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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"Potential" is a dirty word

I get irritated when potential is talked about as if giving credit to the organization, place, city, state or nation. Is Madhya Pradesh great because it has tremendous tourism potential and does it give it any credit? Rightfully it should not. Realization of that immense potential is what should give credit and convey a positive impression.
Why do people say that India has tremendous potential and therefore should be regarded as great? Nobody ever talks about the potential of the United States or Britain. The difference is that while we have carefully preserved our potential, others, mostly the developed world has realized it.
Potential is therefore directly linked to deliverance, inversely proportional to be exact. We have done nothing and therefore we have tons of potential and those from the developed world have delivered and have therefore consumed their potential.
Consuming the potential is therefore what matters.
In tourism, the example of Kerala is worthy of emulation. A state known more for its militant trade unions gradually started first appreciating and then consuming its potential in the tourism sector. The state looked around and then realized that its backwaters, the tradition of ayurveda and the coconut lagoons can attract people and the famous Amitabh Kant took no time in consuming the potential of the state. On the contrary, states like the Madhya Pradesh, Uttaranchal and Orissa always took pride in the unlimited tourism potential that they ever had, with the difference that current Govt of Madhya Pradesh decided to do something positive about it. And the state surged forward in all spheres, especially tourism.
Let us all abandon the sense of pride that we Indians have started taking in the word "potential". Let the nation, state, city or organization be judged not by the potential they posess, but by what they have done to eradicate the potential.

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