Time magazine in its issue of April14, reports that when 30 years ago the city government of Qingdao placed Zhang Ruimin in charge of a dysfunctional, nearly bankrupt refrigerator manufacturing company, he found it to be a manager’s nightmare mainly because of the sluggish and undisciplined workers (we are where China was 30 years ago). When a disgruntled customer returned a faulty fridge to the plant one day, Zhang inspected the factory’s inventory and found 70 flawed appliances. He lined them up on the shop floor, handed sledgehammers to the workers and commanded, “Destroy them”. Soon the factory floor was littered with fragments of plastic and metal. Zhang grabbed a sledgehammer, which is now displayed in a showcase, and smashed it into a fridge to make his message clear, “Workers must shatter their old ways”. Today the Haier Group of companies is the largest manufacturers of household appliances in the world.

Who will wield the sledgehammer to cleanse our factories of hordes of sluggish and undisciplined workers? ‘Sluggish’, because they are not pushed to work (they can’t be fired). ‘Undisciplined’, because there is no such thing as discipline left in the country? We who call ourselves Muslims, a religion which asks for discipline and honour and integrity in all aspects of our life have become a corrupt, sluggish and dishonest nation.


Lahore, April 10.