Millennium Post

Nadella, hardly an Indian power point

Is Hyderabad-born Manipal University-educated Satya Nadella’s crowning as the third CEO of the tech-giant Microsoft an Indian success story? Absolutely not! In fact, if anything, it’s the benign face of a world in the throes of relentless globalisation. In some ways, it is partly an American success story, in which merit masks the deeper realities of latent racism, ever ready to float up to the surface and become the warts on the US of A’s ebony and ivory skin. Hence pitching Nadella’s individual rise to the top post in one of the world’s biggest technology corporations, a phenomenally brilliant tale by itself, as an Indian achievement, reeks of a singularly slavish attachment to certain notions of making a mark, with the playing field almost always ending up being the foreign shore. In fact, Nadella’s meteoric rise in the American technology conglomerate should pose a question before our corporate fraternity, which, inevitably mired in dynastic squabbles, has, with few exceptions, ritually favoured the blood line over sheer capabilities in the board rooms. Indian business houses, much like political parties, are run by powerful and moneyed families, and even though talent is promoted, it is always until a certain point and hardly ever making its present felt in the tough decision making process.

Satya Nadella’s story is, one the one hand, a vindication of a meritocratic order still existing in ivory-tower fringes of our globalised society, while, on the other, is a resounding defeat of our own system that is designed to resist the churn and maintain the status quo – whether based on caste, class, religion or gender. Yet, Nadella’s recognition isn’t also the ‘colour-blind’ side of American cultural politics, since we have barely managed to emerge from the Devyani Khobragade episode ourselves. For every Nadella, there is a Rajat Gupta and whether it’s Silicon Valley or Wall Street, America has killed as many fairy tales as it has upheld, constantly picking and choosing the ever-more saleable faces and usable minds to perpetuate the same old myth of its own exceptionalism.
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