WARS AND NUMBERS

Guest Post by: T.R. Ramaswami

The First World War, called the Great War acquired its premier ordinal global status only in 1939 after WW II started. Similarly when, how and why the Great Indian Mutiny aka Sepoy Mutiny acquired the appellation ‘First War of Independence’ is not very clear. But then, which was the second? Why not call it just the War of Independence? It would appear that the Congress wanted its freedom struggle to be ‘recognized’ as the ‘Second War of Independence’ though all-out wars can hardly last more than a few years. The independence ‘struggle’ proper took more than three decades.

Why did the Sepoy Mutiny fail? Compare the current nation-wide participation in the Anna Hazare campaign. The mutiny had no central leadership, identity or plan. Separate uprisings at various places on hearing of similar events elsewhere pursued their own agenda. But the most critical reason is that there was no means of mass communication. Thus the mutiny could not acquire the critical mass required for success. Telegraph came to India only in 1869. Contrast this with the manner the Anna campaign has all means of internal communications and external publicity. Without this it could have never become what it is. If JP had got this publicity in 1975, history would have been different. No wonder the Government wants to clamp down on electronic media. Let alone India, even the world is watching the Second (or is it Third?) War of Independence – with the Government being a very good comedian. Only the heroine is missing.

 

Duct Tape Driving

So, I joined a start-up in Ahmadabad some time back. We are trying to do something for the rural sector…and no, it is not going to be another N.G.O. Anyhow, marketing basics taught me that if I am to make you interested in what I have to offer, I have to know what you want, directly or otherwise. So to get our marketing inputs, we keep making trips to the countryside, where our customers are.

During our last trip, we had done a particularly torturous route of 50 km on village road, before hitting the wonderful highway. So within moments, we were doing around 150 kph and still cursing the car to go faster and make up for the last stretch. Then IT happened. The front tire blew up, and took the fender panel out with it. In a breathtaking manoeuvre, we managed to stop the car without any accident. After a few oh shits and thank gods, we got to the damage assessment. We had the following situation at hand –

1 car with a blown tire, no right fender or indicator and hanging electrical wires.

1 fender without a car with broken unknown scraps instead of an inner panel.

4 ‘mechanical engineers‘ with a wtf look on their faces.

1 spare tyre, a jack, some duct tape, tools and bolts we didn’t know about.

We got to work. Well, they got to work and I watched. After they replaced the tyre, they started looking at me. No matter how much I hemmed and hawwed, they made me work on the fender with them. After a considerable amount of time, we ended up taking pics or smoking because the damn thing wouldn’t hold. And then, the genius hit me. India runs on jugaad. So can this car. I took the duct tape and taped the wires and the fender. True, I used up a big tape completely but the fender was in place, a true ta-da moment.

Well it ends on a happy note. We reached a mechanic soon who ripped us for the repair works but we had a satisfying dinner. We made it back without any further incidents and my conceited ego got inflated by another 100 PSI. I realized my superpower of jugaad and decided that this super hero could have his great powers without any responsibility.