Sundar Pichai, Indra Nooyi, Satya Nadella – just a few of the heads of hallowed brand names that dominate the headlines of corporate America. They are all Indians, yes. But what many SG:Indians don’t know is that two of the three – Sundar and Indra – in fact hail from Tamil Nadu – Sundar was born in Chennai while Indra was born in Madurai. Satya Nadella was born in Hyderabad.
These are just a few of the luminaries produced by India and cultivated by an American educational system, who rose through the corporate ranks to lead the likes of Google, Pepsico and Microsoft (Sundar Pichai, Indra Nooyi and Satya Nadella respectively).
The time-honoured proverbs and sayings of our culture emphasize the importance of education. India’s higher education system is the third largest in the world, next to United States and China. India has over 1000 universities, with a strong emphasis on science and technology. Some of the foremost Indian technological institutions, like the Indian Institute of Technology, Indian Institute of Science and Tata Institute of Fundamental Research are globally acclaimed.
The point in all of this is this: India has no shortage of talent. Insofar as producing capable talent, or in lighting a flame to venture out and find greatness, our culture has produced trailblazers. However, for every one Sundar, Indra or Satya, there are many thousands out there, who, if given the right opportunities and if the system allowed enough of them to make their impact, can move a nation to rediscover its once greatness.
Sadly, though, it is not the technocrats that aspire for politics in India. It is no secret that Indian politics has been dominated by unscrupulous politicians that have contributed to the kakistocracies found across the subcontinent – from the smallest municipalities to state and ministerial levels.
But that’s really a topic for another time or even another ‘people’ with a stake in it.
For us Singapore Indians, the pertinent questions to ask are:
- Can the next Sundar, Indra or Satya be an Singapore Indian?
- Can we see more talented, successful Singapore Indians helm our own homegrown brand names and steer them to global recognition?
- And can enough of them make their way to the political sphere, to contribute to the well-being of all SG:Indians and all Singaporeans?