Thursday, September 08, 2011

This is how Lucknow created Jobs, once

The year was 1784 and the region of Oudh had suffered one of its worst famine of that time. Nawab Asaf-Ud-Daulah knew how proud the citizens of Lucknow were. Lucknowites did not accept charities as long as they had an ability to work. Quality of a ruler is to know the pulse of its citizens, to hear it when it beats something today's leaders have failed to do. He had money collected overtime as revenue and he had it to dispose it off for good. And in spite of mounting debt that he owed to Britishers he chose to create jobs first. Even then he knew if people have Jobs and they are proud to do it is a solution for a greater threat like Famine. He knew threat of British rulers were more on him than his riyayah while in case of Famine it was opposite. He chose the people's way. Learn.
Dilemma was, though people from Royal and other noble families did want to work even physical but wanted to preserve what they believed was their honor. The honor they thought they achieved by learning, by producing literature, by administering and by protecting the state. It was not a socialist society and neither it was a time to change it to one, and the Nawab knew it. So he planned a novel method. He invested in construction projects building Imambaras places that are public in nature. There is no other feeling of goodness if you could use what you have built. While under the day light he asked laborers to construct walls and pave roads once a week under the Moon he let the members of the noble families destroy them. This cycle continued and he was doing it preserving the real map till the Famine was over and its citizens could get back on track with their lives. The buildings the Imambaras are still standing undestroyed, untouched, undetered and proud. It was a people's place that continued to wither out the test of time. Nawab was a great ruler and a great human being who was successful in addressing one of the biggest problem of that time with dignity, with honor and with the satisfaction of all affected.
The story has some startling resemblance with what we find today. We have mounting debts here in US, Jobs are difficult to create and find. Honor of people are affected and the education and experience is not always getting appropriately rewarded during the current hardships caused by the bad economy. We have a famine. While the President Obama is about to announce his plans around it, Nawab Asaf-Ud-Doulah is becoming relevant again. And we want to invest in something that could stand up right for centuries to come, proud.

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