethical turned away at the gate

     Predicts the ruin of the state

# But each one of us can still act solo and materially improve that part of the world around us which  we control. My career has proved beyond a shadow of doubt that an individual can make a difference. If a person like me, not extravagantly endowed with nature's gifts, could make a difference, then anyone can. Nothing more is possible and  nothing less will do.

# A critical mass of ethicals, dispersed in the field throughout the country, will be an effective counter to the local authoritarians. A dictatorship over the entire country is not possible in India because of cultural reasons. But local despots who claim to be answerable only to The  People are increasingly flexing their muscles in different parts of the country. The ethical can check mate them quite effectively, thereby improving the quality of our democracy. People turn to militant religion when they see promises made to them in civil life being broken by perosns they trusted. With ethical rule established , religion will no longer  be a divisive force and the religious merchants of intolerance and hatred will find very limited audience. We will have true secularism where religion will not enter the public sphere at all. It will be a private converstion between man and God. 

# I distrust big canvass analyses and macro policy solutions for the world's ills, and confine myself to  urging the powerful to become ethical on the one hand and on the other for society to recognize and honor ethicals in the field. But it is clear to anyone of the meanest intelligence that the present trends of economic development world wide are not sustainable. The major destabilizing forces globally are environmental degradation and extreme inequalities of wealth and income. Raw material  shortages are forcing corporations and countries to cut, dig and drill in environmentlly fragile zones and also displacing people. This sort of slash and burn development will leave a scorched earth for our children. All these will  lead to a more dangerous and violent  world as the marginalized people fight back in wars where they wear the livery  of religious or ideological  fanaticism but are in the nature of protests against  exploitative systems. To clean up the environment we need ethical science and ethical lifestyles which, along with finding new machines and better materials, stress less consumption and more localised recycling in the backyards of the consumer and polluter. Inequality can be reduced if the powerful  are more ethical and voluntarily reduce their income beyond a reasonable limit. Bringing down conspicuous consumption will reduce social tensions.  Ethical direction seeking and leadership will be the guides who will navigate  us into paths of safety in this otherwise frightening world and give  our children  something better to look forward to.  Let us have more and more ethicals in the field. Put in supply side management of this most vital resource.

# All over the world and in every field, leaders are distrusted. Not only the political leaders but also  those who today  head the world's most important institutions are seen to be unreliable persons who will use clever words to hide their unwillingness to stand by any commitment they are required to make. Lawyers and judges, the journalists, doctors, policemen  all rank low in a common man's estimate. Bankers are viewed with open suspicion and so are the military. In private sector too it is very rarely that the top man or woman is instinctivelt trusted.  Yet today's leaders are very well informed and make serious effforts to understand their organizations. They are definitely very intelligent and speak with great conviction. The poor opinion people have of leaders is entirely because of a single deficiency - a perceived absence of ethics in them. The world is becominfg a more violent place and increasingly difficult to govern because of this simple fact. Leaders are unable to lead and govern. It is the absence ofthis Vitamin E that is making us sick. Leaders cannot govern unless they are trusted. They will not be trusted if they are not ethical.   

# Great power and  wealth depresses the capability of those who walk past those guarded gates. The sight and even the thought of that Rs 5000cr House on the Hill darkens  my horizons. This wealth the common man sees is not the reward of a hardworking man or the fruit of  creative labour. Sudden wealth is almost invaraibly the result of access to resources through some form of crony capitalism or collusive behaviour by the nation's leadership in favor of one or more parties. The sight of such wealth and its display convinces the passerby that the absence of ethics is what get persons ahead and that life is a kind of zero sum game in which people like him , the common man,  pays the price for the success of the rich. He will therefore suppress his own ethical impulses and will turn clever and calculating. His creative capabilities will decline. This will happen not to one person, but to hundreds of milions in the country. The nation's capabilities will diminish. Yet no development  economist or management consultant talks of the depressive effect of the sight of great wealth in a vast landscape of poverty and misery. 

# India will attain its potential if  thousands of persons  in key positions like mine function ethically and independently. The only way to show your patriotism if you are in a position of any power or authority, no matter how small  or  insignificant, is to function ethically.  Each ethical working this way is a point of light, an emitter of energy and a store house of unrealized hopes. India can be lit up only by thousands of such dispersed sources of light and never by centralized policy making switches which  give power to those without the capability to use it properly. Only the ethical in the field does that. We cannot leave India's future solely in the hands of our political and national leaders in Delhi and the state capitals. They can oppose but not prevent organizational improvement by an ethical, as I was able to repeatedly demonstrate in the revival of business organizations.  Will India realize its great potential in the coming years? The answer to this lies in the answer to another question - How many ethicals will India produce in the coming years? Or, to put it another way, how many persons in power and authority today  will decide to turn ethical, prepared to face hostility, risks , dangers and career disruptions ? This is the equation. It is as simple as that. 

# Every person is born with the ethical impulse and it stays with the person his entire life. This impulse lies suppressed in most persons. An ethical leader develops and brings out this impulse in those he leads. That is the only reason such a leader succeeds in reviving his organizations.  In some societies there is a realization that ethical conduct among its leadership is good for all. In such societies, there will be a critical mass of support for the ethical whenever such a person  is seen. This support is based on the realization of the material good the ethical is doing and not on a crude one to one give and take calculus or an abstract principled support for morality regardless of results . Because of such recognition and support, these  societies will always have a small but decisive number of ethicals among its power elite. These societies will be successful in bringing out the best among its people and creating a reality based hope for the future. Comparatively, these will be the better societies in the world  to live in and persons from other parts of  the world will try to live there if they are allowed to. People risk their lives to get in into such countries. They are voting with their feet for an ethical society, and  even though such countries are far from perfect with their racism and contempt , they are still bettter than the places from where  these would be migrants are fleeing.  In societies that lack this understanding of the power of ethical action, the number of ethicals will be pitifully small and always under attack. India is such a society. Its leadership in every field, some of whom are intellectually brilliant and some malevolently clever,  none  of whom are ever at a loss for words, fail to see the ethical origin of the problems we face. They resolutely refuse  to seek the solutions in ethical conduct among  the powerful. They see no necessity of encouraging the few  ethicals  when they  appear among them. Instead they seek solutions from those who peddle a  value free professional expertise, mainly economists among whom the monetarists and those swearing by the market and subscribing to the corporate world view dominate, who have no understanding of the forces which move a human heart, and talk of numbers and the language of accountants, of how to balance the books and the concerns of the rating agencies. It is a government of wannabe technocrats that we see. This wont do.  As long as this continues, India will continue to  draw  patronizing looks from the world's wiser societies, where, among the rich and the powerful, at least a small number see themselves as some sort of guardians for the weak and vulnerable and realize the absolute need for  ethical direction seeking. 

#The ethical resource is the greatest wealth any country has.Bringing out this ethical resource in the practical work of nation building is the ONLY task of the country's leadership. Compared to this resource, its material resources pale into insignificance. Some sort of supply side policy for generating this resource, which is available in abundance and which every person has, would be a cost free investment. This would release such wealth that would provide us with all the investment required to increase our material well being. All my successes were entirely because of the ethical direction seeking I followed. The turnarounds came without any financial help from others. I could have done  more if those who appointed me had the wisdom to recognize ethics as a friend and not as an enemy. This  supply side policy for ethics  would not be a formal or official one but a change in values among India's powerful which will  make them recognize and support the ethical as soon as his success becomes evident, instead of treating him as an enemy and a threat. If such a welcome is given to ethicals , many more will do what I did. Imagine a thousand ethicals like me working with public and officail applause as successes come like plentiful harvests. But  I had to fight off the enraged attacks of the powerful even as I was creating great  wealth for them. If the powerful change their attitudes toward the ethicals, all our hopes and expectations would be fulfilled. The number of ethicals would grow exponentially, in course of time the country itself would become ethical. But the treatment meted out to me would have convinced hundreds of would be ethicals in powerful positions not to take the risk of becoming ethicals. They heard the ugly voice of the powerful say -" We do not want you ethicals, even if you revive our key institutions, benefit tens of thousands of persons, create thousands of crores of new wealth and demonstrate  a new paradigm of what an organization should be, winning the trust of lakhs of Indians. You make us leaders look shoddy in comparison, take away our patronage and leverage, upset long established arrangements.   You were requested to take up this assignment when the organization was in a crises and we knew only an ethical like you could save it, none of the standard  'outstanding officers" were upto it.  Now that you have revived it, to an extent  we could not even imagine, we want the company back so that we can run it the usual way for some more time. All our important followers are  in rage looking to the great wealth being created to which their sticky fingers could not reach. This Sattvik diet you are dishing out does not suit them. Even those you benefit will not stand by you, they will stand by us because they feel more comfortable. We are more tolerant of human weaknesses and never expect of them the high standards you subjected them to which  curtailed their freedom to act wilfully beyond administrative control. You were a fool for having trusted persons like us, you are not shrewd. It is true that in our public speeches we asked officers to act just as you have done. Yes we did in our public and official pronouncements ask officers to work for the public interests, for the weak, fight corruption, make the PSUs profitable. You did all these and more, even we are dazzled by your successes. But this is not what we wanted. That was the mistake you made in believing our speeches. The clever officers never made that error. They came to us and found out what we really wanted.  Please learn from them to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds. Outstanding incompetence in civil servants, provided it is attired in felicitious phrases, we can accept; corruption too,  if it is decently covered up and some of the cash flow comes our way, we will pretend not to notice. But to work within the government independently and creating great wealth for the commons, succeeding in the most difficult tasks, making all of us look second rate and showing that ethical direction seeking can cut through the most intractable deadlocks, this we will not accept, we will fight against it and never accept it, when you show you are better than us. Because all this will expose us before to the people who will turn against us, our power which arises from our ability ot continuously to fool them will collapse. We can never accept his. You are far too naive and trusting for a set up like ours, you make us feel ashamed. You have served your purpose.  We do not want you now. Please go. Serves you right for trusting persons like us. Your success gave us such a scare. That elaborate apparatus of subterfuge and make believe that gives us our leverage and patronage  was laid bare and exposed as lies by your success. We felt it shaking. Failure, corruption , incompetence, indifference can be tolerated, they are familiar bedfellows, but ethical success is absolutely opposed to everything we hold dear. Ethics is the only thing we fear. Everything else can be handled as everyone has a price or can be subdued. You ethicals we cannot control. For us you are the implacable enemy who will destroy us if we do not act."  Seeing the frown on the face of the Leader, the thousands of employees and stakeholders  who benefited, will abandon the ethical head of their organization without a moment's thought, confining themselves to low risk and low cost  private praise.  As  a result of such behaviour,  India has lost its ethicals, its ethical tradition has taken "Vanvas" from where it will return when times are more virtuous;  thousands of crores  of potential wealth is not even visualised, far more than what the CAG calculated was lost in the various scams and waste.  Yet no one raises this issue in our national debates. All change is led by a few path finders but others must respect and thank them and  follow the path finding habits of independent thought which have been  successfully demonstrated and materially benefited so many.  Ethics is not an academic discipline for study alone but an intensely practical key to organizational success, including business success. The ethicals are emancipators of human aspirations and must be given the highest status in any society that wishes to prosper. Those who do not understand this understand nothing of the real world of possibilities, that which lies hidden. This real world of possibilities, what the future can be made to yield, is superior to whatever present manifestaion of the world we see. The real leaders seek ethical directions to get to this better future.

# The objective world of reality that we see and feel around us on the one hand, and the world of ethics that we believe in are not isolated from each other. The virtual world of ethics can influence and alter the world we live in.  But the ideal world of values is inviolate and cannot be altered by what happens in the real world. But values do tell us what needs to be done in the real world. Ethics is the mover and the objective  world is that which is moved. The real objective world must not be seen as fixed and never is it a source of values. As the philosopher says, you cannot derive an 'ought'  from an  'is'. The practical, hardheaded  men and women who run our day to day  affairs make a great mistake in not realizing this. For them the values we deal in can change looking to the circumstances, the world as it is is the reality we have to accept. I repeat, this is a great error. The ethical deals with this reality, but to change it, not to accept it. The real victories are when ethics drives the change. All my successes were of this nature. The world around us is a momentary arrangement to which excessive importance should not be given. It can be changed in an eyeblink by human motives aligned to ethics. Everything mankind has achieved in its long journey from darkness and savagery to enlightenment, art, revolution, science, technology and the pursuit of personal freedom is the result of ethical direction seeking. Societies which abandon ethical direction seeeking are condemned to be blind,  inferior and second rate where force and guile, aligned to wealth, will rule. Life will be nasty and brutish. A knowledge of the world as it exists tells where we are. It gives us no directional guidance to where we want to go. Ethics points us to that better world towards  which  we need to go. The direction must always be from the actual to the potential and never should the actual pull down the potential and destroy forward vision and hope,  the imagined future is like a friend pulling you into a moving bus. This direction seeking must never be subcontracted to an expert but must be determined by the person at the spot.  This tension between what we are and whatwe wish to become, from what is to what can be,  is what pushes us forward. Only ethics can give us this direction and the fuel to drive us onwards. Otherwise the energies possessed by humans beings will be wasted and its demonic component will seek violent ends. Indifference to ethics willl lead to exploitation and then to violence and counter violence and to the death of hope. But things do  look  bleak.  Substantial parts of Indian society are contemptuous and even hostile to ethical striving in the practical field, particularly when it is successful; and  praise ethics as long as it is confined to thought and speech. Unless this changes, the Indian  promise will fade. But this abdication of ethics by  leaderships seduced by wealth and power is happening all over the world. But India being poor and yet with its extraordinary wealth of human capabilities, needs ethics more than others.  Perhaps I am too harsh but India is my country and I love it more. But the India I love is not what it is at present but what it can be, its possibilities and potential , its latencies, that hope gilded future  reflected in the pining eyes of its brave, undefeated , ever buoyant  people. It is the historical role of the elite of this country to realise this future through independent actions,  rescuing it from the hold of the unimaginative and smug  unethicals.  And whatever part of it I controlled, that organization I managed, I improved and made it worthy of my love. That is patriotism. There is no other kind.   

# We must move towards a better future but it must be  a future that is common to us all and not one for a few. If all are to share , it has to be an ethical future,  one in which it is the commonwealth rather than private wealth that is nurtured.  It must be a future we make for ourselves and not one into which we travel as spectators or commentators, and definitely not one into which we move in either as exploiters or are dragged into as passive victims. I showed that the world around each one of us is  fundamentally alterable by individual ethical action. My deeds cast a virtuous glow around them  and made men and women look to the future with longing  eyes. The ethical content of my exertions stands unchallenged. The years have burnished them.  A dozen like me could change  the common man's  thinking.  A thousand of us could remake our country in the image of a true lover.  A patriot is one who tries to make his country worthy of his love. India looks to its patriots to realize its  future - that future  its poets have sung of and its martyrs have died for, that for which its revolutionaries walked shouting defiantly  to the gallows, that which is glimpsed in  those  waking dreams that animate the  young, and that future  for which its poor  have toiled and perished  for uncountable lifetimes. 

# Let me share with you a delicious  fantasy  that comes to me at times when the spirits are low as evening comes on and the day's euphoria has ebbed away.  I imagine a different country.  Indians are awash in a material prosperity brought on by the efforts of ethicals all accross the country. The number of primary ethicals is hovering just under a thousand and they occupy key postions. The secondary ethicals number more than 10 lacs. The primary  ethicals are revered wherever they travel. The common people cannot believe that in this  day and age there are persons  wielding power, creating great additional wealth, reviving organizations, safeguarding thousands of livelihoods, facing opposition and  yet not keeping one rupee one oneself and prepared to sacrifice their chairs rather than abandon principles. The primary ethicals are a kind of virtual government. The common man, whenever he thinks of the government, pictures them. The least of these primary ethicals stands higher in public esteem than the richest business man. But these ethicals act independently, they do not know or advice each other, they are moral anarchists. Each one of them confines himself to his own area of responsibility. They do not appear on the mass media stage. They do not talk about " the problems the country faces and the policies needed to be pursued  by the government ". They are totally fixed on the present and the steps they are taking now. The only way people know of them is from the knowledge, spread by person to  person, of the organizational transformations wrought by them. The primary ethical influences others only by the power of his example. The power of a practical demonstraion of ethical organizational success is the strongest pursuasive force known to man. No politician dares touch them because of the popular support they enjoy. The ethical is successful in achieving the goals of his organization and for this he is respected and honored by society. The unethicals are tolerated but looked down upon. Because of this they too try to move towards ethical working. Among these ethicals are school principals for whom education is a mission;   creating the love of discovery and  learning among the students. The principal treats all students equally and does not take any financial favours from the parents. The students are taught to learn not only from books but from real life. They know the ethicals are ruling the country and  they will be treated on merits, that  the world they are about to enter is not rigged in favor of the rich or the strong. Farmers are producing bountiful crops helped by controlled irrigation at their fields and vital research and marketing arrangements. Industrialists, driven by innovation and marketing creativity, are wealthy and  living in  comfort but not luxury. Politicians  and bureaucrats treat them fairly without corruption or harrassment but insist on tranparency and environment protection. Most of the top civil servants have been given field reponsibilities and have moved out from Delhi and the state capitals. They suddenly realize how parasitic and how mistaken  they had been with their policy based formulations for the country and their arrogant belief that their refined thinking alone, without field leadership, could magically transform this great country with its vast spaces and millions of individual wills and dreams. They now have a great respect, bordering on reverence, for the field based, risk taking  ethicals. The Bhavans in Delhi have been converted to budget hospitals, middle class hotels, art galleries, and community centres with skating rinks and TT tables. The voiceover of authority and the learned has suddenly fallen silent.  People open their eyes and stare blinking at this enchanted world of fresh possibilities and open paths stretching out endlessly ahead of them. They pick up their showels and scythes, and led by ethicals, walk towards the distant peaks. As a result, ethical energies and potential are released all over the country as ethical agents, 'the men on the spot', take decisions and implement them. The salary of the CEO to the lowest paid worker never exceeds a ratio of ten. Workers'  salaries are high. All annual income upto rs 1 cr. is taxed at 40% and  beyond Rs 1 crore  at 90% and   Rs 10 cr.  at 99%. A person is judged not by how much he takes but how much he contributes to The Bank of Common Wealth  divided by the amount he has taken for himself. A billionaire is one who has added Rs 5500 cr. to this Bank. (I would be rated as a billionaire  with a credit of  2 - 3  billion dollars in this Bank with probably the highest ratio of benefit to cost. Forbes magazine has me as India's number one). As great personal wealth results from collusion between the unscrupulous and the powerful, ethical rule has sharply reduced the number of the very rich. Inequality is much less and there are very few of the destitutes and the abjectly poor. The rich and the middle class mingle in the schools, colleges and the shopping markets as it was in the two decades after freedom. Social tensions are low. Religion  has gone back to the personal sphere and is treated as a personal conversation between man and whatever god he has chosen. As man communicates with the divine wherever he is, very few persons actually visit a church, temple or mosque, quite a number of which are being closed. Religion retreats, morality advances. Vertical mobility is high. Our scientists are coming up with research breakthroughs, not in arms, rocket, missile and nuclear production, but in items for common use. For instance they have developed ultra efficient, long lasting, low cost mass produced solar panels easily fitted on roof tops and every open space by the common man; each village and household is a converter of sun's energy to electric power. The demand for coal has shrunk and coal mines are being shut. Production has become cottage based through 3 D printing technology.  The tribal hills and forests, their way of life are saved. Naxalite violence is all but over and the vast tribal areas are at peace. Oil consumption is down and so is pollution. These same scientists are converting waste plastics to oil and also growing biodegradable plastics as crops by farmers. They have developed the fuel cell for transport and power generation. And they have done many other things, in the process turning from rocket scientists burning wealth to generators of wealth. These scientists are practically on their  feet all the time in their labs and under the open sun and have stopped conference junkets. Economists have returned to teaching in the class rooms and have stopped advising governments. Every one is hands on and only a few give macro analysis as nobody listens to them; people learn by doing. Our country men and women have turned from theory to action, from talkers to walkers, from doubters to doers, from feel gooders to do gooders, from fearers to farers, from group thinkers to path finders. All authority figures are judged by what they have done and not what they plan to do. Mere knowledge impresses none. Detailed explanations are hooted down with ribald laughter. "Tell us what you have done,"  is the constant refrain of the people. Our institutes of learning and research are world class. Organizational heads, both in government and private sector, regularly resign to enforce ethical standards and they are treated as heroes in the civil society. Those who conspired against the ethicals and prompted these resignations are hounded out of public and professional life by widespread  anger. Social tensions are low because people are treated fairly and see wealth being earned with hard work and not through contacts.  Arts , sports  and culture flourish for all, rich and poor. Good things are happening everywhere and the good man or woman is without fear. Each person knows that he or she will be defended from unjust harm by ethicals in powerful positions, ethicals whom they do not know and cannot pay. The same ethicals will encourage the creative endeavours of each and every person. This knowledge that ethicals in powerful positions are prepared to defend the undefended, even against the powerful and  risking their own positions for those they do not know, sends a pulse quickening  thrill  through every Indian's veins. The politicians are trying to curry favor with the ethicals as this is the only way they can get elected. They perform Shastanga Namaskar to the ethical whenever possible. Every Indian's creative productivity is growing astonishingly. The India growth rate is averaging between 15 to 20 % annually. This is a growth rate that is sustainable as it is based on the doctrine of fairness and environmental protection. Experts from China, Germany, the US and other countries come here on study visits to understand this Indian miracle.  Children play in parks and gardens till late evenings, women move about freely. Policemen of all ranks move about in mufti looking after people's safety; the criminals know this and lie low, most have given up the life of crime as making an honest living is so much easier.  The land is at peace. People from the US, UK, Canada and other western countries are trying to come to live in India but are allowed in only selectively. Ram Rajya and The Kingdom of Heaven on Earth is everywhere. 

   On a certain day at Delhi airport, two celebrities arrive on the same flight. One is a superstar who, long ago, played a young man angry at the injustices of this world; but today, in real life, endorses the most unlikely  products on TV and pronounces conservative views, allying  with the autocrats. The other is an even bigger celebrity, the CM of a prosperous state who, having tried for long to wash  his hands clean of that 'damned spot', is  aiming  at bigger things. Both are worshippers of mammon. There is a huge welcoming group  waiting. The two walk towards the exit but the crowd does not move. After them , I too emerge, from the rear of the plane. The crowd  rushes past the two puzzled gentlemen  and greets me profusely with bouquets and garlands.  They tell me they are the common people of India  and have come  to thank me for what I did for them. The CEOs and the men of wealth stand aside to let me pass. The two celebrities, rooted to the spot,  bow respectfully.

        This ethical India will outshine all  the golden ages of her luminous  past.  'Stay awhile, thou art so fair!', I plead, stepping forward. But it  fades away,  a transient insubstantial vision.  

# Transient and insubstantial yes, but not false. Though imaginary, this vision anticipates what can be, what is possible, what kind of future we, each one of us leading those in our charge and independent of others, can   make for ourselves. From the present to a future, it is not a single stream flowing along its predetermined banks but many possible paths and directions leading to different futures, imagined worlds that each one of us can choose for ourselves. We are not all in the same boat, each one of us can set sail to unique shores, leaving others to their own journeys. During my  life I always walked alone, never knowing where I was leading my crew,  sure only  that it was in the right direction. And it was  by looking back and looking down that we realised  to our delighted surprise how far and how high  we had travelled and how much we had left behind. Each one of us can choose that better world we wish to get to. This world  is different for each person who is privileged to lead a crew, no matter how small. Getting to it  only needs an ethical direction finder and a brave heart. We need not travel together. If others tarry, leave them behind. Do not let them hold you back. Under no circumstances can  others be blamed  for our timidity. Once we realize this, then everything is possible. Transient and insubstantial was the vision, but false it was  not. In the crucible of such immaterial dreams are better worlds forged.   

# I have proved it is possible, not by detailed study and analyses as an expert would do but by demonstrating it in the most convincing way possible - by the actions and results in my own professional life. Today the discussion among decision makers is what needs to be done to spur India's growth, the policies required. I did not analyse or ask for any policy changes in my assignments or any financial help  but,  in that space available to me and against opposition and without the prospect of any reward, acted. If others in positions similar to mine, who are in a large number, act in the same way, seeking directions autonomously, India would greatly benefit. We, the doers, must put the macro analysts out of business. As written earlier, the challenges are difficult, not complex. We must roll up our sleeves and start acting and not get in a huddle and try to find policy solutions. Real life, properly observed, gives you all the solutions. The crutch of policies is required only if you do not want to act independently." We are following laid down policies. If you have complaints , give it in writing" is the attitude. Policies as solutions are a fraud on the people. It hides incompetence and dilutes responsibility which suits everyone fine. The clever men ruling India have assumed ethics is not required in  meeting complex professional challenges. They are very much mistaken and the entire country is paying the price for this arrogance.

# As a society we give unnecessary importance to knowledge and much less to learning from real life. First  knowledge,  then practice; first understand and then act, this is what we are told continuously.  Most of those who get into our civil services did so because they studied hard and had an easy facility with words.  The civil services exam will reward good students but the real world we live in yields its successes only  to  the person who acts. Most of those in the civil services are good with words and abstract concepts. The outperformers in the civil service, the best and brightest, uncontaminated by any stain of field success, will speak far more convincingly, about say corporate revivals, than me. Those  who hear both of us will conclude that the former  is far more accomplished in corporate revivals than me. Unlike the Americans, we never ask - " what did you actually achieve in the field?" . An understanding of government policy is what matters.  This is competence in the government. Because of this the man of action is suspect within the government. First fully understand , examine  the matter from all angles, a policy can then be formulated and this policy should be the basis of action in the field. The person in the field is an unthinking implementor of the refined thinking which thought up these policies.  In actual life, nobody understands anything by thinking alone.  One must act, study the field feedback, modify the action, study the field feedback again, modify the action - this is the real process. One learns only through action and a continuous study of feedback, in the action mode and not contemplation mode, and then act again , thinking on the feet. This is how the ethical acts. This is how the housewife acts when she goes out to shop or begins her cooking. This is how every one acts in real life  once he or  she leaves the office.  Our present policy and law based programs of action promotes the most parasitic, paralytic, mind numbing, reality distorting thought and action substitutes which, in the absence of a moral puspose, have lobotomised and switched off fresh and creative processes right out of most organizations. Such a government will necessarily fail. Fail but not fall. In India nobody loses office for faling to achieve what one sets out to do. Act ethically and it will happen.

# In real life one never refers to books or policies when taking a decision. A good education and wide reading trains our minds to gather and appreciate facts in the real world  but the encounters we come to face with there  every instant of our lived experience is brand new and novel,  at least in some detail. No situation ever repeats itself exactly, so our responses too must be fashioned at that time to fit the situation at that time. We are forced to think on our own and not use the prescription found in policy manuals. Taking the observed facts , we decide on a particular response just then. A civil engineer while observing the construction of a building would use his theoretical knowledge of design of structures but that particular matrix of facts on the ground right then is unique and he has to think on his feet and the solution worked out there which will differ in some way to what he did elsewhere.  As the real world is infinitely variable, any rigid policy or law based responses will not fit. My own expereince is that neither law nor policy prevents you from doing anything in the field nor does it tell you exactly what to do. The law is a set of prohibitions and policies are a very wide directional highways. Between both these there is a very wide latitude of action and what we decide to do will fall between these boundaries, there is no need to even think about the law ansd policies if we are motivated by creative impulses.  What we have to do in the field at a particular time and place we will know only when we stand there and think. The solutions will become apparent conceptually  but will require muscle and nerve to implement and there will be many a trial and error, feedback and continuous improvements. That solution is a unique solution and can only be thought up at that time in that particular place. Before that instant we did not know the solution because we had never faced that precise situation. That is what Socrates meant when he said that he was the wisest man alive because he realized he knew nothing. What he meant that when he faced a particular situation which demanded answers, he knew nothing about it till then  but had to seek the answer there and then looking at the reality  around him then. Whatever knowledge we have is useless at that particular instant. The answer is to be discovered there and then. Which is why the straighjacket of policies and laws will never tell us the steps to be taken in the field. Do not look at policies and laws when you work out your responses. But there is no need to worry. Once you discover what is to be done by the above seeking method, the solutions so discovered  will be seen to violate neither policies nor laws. These solutions , which will need to be constantly modified as the world keeps changing, will be invariably correct. They can never be wrong. But to work this way, one has to work indepedndently, without looking up to see whether the bosses are smiling or frowning. They are irrelevant. This is what I mean by seeking directions in the autonomous mode. Working this way is to taste the wild wind of freedom. Working this way will force you to be free. It will take you to success in whatever you do.

# i would like to support what I said about policies. The objectives of any government effort or program in the field are clear to all and does not require rocket science or a constitutional law degree to understand. Neither do these basic objectives change. Take for example an agriculture production program to support the farmer. The total food and other agricultural produce must increase along with marketing support and remunerative prices. Same with a prawn culture project. Establish the prawn culture practices so as to make it commercially attractive to would be entrepreneurs. In a PSU management, the objective is to improve its financial health by increasing production and cutting costs and quickly converting production into cash flow by effective marketing. These objectives can be understood by the common man in the street and no government will propose any change in these basic objectives.  The policies spelt out by the centralized government bodies are always in the nature of how to achieve these basic objectives, the strategies and techniques. These basic objectives do not ever change. Profitable PSUs , cleaner streets, more food production etc. Government need not even tell us these strategies. The ethical in the field is working out these strategies. The way he does it will be far superior to the official policy. He will  work within his liberally defined powers but he will use these fully and not ask his superior for guidance or the political leader for hukum merely because he wishes to get a good ACR and make it to that coveted post in Delhi or some where else . Looking to the basic objective he will design his field effort in such a way to meet and exceed  these objectives. At no stage does he look at policy guidelines. What he finally comes up with and which he constantly changes looking to revealed contour variations  in the ground is far more detailed and superior to the dull worded ambiguous policy guidelines. The way he does it will satisfy all the policy guidelines and will be far more advanced. Those who subsequently trace his steps  in the field will marvel at the moves he made which were never visualised  in the policy guidelines. He had been there , done that. He was there far before the policy wonks. What was designed by my  team in the drip irrigation program was subsequently adopted as a national template by the Government of India. When starting this program we did not even look at the existing drip irrigation policy as it was compromised by failure and corruption. The decision making structures in all my organizational efforts were retained after I left as they were found to be reliable instruments. So as long as you are exercising your power and acting ethically and pursuing the basic objectives of the program, it is better not to look too closely at policy guidelines. That pathless direction you walked on will become the established pathway to those who follow. 

                            So it is clear that if you are in a position of any authority, there will always be worthwhile things to do. Using one's powers and acting ethically, one has a clear unimpeded field to work on and achieve success. Policies do not come in the way. They are like wrappng paper to be torn off . After this the coordinates of one's forward movement can be continuously plotted and traversed. Those who point to policies coming in the way of their efforts are seeing self created barriers.     

#Finally, it is necessary to look at India with illusion free, but definitely not disenchanted, eyes. What Gandhi, Nehru and others fought for and won, the hope that India could be governed ethically, was lost a long time back.  It is not our objective situation that makes me pessimistic. Every organization was in a crises when I took over. For the first few days I was invariably in a blue funk, the sure foreboding of failure coming over me.  This was where I would meet my Waterloo, I just could not do it, could not even understand what it was all about, my mind a thick viscous mass of non comprehension. But once I had oriented myself and understood my coordinates, I saw, at first mere shadows and then more substantial forms of levers and motors waiting to be stepped on. And after a two week interregnum I was on a roll and there was no stopping us.  Morale is highest when you battle against the odds and are seen to be leading from the front and taking decisive steps. At this stage my morale and that of my team was high. What makes me despondent is the Indian elite. They will not act independently of the people who appointed them or of those who can remove them or cause them problems. They will do that which is mandated from the top. They will act on their own  where there are no prohibitory orders. Here they will act with a fierce independence and this is the face they will present to the public. They will have a clean image till the stuff hits the fan. They will lack authority in the field because they have given up ethics for personal convenience and safety. Ethics is the most majestic shield authority has. Give it up and you have to stay indoors. They are like the man who looks impressive sitting on a fine horse which is trained only for a sedate walk. Anything faster and they will fall off. There are enough intellectual fireworks in what I have written to add sparkle to the dullest afternoon, enough thought seeds to launch a thousand PhDs.  I tried bouncing my views off some of my colleagues and those who are most vehement on TV debates. They replied in the most effective possible way. They remained completety silent -  We have more important things  to do, they appear to say.  They will not engage with me because what I say is irrefutable. Or perhaps it was my real  victories in the field that  kept these popinjays silent.  Only some of those who had worked with me took the trouble to read what I wrote ;  this too was maybe  more out of politeness to their former chief than any agreement  with me. In general, persons will emulate ethical conduct only if they work under an ethical head of an organization.  Now that I have retired, my words will have no effect whatsoever. There are none to rally to the cause of ethical management. The powerful oppose it, the middle class is contemptuous of it and the poor are indifferent to it, never having experienced it. People rally under the banner of caste, religion, regional loyalties, spiritual gurus, big money, film stars, cricketers. But  under the ethical banner no one gathers. It is a lonely outpost.   

# The Indian near term future, 3 to 5 years, will be worse than the present. The growth rate will be between 4% to 6%, nearer 4 than 6, I fear. Unemployment and consequent random localized  violence will rise. There will be fear behind closed doors and disorder  in the streets. More callousness will be experienced.  Middle class optimism will weaken and anxiety and dread of the future will cloud their days. The governments will turn reactive. Its decisions will be doubted. Its officers will not perform at a level higher than what is required to retain the job, which is not high. The intervention of the courts will cross the  point of diminishing returns. The Supreme Court is moving away from judgements based on law into the arena of public policy. There will be a reaction soon and the court may be dragged into partisan debate and be discredited.  It will be, not the rule of law, but the rule of lawyers, lawyers who make more than Rs 10 lacs a day, some of who could , in effect be working as fixers. The level of vituperation among public figures will turn noxious but harsh words will be greeted with indifference. The likelihood of real change will be felt by most Indians to be low. This will spur illegal   and  criminal behaviour among many. The political rulers and those allied to them in the bureaucracy, judiciary and business will be seen, not as protecters, but as  predators, some clever and refined, and others gross and stupid.  The good persons will lapse into a dismal calm. The worst , those who will steal from widows and orphans and have learnt the alchemy of converting human suffering into gold, will smile with perfect assurance, telling us that the putrid and smelly  stuff we see may not be really so, let us wait for the enquiry report and not rush to judgement immediately." Enquiry report aane deejiye, please", even as the stuff stinks to high heavens and the common man staggers back with disgust .  All  know there are no ethicals to protect and nurture them. That endemic fever which has turned our poor into zombies will burn on,  blighting lives and turning the future nightmarish. The weak and the vulnerable - the poor children, women, the old, they will all be road kill, collateral damage,treated like trash in the streets, with the rich and middle class turning their eyes away.   But there will be no collapse or a nation wide resurgence - caste and other group loyalties, elite cynicism and middle class apprehensions  will see to that. The elite will continue to do well and speak even better, albeit in shrinking enclaves. For the next 3 to 5 years India will slow down in most  fields and  fail in many. Our international standing will fall and the neighbouring countries will treat us with less respect.  Even with all these failures and disappointments, none will turn to ethics. That is one option unacceptable to all. In the absence of ethics there is the clamour of accusations and controversies. No country can progress with such  partisan shouts.

# The figure of 4 to 6% growth will officially  alarm  the architects of India's  economic ministries. A higher growth rate can come in one of the two ways. It can come with unrestrained crony capitalism with all its ills. Because of the outcry against corruption , this path  may no longer be open. The other path available to us is when there is an ethical commitment among the Indian elite. Here the growth rate will be even higher. The Indian elite being deeply allergic to ethics will not want to commit to this at all. They would prefer the present growth rate. In the past the even  lower rate was referred to as the Hindu rate of growth. This term was not only patronising and insulting but it was also a wrong label. It is not the Hindu rate of growth but the unethical rate of growth. The unethical rate of growth is that which is the result of the country being governed unethically and allows   the elite to prosper at the cost of the poor and the weak. This does not demand of them the moral exertions urged by ethics; the elite is unwilling to face the risks and uncertainties which ethical commitment calls for. So they would personally  be happy with the 4 to 6% growth rate. They will sacrifice the country's interests so as to avoid any comitment to  ethics. The earlier unethical growth rate was 2 to 3%. This is now going upto 4 to 6%. This increase is because of the new technologies particularly communications and also  greater education and some  political empowerment of the weak. The elite will be perfectly happy with this rate. But in the time honored Indian tradition they will affirm their commitment to higher growth rate and, at the same  time,  to  ethics. To be fair, most of the elite do not realize that by opposing and rejecting ethics in practice in their official sphere, they are in effect condemning India to  low growth. They stopped thinking a long time ago.           

 #  Seventy years ago , in another country, a poet had watched "the clever hopes expire of a low dishonest decade". The last ten years also were in some ways, a low dishonest decade, even though we are not facing the world wide cataclysm they faced then. The hopes of India emerging into a great  economic power with a matching military might were, in many ways, clever. Most of the economic upsurge was of a doubtful legality as is now becoming clear. Those who were officially amplifying these hopes must have been aware of these wrongdoings even while loudly proclaiming our success. No success is sustainable if it is based on stealing economic goods from someone else, whether it is the state or from the common citizens. The injured party is sure to yell at some time.The achievements of the last decade were built on such shifting sands. It was good fun while it lasted but now that the bill is presented, those basking in the earlier successes are now feigning surprise. The scams are too many to enumerate.

 # This is no way to build a great country like India. All national development must rest on a rock hard ethical foundation. Such achievements will never be challenged, in fact people will look on them with pride. Nothing I did has been questioned and today my successes glow brighter as they stand in contrast to the murk and taint of so many scams. Ethics is not an esoteric moral discipline. It is native to every human heart and resides there. Every human being is a potential ethical. Ethical management is readily understood by all. In every company I worked, the lowest level employees  said that for the first time they understood how the company worked and how they were able to contribute. That which is complex is shown to be easy to understand. Once they understood this, they put in their full effort. Motivation was built into ethical management. When a motor is finetuned, it performs better; when a leakage in the equipment  is plugged, material is saved; with free competition, purchase cost comes down; free competition also gets us a higher price for our product; quick marketing decisions result in low finished product inventory; all these transparencies produce greater stakeholder trust; and many other good things begin to happen. Failure turns into success and defeat into victory. Under ethical management, whatever is achieved is seen as the  victory because the objective verifiable results are beyond any body's expectations. The results of any ethical effort are seen, by definition, as the victory. It is in that sense it was asserted that ethical leadership never fails. There is no doubt in the minds of observers about the bona fides of the decision makers. There are no controversies and accusations to divert and demoralise the ethical and his team. But there is always the hostility and the ethical leader knows that his stay is  limited to the day  when the organization has come back to health. The number of ethicals will consequently remain too small to transform the country.  

# Legislation and policies cannot take the place of ethics. These will succeed when there is a basic framework of ethics among the key sections of the governing elite. In the absence of this ethics, laws will be subverted and policies flouted by the elite and , seeing this, by a significant  number of  the common people as well. The fact that the elite subvert it in a more refined way than the commoners  do is no defence. In fact elite fraud is worse. If i lose my wallet to a pickpocket in a bus, I get upset but do not lose faith in the social fabric and public morality. But where the elite begin to cheat,  even in a most sophisticated way, then most citizens expereince some kind of deep, all pervading  demoralization, even if none of them have lost anything directly. When caught, the pick pocket does not defend himself eloquently whereas the person of power completely denies any wrongdoing helped by high paid lawyers. Today many Indians feel this despair , their elan vital seeping away. I would not trust the person who did not feel this way, at least some times. The correct policies and laws are essential, but there must be an ethical commitment  among each member of the elite, even to the extent of  willingness to suffer  personally for it. To say one is ethical but will stop short at standing up to the powerful who determine our life fortunes, demonstrates a built in contradiction. What you claim to have is not ethics. The recent case of the chief of India's premier investigating agency shows that it is not legal protection or sanction that is needed but the personal courage to stand up to the powerful that is vital. This courage can only come from ethics and not from a cost benefit calculus. We do not need new laws and policies, we want different kind of men and different kind of women,  those who will seek directions autonomously in their professional lives.

# "New policies will set right these anomalies" is the announcement. frequently made by our leaders. The anomalies were not in the old policies but in the existing leadership which implemented these policies. The same persons will implement the new policies. The only policy is to take advantage of power in such a way so as to benefit those close to the powerful. This was the old policy and this is the new policy.

# "The law will take its own course" is another magisterial pronouncement  frequently made by our leaders whenever something rotten is uncovered. Is the law some kind of an intelligent and independent target identifying, seeking and destruction missile ? Does it not need determined and bold  persons who will pursue the truth without fear or favor? Are these persons now in place? But actually it is the same old crew who will take instructions from the top and act accordingly.

# "Throw out this lot and give us a chance in the next election, we will set things right", cry a new group of dream merchants. The color of their garb is different  and they appeal to the voter with a different ideology. But once in power they will be indistinguishable from the present lot as far as siding with the dominant powerful groups is concerned and in the search for leverage and control. Their antipathy to the ethical will not be one jot less. "Now it is our turn",  they will chortle.    

# The Indian Constitution gives every Indian civil servant the freedom, and indeed the obligation, to act independently within his powers and in the public interest. If the officers fear this freedom and still insist on seeking directions from their superiors rather than seeking  it autonomously, what possible changes in law, policies and even rulers will inject into them the courage to do so?

# During my professional life, in my successful  defence of the organizational interest and the public interest as I saw them, I came into conflict with those more powerful than me, in fact my direct political superiors. I say successful defence because these conflicts came as a result of and after  the successful revival of the organization handed over to me and was not the result of any personal lack of diplomacy or politeness on my part. In Gujarat these conflicts included three against the most powerful  Chief Ministers, in Kerala it was against the dominant Minister/ politician/trade union combine. Looking back I take great pride in these conflicts because they were the crucial test of whether my nerve would hold against overwhelming force and whether I would be true to my stated convictions at the decisive moment. I had no illusions of emerging victorious, I was certain to lose. Either a transfer or a resignation invariably  followed. Yet knowing I would lose, I still stood there. But the moral victory was mine - in the eyes of the employees and other stakeholders, it was I who stood taller than the Chief Minister/ Minister. This willingness to take this stand was the reason for my professional successes as also the tempests I went through. I held the view that once I was put in charge of an organization, I knew better than anyone outside,  including the Minister, what needed to be done and I had the power to do it, this power would not be shared with anyone outside. I took full responsibility for this and I was successful in the task given to me.  The political executive had the right to demand results of organizational improvement from me, but they could not tell me how to do it or interfere in the day to day administration. By definition, the requests of a Minister to the head of an organization would be for something against the organizatioanl interests and which the organization chief himself would not have done. Very rarely is it in the organizational interest - no Minister would ask for the operational efficiency of the plant cooling tower to be improved or to ensure the adequate supply of fertilizer in a region; in any case such requests would cause no issues. But he cannot ask for the transfer of an officer or  that Rs. 10 cr. be paid to the CM Relief Fund, which is what I faced in the GSFC.  No civil servant as far as I know has taken such a stand consistently in India as I did. That is the reason the politicain has dragged the country down. The fault is not of the politician but of the civil servant. I hold there sould be many  more conflicts of the kind I was involved in  between politicians and civil servants for our democracy to succeed. There are not enough such conflicts today. If these principled conflicts increase and become public knowledge, then the politician will be exposed. The civil servant too, having taken such bold stands, will be required to justify himself by running the organization to high standards. MORE CONFLICTS, PLEASE ! The absence of conflict indicates collusion. More collisions please.

# But a civil servant must not go scouting for conflicts. Any conflict deliberately initiated by the civil servant with the political and bureaucratic leadrship is wrong. The only conflict acceptable is the one that comes to you without you having sought it. This will happen when you act independently seeking directions autonomously towards the public interest. If you act this way and show success, then, as sure as night follows day, the poltical executive and the civil servant leadership will turn against you and conflicts will begin. This is a righteous battle which will bring into sharp focus the issues of public interest before the people. Even when the ethical loses this contest,  as he is sure to, the public interest is the winner. Under no other circumstanes should a civil servant have a conflict with the political and bureaucratic leadership. 

# This is not an incitement to the Indian civil servants to revolt. It is a call to them to save the Republic. The country has lost its zest, its people are cynical, demoralized, suspicious and on the verge of paranoia. The level of vituperaion among our leaders has reached an all time high. Minor incidents, like a spark on inflammable stuff , are bringing people out on the streets. More than the politician, it is the civil servant who can turn the tide. In the minds of the common people, the civil servant has the legitimate authority, not the politician. It is the civil service that is the dynamo and power house from which the lines carry the developmental impulse to  transform the land. The civil service is seen as the concrete expression of the people's desire for development and the urge for a better life. Mother India  is prostrate and in such distress and looks to its sons and daughters to lift her up. We the civil servants must rush to her side. There is no common minimum program or any such nonsense that I propose. Let each civil servant seek directions autonomously. That alone will do it. Do not allow the politician to dictate to you. His authority is only for legitimate acts. He cannot ask you to do that which is wrong or prevent you from doing that which is right. But he will do it if you allow him as is happening now. Break free of those bonds of fear that paralyse you. Reach out and grow to your full stature! Each one of you were meant for much bigger things. Your countrymen and women, more than a thousand million of them, poor and sick, watch and pray for your success,  because  that alone will deliver them from their nightmares. Do not let them down.

# More laws and policies are not the answer. More ethicals within the government is the answer. How to make the CBI independent? Put a person like me, who has a history of  working independently, as its head. When even a Supreme Court directive not to share a report with the political executive is not enough, what is the point of making the CBI independent? Make me the CBI  Director and I will show you how an independent CBI functions. But today, the personal qualities that help you get to such posts are precisely those which will make you subservient in the post. We must have a cultural revolution of values, India style. Then we will realise that most of what are seen as problems in the field are weaknesses in the mind of the decision maker. Ethics will dissolve all these problems as if they never were. The cleansing wind of ethics will blow away the dense fog of indecision, doubt and suspicions. Please read my book and this will become clear.       

#The Indian elite must change themselves individually. NO MORE CHANGES IN LAWS, NO MORE CHANGES IN POLICIES. The changed laws will not be implemented, the new policies will be subverted.Repeating the same action in the hope of getting a different resut is a recognized symptom of insanity. But our rulers are not insane. There are very  good  reasons why our ruling establishment, regardless of the party in power, shows such touching faith in forever searching for new policies and laws which will magically set right the repeated failures of our development planning. The first is that by admitting the need for new policies and laws, it lets off the hook all those who were implementing the old policies and laws. It was not their fault that the implementation failed as obviously there was something wrong in the existing policies. The new policies will be more effective. The proven incompetence and lack of commitment of the government ministers and civil servants is neatly sidestepped. The second reason, an even more weighty one, is that it preserves the utterly poisonous and paralysing fiction that it is by the thinking and brain power of our brilliant minds in Delhi and the state capitals that the right key to develop India will be found. This fiction which is almost totally accepted as the official wisdom today allows the government to be dominated by the brilliant thinkers and the  articulate talkers, thereby keeping power centralized. The person in the field is only to follow the policies laid down. We the smart guys will do the thinking and you the discliplined foot soldiers and drones will faithfully implement what we have thought of, they tell others. The fact that nothing of the sort happens is of no concern to them.  The third reason is to create a continuous dust of activity at the central levels to convince the people that their government is working mighty hard for their welfare as all these new policies are continuousy debated in public forums..  The truth is that the present  laws and policies are good enough. They do not come in the way of anyone wanting to do good and neither do they compel anyone to do anything bad. The problem is the quality of the individuals comprising the elite. The failures are not political, social, organizational, policy or any other conditions prevailing in  society behind which persons  in power so often take refuge. These are precisely the conditions we have to fight against and not use as explanations for  failures. The failures are of individuals, they are personal failures. They have brains, capability, command over words, presentation skills, pleasing manners. They must generate within them  character, spine, guts, empathy and all those old fashioned virtues which guide the good man who fights for those he does not know and those who cannot pay him back. Each one of the Indian elite has these good qualities too, they have only been suppressed through lifetime prohibitions. These qualities will spring back as soon as they personally commit to ethics.

# A new injection, vitamin E, must be self administered  by members of the Indian elite.   

# Will ethics be adopted individually by Indian elite? One can hope but it is nothing more than a hope. Nobody is listening, nobody is talking of ethics  and things do  look bleak. ( They are talking of being honest, following the law and observing the laid down procedures etc. - this is an entirely different thing and will lead to government gridlock.)  My personal talks with those who are well off and well placed, in other words the elite, has convinced me they have no intention of doing anything similar to what I did. They see it as something close to lunacy. The common man sees me as one who never understood the ways of the world. A sympathetic friend saw some similarities in my behaviour to that of Raju in Guide as he tries to make up for his ruined  life by acts of extreme effort and sacrifice.  The stakeholders who directly benefited from my efforts do not even now understand why I did what I did for them as they never had any  intentions of following ethics on their own or giving anything back for what I did. Looking back at how brave and good they had become  under me, they now  feel embarrassed thinking about it  and feel  I carried my enthusiasms too far. One veteran leader of Gujarat confided in me recently that he found it incredible when he became aware that in spite of heading some of the biggest cash generating commercial organizations of the state, I had made not even a modest private pension plan for myself. He obviously thought me an impractical person not worth  further cultivation.  India is indeed  no country for bold men. It is perhaps  the centuries of foreign subjugation, during  which  the most powerful and influential Indians collaborated and personally  benefited,  that has broken our spirit. It is  by siding with the unjust and abandoning ethics in one's profession, while claiming to be guided by the highest motives,   that one progresses materially in life. This belief is now a part of our cultural heritage and guides our elite. If  none within the establishments of power use ethics as a direction finder in their official conduct, then it is the strong and the powerful on whose side the government will always stand. An ethical within the government and other structures of wealth including private corporations, will take steps which will give access to rightful opportunities to the weak and vulnerable. It does not matter how many Arundhatti Roys there are speaking with great conviction and eloquence on behalf of the oppressed, it will not matter an inch or an ounce. It is only ethicals  within the fortifications of power who can make the state just, within the radius of our control at least,  and live upto what was  promised in a free India, the promise of  "wiping every tear from every eye". Governements are not tightly controlled monolithic entities. The term describes an aggregate of discrete organizations - Collector, PSUs, Secretariat departments, field departments and similar establishments. The organizational heads have a considerable degree of independent powers. The persons heading these,  following the stated objectives of the government and using their full powers, can act independently and by keeping the public interest in mind at all times, act ethically, that is seek directions autonomously. This would represent, not a breakdown of discipline, but a strengthenoing of it with a pronounced sense of purpose. Instructions from above, whether from a Minister or a higher level civil servant, should not be followed if they are violative of the government's own laid down objectives and goals and if they fall within the department head's area of powers. So even in the presnt situation individual civil servants can act ethically, just as I did, provided they are willing to face the opposition of the powerful. It finally comes down to character - grit , courage and a clear eyed understanding of the objective situation and the breakthrough paths which are invariably available to each organization head.  Indian society, like all societies,  is unjust but a good state tries to set right this imbalance. If the Indian elite in spite of clear opportunities to be ethical in office individually,  particularly for those in the government,  are averse to ethical commitments in their official strivings, then our state will be an unjust state. An unjust state will be an unstable state and we will see our best laid plans and hopes come crashing down .  We will not keep that longed for tryst with destiny.

# We can still do it if some  among  our elite turn ethical. About a thousand ethicals, an ethical elite, would be sufficient. They would light creative fires that, seen from the country's distant land's ends,  would stir  into a soaring optimism all those who are today dull spirited and dejected. Let me assure all that ethics does work in every worthwhile  organizational endeavour. After all I have followed  it  most  of my professional life.  

# The unwillingness of even a small section of the Indian elite to be guided by ethics is a failure, not of morality, but of intelligence.  The anger I feel arises not from the the treatment I received from those who benefited from  the wealth I created. In the national context that is unimportant. My fury is against this antagonism to ethics that those in power display. This hostility  is suppressing the great energies of our people,  preventing  them from realizing their full potential and that enjoyment of life which is the birthright of every Indian. Most Indians are  unable to live lives that are truly human, doors are being banged shut against them.  Having won every contest in a full  professional life, I know how easy it is for each one of us to do what ever we set out to do if ethics is our guide.  This knowledge  is what is unbearable. I cry for the millions of stunted, undeveloped lives which will never  see the full spectrum of what this earth  can  offer. It need not have been like this.                                               

 

These were my  views and  are expressed to the best of my ability. They are my own and I do not think others share them. But it  was important to give them a wide audience because I believe they hold the key to achieving  India's destined greatness. There is no selfish motive behind what I have written.  No gain is likely to me and the possibility is of  losing the few friends I have left. Most persons' ideas are dictated by their careers. I have felt it necessary to look at the world,  but only that part of it that I control or can influence, not as it is, but as I can make it.  Independent thinking, or autonomous direction seeking in one's professional life, can get us there. The world is increasingly being  ruled by an  amoral technocratic elite at one end and the dishonest and outright criminals at the other.  Only with ethics can we confront them. And only ethicals in their position of authority  can bring  ethics into organized professional life. Ethics is meaningless other than in one's professional  life. It can do no good outside it.

# "All I have is a voice." and the world must hear it.

# And what is in it for the ethical leader? Both wealth and fame miss him though he makes a great deal of money  for the organizations he worked for. He stands alone most of the time. People do admire  him but only privately as his success is felt  as a reproach by the otherwise smug. But there is a  payback for him and it comes in the most valuable currency in the world. There is a great appreciation in his self worth. He has done something  big and unique - achieved glittering practical  successes without making money or a career  for himself. And he never let down the ordinary man in the street, those who could not pay him and those whom he did not know . He stood up for the public interest against some of the most powerful figures. This is uncommon in India. And around him he created, what   Auden had cried out for,  a world where  promises are kept and where one could weep because another wept.

The ethical cannot be bought, he cannot be threatened and he cannot be defeated. He defends the common wealth against the powerful. He thwarts that  soulless  alliance of the expert and the burueacrat  which is  without any  principle save that of expediency. His successes stand as a continuing rebuke to the analysts,  commentators and spectators among the Indian civil servants.  Please cheer the ethical whenever he/she appears amidst you. He has created immense wealth, taken little and faced enemy fire. This need  is the last  infirmity of the noble mind. If you do this, many more like him will rise up to save the Republic.The ethical is the prime mover. Without him there will be no ethical revival. Without him India will never grow to its destined greatness. The ethical is today's satyagrahi. Only film actors are prepared to play this role now.

# Governments and other structures of power cannot be reformed from the outside by democratic means of expression like street demonstrations and agitations. The carapace is too thick for that. Neither can they be improved by policy guidelines from a distant bureaucracy. The only way these structures can be reformed and revitalised is from within when an ethical is placed at the head of institutions. Even then he can reform only that institution whcih he controls. This fact must be drummed time and again as many times as it takes into the thinking of all Indians.     

# I will go further and feel certain of what I am going to say. The number of ethicals in any society is an absolute measure of that society's intelligent aspiration to progress, its will to greatness. Mere desire to progress without seriously working out the route map and  developing the personal stamina required to last out its dangers and unpleasantness  will be blown off course when the harsh winds begin to blow, as blow they will. This path to progress is not one but many in fact thousands. Each of these paths will be plotted out and found on the ground with much physical, nervous and mental effort by thousands of ethical path finders, each of whom is legitimately in charge of some organizational effort. A critical number  of strategically placed ethicals who can guide on this route can happen only  if significant sections of society are prepared to nurture, support and defend ethicals as the ethicals will be under constant attack. So ethicals will appear in good numbers only if society wants them to and gives them the honors due.  If this desire is lacking in society then the number of ethicals will be insignificant, one or two here or there, picked off by sharpshooters of the unethicals. This is the case today. In fact I will make the  controversial assertion that perhaps the hostility towards ethicals  in professional and public life is not only from the powerful but from almost everyone. Ethics is seen as some out of control force which will overturn the elaborately built arrangements of deception, guile, force,  greed and willed ignorance that hold things together in India and enable everyone, except the very  weakest,  to exploit someone else.  The underprivileged will not support the ethical in his conflict with the powerful. If they are the stakeholders who benefited, they will appreciate his work. But they will abandon him the moment  the vested interests attack him for having benefited them. In their view he should have been more diplomatic.  

#  The forces opposing ethics are  too powerful and draw sustenance from deep social roots. They cannot now  be overcome without a social cataclysm and chaos.  There was a window when, just after independence, we had thought leaders who,  schooled in European disciplines of logic and enlightenment, drew from  the deep Indian  cultural roots of morality, or Dharma. That window has now closed and those who pose as today's leaders are ethically color blind. For them there was  never any absolute morality. They see every person as having certain obligations - to his family, friends, to those in power, those owed favors, to some very fuzzy fit all occasions sort of  spirituality  for all seasons  , to some authority figures, to those who stood by them in difficult times, and other claimants. These claimants are specific to that person and none of them stake their demands on the moral or  some absolute principles. As long as a person meets these demands, and has met all his legitimate obligations, in his assessment, he feels has fulfilled his duty. There is no absolute morality common to all. Morality is person specific and  relative. Every person has his own morality which is relative to his own life and circumstances. So every Indian thinks he is moral. "You are free to think what you wish to but I do not have to agree." is a statement very commonly heard and accepted as a conversation stopper. No one desires to take the point at issue to where logic and truth would lead it. It would invaraibly lead to an ethical conclusion. An ethical answer is embarrassing to most of our opinion moulders for two reasons. First, it would stand as a reproach to the smug and complacent who have blurred the boundaries between right and wrong and as a result  continue to feel self righteous in spite of their numerous compromises and surrenders.. Second,  ethical direction seeking cannot be controlled and  would overthrow the elaborate arrangements of deceit and feel good certifications which support the day to day accommodations persons in positions of authority make in India. There is no absolute truth or absolute morality for most Indians even while being warm, kind hearted and generous when the circumstances are favorable. The truth is placed far below other priorities . The kind of ethics I talk about pass most prominent Indians like the idle wind, and is not even thought about as being  worthy of serious consideration. Every Indian has developed his own morality. Every Indian in any position of authority  thinks he is doing the right thing. Unlike in the West or Japan, most  Indians never acknowledges their  personal guilt even when caught in flagrante delicto. He will claim to be a victim of plots by his enemies and that he is pure as the driven snow. The ethics I talk about is Double Dutch to them. The only time he thinks he has done something wrong is when he is completely  "in disgrace with  fortune and men's eyes"  and has lost his trappings of authority. Then he feels he must have done something wrong, not because he realizes his mistake, but  because the world has turned against him. If he prospers and does well materially, he thinks that as the world  has approved of what he has done, his actions must have been the right ones. For such a person ethics is a reflection of what the world thinks of him. His endeavour throughout his life is to win the approval of those who determine his life fortunes. He has no independent scale in which to judge right and wrong. That is why he distrusts the ethical with his absolute standards. That is why he will always swim with the current and never go against the flow. He will leave the world as he found it as he is a puppet connected to the strings of the opinions of those important to him. Personal modesty is the redeeming virtue, it washes away all sins. You may have done some pretty hair raising things but never, never forget to be modest about your achievements and always mention your debt to the guidance received from the powerful. These dominant opinions are tolerant of failures and also of material successes procured through unethical methods. Loyalty to the most powerful is highly prized , but not loyalty to the organization's goals. Ethical direction seeking is distrusted and ethical success is a deadly danger.  Any desire to better the world around him is seen indicating either naivety and foolishness or ego and hubris by those around him.  This explains India's constant failure to change and achieve what it is capable of. I must make it clear that I am talking about Indians in positions of power and influence, or the elite. The common man without wealth or power is more open to change if it is led by an ethical in authority. His life is so miserable and he has been let down so often by insincere men, that he is willing to hitch his fortunes with an ethical. He can recognize an ethical when he sees one. To him the ethical is not a threat but the herald of a better life, and of  a world where the powerful keep their promises. Such alliances can create  brave new worlds. Hundreds and thousands  over our great land, wherever men and women come together to realize  long deferred dreams, these points dotted every where lighting up one after the other till all the land is  bright. And create what Tagore and Gandhi yearned for, a land where the mind is without fear and the  tears of want and destitution have ceased to flow.

# The Indian elite are no club wielding savages. They are among the most gifted and cultured people in the world. Their opposition to the ethical has made such alliances all but impossible. Only a very stubborn and fool hardy person like me can overcome this opposition.    

# Today I see no ethicals among the elite. I do not see them because there are none. ( to remind my readers once again, an ethical is identified by three distinguishing marks - exceptional results in his professional field, impeccable integrity as testified by the organizational stakeholders, and finally by the  powerful opposition that he faced. ) How do I say this? If there had been, they would have been noticed. Exceptional events  do not go unremarked. If any reader knows of a person/persons  who have these attributes and are consequently fit to be called ethicals, please let me know or  better still  let the world know. The clever ones would counter by defining ethical in a more convenient way and then claim there are many in the country. I would not argue with them as it would be a dispute about definition and not about substance; such arguments are arid and trivial. The battle for a better India is lost. But individuals can still make bright with ethical light that small patch of the earth each one of us controls. This is what I did. Had I not done this, I would not have the right to express these views. Each of us  does control something no matter how small. These points of light can  continue to flash out. This is the only ray of hope that I see.

#   All I have is a voice ..

# A  country whose leadership and elite deliberately suppress its most powerful economic resource cannot claim a chair at the high table of international economic ranking  and respect.           

           In brief, this is how the ethical paradigm can work and also why it is not working.

 Mosca the Italian political theorist, wrote, 

         "Every generation produces a certain number of generous spirits who are capable of loving all that is, or seems to be, noble and beautiful, and of devoting a large part of their activity in improving the society in which they live, or at least saving it from getting worse. Such individuals make up a small moral and intellectual aristocracy, which keep humanity from rotting in the slough of selfishness and material appetites." 

                                   This description of a moral and intellectual aristocracy closely resembles the ethical elite we have talked about.  Without such an ethical elite, India is not going to make it. The Indian ruling elite, both in government and outside, do not pursue ethical goals, in fact are opposed to it; I have yet to see  a single person in a position of any indepedndent authority  who demonstrates ethics in his / her professional field. They have the brains and core capability but, in their professional work,  do not have the generous spirits to love that which is noble and beautiful. They display these and many other good qualities outside their offices where it is cost free. We will always remain a country with  great promise, great potential and a great future. This ever receding mirage  will  continue to  tantalize us. We are condemned to remain in  this purgatory till  we see the ethical light and climb out.  

# All the problems which beset and demoralise us are actually challenges to our ingenuity and have the solutions implicit in them, on the flip side so to speak. All these so called problems are site and time specific and unique to that occasion. The solution to these are ours as one stands at that unique point in time and space and looks at that world as if for the first time and seeks directions autonomously. This is ethics and by its  nature it cannot fail. The way forward that will   be found will be the very effort towards ethical directions. This is the truth that is sought, unique for that occasion and owned by the person seeking it and him alone. Ethical direction seeking, which is the seeking of this truth each time,  itself is the solution. It yields a new truth each time and this is the answer one is seeking. The actual material success in the field of our effort is a mere sideshow. The main play is the ethical effort, the ethical direction seeking which is the pursuit of truth, of the truth that resides only at that instant in that particular occasion. This truth is not a mystical insight but the lifting of veils , revealing the paths ahead. It is a practical truth, in the daily business of life. The successful material result is a foregone conclusion. Truth is not  the preserve of philosophers and saints. It is a lamp showing the way forward for the practical woman and man , amidst the conflicts and competing claims of the world.

# We have been talking only of  India. But conected as we are, the world's cruelites and injustices keep us anxiousand  awake. The inability of a single child to live the life she could have is a tragedy. The world outside India too needs the healing balm of ethics. Communism failed, capitalism today grinds millions in its quest for immoral profits and congratulates  itself  on paying low wages to workers and then  laying off thousands to improve the quarterly figures and pay even higher salaries  to it top executives . Modern management merely puts a rationalizing gloss over wrongdoing. Aggressive financiers and the armament manufacturers, the two ravening beasts of predatory capitalism, stalk legitimate economic life. Along with communism, capitalism too has lost the moral argument and no decent humane person can accept the way capitalism is today practiced. Our failures are not of ideology or systems, that excuse will not do,  they are  personal ethical failures of each individual decision maker, of each member of the elite . Today material prosperity is at the cost of someone else's misery or by burdening ourselves with unpayable debts to Mother Earth. Obscene wealth mocks humble toil while feasting on its produce. Inequality, the like of which is never seen in human history, fuels unrest and feeds extremism of all kinds. Religion is no longer an opium that dulls and retards but a manic current that incites violence. The daily killings no longer shock and the life of man in many parts of the world appears  nasty, brutish and short . Individuals driven by fear and greed are becoming callous." We fed the heart on fantasies, / the heart's grown brutal from the fare, / more substance in our enmities than in our love", Yeats had said. Voices are spiteful and mean. Those who never showed any ethical courage in their professional lives now indignantly denounce others with nauseating self righteousness. The internet made available the means to know other human beings but took away the desire and left us staring blankly at  lighted screens, vastly bettter informed but more aware of our helplessness and  able only to tweet frantically like birds above a sickening  earth. The world is warming up, we are like the frog that refuses to jump out. Our children's lives will be worse than ours which for me is the saddest thing. More technology is not the answer as it will be merely co-opted by unprincipled men and women. Democratic governments are no longer trusted as they have been captured by special interest groups and made rigid by bureaucratic inertia. People are looking for something new to rid the world of it s maladies. This something is still with us, always has been, we never lost it, it was not possible, a youthful phase now recalled with embarrassment. It continues to live in the human heart. It  is that essence which  will save a  world  gasping from pain and disillusionment. The need for ethics is hard wired into the human organism. Its absence  stunts human life and  makes men and women lesser beings. We must once again turn to what the poets have  urged - love, generosity, courage, and the humanistic  imagination which is wiser than the wisdom of all the management gurus in the world. Trust your heart, it will not mislead you.   Humanity is at the last chance saloon. Please do not believe those who say that things are complicated and no simple solutions will work, it is only simple solutions that work; the task is difficult, not complex and does not need any deep thinking, only deep long playing  emotions. The ordinary man understands this perfectly and has been wondering for decades why common sense solutions are not being applied. I say this with the confidence of a person who succeeded in overcoming formidable organizational challenges better than anyone else.  Let us put ethics to work not in the ashrams and  monasteries but in the real world where men and women struggle to survive. If India had the golden ages of the past, it also had the Pindaris and the Thugs. Take care my countrymen, in abandoning ethics we are opening the door to their modern variants. The most dangerous and well camouflaged of these is the dynamic leader who provides corruption free administration to the common man, while parcelling  out the life sustaining assets  of the commons to the bull dozers of the "developers",  scattering those living there; the town criers call it development. Ignorance is strength, the Ministry of Truth proclaims, to the frenzeid yeas of his followers.   

# Before you dismiss me as a hopelessly muddled sentimentalist out of his depth in the world of practical affairs of business, please  keep in mind what I did in the real world of organizations. On the scorecard of ethical action, which is the only measure that really matters,  I stand above those who appear on your screens every day. I do not tell others what they should do or what they should not do or what it is they have done wrong. My message to each and every decision maker is to act independently of the views of others and to follow your own ethical guide. Then you cannot go wrong. Shakespeare said it best

                           This above all: to thine own self be true,

                           And it must follow as the night the day,

                           Thou canst not then be false to any man.

## Most persons live "lives of quiet desperation" and will  turn away from noble and dangerous deeds. They are not to blame because they know that ethical working  in one's profession is hazardous and they  have no wish to be  heroes . My call is not to  tthem. It goes  to the intrepid few, not more than potentially  a thousand in this country of a thousand million, to those  who, in postions of power, will  yet    keep the lamp of ethics burning bright.  Your success will not be rewarded,  you  will face the hostility of the powerful and will be stung by the selfishness of those you saved. That is why your  number will always remain small. But you are members of a select band, the rarest of the rare, the incandescent spirits of the age. Blessed is the land lighted by the deeds of the ethicals. The country needs you, it is in distress a and calls for you. There are no  lamp lighters now, we bleed from a thousand cuts in this ethical dark. 

# The reader should ponder over my views, thoughts, ideas and the breakout paths made visible. These are not the free floating assertions of the TV discussions and seminar participants, sometimes indignant, sometimes flippant, with the insider's complicit smile forever hovering and giving it all away. "He is a good friend of mine" is said to assure the other side that all this is play acting and that the disagreements will not come in the way of personal relationships. Their true allegiances are never known because they have none, they keep shifting positions  looking to their self interest. But it is never with the common man that they will ever side, he does not count.  None of them ever, but ever, talk about their own professional  experiences and the deductions from those. What they say has nothing to do with what they did when in that seat of power or wealth or influence. They are bubbles, feel good assertions for that moment, there is no serious intent behind them.  What is written here, on the other hand,  is the exact counterpart of the actions in my professional  life. Most of those who strut self righteously on the public stage do so by exposing the misdeeds of the powerful. They speak better than me in adjective stuffed, judgemental  words, but these  words  lack feet, they do not rest on the ground of reality altering  events.. Unlike them, the pride I take is not in the wrongdoings of others that I exposed, but in the good I did.  It is more difficult to set things right , in office and against powerful opposition, than  to point to other's wrongdoings and crimes. In the minds of the observers, my good deeds merely revealed, as a biproduct,   the weaknesses of the past. But no punitive steps were ever taken by me. I did good to many, harmed none. Wealth, career, fame and friends stayed away from me and I mostly walked alone. But  mine was a life of daring  endeavours and magnificent  successes, all for the common good.  Here is the truth you have been looking for, this truth not as a mystical insight but as a practical direction finder to our day to day ventures, occasion and individual  specific, the truth as a solution lighting the path ahead. Be bold for this truth. This bitter cleansing  herb can wash away the stains that disfigure our great land.  Mother India,  noble but  forlorn and anxious, awaits those who will set her free. A thousand defeats have not yet dimmed her eyes, they  still look at the future with hope. It is possible, it can be done, if the Indian elite reforms towards ethics. Her maladies can be cured only with ethical medicine, only ethicals can save her.  I gaze at her with a deep, knowing sadness. A despairing vision overwhelms me. She will be let down as she has been  for millenia . Her favorite child, her only hope, the Indian elite, has rejected ethics and left  her. The strong, the clever , the unscrupulous  rule. She is destined to wait forever,  magnificent and abandoned, like a ruin.

                                                                                             

                                                  

 

 

Alexander K. Luke, IAS(Retd.)

feedback to  akluke@rediffmail.com

Passport of Gujarat: Hazardous Journeys

An Excerpt from the book (Gujarat Alkalies and Chemicals Ltd.; Diwali, 1998)   Meanwhile back at the plant, there was some serious labour unrest to add to the excitement. For the first Diwali after I joined, we had no money to pay the kind of bonus they were expecting. We were literally spending...
ethical_management

This is what Alexander.K.Luke has to say

                                                                                                  I want you to  read of how a new paradigm of success in government and business was established in the minds of stakeholders and fair observers. The paths presently being followed by the country's leadership all lead to dead ends. It is now seen that the high growth rates of the last few years were fueled by corruption and favors for the few. This is being resisted now. A mass movement and a prosecutorial attack against corruption will freeze decision making and take us back to the growth rates seen earlier. The authoritarian model gives good growth rates to begin with but institutionalizes corruption in favor of the economically strong. It will be called bold dynamic leadership and not corruption. This model too will lose momentum against the resentment it will provoke with time.

The ethical option described in the book is the only path ahead for us. It will take India to a high and sustainable growth rate with transparency and wide public support. The book will vindicate this claim.

1st Instalment

 
ethical_management
Introduction & Chapter 1-3

1st Instalment