Sunday, January 6, 2008

India begins with “I” – i.e. ME….

There is so much wrong but "NO ONE" is doing anything about it..sounds familiar...??

We all hear this on our daily life. Any meeting, party, casual chat or discussion about nation and society starts with the familiar cynical complaints about various issues and problems facing the nation and how come ‘NO-ONE’ is doing anything about it.

This got me thinking – Who are we talking about – this ‘NO ONE’...who is he? The politician, bureaucrat, judge, journalist, common man... you, ME... This article is trying to demystify this ‘NO ONE’ Character...

Many of my friends and colleagues often complain and look frustrated about so many things going wrong while nothing is being done to rectify and no one seems to be bothered. They also mention about the good experience they had when they lived or travelled outside India and how everyone followed the rules and did their bit of social and civic responsibility. Majority of them seem to have good intentions and some are even willing to do their bit but do not know where to begin. They feel so overwhelmed with the problems that they can not think of a starting point.

They think of ‘WHOLE SOLUTION’ and feel helpless without realizing that ‘WHOLE is made of PARTS’.

As we engage in the discussion and when I ask them as to what are they doing to solve these problems, most of them draw a blank. The common refrain is “WHAT CAN ONE MAN DO” or “I AM DOING MY PART BY PAYING MY TAXES”. I agree with both the statements and but they are only partially true.

Yes, it is true that one man can not solve all the problems – say removing corruption from society or educate every child or fix all broken roads, but ONE MAN can still do lots of SMALL THINGS and if each of this ONE MAN does these SMALL THINGS, the SUM-TOTAL will be very LARGE.

To understand as to ‘WHAT THIS ONE MAN CAN DO’, lets begin by asking some simple questions -

How often do we call our local municipality office to inform them about a leaking water pipe wasting precious drinking water?

Do we ask our maids as to if and where do their kids go to school?

Do we stop to take care of an accident victim and take him to the hospital or we just ignore for fear of being questioned by police?

Do we bother to interfere when we see an eve teasing incident or just ignore it for fear of confronting the offending party?

Have we ever advised a car owner whose kids throw empty chips packets on the road from a moving car?

Do we volunteer to clean our neighbourhood park or add to the mess by dumping our own garbage in the corner of the park?

The list can go on and on....

These are just some examples of our social and civic responsibilities which we encounter and mostly ignore in our everyday life?
Can we call ourselves responsible citizens if the answer to the above questions is 'NO'.

All of this and more can be done by this ‘ONE MAN’

I will illustrate this with one real life example -

Our local government school has implemented Mid Day Meal, which is mandatory as per central government directive. On a casual visit we noticed that 2 out of 3 teachers were involved in cooking the meals, where as some kids were helping them with cutting of vegetables etc. Further inquiry revealed that the cook who is paid only Rs. 600 by the government has refused to work for such a paltry sum and since it is mandatory to provide mid-day meal, teachers had no option but to cook meal which took more than 30% of their working hours. We called the cook and promised her extra Rs. 1,400 per month. We also hired one cleaning helper to make sure that teachers and students do not waste their time in cooking meals. All this was done from community donations and is working very well for past one year.

Now lets look at this ‘ONE MAN’, who is he??

It is ‘YOU’, it is ‘ME’, it is ‘US’... this is the power of this ‘ONE MAN’ which can change this nation.

Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you want”.

Just imagine, if we all start doing these small acts of our responsibility towards our society, our nation, how nice things will look around us.

I hope this article will get you thinking. I look forward to your comments.

Please visit this space again for more on this ‘ONE MAN’ be continued...


  1. 'Be the change you want' - What an inspiring quote from Bapuji! I will promise to be that in every way! Go RK!

  2. it is really nice to hear article about "one man" factor.
    if everyone realises and implements "one man"ship, iam sure india will soon become dream devolope country. i promise you, start implementing on my side and will initiate same to others also. go a head RK...

  3. Hi RK,

    This is fantastic article,but I have a question.

    How are you/we planning to tackle widespread corruption in our society ? I believe this is the root of most of the problems in our country.


  4. Stumbled across your article and its great. Keep on.

    You posted few liners there to set people thinking eg. Do we help the victim on the road or the ignoring the eve-teasers et. al.

    So, I am thinking we can start addressing one idea at a time and threadwire it. That is, talk about what one can do and should do and basically address the reasons why people dont do People dont help a roadside victim for the fear of being victimized by cops. Thats because no one knows what really is the law. How can one help while not being victimized. In other words, provide simple solutions for the tasks that one can make a difference in. Of course, we can not do this for each situation. We have to think ourselves what to do and we will know when we want to do that - when we are the change we want.

    I started my blog to start my bits for my country @

    Good Luck,

  5. Widespread corruption.

    Legalize it. Commission is a positive name for bribery. Is n't it?

    IMHO, corruption is not the key problem - we can fix it muc more quickly. We just need to do our bits and create a critical mass to make few key reforms to our system.

  6. Commission for what !!!

    To do your duty for which you are already getting paid. I agree that
    the salary in India is not very good, but that does not mean you start creating problems in others life by asking lump sum money. They ask for bribe in thousands for doing simple things like pension approval, certificate issue etc. I believe unless we go and see what is happening at grass root level in our country, we can not prosper in all dimensions.We need to understand India first !!!

  7. Nice article and the words are inspiring.
    But the society of ours is so much corrupted that a man alone cannot swim against that flow. The politicians, the policemen all are corrupt and all know that. People, knowing that a campaigner is having criminal background, selects him as the leader. Dadagiri and money power has become the curse of our nation. Many are poor and many need money and they are ready to do anything for money. Where the change should take place? If 100 people are mad and u r the only one who is not mad, then u will be the abnormal mad man in a normal world.

    A leader is born and not made.But in our nation there r many made leaders and thats our curse.One who made himself leader has got his own motives. In a true born leader, there is no self.He eats for others, breaths for others and in short lives for others... And he is a LEADER that our nation lacks.

  8. Hi Rajendra,

    If I realize that I can do something, it is because of the trigger created by the cumulative effect of those several circumstantial events occurring in my life. These may not occur with several many others.

    1. To expect similar attitude from several of us, shouldn't actually mean anything. It may not be wrong but it may not result anything, which is the current situation anyways.

    2. It’s only the right education that can simulate some of those kind of circumstantial events, which can trigger the realization in an individual for that "ONE MAN" can come to be a savior.

    3. However small but every small effort demands either some vision or some experience. Given that “Vision” doesn’t come to many of us naturally, alternative need is for experience, lack of which can still be bridged with the immediate local heroes or role models, who in turn also help build the better vision. Point is that if I realize that “ONE MAN” in me, I should better do what I can do and feel the best I can do than to ask around people to do something. They are just waiting for a role model to follow and will eventually follow. Probably this is what leadership is all about.

    I’ll definitely find time to do some research on all the finalists to make my vote for the most potential one I find.

    All the best!

  9. This is in response to what diham had written. Yes, our society is corrupt. And indeed it is deep rooted. But doesn't the mending have to start somewhere? And if everyone of us start working towards ending corruption in our small way in our daily life, eventually it will. Go RK! It's time we stopped believing in our power hungry politicians and put our money behind a genuine initiative towards taking our society higher!

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  11. response to stolichnaya...
    whatever u told is also valid. But i want to tell few more things..

    Ya, we have to start from somewhere, thats sooth. Each and every individual should change. And the change should begin from within the self. There should be someone to take initiative, to inoculate the true spirits into the people. But i want to ask just one thing... Is that the reality shows that decide a leader..? These reality shows are organized by media for exploiting the current market trends, and its seem so funny that a leader will be evolved from such shows. Some one will win, wasting money of so many people who have mobiles and his face will be printed in the newspapers….and that’s it!!!!

  12. Diham,

    I am personally aware that RK Misra has a personal agenda to dedicate himself to social cause working through the Government platform rather than just be an NGO. This commitment was there before anyone heard of Lead-India. He has kind of 'moved-the-mountain' of bureaucracy in Bangalore so far as infrastructure related projects go, even without having the level of fame or the riches of the likes of Narayanamurthy (INFY) or Azim Premji (WIPRO). The last mentioned two stalwarts from IT industry have been individually doing a lot through NGO channels, but have stopped shy of boldly entering the political & bureaucratic circles in these parts (not for unjustifiable reasons though). RK Misra, knows that another NGO can only go so far (though he too operates one called SAHYOG that has done quite a bit), and wishes to be part of the ruling clan, so that he can make best use of the public funds. If you are from Bangalore zone, you will remember well the venom spewed by our eminent ex-Mayor, Mrs. Begum, on RK, for being bold enough to stand up against corrupt practices and voice his concerns about the vested interests held by the elected corporators of this city.

    RK full well understands that LEAD INDIA is not an end in itself. He also understands that there is some commercial angle involved here, but the central theme and the cause itself is a noble one. Whether he will be in the end the topper in LEAD INDIA or not, he is fully committed to the cause for which he stands and will see it through. He comes with that kind of conviction.

    Why just RK, I do see that in many of the other LEAD INDIA candidates. Our dear Mother India needs these leaders by the thousands. Let us hope that all the candidates form a common platform to launch themselves and do more good to our country.
    - Anuj

  13. Fantastic article.
    But Giving money from "communityfund" is OK for the time being.
    But we also give hefty TAX.What happens to that?.
    do we have an account of how our corporations,Village pancahayaths spend their money.
    Do we see anywhere these offices presenting their budget publicly and taking questions from the citizens.
    We all know local goverment office tenders are always nontransparent,rigged and perecntage goes to the politicians.
    Suppose the office publicises the tender awarding and some private firm audits this we will definitlry find the descrepancies,i am sure to the extent of 60%.
    We SHOULD start from here.
    Can't we ask them to be OPEN.
    Can't we say so and so work takes only this much you have spend this much HOW can this happen?

  14. I am fully agreeing what Mr. R K Mishra said in his blog.Every State of India has its own uniqueness.India is blessed with Natural raw materials, huge human resources,potential personalities and intellectual powers.We should work together,share our dreams and all together put effort to try to bring a positive change from a small area to a bigger one.
    Now it is the first thing which takes the priority that is....We have to change our negetive attitude to a positive one,assertive one.To build an honest,scientific and cooperative atmosphere we should focus on our education system. Our education system is really dealing with impractical syllabus which destroy many sides of a child instead of boosting it.
    To maintain our health and hygene we should teach our children in school.
    Traffic rules,social responsibilities,awareness of safety and security,how to save a life in different emergency situations,moral values etc etc should be in education curricula rather than some formulae or sex education.
    Each province common people should be given vocational training on the basis of Natural raw material available on that particular place.Traditional articles should be made more attractive with modern look.
    Transport system and reads should made international standard. High way sides should not be left empty.Small small health centres, with ambulance and emergency services are very much in demand,petrol bunks,police stations, shopping malls with eating outlets and toilets are in high demands,hospitals,nursing homes,are necessary.This kind of small small modern localities by the side of high way will reduce the fear and risk of high way driving.
    There are many more small and big issues we can focus and can work wonder to develop our India. I really appreciate the thoughts of Mr. Mishra and we want him as a leader in Inda.

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  16. Thank you Misraji for your insightful post on your blog. I have been following closely you on the Lead India and hope that you will go all through. India begins with "I" and we need leader like you to make this country reach pinnacle of success. Best of luck for Lead India !! Tum chalo to Hindustan chale !! Chalo !!

  17. Dear Friends,
    Extremely sorry for being late in replying to you all, but been very busy answering to Mr. Akhtar, Mrs Bedi and Mr. Singh et al at Lead India :)..

    Thank you so much and I am really glad that this article made some of us think. This article is a reflection of my approach to life and believe me that it was not written to impress ANYONE to vote for me.
    If you read more about me and my background and teh decisions I took in my career, you may be able to understand this approach.
    I know and agree that there is so much wrong around us, but it is FINITE and if we FIX ONE WRONG, it gets reduced from teh list.

    What can I say, I am not a saint nor do I have all the answers, but I HAVE A DREAM..INDIA of MY DREAMS. I am doing my bit towards this goal and enjoying every second of it.

    You will continue to see me around, Lead India or no Lead India. I hope and will make a BETTER INDIA.

    You all will, just that you took time to read this article and comment on it, shows that you want to make a difference and that is what matters.

    Thank you so much and regards!!!

  18. Hi RK,

    You draw a nice pic, but very local and like a fairy tale. I don't know the situation in UP, but if you try to do the same act in WB, you may even physically asulted in suspision that you are trying to become NEW PRADHAN of the village! Please don't think me a negetive person, but even RK mission people been harassed for flood relief!

    So, in my opinion, you must make a community(absolutely non political, non comuninal, and all) and rise these voice. AS for me, I am always agreed to join in this type of community and fight.

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  20. Dear Rajendra
    It was surprising when I found a mail in my name less the surname.Out of curiosity I opened the letter where a big surprise was waitiing for me.

    I am convinced that there are a lot of people who think alike.

    Permit me to introduce myself as

    For the last 10 months i am doing what u have written in the articule.being ridiculed,being criticised for emphasizing the "I" factor instead of the non existent "us" or "all" or "no one".A professional salesman by religion,trying to peep into the real india in its villages,I nominated and fought the election and became a Sarapanch.

    Dear Rajendra
    How long it had been that u have seen and been right neck deep in poverty ? How long it had been Mr Rajendra that u have thought like a poor man ? Well, if the answer to this two questions is 'recently' then what difference u have found between poverty of the sixties and late seventies,and that of the nineties and the would be poverty of the coming decade ?

    Travelling a lot from village to village,being with the people I have discovered a new poverty Rajendra.I have also discovered that the planning is being made to eradicate a non existant and a little existent poverty.
    Poverty has changed its modus operendi Rajendra, and unless we change our approach to poverty at the macro level; we can make slogans,we can even get the majority and become the primeminister; but we cannot touch poverty,let alone root it out/eradicate it.

    Poverty in india does not need to be sympathised but it certainly needs to be empathised.Hence perhaps an empathetic-macro-planning can serve better.

    It is good that u have created a platform for interaction with a lot of people.Thank u very much.

    Had i taken long and spoken rubbish i would prefer to be forgotton,but if u find there is something more than alphabets i'd prefer to be in direct touch.

    You are bang right there in ur thinking Rajendra.if something can be done at my end to accelerate the cause of a better India i wont hesitate to walk that extra mile.

    Rajendra prasad

  21. We are NGO working for advocacy and showing the way to poor tribals and women towards empowerment through voicing their concern thorugh community radio.
    We seek your guidance in this concern wrt to changing the policies in favour of the poor and the needy instead of elite and the middlemen found close to the corridors of power.


  23. You are doing a wonderfull is really nice to hear article about "one man" factor.
    if everyone realises and implements "one man"ship, iam sure india will soon become dream devolope have start implementing on my side. I am live in Tripura State. you have start implementing on my state and also contact me. I am also help you. becasue our state is very poor in the country.

  24. more than 50 years have passed india being indipendent but we the people of india dont take our own responsiblities & blame others for corruption & shortage of sources we all are responsible in helping hand to make INDIA weaker & weaker cause we want only presonal benfits be human, be indian but not for namesake

  25. Hi, Mr.RK
    I read ur view and somedays back I happened to watch u on star utsaw channel(probable a retelecast prgm).
    I appreciate ur view in totality and will do my best to help u implement ur philosophy.I want your personal e-mail id so that I can introduce u my way of thinking.I think u r the person I have been looking for many yrs.Remember Gandhi, who became Gandhi in India when he met Rajkumar Shukla and started movement in Champaran.
    Hoping for ur reply...
    umesh kumar shukla

  26. Very right - 'I' has the potetial to change the world. Even things like 'rash driving' and 'road rash' can be controlled considerably by 'one man'. I have seen that if 'I' am not driving rashly, then there are atleast one or two persons on the wheels that time who are saved from getting an stimulation to go rash. And these two save the other four from being rash. All human behaviour is contagious, and bad is more so than good. Whatever good we do is slowly followed by atleast a few and whatever wrong we do is immediately followed by many. So never let 'I' do what you don't want the people of India do and keep on acting the way you want India to act. Thanks.


  27. its good to think a RESPONSIBLE INDIA.
    to become the supreme power,we must be responsible.

  28. Your article about India begins with "I", i.e "Me" was nice tor read, especially because I have been following the same philosophy since the past one and a half year. I changed my academic path in order to contribute something to the nation. I am currently pursuing an MA in Education and Democracy at the University of Leeds,UK and I am very eager to contribute to India's civic and social development someday.
    I always have the same debate with my friends, who are the so-called "urban educated modern youth".I just fail to see why they have such a pessimistic attitude. Most of them are more inclined towards making their careers as engineers,IT professionals,doctors,etc. But when it comes to public service, there's a reticent withdrawal from the youth.This really bothers me.
    I will be studying further about 'citizenship education' and 'democratic participation' and my notion is to combine these for our Higher education Institutes. As the majority goes, none of the school children OR the youth in India are even aware that India has ratified something like the UN Convention on Child's rights.
    I have certain ideas in mind to facilitate student/youth participation but I would need the guidance of a person who has practical experience of course. I would love to share these with YOU sir.
    Eager to hear from you.Keep rocking!

  29. And can I forget...
    Hearty congratulations on your victory! I am really very happy to see this slow and gradual change coming with persistent initiatives from the TOI and leaders like you.
    Keep rocking!

    eager to hear from you.
    Plz reply to this address: (

  30. Dear Mr. Misra,

    I am a travel journalist and on my travels have witnessed the great power tourism has to uplift lives, providing opportunities to earn while giving a huge reason to maintain our cultural identities. I believe it can also be very effective in decentralising development and bringing people back from towns and cities to where India really lives.

    I have a dream to take the expertise I have and use it to educate villagers on how to create a suitable product, market themselves to the world and learn not to depend on the government for their basic needs, I really believe it is possible for each small unit in our country to sustain itself with the right approach.

    The only thing is - the large canvass of my dream overwhelms me, I don't know where to begin, which village, why should anybody open their doors to me, who am I anyway?

    I guess I'm looking (as many in our country would be doing, I guess) to leave the seed of a thought out there..maybe through you, a way will be created.

    If my words mean anything to anybody out there, please write to me at

  31. I wish to address the problem Plastic poses to the environment. let us brainstorm and come up with do-able things for the common man/woman on the street to address this. At the same time, how can banning use of plastic bags be imposed legally?why does this fail each time a ban is sought to be imposed? IF a common citizen doesnot have the time,money, wherewithall to bring about a change on this issue, please advise , what can b done?

  32. HI,
    I have something to say about plastic issue. Now whenever we want to discured something from our day to day use, we have to think logically, not emotionally. I have visited some advanced countries like Singapore, Germany, France, Switzerland etc etc and found that they are not suddenly axing the use of plastic packets but using different kinds of packages for different kinds of products and put their effort to recycle those things after use.
    Now the problem in India, we don't put effort to give some alternative benefits to the common mass what they are getting from plastic packets but we want to put a ban on it by which common people start suffering from inconvenience.
    Now just imagine some situations I am pointing out the benefit of plastic as below......
    1. In train, bus, ambulance when some one is vomiting or bleeding the only packets you can use as handy to avoid a mess is plastic packs.
    2. Carrying babies in common or private transport and collect their
    diapers and dirty clothes or tissues we need plastic packets to maintain our hygene.
    3. we woman needs to carry many things separately in our daily used school bag to office bag where some items are rapped in different plastic bags.
    4. Storing vegetables in freeze in plastic bags maintains the freshness.
    5.Doctors have to use sterile gloves and other items which are made up of plastics because of their cheaper rates,flexibilities and use and throw manner.
    6.Going for any swimming pool and carrying our wet clothes can't be done in paper bags.
    7.Our day to day kitchen garbage bag can't be done in paper.
    8.Carrying ice or ice products from shop to home what else you can think except a plastic bag ?
    These are some points which I can immediately remember because I personally went through losses which are caused by paper bags and not by plastics.
    1. Buying medicine bottles which have packed in inappropriate paper bags and it torn the bag as the bag is not meant to carry the load and the medicines fell and spoilt.
    2. carrying eggs in plastic packets are much safer than in paper packets. First of all, the paper packets are not soft enough to carry eggs safely and if it breaks then paper packets torn to spoil the whole lot and that time people who are banning plastics are not there to share our loss of money, material, time and effort.
    3. Visiting somebody and buying sweets or food items as Indian tradition and keeping it within our bag with out any plastic protection is a primitive thought.
    See, in advanced countries ,the attitude of how to handle a problem is done after lots of planning to minimize the inconvenience and conflicts. Not to use plastic is not the solution but how to recycle it is a problem. WE need plastic pipes,rain coats, gloves,vehicle tires ,paints, varnish,floors ,doors, windows ,wires so we can't say NO to plastic but we have to design the machines for weather friendly recycling process.
    Now it may be clear for you that if something which is used for multifold benefit in our daily life then before bringing ban on it we have to think about its practical problems before implementation otherwise after some time people will start violating it as it doesn't make sense.


I encourage you to share your views.