(Ms. Vimala Ramakrishnan, one of the founding Directors of New Concept Information Systems in conversation with Ms. Shipra Raj, Research Scholar, CCMG, JMI)
Q: What role do you see for the entrepreneurs playing in the development of creative industry in India?
A: As long as there is a feeling of wanting to do something which is unique and new I think the role of the entrepreneur is pertinent. The scope is immense because one can be creative in any field. Look at how cooking industry and the catering industry has grown. There is so much creativity there. Whether it is health services or making a product, I think the scope is tremendous.
Q: What steps do you think need to be taken to strengthen the creative industry at the grass root level in India?
A: I would say that people themselves are creative; the question is how you would bring what is within them and how to equip them to bring it out themselves. I feel that articulation is extremely important for communities to nurture their own creative talents and to explore possibilities and even developing stuff. I feel articulating, making them self-confident is important.
Q: And you have been working in this area for quite long time…
A: We have worked in some ways as we have done studies on livelihoods. We could gather that the potential is extremely tremendous. Basically, they have to be organised they have to be given the strength to believe in themselves and their worth. So that they can move forward. Giving them that space is extremely important. People many times those in power don’t want to give that space. I don’t think there is a dearth of creativity but I think who holds the power to actually allow for more people to be creative. That is the issue I feel.
Q: How do you think that the creative industry has changed over the years in terms of the challenges faced by the entrepreneurs from your own thirty years of long experience?
A: The most important change is that now most of the discussions on creativity is centred around the individual capabilities; how competitive one can be, how successful one can be. I think this is a very western oriented culture. In our culture individual has never been the issue. Whereas in the western culture it is always the individual that matters. So I think that this change is the aftermath of globalisation. And that has to be inculcated right from a very small age in our education system, in our schools. The schooling system itself is individual, competitive and competitive on marks. Somebody who has topped does not guarantee that he or she has all the values, all the possibilities to work with the other people. A lot of private profiteering companies are controlling things. This needs total overhauling and there is a need for transformation. The whole social system, the way it is organized has to be changed. There is another challenge; on one hand how you are pushing technology and on the other hand, how do you meld it with human relationships. And building human beings as the centre is extremely important.
Q: What role do you see for the successful entrepreneurs like you in the development of creative industry in India?
A: We have to create a task force of youth for an effective intervention. To attain that we have to look for a drastic change in the education system. In this perspective Universities like Jamia and JNU have a role to play in my view. A revolutionary change in the overall schooling system can help. That is really something that will transform things. But how it turns out to be is also unpredictable. I am an optimist I don’t give up.