‘Jai Ho’ is no longer an Indian desire!

One, was of President Barack Obama delivering his "we shall prevail" speech. On the same page, there was another picture - this was a man of Indian origin, and he had been chosen to deliver the traditional rejoinder from the opposition!

It has been a longtime since we connected – I really feel at fault. Having said that, traveling all over the US and Europe on a 35-day trip, meeting prospects, customers and MindTree Minds have seen me living off a couple of suitcases. It has been one airport to the other every couple of days. No, I am not seeking sympathy – people like Krishna Kumar, Janakiraman and Ashok – my other co-founders at MindTree – routinely clock 120 days or more of travel every year. Unless we increase face time with customers and our own people, we really have no clue what is going on in the world.

And what is going on in this world? A lot, of course! But in the midst of it all, India is happening.

Last night, I was meeting the chief technology officer of a company in Chicago over dinner in an Italian restaurant. An elderly waiter came to our table, smothered the signature roasted garlic with olive oil and before announcing the specials of the evening with the usual pomposity of restaurants that serve good food, looked at me and asked if I have seen the movie? Not yet, I replied.

He proudly said he had and that he did so three weeks before it walked away with 8 Oscars. “And yes, I saw the Oscar ceremony as well and you know what made me feel good?” – He asked me with his heavy Italian accent. Without waiting for my reply, he intoned, “The movie is about people of an Indian city, but the characters – so many of them – are Moslems and the Music Director – Rah-Man – is a Moslem!. The future belongs to India

After the dinner, on my drive back to my hotel, I was seeing a replay of the Oscar ceremony in my mind. The effortlessness with which Rahman was walking in and out of the stage, when he was crooning, making his acceptance speech in English laced with unrehearsed Hindi and Tamil, it all looked as if the 8 Oscars were no stretch – they were just a logical, expected act of flow.

“Jai Ho” is no longer an Indian desire; it is part of a universal stimulus package!

This morning, it is another day and for me, another city. As I was rushing out of my hotel to catch a cab to the airport, I grabbed a copy of the USA Today. I saw two pictures on the front page. One, was of President Barack Obama delivering his “we shall prevail” speech. On the same page, there was another picture – this was a man of Indian origin, and he had been chosen to deliver the traditional rejoinder from the opposition!

USA Today wrote, “Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who delivered the Republican response to Obama’s speech from the governor’s mansion in Baton Rouge, called on his party to return to core values and object to massive government spending intended to boost the economy…Jindal, 37, was elected in 2007 and is one of a crop of Republicans whose star power has risen since the 2008 election. He recently gained attention for refusing millions of dollars in unemployment assistance bound for his state in Obama’s $787 billion stimulus plan.” Inside the cab, on my way to O’Hare airport, I found myself humming, Jai Ho!

Kumaresan Says
Thursday February 26th 2009

Jai Ho !!

Lubna Says
Thursday February 26th 2009

Dear Subroto,
While all your loyal readers anxiously wait for your next column, all of us do understand that you are extremely busy. In fact, thank you for posting whenever time permits. We do learn a lot from it.
Our Constitution is one of the finest documents I have ever read, or perhaps will ever read. The Constitution like any other laws, be it tax or otherwise, must be applied both in letter and spirit. Unfortunately, this is where we sometimes go wrong.
Politicians down the years have tried to divide us on the basis of religion, caste and creed. Somehow this has become ingrained in our society. Take for instance at the time of school admissions. Why should a school want to know our relgious background? Or invariably one is asked in a job interview. So who are you? I sometimes feel like saying: Human Being! Maybe I will do that next time I job hop.
I was proud of Bombay, the way, it united post the recent terror attacks. This was the same Bombay from where we literally had decided to flee post the 1992 riots just because we were Mulsims. (We ultimately moved. I lost my Bombay, I still haven’t lost my country and hope never to). I am sure others have similar tales to tell. Such as Sikh’s in Delhi, who bore the brunt after Indira Gandhi’s assassination.
Yes, the future is India’s, only if we remain united and do not fight with each other on flimsy grounds.
By the way, what exactly does Jai Ho mean? The translations on the web vary from: Rock on, May victory be yours to Hallehaujah. Whatever be it: Jai Ho
Best regards,

Subroto Bagchi Says
Thursday February 26th 2009

Dear Lubna,

When the Italian waiter told me how pleased he was that AR Rahman could become who he is despite being a Moselm from India, I wanted to tell him that we also had Dr. Kalam as President but full disclosure required that I also tell him that Godhra belongs to us and I had dinner to do!

Jai Ho – I believe, is another way of telling the Divine, “May Your Will Pervade – it is Your Victory”. That one as against just “Rock On” or simply, “May we succeed”

Illiyaz Says
Thursday February 26th 2009

So finally a post at last…was waiting eagerly for this……in the mean time finished your book “Go Kiss the world”….i am still feeling the HIGH effects of it……yeah you are right….the future belongs to US as long as we are UNITED .. Jai Ho..

VenuThummala Says
Thursday February 26th 2009

At Last we have a posting from you, everyday morning i look to your feed in igoogle.

Another master piece setting the current mood.. Thanks
have a nice and safe trip to back home.


Spadan Says
Thursday February 26th 2009

I just could not help the parallelism here in short.

1. Slumdog Millionaire is a strory developed completely in India with an international crew.

2. The idea is not unique (in fact no idea is), but it is done with full copyright of Danny Boyle and Co. Nevertheless, the IP rights belong to them.

3. Salam Bombay, Satya, Company etc. are movies which have the underworld and I think in Indian context it is far superior than Slumdog Millionaire.

But then, the World is NOT India. When you sale to the world, you sale in a diffferent perspective.

4. Inclusive Story Line – cutting across many barriers – caste, creed, religion, language etc.

What lesson we can have:

1. Need to have our own products from India to be the “Jai Ho”

2. Need to have our ideas to be the “Jai Ho” in place just executing someone’s else idea

3. Need to have a global perspestive of things in place of a local appeal to be the “Jai Ho”.

4. Need to inclusive as Indians to be the “Jai Ho”

Jai Ho!

Prakash Says
Friday February 27th 2009

In contrary to all that we have been hearing over the last few months about this movie and the awards, I couldn’t help but reading some of the fine prints and thinking about, is India as a country really missing that platform where a British had to come to India and provide to one of the finest musician we know? Or people outside consider India as a country not in the map when it comes to movies?

Post Oscar, Danny Boyle said, this is not in Indian film, but a British film shot in India with less known Indian artists. Now, think about this, this is not the finest music by A.R. Rahman in his career (at least that is what I believe), this is perhaps not the best background score by him and edit by Rusel Pookutty; but why couldn’t heir earlier piece of work never made to LA?
– Is that because we don’t have people like Danny Boyle in India to make movies like this? We certainly are not short of stories like the “Slumdog..”
– Is that because the Oscar always wanted a “Phoren” touch? (Remember “Gandhi” also won an Oscar)

lvs Says
Friday February 27th 2009

Jindal’s heroics are great but I dont understand what Indians in India should feel proud about in that? Yes for Indians in US he can be a good role model.

For India, little has been gained from the successes of NRIs.

    Lubna Says
    Tuesday March 10th 2009

    Hi Ivs
    You have a mindblowing blog. I shall visit it more often.
    But to answer your question, there are NRI’s who have invested into India and through angel investments and VC investments by such NRIs, there has been some contribution to the Indian economy..
    For eg: Gururaj Deshpande, Vinod Dham and Vinod Khosla. The reasons are two fold – India is a growing economy – even during the economic slow down and second – there is a familiarity with the Indian socio-economic framework.
    In fact, if memory serves me right (am too lazy to Google now), Vinod Khosla also invested with other investors in a microfinance company in Andhra Pradesh – this was several years ago, when microfinance was not that well understood in India and there were only a handful of players.
    It is true that there is no free lunch, but the Indian origin tag does create a stronger pull than what could otherwise have been the case.
    I think several NRIs have also donated to Indian educational institutions.
    It may perhaps not be possible to quantify how much India has gained from the successes of NRIs, but their contribution cannot be ignored either.
    As far as Jindal is concerned, perhaps like Obama he did break the racial barrier?
    Happy blogging, look forward to your next post.

      lvs Says
      Monday March 16th 2009

      You are right, many of them have invested in startups back home. However, so far I think most of it has been symbolic (just like Obama becoming the first black prez).

      lvs Says
      Monday March 16th 2009

      Thank you for the good words on my blog. Coming from you that means a lot.

Reshma Sharma Says
Wednesday March 11th 2009

I love your blog and always come away feeling I need to think more and do more. But this one left me with mixed reactions. I don’t understand – what does Rahman’s religion or Pookutty’s religion have anything to do with the glory of the award? I understand what people mean when they say, “What’s the big deal?! Danny Boyle isn’t Indian!” Agreed. But Rahman is and that is a big deal. Huge. He’s Muslim and Dr. Kalam is. Yes… I’m not sure why that makes any difference. I didn’t hear anybody exclaiming, “Satyajit Ray was Hindu”.

Jai Ho, indeed. But not for the reasons you cited.

Bobby Jindal -admirable. His roots are Indian…so Jai Ho, perhaps.

Maybe I don’t agree with you. But you made me think. So, Thank You :)

Subroto Bagchi Says
Friday March 13th 2009

Dear Reshma,

The Italian waiter was expressing his admiration for India – a country in which someone from a minority community could blossom – this would not happen in many other parts of the world.

Best wishes,


Abhishek Singh Says
Thursday April 16th 2009

What i can understand from his words is, this is the picture of india he has made in his mind and he was kind of surprised to see that a muslim from india is doing wonders. :(

~Abhishek Singh

Zarine George Says
Thursday April 23rd 2009

Hi Subroto
It feels nice to connect with you through this blog. I know this is off-topic but I just wanted to let you know how impressed I was with your book ” Go kiss the World”. In fact I had just finished reading it yesterday and I was looking up the Mindtree website. I was delighted to find that you had a personal blog where I could let you know personally how the book really touched me. I was facing a lot of problems in my office. I just happened to take a break and casually strolled into the Strand bookstall. Usually I just do window shopping. I hardly buy anything from there. By providence your book was piled in front among the new arrivals. I just happened to flip through a few pages and I got hooked. I liked the candid way in which you have expressed your life’s experiences and the lessons learnt. Really the book is full of wisdom and valuable lessons which we can apply in our lives. I bought it then and there without caring about the price.It is going to be part of my prized book collection throughout. Continue with your good work. I wish you all success and hope that all your dreams come true.
And yeah! I did miss the part between you and Sushmita. Like you could have atleast mentioned what endeared her to you. I hope I’m not being too personal.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Posts