What to Learn from a "Deulia"?
Deulia (Beng.): Bankrupt
I used to teach, for my M.Sc.Biotechnology class in Ganga Kaveri, from the work of an advanced Biotechnology Company (US based) -- all about animal biotechnology. It so happened that the company went bankrupt! What happens to the people when the company becomes bankrupt? If you do not know, you could only be Director of NCBS (Bangalore), no offence meant to Homi Bhaba, but not a Director of that advanced Biotechnology company I am talking about; neither would you venture out to start GungooliBiotech!
In the Indian Brahminic culture, bankrupts are social 'no no', much like janitors, mentally ill, or a leper! I had never ventured out to meet and know a bankrupt. After I went to the USA, I learnt that bankruptcy of small private companies is quite frequent, as is "out of business sale" of small companies/businesses. As you travel in the CTA bus, your neigbour in the adjacent seat might be a janitor; as you travel economy class in American airlines, you neighbour on the adjoining seat might be a bankrupt.
Why does one become bankrupt? Whenever I cannot sell good or services enough to pay my bills, salaries and loans, my company and/or business would become bankrupt. The word is quite commonly used by commies to describe the opponents as 'intellectually bankrupt'! But if I were to start a small research company for me and my wife/girlfriends (if any), what could I sell to keep my enterprise afloat? That's the typical problem a cocky micro-capitalist (my breed) would face.
What could you learn from a bankrupt? How to deal with the social stigma and associated inconveniences in personal life. How to deal with political parties-- especially the progressive communists. How to deal with the bankers and regulatory agencies. How to deal with the Police -- specially in conservative towns like Bangalore and Mysore. How to deal with your relatives. How to remain calm, not commit suicide. How to talk about one's past -- mistakes or failures. The list is quite impressive, if you have the right attitude and the time to listen!
But who would remember a bankrupt? Non-communist historians write about kings and queens; communist historians write about class, party and the associated bureaucracy. No body writes about a bankrupt.
We all care about the winners, the ones that are active, alive and vibrant! Those who are dead, let them sleep in peace!
July 18, 2006.