Assam-preneur: We need more of them
As an Assamese boy studying outside of the state, the worst PJ of college life was that we were from USA (United States of Assam). Considering the state of commercial negligence within the region, I wonder how do we wage war against this wilful disregard of the region.
Kaultilya, the crooked one, was a political realist and master strategist but he wrote on economics, or “artha”, i.e. value. Because, the brutal reality is that without value, no one is concerned about you – either an individual or a state. Economic value defines your reality.
And we create this reality ourselves.
For an Indian born after Independence, there has always been a relative who has bucked the trend and struck out on his own (quite gender discriminatory, our childhood memories!) and made good: the BIZZNISSMAN. THAT uncle and his flashy life, if not his easy money, has always been an interesting memory of our childhood days. For many, if not all, such childhood memories often trigger the drive towards emulation. Despite the cautionary tales and advice from most seniors (often in secure government jobs), the BIZNISSMAN’s image always sticks to your mind – unless you are the child of the said uncle, in which case this article is not for you. And as life goes on, the memory fades as the harsh realities of life make themselves aware and familial pressure, if not our own mind, compromises safety with a reliable income as compared to the flashy lifestyle and the inherent risks involved.
We look at businessmen, most of us, and we see only the flashy lifestyle at worst or the disposable income at best and heave a sigh. Most of us envy that ability to be your own boss and not have to answer to anyone. We, often as not, work for those very businessmen, one way or the other. This is true of a vast majority, even today. The one thing that just cannot be denied is that starting a business and even more so, sustaining one is a tremendous task; an uphill task, constantly at odds with the dominant systems and prevailing situations in the country. Going out, striking out, making a bid by yourself and none else is a case study in courage. No reliable cheque coming in every month, no compartmentalization of work hours, constant self-doubt if not society’s questions. Often as not, familial nagging, disbelief, and pessimism are part and parcel of the initial years and continue till quite a long time. If you’re the insecure sort, it can become a beast on your back that refuses to let go.
And we still have the BIZNISSMAN – from the corner store owner to the industrialist, everyone wants to be one and sees themselves with the rose-tinted glasses of childhood memories. The businessman is written about, fantasized about, talked about – Bloody Hell, he simply sells by being in existence!
In America, “the land of the brave,” the businessman is the acme of individual ability and enterprise, valued far above that of anyone else. You are defined by the chances you take to make yourself better. Possibly, a left over strain of frontier-bred imperialistic genes, in this wish to make your destiny, to rule, to be the path-breaker into uncharted territory, you build the ballpark and run it as you see fit – you’re society’s role model for having made IT. You make it and everyone envies your car, your gadgets, your mansion and the peripherals. If you can contribute to the marginalized sections, well, you’ve just attained god-hood in your lifetime.
And the truth? The endless hours fighting the inner demons and fighting off the world to achieve the next target, the next client, the lack of a social life – are these considered? It’s a brilliant film when those brutal years of building are compressed into a few screenshots over in seconds, with the dramatic turns of vaulting ambition and achievement crackling with impossibly elegant and dynamic dialogues. You clap and wish you were the guy on the screen. But it’s not usually that easy – you know it which is why YOU wisely don’t consider the idea of BIZNISS and the risks involved. But it’s not so….or at least does not have to be so. It does not have to be the image of the dusty streets you trudge through, carrying your products to sell and find a customer base. It does NOT have to be you stuck in your room and computer, working without end without even having the foreknowledge of success or failure.
BUT, it does NOT need to be a gamble. This is a series dedicated to those brave souls who venture into being entrepreneurs and BIZNISSMEN. Because, we need more of you.
The State needs more of you….I am not done. Nor are you.