Being attacked by a arms wielding mob of 150 and running for cover just to stay alive, isn’t something one imagines in ones wildest dreams, least of all see in reality. But the events of 23rdNov 17, have shaken me and my belief on the future of this nation.
The company that I work for is known to build and operate some of the finest wellness retreats in the country. A relatively young brand, we have won some rather prestigious awards for our art of delivering hospitality and for our wellness programs. We were smug at having created our third fine hotel, just 27 rooms, spread over 8-9 acres, kissing the Vembanad lake and were getting ready to welcome our first guest on the 5th Dec.
75 odd crores (approx USD12 million) of spend over 5 years made it a rather well appointed upmarket hotel of global standards. We have always been proud of our business practices such as highest paymasters by industry standards, highest no of training hours imparted per employee and treating our guests as if we would treat our families and parents. We thought we are formidable force if we generate employment for approx 500 people.
We heard that a few local bodies alleged an encroachment by our hotel to the extent of .0044 and .0050 sq mts at 2 spots (a notice to this effect is with us now) and to protest this encroachment a march is being carried out by the local DYFI arm. I quickly relied upon my calculator to convert this astronomically large number into sq feet and discovered that we had allegedly encroached 0.053 sq ft and 0.047 sq ft of land at 2 places. For the readers of this blog, and to put things in perspective this area is just a tad bit larger than the area a shirt button would occupy. And without giving us a chance to explain or to respond the militant arm chose to punish us by vandalising our hotel and setting us back by 6 months and destroying property worth 10 Crores.
Properties can be rebuilt, Monies can be recovered but the soul of an entrepreneur, confidence of employees and confidence in the state once broken can never be recovered.
A state/nation where you can get away with anything (as I mentioned in another blog), have negligible chance to be punished for a crime, and where on a working day, hundreds of young people can be mobilized and dangerously motivated to destroy and plunder an asset that contributes to taxes, employment and brand of a state that alleges to be God’s own country – that country and state has no/little future.
Our dependence on services contributing approx. 60% of our GDP up from 30% in 1950 and agriculture at 17% – down from 55% in 1950 might sound great from an empirical perspective, but is an utterly dangerous statistic. Just 30% of our population is contributing to 60 percent of GDP. This implies that the balance 980 million or say a billion people are contributing to a mere 30% of GDP(approx. USD 736 billion).
Do you get what I am getting to…
A billion people are contributing to just 736 billion USD of GDP or exactly 2 USD per day. A slightly deeper analysis (pls don’t curse me for confusing you with numbers) reveals that if amongst these billion, approx. 200 million are still making their 2 ends meet somehow by contributing approx. USD 2000 per year, the last 800 million Indians are merely contributing 336 billion USD in GDP (420 USD per person per year)
Doesn’t that explain why our hotel was so brutally plundered and destroyed for allegedly encroaching a piece of land literally measuring the size of a shirt button? Without even giving us a chance to show the legal land records and valid permissions in our possession.
This is God’s own country.
Artificial intelligence is scary and may it be damned – for it is threatening to put more and more people out of jobs. If the world has to be saved, more people need to get into farms and more factories need to start bellowing smoke. A greater percentage of the global population needs to contribute significantly to the global GDP’s rather than it getting concentrated just within the services sector.
Or else be warned that ours wasn’t the last hotel or business that got temporarily destroyed by the zealots pretending to be GOD. This epidemic where mobs can be mobilized to cause plunder and destruction at the drop of a hat could be a national/global problem in a few years.
We have failed the dream of Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore for his vision of this country penned in 1910 in the epic poem…
Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.
NiraamayaKumarakom will rise like a phoenix soon and we will welcome our guests in a few weeks, but lets not allow the nation and the democracy to fail.
Manu also writes in Huffington Post