Indian punctuality

GV Rama RaoStarred Page By GV Rama Rao, 13th Feb 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Columns & Opinions

Recently the ruling party in the Centre lost Delhi elections because it was trying to enforce biometric data for attendance of the employees of the central government.

Time

Time is money, but not in India especially if it's others' time. No meeting starts at the scheduled time. If it involves a VIP as the Chief guest, the delay in starting the meeting is directly proportional to the importance of the person. The chief guest assumes it is his privilege to be late and arrives at the function invariably late for no apparent reason. He thinks he would be deprecating himself if he arrives at a function/meeting venue on the dot. He has little or no consideration for the value of time of other participants in the event. To add insult to injury, these VIPs tend to be loquacious, verbose and give lengthy speeches taxing the patience of the audience.

I in VIP

The importance of a person is relative and depends upon the second party. A low paid clerk is no VIP, but when he knows many people are waiting for his arrival he makes his appearance as and when it pleases him. This can be seen in banks, post offices, government offices and public sector units that provide some service to public. It's no exaggeration to say the public sector banks never open their service counters on time.

Religious functions

It's not the Indians do not appreciate the importance of punctuality. They do when the event is of a religious nature and a function like marriage or naming of a child, set at a time by the family astrologer. Here, they are guided by the stars and they do not want to offend the stars by their tardiness. The astrologers, called pundits, fix the auspicious time for such events after lengthy calculations taking into consideration the date and time of birth of the parties involved and the alignment of stars and planets. One can trust an Indian to perform the function at the appointed time. The same person, if he were to address a meeting or give a performance shows little or no concern for punctuality.

Work ethic.

This tardiness has now become part of the work ethic. In many Public Sector Units, the workers come to the job site on time, punch their cards on time lest they lose some wages but take their own sweet time to start the work. Most of them have a cup of tea leisurely before starting the work. This work ethic results in inordinate delay in execution of the projects and cost overruns. A work that should take three working days to accomplish may take anything between ten to fifteen days. The files in the government offices do not move at all unless some extraneous force is put on them.

Personal work

This is not to say Indians do not value time. They value their own time. Whenever an Indian goes to any place, he is in a hurry to get his work done. He parks his vehicle as he likes, often disregarding the rules and inconveniencing the others, rushes to the office and demands immediate action for his request/problem. He throws his weight or uses influence or cites some family connection to get his work done ahead of the people waiting in the queue before him. "Do you know who I am?" is an often heard question.

Penalty

Indians value their time where a penalty is involved. They submit their Income Tax returns and pay bills in time to avoid payment of late fee or disconnection of the service like an electricity bill. Here also, the typical Indian devises ways and means to pay the bill quickly and get on with his other work. He takes pride in scoring over others waiting in line ahead of him.

Personal experience

The best way to deal with the VIPs is to bring them down to earth. I practiced this idea and won the admiration of my friends. As a president of a Rotary Club, I invited a VIP to address our club. When he agreed, I explicitly told him that our club was known for its punctuality. When the VIP did not arrive at the scheduled time, I started the meeting without any delay. The VIP came half an hour late and sheepishly occupied the chair next to me. Since he came half an hour late, I had curtailed the time allotted to him and asked him to finish his address within the time. He glared at me but complied with my request. This happened with a couple of other VIPs, and soon the word spread around. Thereafter, any VIP called to our meeting arrived on the dot. My bold action won the admiration of members of my club. I often wonder why others do not take such measures and pander to the arrogance of the VIPs.

Conclusion.

I also wonder when the unions in my country would realize their task is to look after the interests of the workers but not to ruin the work ethic.
India, in my opinion, would have progressed much more if the workers from low level to the senior bureaucrats started work on time and followed a better work ethic.


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Tags

Administration, Admiration, Admire, Arrogance, Astrologer, Astrology, Planets, Problem, Problems, Problems In Life, Project Management, Projects, Punctuality, Religion, Religion And Spirituality, Religious, Request, Rotary Club, Speech Delivery, Speech Making, Speeches, Star Signs, Stars, Tardiness, Throwing Weight, Time, Time Management

Meet the author

author avatar GV Rama Rao
I am a retired naval officer and a published author with three books to my credit. I am a winner of nanowrimo competition for 2008,9, &10. I like humor best..

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Comments

author avatar Jenny Heart
13th Feb 2015 (#)

Great job! Thank you for commenting on my article.

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
14th Feb 2015 (#)

Welcome to my pages and thanks for your comment.

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author avatar Carol Roach
13th Feb 2015 (#)

Gosh they must get a real culture shock when they come to Canada because if you are not on time you will get fired.

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
14th Feb 2015 (#)

My dear Carol,
My piece speaks of tardiness in government offices, public sector banks and units and not other institutions. Secondly, when they go abroad for work they report for work on time and put in extra hours. Indian workers abroad have a great reputation for honesty, hard work and application. The story when they serve in India and the job is guaranteed with performance or not, is entirely different. I'm sure you would have found many prosperous Indians in Canada. I can tell you Indians in the USA are the most prosperous of the immigrants.

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author avatar Retired
14th Feb 2015 (#)

Good points made.

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
14th Feb 2015 (#)

My dear Joyesh,
Welcome to my pages and thanks for your crisp comment.

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author avatar M G Singh
14th Feb 2015 (#)

Nice informative post

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
15th Feb 2015 (#)

Thanks Madan for your crisp comment.

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author avatar Charlie Kuchinsky
15th Feb 2015 (#)

Very interesting and great points.

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
15th Feb 2015 (#)

My dear Charlie Kuchinsky,
Welcome to my pages and thanks for your comment.

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author avatar Retired
16th Feb 2015 (#)

Insightful, GV RR...and accurate. (I speak from experience). It's always puzzled me how Indian is a country with deep philosophical roots in Unity Consciousness and yet the culture is so political and hierarchical.

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
16th Feb 2015 (#)

My dear rd,
Namaste.
Thanks for your comment.
India as a country baffles the best of brains. Except for few issues we argue and fight with passion regularly. It's a multi layered society and the behavior pattern varies with each layer.

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author avatar Utah Jay
26th Feb 2015 (#)

I am getting caught up on my reading now that I have my computer back from the repair place and I must tell you how much I liked your article, it made me realize just how big and different our world is...Well done G.V.

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
26th Feb 2015 (#)

My dear Utah Jay,
Many thanks for your appreciation.

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