The Tata “Mistry” and its implications

tata-mistry

25th October 2016 was certainly a red-letter day in corporate history when the sitting, hand-picked Chairman of the Tata group and the single largest individual shareholder was sacked ignominiously with no prior information. The fact that this was done through the press with vague reasons like “performance and ethics” causing his downfall did not convince anyone.

This article would like to present another perspective. I have had no association with the Tata group and my comments are based on my understanding of the corporate world after spending almost 4 decades in this fascinating yet dog-eat-dog and highly politicized world. I have taken the liberty of using Bhishma Pitamah as a parallel for Ratan Tata, Arjun for Cyrus Mistry and Yudhishtar for the Tata Sons board.

Various television channels, with dozens of corporate gurus, have been pontificating about the Group and the key players, the flamboyant and highly visible Ratan Tata and the underplayed and introvert Cyrus Mistry. Obviously, most of these “gurus” have taken the side of the Tata group because that is the side their “bread will be buttered” for a long time to come. They are questioning the use of the term “lame duck” and the silence of Cyrus Mistry over the past 4 years. I would like to ask these “gurus” what else could they expect from a worthy successor of Ratan Tata who had inherited major problems, especially because he was not just the unanimously elected Chairman but also a shareholder. Cyrus Mistry was caught in an unenviable position – damned if he did and damned if he did not. Had he complained about the problem, our pundit would have written his epitaph very early stating that he was not large enough for the shoes of Bhishma Pitamah, My admiration for Cyrus Mistry goes up exponentially since he decided to clean-up after his more illustrious predecessor without washing their dirty linen in public.

The doyen of corporate India, Bhishma Pitamah Tata, who will be 79 years on 28th December 2016, was responsible for the exit of most of the Tata group company leaders when he took charge as group Chairman (after a rather non-descript stint at the now defunct Nelco) built a strong brand and large global business that had its share of big successes and equally large failures. Since 1991, when took over as Chairman, he strode the corporate world like a colossus buying businesses. He promulgated the “retirement” age of the Tata group at 75 years, while most companies in corporate India still keep this age between 58 – 65 years. When he announced that he would be stepping down to bring in younger leadership, the world applauded his forward looking thinking. But like the old wise man from the Mahabharata, he assumed that he was tied to the throne as long as he was alive.

Cyrus Mistry, in his very Arjunesque manner, had his eyes only on the target of increasing the returns to shareholders and closing down failing and non-profitable businesses. He went about his work clinically, delivering results as is evident from his letter published in all the newspapers today. To quote him, “Despite all of the above, during my term, the operating cash flows of the group have grown at 31% compounded per annum. The Tata Group valuation from 2013 to 2016 increased by 14.9% per annum in rupee terms as against the BSE Sensex annual increase of 10.4% over the same period. The Tata Sons net worth has increased from approximately Rs 26,000 crores to Rs 42,000 crores, after considering the impairments. This has significantly strengthened our balance sheet, enhancing our ability to absorb further shocks from restructuring in the companies.”

If this is not great performance, I fail to understand what is! Corus, Nano, Air Asia, Air Vistara, overseas hotels, and dozens of other businesses started the under the leadership of Ratan Tata were not viable and the losses of these businesses will surely have to be taken into account sooner than later because they cannot stay hidden in the vast balance sheets and myriad of companies of the group..

The Board is equally accountable and responsible for the developments in the Group. They cannot claim to be the proverbial ostriches who did not know what was going on and under the garb of seeking support, they have decided to support with a person they perceive to be the stronger of the two. Yudhishtar, in Mahabharata was asked whether the son of Guru Dronacharya, Ashwathama had been killed. Yudhishtar, who had never told a lie in his life looked at an elephant named Ashwathama who Bhim had killed and replied that “Ashwathama is dead”. Guru Dronacharya surrendered his arms and was killed. That was a changing moment in the battle. Yudhishtar, whose chariot, always moved a few inches above the earth, had knowingly colluded with an untruth and his chariot dropped to the ground.

The Tata Sons Board is no different from Yudhishtar. Not one of them had the courage to stand up to Bhishma Pitamah Ratan Tata. Losses were significant in most companies and yet these losses were being concealed in the books. Was there a threat that Cyrus Mistry would expose all in his efforts to clean-up?  Board members, who pride themselves for their impeccable track record are equally complicit since they meekly accepted the decision as a fait accompli. Was it the threat of malfeasance and being exposed which led to this change? If a fresh start is being looked, shouldn’t the entire board be changed?

The Tata Trusts which control a majority stake in Tata Sons have much to answer for as well. The stake holders in the Trusts are not only the trustees but the very large number of beneficiaries. What would happen to all the philanthropic work being down by these trust if Tata Sons has to take a write down of over US$ 19 billion?

The battle has just begun. The skeletons will start to tumble out of various closets and all the dirty linen is being collected for being washed in the public domain. The domino effect is only just beginning. The stock market has already wiped out Rs 23,000 crores of the Tata market value in 2 days.

The Tata group will now come under intense scrutiny. Its accounts will be looked at, its auditors will be questioned and its people will have to answer questions. They have given themselves four months to find a permanent successor to Cyrus Mistry, an uphill task but then the Board does not need to worry – they have the 79 year old Bhishma Pitamah to run the empire for as long as it takes.

Sometimes, the moral of the story is to “let sleeping dogs lie”!

*******************

The author is the founder Chairman of Guardian Pharmacies and the author of the best-selling books, Reboot. Reinvent. Rewire: Managing Retirement in the 21st Century; The Corner Office; An Eye for an Eye and The Buck Stops Here – Learnings of a #Startup Entrepreneur. 

  • Twitter: @gargashutosh
  • Instagram: ashutoshgarg56
  • Blog: ashutoshgargin.wordpress.com | ashutoshgarg56.blogspot.com

https://www.thequint.com/blogs/2016/10/27/tatas-mistry-when-cyrus-inherited-a-troubled-empire-ratan-ouster

http://www.businessinsider.in/The-Tata-Mistry-and-its-implications/articleshow/55114374.cms

Integrity, Ethics, Principles, Value and Honesty in a Startup

integrity

Laying the foundation of an honest organization built with strong integrity and ethics is important to set the culture, direction, principles and priorities for any new company.

The lead has to be taken by the founder, the leader of the young startup, by setting the right example and setting the right standards at every step of the way. Values and principles established in the beginning will stand the tests of time. Shortcuts and unethical business practices will get enshrined in a young company at the start and will be very difficult to change at a later date.

The oft heard line “this is how it happens here” will be repeated by all future managers of the young company.

There is no Grey in Honesty – Only Black or White

To me, honesty is a simple black and white subject. There neither is grey in honesty nor is there any shade of white and black as I have heard many people say. Either you are honest or dishonest. I tell my young colleagues that before they leave home morning when they are alone shaving and look in the mirror, can they look at themselves directly in the eye and tell themselves

“I did no wrong yesterday and I did not knowingly harm anyone yesterday and I was honest to myself”

This I believe is the only explanation they would ever need to give to themselves. What anyone else thinks of them or their actions is of no relevance and does not matter. My advice to my young colleagues is

“If someone asks you to compromise your own ethical standards or asks you to do something you don’t think is correct, hear them out. You don’t have to implement their decision if you disagree. Go with your conscience. What you think is right is what the organization expects from you. You can’t please every manager or everyone in the company”.

Threshold of Conscience

As I progressed through my early working life, I began to understand that honesty had shades of grey and each person had his own threshold of conscience.

I have often argued with colleagues and friends whether using a company car to drop children to school or to take your wife shopping or charging a personal expense as official entertainment or converting a business class ticket into two economy tickets when travelling overseas on company work (so that your partner can fly free) is right or wrong. Most times the answer I got was that there was nothing wrong in this and these were “perquisites” of the job|

These are examples of when we change our own threshold of conscience to suit our own needs. We accept a position that we would normally not accept for our subordinates. We would also not accept this as correct if we hear someone else has done something similar. Then how can we rationalize this for ourselves?

On the other hand, I have recognized that very often in order to get work done, I have to accept what is the normal pattern of working in our country and I have learned not to question why most times, favors need to be done to get what is yours by right and not because you are asking for something to be done that is incorrect or out of turn.

A senior bureaucrat in a South East Asian country once told me that there was no corruption in his country. They believed in the philosophy of Cooperation, not Corruption.

“If you are going to do business in my country and make a profit, you need to cooperate and share a part of this profit with us”, he said. Quite an interesting perspective though not necessarily something to be emulated anywhere.

Gifting is another area where can always interpret several shades of grey. In our country, it is almost a culture to give gifts at Diwali every year and if a gift is not accepted, it is seen as an affront by the person giving the gift. Yet, if the person who the gift is for makes it abundantly clear that gifts are not welcome, then the practice of giving gifts comes to a stop. I had set in place a system whereby all Diwali gits received were handed over to the head of Human Resources and these were then given away to staff members at a Diwali party through a raffle. Senior managers were not permitted to participate in the raffle.

In conclusion, the leader sets the standards for integrity and honesty in any organization or indeed in any family. If the leader willingly compromises his ethical standards it is impossible to expect people down the line or other members of the family to comply with a dual standard.

As long as your own conscience is clear and as long as you know that what you are doing is right, keep moving forward.

*******************

The author is the founder Chairman of Guardian Pharmacies and the author of the best-selling books, Reboot. Reinvent. Rewire: Managing Retirement in the 21st Century; The Corner Office; An Eye for an Eye and The Buck Stops Here – Learnings of a #Startup Entrepreneur.

  • Twitter: @gargashutosh
  • Instagram: ashutoshgarg56
  • Blog: ashutoshgargin.wordpress.com | ashutoshgarg56.blogspot.com

https://inc42.com/entrepreneurship/ethics-principles-necessary-startup/

Who is a Startup Entrepreneur?

entrepreneurs

The Oxford dictionary defines the word “entrepreneur” as “a person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit”

So, just who is a startup entrepreneur?

In a broad overall sense an entrepreneur is a person who,

  1. Organizes a business venture and assumes the complete risk for the venture at times giving his personal guarantee and taking personal liabilities.
  2. Has looked at a problem and seen it as an opportunity. He would then develop on this opportunity to start something new with the intention of generating surpluses for himself or his investors.
  3. Has fire in his belly to do something and feels that his ambition is being held in check by corporate red tape. Though it takes more than just cleverness and frustration with the status quo to get an entrepreneurial venture off the ground.
  4. Is someone who assumes the financial risk of the initiation, operation and management of the business

Most entrepreneurs are driven not by the need to make money, but by the need to make their dreams a reality. They are driven by their passion to implement their ideas and see these ideas succeed. The higher energy of the entrepreneur, driven by passion, is what is needed to provide the leadership to a team of people and to make the opportunity work in a challenging environment. More often than not, money is a byproduct of an entrepreneur’s motivation rather than the motivation itself.

Entrepreneurs are participants, not observers; players, not fans. And to be an entrepreneur is to be an optimist, to believe that with the right amount of time and money, you can achieve anything. When an entrepreneur reaches an obstacle they turn it into an opportunity. Every entrepreneur does not have to be the initiator of an idea – he or she is the person who helps in implementation of the idea and build it into a successful commercial enterprise.

Failure is essential for any new entrepreneur to succeed. We cannot let any adversity pull us back. We have to learn from our mistakes and our adversities, accept the knock our profit and loss account will take and keep moving ahead. Every entrepreneur has to plan for the best but prepare for the worst.

I have seldom come across a “eureka” moment in the life of an entrepreneur. What these people build is based on grit, determination, hard work and a lot of personal and professional sacrifice. An entrepreneur’s “gut feeling” is often the subject of a lot of discussion and my own learning here has been that “gut feel” is the really the extract of one’s own experience and one’s ability for risk taking rather than some vision that an entrepreneur purportedly has had.

Contrary to popular belief, entrepreneurs aren’t generally high-risk takers when they can’t affect the outcome of the situation. They tend to set realistic and achievable goals, and when they do take risks, they’re usually calculated ones based on facts and experience, rather than instincts.

If one is convinced about an idea, there is no better time than now to start one’s journey as an entrepreneur. The choice is yours and yours alone. Refuse to throw in the towel. Go that extra mile that failures refuse to travel. It is far better to be exhausted from success than to be rested from failure

Building a new company is very hard work. The hardest part of building a new company is not coming up with a new idea but to stay committed to your dream when you are dead tired or when you have to tell your spouse that you cannot go for a party because your work needs you more. If a person is not willing to give up on things really important to you or if you are likely to be put down because of a rejection, it will be very difficult to stick to and implement your idea.

The proverbial “Buck Stops” at the desk of the Entrepreneur. He is the person who has to find the money at the end of each month to pay for salaries and other operating costs, most often sacrificing his own comforts and drawing no salary, till the company starts to make an operating surplus or a profit.

As someone said “A child today can expect to change jobs at least seven times over the course of their lives; and five of those jobs don’t exist yet.” You never know if your dream enterprise will be one of the many new job creators in the World.

There has never been a better time to build your own enterprise. Every country and every government is encouraging Startups and Entrepreneurship. Take the plunge and start your planning process now. There is no day as good as today to make a beginning if you genuinely believe in your dream.

*******************

The author is the founder Chairman of Guardian Pharmacies and the author of the best-selling books, Reboot. Reinvent. Rewire: Managing Retirement in the 21st Century; The Corner Office; An Eye for an Eye and The Buck Stops Here – Learnings of a #Startup Entrepreneur. 

  • Twitter: @gargashutosh
  • Instagram: ashutoshgarg56
  • Blog: ashutoshgargin.wordpress.com | ashutoshgarg56.blogspot.com

Startups and Mentors – Experience Never Gets Old

startups

Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway, through their movie, The Intern released in 2015, gave a very interesting lesson to Startups and Entrepreneurs all over the world.

The message was very simple – Experience Never Gets Old.

A majority of Startups all over the world are founded by young men and women in their twenties and possibly in their early thirties. While the ideas are excellent and their energy levels are great, most startups start to falter within a couple of years because of poor / inadequate control systems, over aggressive scaling up, weak financial planning, insufficient focus on people management etc.

At the same time, thousands of senior managers are retiring from the corporate world at the young age of between 60 – 65 years after spending almost four decades in specialized and general management positions in major and smaller corporations yet, at this stage of their lives they clearly have at least another decade of work inside them. This aging and retirement of senior managers is happening in all parts of the world. These people know what it is like to run businesses and tackle the challenges of building businesses. They have functional expertise in finance and accounts, budgeting, packaging, branding, sales, human resources, governance, legal matters and general management.

There is a huge opportunity to bring together the vision of the Startup Entrepreneur and the experience of the older manager in an unobtrusive and non-threatening manner. Not every senior manager has the energy or the risk taking capability to start off on their own. The older managers, in the twilight of their careers, are not yet ready to hang up their gloves. They are looking to stay occupied, earn some money (which could be in the form an equity option as well) and give back their life’s learnings. Further, these senior citizens will be much more stable for a startup – they will not resign and walk away in a hurry because they did not like the way they may have been spoken to or because another exciting opportunity has come up.

In addition to watching the back of the startup entrepreneur and guiding them when the ship hits troubled waters, such individuals will also bring in strong subject matter knowledge, from the domains these senior citizens would have spent decades working in, they will also bring to the table their knowledge gained through several years of experience in some of the areas outlined below.

  1. Good Governance Practices – All Startups should normally be started with the objective of building a strong and stable business which can mature into an institution. A strong senior partner will ensure that the entrepreneur will build good governance and transparent practices in the organisation. Even something as mundane as ensuring board meetings are held on time and minutes are properly recorded is an area where startups have been known to slip up. This comment would not apply to those entrepreneurs who are looking to create a valuation and then flip the company to someone else.
  2. Fund Raising – While most startups are looking for funding from Angel Investors and Private Equity Investors, there is a large domain of raising funds from banks though debt and working capital financing. A good finance senior citizen will bring in much needed contacts and experience to reach out to the banking system.
  3. External Relations – Most businesses, irrespective of the sector they are addressing, need a strong connect with the external world. These connections could be with bureaucrats, politicians, environmental activists or the local councilor. A strong and experienced senior citizen will have the patience to handle these external challenges. This could also include developing a strong public relations contact programme with the print and visual media –while another group of people would handle the social media contact base.
  4. Legal Processes – In addition to hiring legal help during formation and fund raising, most businesses are faced with a lot of legal challenges. Once again, an older and more experienced manager will bring wisdom in handling such matters – which cases to pursue and which ones to drop is a critical decision to save valuable managerial time, resources and of course, money.
  5. Playbook / Standard Operating Procedures – In the hurry to get started, very often standard operating procedures get lost in the detail. These need to put in place very early in the game so that mistakes are not repeated. An experienced manager tasked with this will be able to put in place such a manual / playbook that would serve the company well into the long term.

Having mentored several startup entrepreneurs, I have seen the value a person who has “been there done that” can provide to a startup entrepreneur. For the entrepreneur, it is a very lonely job and there are very few people he can trust (other than a co-founder). Most young entrepreneurs need a sounding board in a non-threatening manner with someone who has no agenda with the individual or the business.

I have often said that the combination of young energetic legs with grey hair would be a win-win combination for all Startups. To draw a parallel from hockey or football, the entrepreneur is the centre forward rushing to shoot goals and win while the older manager is the goal keeper who will protect the companies turf and ensure that self-goals are not scored!

What is important for both the parties is to mutually select the right set of individuals. What is important is to develop mutual trust and confidence between the two individuals to build a win-win combination for the success of the business.

*******************

The author is the founder Chairman of Guardian Pharmacies and the author of the best-selling books, Reboot. Reinvent. Rewire: Managing Retirement in the 21st Century; The Corner Office; An Eye for an Eye and The Buck Stops Here – Learnings of a #Startup Entrepreneur. 

  • Twitter: @gargashutosh
  • Instagram: ashutoshgarg56
  • Blog: ashutoshgargin.wordpress.com | ashutoshgarg56.blogspot.com

Why does SAARC need Pakistan as a member?

saarc-countries-map

The South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was set up on 8th December 1985 as a regional bloc for seven countries (Afghanistan joined later) “for the promotion of economic and social progress, cultural development within the South Asia region and also for friendship and co­operation with other developing countries”. The objectives of SAARC, as defined in its charter, are as follows:

  1. Promote the welfare of the peoples of South Asia and improve their quality of life;
  2. Accelerate economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region by providing all individuals the opportunity to live in dignity and realise their full potential;
  3. Promote and strengthen collective self-reliance among the countries of South Asia;
  4. Contribute to mutual trust, understanding and appreciation of one another’s problems;
  5. Promote active collaboration and mutual assistance in the economic, social, cultural, technical and scientific fields;
  6. Strengthen co-operation with other developing countries;
  7. Strengthen co-operation among themselves in international forms on matters of common interest; and
  8. Cooperate with international and regional organisation with similar aims and purposes.

It is worth reading each of eight points given above in the context of the current strained relations between the member nations. Have we seen all the member nations moving in one direction for any of the objectives envisaged by the founding fathers? The answer to this would be resounding no if one looks at the role played by Pakistan where it has done everything in its power to undermine several of the other member nations.

On the other hand, the ASEAN Declaration states that the aims and purposes of the Association are:

  • To accelerate the economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region through joint endeavors in the spirit of equality and partnership in order to strengthen the foundation for a prosperous and peaceful community of Southeast Asian nations, and
  • To promote regional peace and stability through abiding respect for justice and the rule of law in the relationship among countries in the region and adherence to the principles of the United Nations Charter.

In 1995, the ASEAN Heads of State and Government re-affirmed that “Cooperative peace and shared prosperity shall be the fundamental goals of ASEAN.

Over the last three decades the World has changed dramatically. Political and economic groupings were a matter of convenience to come together so that, jointly, the smaller nations could get a share of voice in the World. In the process, these nations would also be able to talk about preferred trading terms with one another which has not really been successful.

The question we need to ask is whether the objectives of SAARC are still valid, given the significant change in the economic performance of its member countries coupled with the political changes in the member states. Pakistan, a large nation from the perspective of its population, has serious political differences with its two immediate neighbours Afghanistan and India.

From the very minimalistic trade data available on http://www.saarcstat.org (which itself shows how irrelevant SAARC is in the mind of its member states) Pakistan’s last data seems to have been sent in 2012 while India is updated till 2014 and Sri Lanka has sent its data for 6 months of 2016. The trade data, available clearly shows how irrelevant intra SAARC trade is to most of its member nations. Most of the SAARC nations have become enamoured with big brother China and have therefore started opening up their doors to trade, investment and the right of passage for Chinese goods (as is evidenced from the Karakoram highway).

Pakistan has always preferred to identify itself with the Middle Eastern nations while retaining a position in SAARC. Economically, it does very little and politically, it is increasingly becoming a pariah nation and is possibly pulling back the other nations. The cancellation of the 2016 SAARC summit to be held in Pakistan is another indication of the growing irrelevance of the organisation amongst its member nations.

The unfortunate fact is that the situation in Pakistan is not likely to change – it is more likely to deteriorate further till the citizens go through a catharsis and demand a paradigm change in the manner in which their political and military masters have managed their nation and provided for them.

At the same time, the countries around the Bay of Bengal and the edge of the Indian Ocean near East and South of India include Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia are proving to be a major market for products from the region. Politically and economically, all SAARC nations are wooing nations from ASEAN and therefore embracing new and more vibrant members with lesser political agendas will benefit SAARC nations.

The time has now come to examine the relevance of SAARC for India and to study whether we need invite more nations into SAARC or if it is believed that we do need a platform, why we should think of new economic groupings that would increase trade and commerce.

*******************

The author is the founder Chairman of Guardian Pharmacies and the author of the best-selling books, Reboot. Reinvent. Rewire: Managing Retirement in the 21st Century; The Corner Office; An Eye for an Eye and The Buck Stops Here – Learnings of a #Startup Entrepreneur. 

  • Twitter: @gargashutosh
  • Instagram: ashutoshgarg56
  • Blog: ashutoshgargin.wordpress.com | ashutoshgarg56.blogspot.com

The Smoothest Drink: So, You Think You Know Your Whisky?

Whisky 101: Much as you may love your peg, there’s no harm in brushing up on your scotch and whisky knowledge.

http://www.thequint.com/wine-dine/2016/10/04/whisky-scotch-drinking-beginners-guide-101-barrels-casks-distillery

Shared via @theQuint android app http://www.thequint.com

The Patriotic Apologists

border

One more attack by the terrorists (ably supported by the Pakistani Army) at Baramulla. More army jawans killed and wounded. More anguish and more pain. And for the moment, hopefully, everyone is united in support of the country.

When the World heard about the unprecedented decision for a surgical strike taken by our Prime Minister immediately after the dastardly Uri attack, the first people to congratulate the Armed Forces and the Prime Minister (in that order) were our patriotic apologists. The opposition leaders were all scrambling to stay ahead of the other party in supporting the action taken without once sitting back and wondering why they, when they were in power, did not have the courage to take definitive action.

But how long will it be before we start hearing our Patriotic Apologists start to dissect every statement and start rationalizing their own comments.

The first set of serious questions were raised by several patriotic apologists, “intellectuals”, politicians and journalists soon after the national excitement of the surgical strike had started to wane. The first emotion of anger quickly changed to an attitude of questioning the capability of the Prime Minister and his Government. One senior politician who could not hold back his words even termed the Prime Minister a “war monger”. When suggestions were made about taking action in several areas outlined above the general question from an “interested and motivated” group of people who would be directly affected by such an action was how the Government could believe that a single action could remove terrorism.

It would be interesting to take stock of some of the comments from opposition leaders and discussions going on across several media about the possible steps that India should take.

Activate rebels in Balochistan: A brilliant move from our Prime Minister followed up by our Eternal Affairs Minister at the United Nations. It energized the Balochistan rebels to start demanding their own country and thus forced Pakistan to start focusing inwards. It took only a few days for certain politicians to start questioning this action on the grounds that India should not interfere with internal Pakistani maters. As if Kashmir is not an internal matter of India.

Skip the SAARC summit: Government of India took the unprecedented step of refusing to attend the SAARC summit. Most other SAARC countries followed suit giving a diplomatic defeat to Pakistan. Instead of applauding our Government, we have several opposition leaders who are talking of the past and the importance of continuing SAARC.

Review Indus Water Treaty: The mere mention of a review of the Indus Water Treaty was enough to get people talking. The first salvo was fired by one set of people who stated that Water should not be used as a tool and how on earth can water be used to combat terrorism?

Send Pakistani artists back: This is not a point that has been discussed by the Government of India but a demand from a regional party in the State of Maharashtra. Not a single Pakistan artist was willing to condemn the Uri attacks. Of course all Pakistani artistes come on valid visas issued by the Government of India and of course they are not terrorists. But when Pakistan stops all Indian telecasts and does not permit Indian artistes that is acceptable.

Revoke Most Favoured Nation Status: This would hurt Pakistan economically and local businesses would be affected. But we have our apologists who have started raising a clamour against this revocation. After all, businessmen are not terrorists, they say.

Stop over flights over Indian Territory: Pakistan has stopped over flights over its territory immediately (albeit they claim it is only for one week). India has taken no action so far but rumbles have started that curbs on civil aviation hurts passengers who are definitely not terrorists.

Impose tariff barriers on imports from Pakistan and reduce exports: India imports approximately US$ 2.0 billion from Pakistan and exports approximately US$ 1.5 billion from Pakistan. We need to impose non-tariff barriers on imports and reduce exports. Hurting an economy always has long term implications.

Work towards declaring Pakistan a terrorist state: A petition filed in USA by one of their congressmen has snowballed into a worldwide movement. I am waiting to hear comments from the disbelievers in India on this petition.

Each step, taken singly, will appear to be a weak and irrelevant act to curb the menace of terrorism. However, taken together, they will collectively work towards weakening the rogue nation Pakistan through diplomatic, economic, cultural channels and through local pressure groups.

Of course everyone knows and understand that solutions will only come from resuming talks but don’t they realise that there is a time for talks and there is a time for sabre rattling and cessation of talks because Pakistan does not want talks who has been used to a soft Indian Government who would revert to a pacifist attitude of talking about the “resilience of India and her people” and shy away from any hard action.

But if the agenda of our political apologists is to reduce the perceived political mileage that the BJP is likely to gain, then they and their ilk have no other way but to find ways and means to pull down the Prime Minister and question him on every step the Government is taking.

For our Political Apologists, why must it always be a situation of “Heads I win and Tails you lose?”

Remember the ancient folklore of being able to break one stick but not being able to break a full bundle of sticks? In times of national crises, it is important for the entire nation to stand together and our apologists need to stay quiet for a little while though they may not agree with the developments and do not have any answers except to criticize.

*******************

The author is the founder Chairman of Guardian Pharmacies and the author of the best-selling books, Reboot. Reinvent. Rewire: Managing Retirement in the 21st Century; The Corner Office; An Eye for an Eye and The Buck Stops Here – Learnings of a #Startup Entrepreneur. 

  • Twitter: @gargashutosh
  • Instagram: ashutoshgarg56
  • Blog: ashutoshgargin.wordpress.com | ashutoshgarg56.blogspot.com

https://www.thequint.com/uri-attack/2016/10/03/can-patriotic-apologists-offer-solutions-instead-of-criticism-pakistan-india