No Unity in Di­ver­sity

DQ Channels - - Channel Pulse - RA­JNEESH DE/ ra­jneeshd@cy­ber­me­

Al­most all of us know the story about In­di­ans and their crab men­tal­i­ties. For the ben­e­fit of the mi­nor­ity, let me re­it­er­ate the tale when an as­sign­ment of live crabs reached the US with the name of the coun­try from where it orig­i­nated. As the US cus­toms de­part­ment opened the crate, they were de­bat­ing amongst them­selves on how to find the ori­gin coun­try. Sens­ing an op­por­tu­nity, some crabs were try­ing to crawl out of the con­tainer through the sides; at the same time, some of the other crabs instead of uti­liz­ing this chance of es­cape got busy in pulling the oth­ers down. The Cus­toms of­fi­cials heaved a sigh of re­lief and con­cluded the con­sign­ment was from In­dia.

Un­for­tu­nately, this typ­i­cal In­dian malaise man­i­fests it­self promi­nently in the IT chan­nel fra­ter­nity. Prob­a­bly that is the rea­son why most IT chan­nel as­so­ci­a­tions are un­able to func­tion prop­erly, es­pe­cially in lob­by­ing mat­ters; and, more im­por­tantly no na­tional chan­nel as­so­ci­a­tion in the lines of Nass­com has got formed not­with­stand­ing sev­eral aborted attempts.

Re­cently, I got an­other first hand ex­pe­ri­ence of this symp­tom. One promi­nent chan­nel as­so­ci­a­tion of a ma­jor metro raised lots of sound over un­called for Govern­ment harass­ment in the name of In­come Tax raids. An emer­gency meet­ing was con­vened, me­dia was sum­moned and var­i­ous sug­ges­tions were mooted in­clud­ing hir­ing a lawyer, a PR con­sul­tant, splash­ing it in the me­dia and a mem­o­ran­dum to the CM.

Most im­por­tantly, a de­ci­sion was taken to do no sales or billing on a par­tic­u­lar day through­out the city and ac­cord­ingly a note was sent out with the con­sent of all the IT Chan­nel as­so­ci­a­tions con­firm­ing their par­tic­i­pa­tion in the strike. How­ever, the very next day one se­nior Gov­ern­ing Coun­cil mem­ber of an­other promi­nent as­so­ci­a­tion of the same city cat­e­gor­i­cally told me they are not par­tic­i­pat­ing in the strike. He also ar­gued that the raids were rou­tine af­fairs and were be­ing un­nec­es­sar­ily hyped up.

Fi­nally, there was no strike ap­par­ently due to the lack of con­sen­sus. Even more sur­pris­ingly, con­sid­er­ing the pic­ture por­trayed of the raids be­ing so dra­co­nian in na­ture, noth­ing much has hap­pened till date. Last heard, a mem­o­ran­dum to the CM was still be­ing con­tem­plated.

I do not want to ar­gue on the mer­its of this case, as frankly I am not the best per­son to judge whether they were se­vere or dam­ag­ing enough to ne­ces­si­tate the ini­tial agitation. But my point is why did the storm just brew over the tea cups (and plates of bis­cuits) and then fiz­zled out mid way. Was it be­cause of lack of co-or­di­na­tion amongst dif­fer­ent as­so­ci­a­tions? Was it be­cause some of the ap­par­ent vic­tims (who were ag­grieved enough ini­tially) have sec­ond thoughts later about a mass public agitation?

What­ever be the rea­son, it symp­tomizes the gen­eral trend that when­ever one par­tic­u­lar part­ner feels his busi­ness in­ter­ests are be­ing com­pro­mised, he will have no qualms in killing off any public is­sue. The whole com­mu­nity there­fore suf­fers in many cases, be it fraud cases, raid cases, tax­a­tions, govern­ment pol­icy re­lated mat­ters or ven­dors not com­ply­ing with ser­vices or war­ranty agree­ments.

This is pre­cisely the rea­son that the chan­nel has never been able o form a Nass­com. I am not say­ing that Nass­com is the ul­ti­mate ex­am­ple of cor­po­rate gov­er­nance, but at least in the ini­tial days (fis­sures are now show­ing there too) it took up all causes in a sin­gle voice. In­fosys, Wipro or TCS were and are even to­day fierce com­peti­tors, but at least on com­mon in­ter­est is­sues they ar­rive at a com­mon ground. A lack of even this ba­sic un­der­stand­ing will al­ways throt­tle the growth of a lob­by­ing power group from the IT chan­nel. I hope all the part­ners are lis­ten­ing.

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