We Must Hang Together
Being conspicuously English in the Punjab is an interesting and sometimes exciting thing. Most recent memories inevitably have some connections with the Raj and certainly with Partition and all the horrors that followed. Nonetheless, lively discussion, sometimes aided by copious amounts of excellent Solan number 1 whisky is feature of many a dinner party here in Chandigarh and, especially amongst our particularly made Sikh friends in the hills around Kasauli.
Whether it was the perfidious Brits luring innocent Sikhs into betrayal or whether the luring was self induced it is certainly true that at that period most troubles for (what I call the other side) came about by gentlemen changing sides at the precise moment that the change might be decisive. Not unique to the Sikhs of course as would testify poor Richard 111 after Bosworth Field!
That said, changing sides to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory is not new - from Alexander and Horus to the Moguls and the rulers of the time - the northern invasion route has throughout time offered the potential of rich rewards in return for a small shift in loyalties as well as helping fashion the brave and aggressive people of the region who are noted for their achievements and enterprise.
That said, Chandigarh is not yet, to most minds, equal to the sum of its parts. This strange given the strengths and variety of those parts and the environment in which they reside. This explanation for this apparent contradiction in terms is that those same qualities that make the Punjab the powerhouse it is make it difficult for Punjabis to work together. Even passionate Punjabis will tell you privately that there is little civic sense, not much recognition of the space or needs of the other person. Certainly it is changing but one only has to look how drivers treat the roads and other drivers to realise that the focus is rather on ones own immediate needs and not on the betterment of the totality.
If the basis of the next economy is to be collaborative ventures, small fast enterprise working together towards an agreed joint goal this aspect of the local nature will have to change and probably will as it becomes ever more clear that success will follow. Power in the Punjab comes from money and success - give people a success and create an environment where they can be a part but cannot take it for themselves and you have something of extraordinary potential power.
Sitting with two delightful Professors from the PEC and the University the other day we all agreed that whether God be Hindu, Muslim or Christian (or most likely all of the above and more) he (or she) has a way of pointing to the one thing that in your heart you have said "anything else but, please God, not that" and showing you that your own development makes it a must that he gives you precisely that one thing to deal with in the best way you can.
I am sure that God has more to do than be unduly concerned with the Chandigarh Gateway but I bet he might smile at the prospect of the Beautiful City devising or itself a powerful tool that if it is to be the success will demand of its residents a level of working together which might be a little strange at first but which will help lay the foundations for long term success in the new global economy.