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Dec 21, 2013

The Past and Accountablity


Simple, No. What am I talking about? Am I making sense? Yes, probably, not at all!!

Recently (at work), I had a question regarding a process / issue on some aspect of a job that I was handling a couple of years ago. Post my move, a few people managed the same, and all moved on, with some one new as of today. An issue crops up, and the question comes to me, can you explain this?

Not that the issue was relating to the time that I was looking at, the issue was on a process being followed for years, and because things had been going smooth, no one questioned it. Now that there was a problem, a straight question on the process.

Of course, as nature stands, we all justify what we did and why we did, but what was interesting was that many of the people who were following the same process came up with a standard answer: I don't know, this was the process that was there and you should ask the predecessor. It starts going back and some where the one who initiates the process, has to suddenly justify why he did what he did. No matter that at the time, that was the correct process, the correct step, but one needs to justify. One needs to explain, why one took a decision that he did. Suddenly one finds that many people have memory losses, people don't remember, why they agreed for the decisions that they took, more so, that over the years, things may have changed, that would make the decision of the past no longer valid.

Does it not happen in life? We surely see that in Politics! We take decisions based on events, time lines, circumstances. Life moves on. 5 years, a decade down the line, things go wrong. Is it human tendency to first and foremost find out who initiated the decision? Is it human nature to not evaluate what has changed over the years, that made a decision of a decade ago, no longer viable in today's times? Are we as people so inefficient that we cannot fathom our mistakes or do not change historical decisions due to our inefficiencies? We have as a generation for sure degenerated. Compare the talented people of the past - Socrates / Solomon / Da Vinci / Kabir / Voltaire / Galileo... Do we have even 10% of them in today's society?

Looking at some of the decisions that have taken place in history, and evaluating them:

What if Hitler had never started his ambition of ruling the world? Would +World War II  have been avoided?

When the East India Company first came to India, if the rulers at that time, had refused them permission to land, setup shop and trade? Would India still be a country of Kings?

What if Europe had not invaded other lands? Would Europe have been poorer today? Would the world be different in terms of cultures, where East meeting West has generated so much of a fusion, that wonders have been created?

What if the people who built the Seven Wonders not built the Wonders? Generations would have been spared of the slave days, but what about the world?

What if some one had said, no more Slaves in America? Would the nature of the country be completely different today?

Was there reason why many of the Rajput Kings of yore, tied up with Akbar to have peace, rather than unite together and ensure independence was retained?

What if Dhritirashtra had taken a decision to sacrifice Duryodhan when he was born? Would the Mahabharata have been avoided?

Surely, there will be countless more such questions and similar answers as to why? But the moot question remains. Does the one who took the decision at the time remain responsible and accountable for life? What if future generations did have an opportunity to correct a decision of the past, but decide not to, with the rationale, that right now, things are good, why upset the apple cart?

If we blame the past, then I guess the future too should be justified in blaming us. Your take?

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