LGBTQ Series: Indian Author Devdutt Pattanaik on How Businesses Can Benefit from Inclusion
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The Indian Supreme Court quashing the Colonian-era Section 377 that criminalized homosexuality will go down history as among the biggest achievements of the Indian legal system and a gift of its citizens.
In this series dedicated to the LGBTQ flagbearers, Entrepreneur India spoke to some super successful Indians who believe businesses can benefit largely from inclusion.
First from the series is prominent mythologist and leadership coach Devdutt Pattanaik, who came out as gay soon after the SC decriminalized homosexuality in India.
While speaking to Entrepreneur India on business and mythology and how they complement each other Pattanaik gave his views on the Eastern and the Western philosophy and mythology and how it relates to business.
He believes that the modern management is based on the biblical notion of the Promised Land, that one day world will become a better place and a Prophet has to take people from a bad place to a good place by following rule commands and the prophet.
“A Biblical prophet is what we call a CEO today and his vision statement is the Promised Land and people don’t realize that the modern management is based on this mythology,” he says.
Turn to India to Learn Diversity
As per him, western mythology will not be able to explain all the issues of the world and we need to learn from the other mythologies as well especially in a diverse ecosystem, as it is not equipped to handle diversity. Pattanaik says “Western mythology is very good when it deals with equality but it doesn’t know how to deal with diversity as we are seeing the problem right now’’.
While answering about inclusion bringing Indian philosophy to the limelight, and entrepreneurs working on Indian concepts the way entrepreneurs such as Rohan Murty are doing by bringing scriptures and literature together for the world to consume, Pattanaik said making the scriptures accessible to the English-speaking few is not what we should term as inclusiveness.
“We will have to take the scriptures to the non-English speaking people, and those who speak languages like Marathi Oriya, Telugu, Kannada etc,” says Pattanaik.
He speaks by his own experience about how using Hindi in his programmes increased his popularity tremendously. Using the language of the commoners is going to open new prospects for people and the reach of the scriptures will multiply many folds. English as a language has just a small number of users as only a few privileged people speak that, but we have to reach the masses who still speak vernaculars.
India Should Lead the West
Answering the question about a lot of foreign companies coming to India and India adopting foreign ways and points of view, he said, “we have forgotten our own heritage and the West teaching us about diversity is funny as we are the ones who have a diverse culture.
Quoting from Shri Tulsidas’ Ram Charit Manas he quotes the Lord saying, “whosoever thinks of me becomes mine irrespective of that person being male, female and queer as long as they give up malice’’.
The West has accepted the queer in the last twenty years so in this case, we are following the West where we should actually lead them, helping them to understand the larger humanity. Both India and the west have to learn from each other. This goes with the other civilizations as well.
Message To Entrepreneurs
On his message for the budding entrepreneurs dealing with failure and challenges with gains, he said, “ask what your customers want from you, we are too busy creating our product and not listening to what the customers want and that is the reason for failure’’.