Year: 1857 Place: Kanpur. The Indian 1857 mutiny raged on with full vigor. A battle was about to begin on the outskirts of Kanpur. About 200 or so British soldiers were pitched against about 3000 or 4000 Indian soldiers. Clearly Indians vastly outnumbered the British. But the British soldiers had orders to defend their position till death.
Indian forces charged. Right at the beginning they scored a big point. British Brigadier fell to a bullet. But immediately a senior Kernel took his position. They kept firing consistently from their Enfield rifles. As the Indians came closer, the British kept their positions and the firing continued.
At that time Indian forces did one disastrous mistake. They lost their nerve in front of steady British firing and Instead of staying stretched as a line formation, they all came closer to the middle.
Why they did this? It’s psychology. When things get stressful, we all want to huddle and be close to each other and find comfort in numbers. But on battlefield it is mistake. Because it gives your opponent a big mass, an easy target to shoot at.
That’s what happened. British stayed spread as a line formation. But Indians formed a close bunch. It gave British troops an easy target and many angles to attack it. They fired with increased accuracy. Hundreds of Indian troops died in minute. Eventually Indian forces were completely routed, in spite of their huge numerical superiority.
Indian forces were as motivated as British and as brave as the British. They all were as prepared to die as British were. But it was organization and discipline of the British forces that finally prevailed. Organization and discipline act as huge multiplying factors. 10 organized and disciplined people are as effective as 100 or 200 people who are not.
Often times that is where we as a community or country fail. It’s not the character. Average Indian is as honest or cunning as average citizen of any other country. It’s not about motivation. Indians love their country just as much as any other people in the world. It’s our making a plan and sticking to it is what that needs work.
If we could find ways to better organize our selves and show discipline to stick to the organization, indeed sky would be the limit.
What can we do to get organized?
Perhaps the first place to start is on personal level. Rarely I have seen people from India keep a personal calendar. For us, we wake up and kind of charge straight in the nebulous blob of time in front of us called the day. Then we mostly just do whatever our temporary motivation tells us to do. But that makes it difficult to rely on each other as a team.
Just recently I took a trip to India. Before reaching there, I talked to a friend of mine and we decided to meet on a certain day. But when I called him on that day, he said he was out and could not meet. He had forgotten that he was going to be out when he committed to me. This makes it harder for me to plan my activities with him next time.
If he had a calendar, he would have immediately known his prior planned engagement. We would have decided some other time to meet. We would have met and it would have strengthened our friendship. We are still friends. But meeting in person certainly would have made way to better friendship.
When you keep a calendar, you are not responsible to remember. You are just responsible to see the calendar time to time and do it.
As a result, having a calendar makes you less stressed. So you are more creative, more productive, more intelligent. So you get more things done and feel happier overall.
This is what we need to be in the 21st century. An organized Indian.