Brushing with Occult: Mohan and Indian Management Model
Mr. Mohan greeted me with a wry smile and asked me to wait as I went to his office where endless rows and columns of cubicles seem more like a poultry firm. Mohan works in a company providing financial services and that was the only information I could get from him. As I was waiting in the lobby which provided me a glimpse of the row-column matrix, I remembered the hallucination of Chaplin‘s mate in The Gold Rush while the hungry friend‘s vision alternates between a surprised Chaplin and an appetizing hen.
Up came Mohan and with a wave of his hand announced – ‘This is my army which I command. These armies defy the rotation of earth, eccentricity of the orbit of earth, light and darkness and search for value in all the recess of the known earth.
‘What exactly this army does? ‘, I asked, quite aware of Mohan‘s love for drama and over-statement.
‘They observe all the stock-markets of the world, they know an opportunity when they see one, and they have been trained to do so. They defy this random universe and they promise me hope and certainty and I relay this to my clients. ‘, Mohan stopped, now very serious.
‘Mohan, I came to discuss something with you, regarding future of our country in the new century. ‘, I could finish before Mohan pointed his finger to the matrix in the ground – ‘This point in the universe belong to no country. This man belongs to no country. This function is country-independent. His mortal coil only remains in this space-time called Bangalore. Very soon, his function can be done by his buddy – the machine in front. ‘
‘Oh! You mean that you will automatize more and more human functions‘; I thought I have made a smart discovery.
‘My friend, last century it was the century to automatize. This will be the century to anticipate. Internet, my friend is the rudimentary version of the Great Anticipation Machine. Every click on the mouse, every search, every transaction, every session is teaching the machine as what humans prefer and what not. Google knows what people see more and what less. It also knows when, where and how. It knows more and more about things which people buy and sell and how much and where and how. Two thousand years ago in India, Buddhist monk used to sit in thousands in a bihar and mediate. These are my monks who are mediating, connected and their objective is to give a better idea of the complex reality out there.‘, he stopped and very smartly wiped his lips by a blue cambric handkerchief.
‘But Mohan, this was religion and this is hard-core corporate business.. And how they can be compatible? ‘, ‘They are not, but they are convertible. ‘, said he.
In course of next two hours, Mohanian discourse elevated and surprised my consciousness. As I informed him of my categorization of management models, he smiled and said ominously – ‘My friend, I appreciate the labour of yours in systematizing the system. But in future, such models will be unnecessary in India. You know, the greatest problem of a management model is to manage creativity. A creative process is fundamentally beyond management. All your management models necessarily suck off creative impulse and that is the first step to manage. The process is equivalent of planning a township on a flat earth, by clearing everything before. The second objective of any management process is to make it a gospel truth that management is a universal facet of existence. The third objective is to prove, by all means that there exists some pre-ordained mandate on the manager and managed. This is same as the divine rights of kings. The fourth is what will be witnessed in India – synthesis of management and religion. This will be the pinnacle of realization of the essence and potential of management. ‘
‘But how? ‘, I asked, quite spell-bound by such expostulation.
‘Remember, I told you about the fact that we have progressed from the automatic age to anticipate age. This idea of anticipation first hit physics in 1930s with the publication of the uncertainty principle and by 1970s, we found Tao of Physics as a great bestseller. In 1890s, when electricity and magnetism were discovered, your predecessors in Bengal, the Brahmins started to find connection between tiki (a religious custom) and electro-magnetic-consciousness-energy-circle etc. In short, the more anticipatory a situation is, the system gets intimately related to religious disciplines. We are entering into an age of anticipation. Management thinking is finding too much change in too less a time. Calculation is useless in long term and what will sustain the business in the long term is to anticipate. A vision statement is the call for the day rather than organizational chart or flow-chart. But control does not leave man. Man is a controlled and controlling animal. So the strategy in the anticipation age, to continue control and wield power is to bring the concept of identity. ‘, he stopped and took a glass of water.
‘Pray explain‘, I was breathless.
‘Have you seen religious ferver among people? Have you ever seen such fervour and passion for an employee for his job? ‘, he asked.
‘To be frank, Mohan, I did never find so‘, I interjected.
‘Rightly so. Now, just imagine an organization where employees work like religious fanatics. Or in a softer tone, where employees think that they are doing a religious duty. Can you just think of the efficiency and productivity? ‘, he looked at me, ‘But why management routinely fails to excite such fervour in so large a people?‘, I asked or rather words flew from my mouth.
‘Ah, here is the right enquiry. Why, why management has always failed to do so. Because, modern management has failed to learn from the art and science of religion. In the age of anticipation, modern management models, those you have categorized are helpless and only solution or rather reactions they have is to cut costs, sack people, impose a stricter and taxing schedule on those who remained, experiment with plenty of fashionable idiocies and hubris. In the long run, they will all fail. So the Great Indian Family will crumble. ‘. Mohan said with finality.
‘But, that’s fatalistic. ‘, ‘Yes, of course it is. But there is an escape. There has always been an escape and my namesake, Lord Krishna has uttered something which has kept the nation hypnotized in anticipation – Yada Yada hi dharmaysa…‘.
Until that time, I was thinking that we were rational. But after that, Mohanian discourse started to become more and more abstract and synthetic and an irrational sense prevailed. It will be, however worthwhile to conclude the dialogue by giving a summary of the remaining part of the discourse.
In the anticipation age, in India, management would adopt the system of barnashrama, i.e. a kind of caste system within the management framework. It is not a novel thing, but the difference is that it will be institutionalized with the aid of authority. In Indian context, the greatest authority over centuries is commanded by religious teachers. So, in such a framework, religious and spiritual leaders will be heading the top management. As a prelude, we can find great popularity of religious leaders like Ravi Shankar and corporate India‘s extreme interest in such movements.
In lesser levels of management, training will be anticipation-oriented rather than function oriented. People endowed with better anticipation power will be more and more prized and present education and training system would be inadequate. In distant future, management schools would resemble more and more like Zen monastery. At the transition, when the need for anticipation would be more and institutions not ready, genetically advantaged would come to the leadership position and they in turn, to safeguard their interest would be the staunchest supporter of the corporate barnashram system. Soon, institutions would be there to formalize these structures and they will have a markedly religious character at the core.
The beauty of such a system is that, in an increasingly global environment, this system can be globally applied. Hence, in future, present management systems would crumble and its crisis is quite near in sight. As the barnasharm system consolidates, here will be the corresponding classification:
Brahmins: This class will take care of all anticipatory activities, be it the next course of technology or political climate. They will decide about the evolution of the primitive version of the Anticipation Machine which we call Internet. They will be a minority and they will be working not for profit but as a duty. All future entrepreneurs belong to this class alone.
Kshytrias: This class will protect, prevent, cause and un-cause anticipatory materialization in the material plane. They will be marketers, salesmen, political organizers and so forth. They will be the physical force to protect the fabric of anticipation. However, in course of time, they would necessarily clash with the Brahmins. As an example : if we consider Google as Brahmin and Verizon as Khystria, then the latter can always complain that the Brahmin uses his resources to spread the fruits of anticipation but the former gets more social and economic value.
Vaihsya: This class will utilize the opportunities anticipated and protected by the previous two classes. They would be also global in character. Investment bankers, speculators, traders will go into this category. They will also be the fund providers to the other two classes.
Sudras: This class had its ascendance as long as there was lesser anticipation. With anticipation increasing, this class will find itself more and more in Call Centres, BPO companies, back-office operations, infrastructure development and so on.
The greatest change from the old version of the system (as in the earlier history of India) will be in three areas – a) mobility will be easier than previous time b) generational continuity will not be guaranteed in all classes c) a love for order for the time being would prevent any immediate clashes between classes.
The Great Indian Family would import this great idea outside. Inside, there will be an uneasy equilibrium. And if things go as predicted by Mohan, after two hundred years, when the anticipation age would mature, Mohan will be read with as much as interest as we read Adam Smith today. If influencing thought for two hundred years can be said to be an achievement of great magnitude, 21st century can rightly be called as Indian century.
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