It would be tempting and egotistical to ignore Wozniak’s remark about people from India being not creative. You could call it whimsical, but if hurts there is probably some truth to it.
If he had said all Indians are bandits, we wouldn’t have read it a second time, we would have called it whimsical, even wild, it would not have hurt. This one does, and so it merits examination. Sometimes it helps to look beyond initial feelings of outrage.
It is my hypothesis that in over-populated and therefore insecure countries the self preservation will always dominate. Feelings of creativity, imagination, comradeship, of surrendering self to the wider cause can only arise in either a highly spiritual phase or where the person has ascended to a level of personal calm about his achievements.
Where you are in a mob, and we are in a mob, self preservation will always prevail; whether it is about catching a bus, getting out of a movie hall, or getting to a professional college.
So too with Indian students, where unless you are a method person you can’t make a mark. We have more than 200 colleges and universities and it is impossible for anyone to monitor individual students. At one level lower, it is even worse. Young students learn very quickly that it is their score, and not the manner in which the marks were scored, that counts more than anything else.
An eighteen-year-old is bound to feel tempted to stay with 90% than try to score a good 85 with a fluency in second language or any other skill which he wants to develop which won’t look as impressive when the selectors compare marks. If there were fewer people to look at, a selector could make his own assessment but with the numbers in India, that is often impossible. That is why I would go so far as to say that unless you are a method person you have no chance of making it in the top Indian universities. And that’s where the creativity lacks.
And it is not easy to change. Actors from folk theater will remain loud in serious cinema, batsmen growing up on a bouncy track will instinctively play the horizontal bat shots, people from gloomy lands will look unhapply even in bright sunshine. Students from our part of the world can’t suddenly become creative when they have survived by protecting their percentage fiercely.
When a nation is performing and therefore settled, and where the individual are secure, they can rise above and do things differently. In the other countries they learn that early because there are fewer people; the difference between being in a top college and being not in it is not nearly pronounced as it is in India.
The way out is to widen the area of courses offered by the colleges. Include the application based topics in school courses. The quality of research and development should be improved and government must monitor the level of universities and colleges regularly and the colleges performing below par should be sacked.
We can’t suddenly expect young, insecure students to become a creative or unconventional when most of us aren’t. Though there are many who are willing to go beyond. Now it needs to become addictive, it needs to be spread among the students and youth.
This might be a right time to prove to Steve Wozniak that it can happen.