Innovation worries us. At one level, many perceive it as a threat to their jobs and, in fact, to their way of thinking and behaving. It challenges what they are used to. At another and more profound level, there is genuine fear of failure. After all, not all innovations succeed. Indeed, most fail. A combination of the above is often the reason why governments and institutions are usually averse to innovation and thus, change.
A stormy Winter Session of Parliament concluded on 23 December. While it saw the passage of several vital legislations, we unfortunately witnessed five trends that plagued the Parliament's functioning. These trends strike at the heart of a deliberative democracy and its legislative machinery, warranting a close look and some thought.
When the Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation "suggested" that Parliamentarians should have their pay docked for disrupting Parliament, it received widespread media attention. But there is a larger question of double-speak here: If salaries or allowances of opposition Parliamentarians can be withheld for not productively contributing to Parliament, then should not the same principle be applied to ministers of the Cabinet?
It is obvious to an ordinary citizen like me that politics is means to an end not end in itself; perhaps our parliamentarians would do well to be reminded of this simple home truth. They carry with themselves the responsibility, hopes and aspirations of billion plus humans. Surely no single issue-perhaps with the exception of national security can be important enough to suspend parliamentary discourse.
While I was trying to understand what leadership is, a former colleague Matthew Carpenter-Arevalo gave a beautiful farewell speech in 2013 in which he highlighted what leadership is not. Until that time, I used to think in terms of leadership and followership. What he said was very powerful - "The opposite of leadership is cynicism and not followership." It was a paradigm shift in my thinking.
Our lives are crying out loud for making our legal system easily understandable for citizens and having better awareness about ways in which we can avoid getting into disputes. There is a strong requirement for simplifying laws that affect us and how we make use of them.