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Iqbal’s ‘Khudi’ and ‘Human Index’ Can Lead Us, Not Human Development Index

May I suggest creating on national level “HI & PI” measuring and monitoring right from the school level so that by the time our human resource becomes part of the HDI measure, we would have a wholesome asset which would push other indexes higher

IRSHAD SALIM: Long before world’s lending institutions created “Human Development Index (HDI)” to measure economic growth of a nation, and more recently their creation of Human Capital Index (HCI), we had it. More holistic, profound and a powerful index –but it’s in our backyard–or shall I say right up our alley: Iqbal’s “khudi” (self-esteem) is actually a benchmark for human development leading to human capital development which then leads to a community’s success.

Decades back while studying “Organizational Theory & Behavior” at school, I was introduced to two terms: Human Index (HI) and Performance Index (PI)”. A country can keep improving PI of individuals by creating for them ecosystems to enable individuals acquire education and or develop skill-sets at any given point on its economic growth curve, but not HI –“once we have already grown up” –that is an attribute which develops from infancy through adulthood at home and then at school progressively”, the professor said.

Fast forward 2013 in Riyadh: I was asked by my “Western” business consultancy clients to focus on HI while referring to them self-employed contractors and local firms as potential service providers. Among many that I evaluated for the purpose, I ended up somewhat being the bad guy.

At the same time, a Karachi college-days friend (graduate from London School of Economics) keeps giving a hard time for not sharing with him “Human Index (HI)” documentation if it exists. He won’t accept it as being more important than HDI. For him pushing the country’s HDI is the nirvana to growth which guarantees sustainable success.

But nations like Japan specially post-WWII worked hard and created a human resource pool very high on HI leading to a high HCI. Rest happened on HDI level.

In the late 70s and early 80s studying secrets of “Japanese Management” as organizational tool for success became an  institutional talk and living room topic for discussions leading to studies. My professor asked me to look into it as part of my independent study and come up with observations, and how some or all of them could be used/adopted by US entities–even by the Pentagon. I honed in on the Japanese being high on “human index” topping my observation’s pyramid.

So while Iqbal stresses on “HI”, we keep focusing on “HDI”. Lately, we are being introduced with HCI. Keep going and we’ll end up with “Khudi” being akin to “HI” and the two being precursor to HRI and HDI. Natural law operates on full circle.

Why HDI and HCI are important: These measurable, and therefore key to predictability & control attributes help lending institutions figure out the rest of the economy.

This makes my professor’s talk on HI and not PI look more important and those clients of mine urging me to focus on same understandable. For us a growing nation socially and a developing nation economically HI and PI would push HCI and therefore HDI. But we need to be back to school on this matter.

Banquet of change is happening though. And if we do not be a willing party to  it– specially the younger generation, the essence and brass tacks of growth and success keyed in Iqbal’s ‘super value’ will fail to invigorate us.

May I suggest creating on national level “HI & PI” measuring and monitoring right from the school level so that by the time our human resource becomes part of the HDI measure, we would have a wholesome asset which would push other indexes higher.

After all, Makkah and its periphery (Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Syria, Tabuk) had good economic conditions during the Roman and Byzantine era while Europe then (7th Century) was flourishing too economically. Why was the Holy Quran revealed then stressing upon ‘siratum mustaqeem”. It’s the fountainhead of Human Index we must give importance to (like my professor said and my clients asked me to give preference to) but we haven’t and don’t want to. Iqbal did having seen ‘khudi’ working in Germany. It’s still working in the rest of the world.

(The writer is a Pakistani-American business & construction consultant, analyst, and Editor-in-Chief of PKonweb, DesPardes and BE2C2 Report)






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