Although I purchased this book ‘I Have a Dream‘ by Rashmi Bansal on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, this book is nothing to do with the civil rights movement in America. I found this book piled up at the business section of a local bookstore in Chennai, next to a book about Infosys. This is a book about the Indians who pursued their dream and, after years of hard work, achieved it. This is a book about Indian Dream.
Indian + Dream
Since I moved to India, I’ve met so many entrepreneurs – the young and the old, men and women – pursuing their dream. In today’s India, Indian Dream stories are everywhere. For example, Infosys was founded in 1981 by seven people with only US$250 as capital. 30 years later, the company generates US$ 6 billion revenue and employs 145,000 world-wide.
Social + Entrepreneurship
While the primary drive of many entrepreneurs is based on a fundamental principle of the capitalism, or pursuit of self-interest, the entrepreneurs introduced in this book share the dream that King had 50 years ago – the fellow citizens’ cause. Their path to the same dream may vary: by installing good sanitation in the rural area, by providing sustainable jobs for women in village, by ending the corruption, or by teaching children with no parents.
Yet, what makes these visionaries different from the conventional social activists is their approach. Instead of separating themselves from or opposing to the capitalism, they employ the modern management style in the corporate world and build a economically sustainable model. They talk about ROI and profit margin, Information Technology and social media, leadership and succession planning.
King + Gandhi
Four years before his ‘I have a dream’ speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., King traveled to Gujarat, India, to visit the birthplace of a person, who had influenced him to fight for the civil rights movement. Most of the social entrepreneurs in the book were also inspired by the same person. He is Mahatma Gandhi.
President of the United States, Barack Obama, acknowledging that without King’s contribution to his country, he would not have been elected (or even eligible to be elected) as the first African American President, made an address at the Parliament of India in 2010.
“I am mindful that I might not be standing before you today, as President of the United States, had it not been for Gandhi and the message he shared with America and the world.”
“Dream is not what you see in sleep, dream is the thing which does not let you sleep.” Dr. APJ. Abdul Kalam, the 11th President of India