Jugaad : The Indian Way of Life

Jugaad is a way of life, peculiar to certain sections of the Indian population, where one tries to achieve the bare minimum necessary to satisfy one’s expectation. It is, in other words, becoming a person who can “get things done”.

In India, a philosophical embrace for this way of life, has resulted in the pathetic state we are in, and the happiness with which we continue to live in such a state. In such a way of life, one achieves the desired result through any means deemed fit. Therefore, as a parent, you would talk to the right set of people in order to get your child into a decent school. As a student, you would make acquaintances of peers so that you can get through your assignments and exams easily. The critical problem in all this being that one aspires for mediocrity through all such endeavors, while not bothering about the means we use to achieve this mediocrity. The social regard for people accomplished in the “Jugaad” way of life results in a fascination for mediocrity and a condescension of excellence.

When one makes their way into the hallowed portals of what is acclaimed to be one of India’s “greatest technical institute”, there is a certain ease with which this aspiration for mediocrity oozes into the blood of its students. All of a sudden, it becomes “cool” to be the student who manages to get by without effort. Completing an assignment with an hour remaining for the submission gives one a pride in their step. In a classic case of the “ends versus means”, one focuses on completing a task without regard to the means. I may bribe another student and copy their assignment, but why should that factor into my decision process ?

The quest for excellence is non-existent. To be the best requires dedicated effort. Hell, to be even remotely good requires effort. But as long as there is some place to defecate, why should one bother about the open drain ? And if there isn’t, I could just clear the 1 square inch necessary for me to pass by.

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