Saturday, November 22, 2008
Networking in resurgent India: “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours???”
It’s the magic word used in presentations, job analysis reports and brain storming sessions. “Wake up people…start networking.” We have communication networks, information networks, and company networks all over the country and it’s seen as a very powerful word in a new world. India is also perceived (by a few) to be in a new dispensation. It’s a resurgent, energetic and powerful India that is being showcased in business magazines and world economy reports. One of the words that we can then put to test to figure out how much of this hype is true, is ‘networking.’
What then is networking? One definition is the practice of linking together computer devices. Another definition is joining together with someone to achieve a common goal. I would like to look at networking in India as ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.’
“What will you do for me?’ asked the government official sitting across the powerful and official table. “What do you mean?” I asked. The official replied, “You know that expenses in India have increased so much and a government salary is not enough these days. So, I will do your job for a consideration.” Is this then the networking that we are talking about in India? You do (scratch my back) something for me and I will do (scratch your back) something for you?
Coming to think of it, wherever we go, this is what we come across. The local news covered in the media is usually of people who keep the reporters happy. Strong and powerful middle men fix deals in a package. Everyone from the minister to the one at the bottom gets paid, each according to his/her position. What a wonderful network indeed! Networking is indeed a powerful word. Powerful when it is used to attain a common, public and good end. Otherwise, all it means is the network that attaches a deep and dangerous chain of corruption, discrimination, and wrong doing.