The average Indian has absolutely no drive to be professional. An unhealthy work ethic has seeped into all sections of society. A quality as simple as reaching a place on time, is missing in the Indian mindset. Indians are notorious for their habit of littering in public spaces. Both these traits have their origins in the lack of quality-awareness at a personal level.
A shift in attitude must begin at homes and schools. Awareness of quality in everyday activities has to be indoctrinated right from the primary school stage, strengthened by a 360 degree quality-awareness. A child must grow up witnessing the need for quality consciousness in every aspect of life – even in the way one behaves and responds to situations and in the manner of presenting oneself. There must be a sense of pride in every activity that the child performs. Whether the grows up to be an artist or an engineer, a doctor or a teacher, quality consciousness must be incorporated in daily activities – and thus spread in the larger Indian work ethic.
Where do we start? Let us look around to see the situation on the ground.
A boy accompanies his mother to the market. His mother carries a garbage bag to throw in the public bin. She throws the plastic on a heap of garbage right next to the empty bin. She does not perceive that this action contributes to a lack of quality in her surroundings. Below a board that says ‘Do not urinate’, the young boy sees a man urinating, without a thought for the impact on cleanliness and hygiene, and therefore, on quality of life. At the market, he sees his mother compromise on quality of essential goods for cheaper prices. He watches them use foul language to arrive at a bargained price – showing a lack of quality in speech. He sees her jump queues to pay her bills and violate traffic rules to get home faster, and effectively casting ‘quality of civilised society’ by the roadside. Most children, urban or rural, grow up witnessing such situations every day. Children imbibe this careless attitude which negates the concept of quality in everyday life, and believe that it is acceptable to live in such a manner. They grow up having the same attitude both at home and workplace – an attitude that his parents, neighbours and society have taught him as being good enough to survive.
This is how the child learns to compromise on the quality of a small everyday activity. He detaches himself from the implications of his actions on the society. He does not take responsibility for the disruption he brings to the society and therefore to the quality of his own, personal life.
When the individual, as a citizen and a part of the workforce, is unaware of the importance of quality in every action in daily life, and cannot see that dirty surroundings, badly maintained buildings, lack of civic sense or road discipline etc. reflect a lack of quality, he / she cannot perceive the difference between good and bad quality in a product.
A poor quality item should ideally make the customer protest and demand good quality. But in India, the customer does not see the need for quality as there is no awareness of good and bad quality. The manufacturer too sees no necessity for producing a good product or maintenance and service of the product. Since the problem has a social origin, the change in attitude must be societal.
Quality awareness, therefore, needs to be inculcated across all sections of society, from children in primary school to the entire adult population. Whether it is the home-maker maintaining every nook and corner of the home spic and span; the office worker being meticulous in work and keeping his desk and surroundings neat; every plumber, electrician, carpenter and mason being particular that his work is perfect – this awareness of quality should be cultivated and propagated on a war-footing. Only then can India not only be equal to, but overtake other countries and be admired for the Made in India quality.