Room with a View|Jul 7, 2012 8:00 AM| by:

Innovative India

The India Idea: Heralding the Era of Path-breaking Innovations
By L.K. Sharma and Shobit Arya
Contributions from R.A. Mashelkar, Sam Pitroda, M.S. Swaminathan, Samir K. Brahmachari, V.K. Saraswat, K. Kasturirangan, Anil Kakodkar, R. Gopalakrishnan, Anil K. Gupta

If I had seen this glossy coffee-table book in the shops, I would have been drawn to it certainly for its title but only lingered on it without plans of purchase. Why? Because I have seen umpteen similar productions, all visually stunning (that comes almost by default when the subject is India), but for the most part, too over-my-budget. But fortunately, I was handed a copy which allowed me to not just glance (as is often the case for coffee-table books) but read almost every word from start to finish. With contributions from the highest rung of professionals, hailing from different walks of life, it brought in the intellectual variety to sustain one’s attention. But more importantly, it was the core issue which was running like a common thread between one story and the next: incredible Indians. Each page would be an eye-opener for many of us who know the word innovation but have rarely chanced upon it and yet, here it was in full form, in practically every field of human activity. Not only the kind that you associate with hi-tech labs but really, at a grass-root level, executed by trained and untrained minds with equal determination and a will to succeed. It is this that makes The India Idea a book worth purchasing for it brings across the message that while we on the one hand have developed astounding means to destroy our planet, there are a few who look beyond and provide a solution; while we may have been fortunate to have the means to lead a life of relative ease, there are those with barely enough to sustain themselves, pushed as it were to innovate in order to uplift their lot and as a result, the lot of many others as well; while we may only indulge in rhetoric on the state of affairs with a customary disapproving shake of our heads, others, however few in number, are shaking theirs in affirmation of what they can do to improve, implement and impact.
The India Idea is revealing, motivating and definitely a good buy for those of us who only know the word ‘innovate’ but don’t quite know what to do with it.