Icarus Paradox, Bajaj Scooters and Romila Thapar

Danny Miller is a Canadian economist who wrote a book on how companies which become very successful also bring about their downfall. In this book he introduce concept of Icarus Paradox.

Icarus was a Greek youth whose father a master craftsman called Daedalus. Daedalus designed wings, made from feathers and wax, for his son so that he could fly. But also warned his son not to fly too close to sun as it would melt wax and destroy wings.


Icarus while flying forgot his father’s instructions and flew close to sun and fell in sea. What took him to height also resulted in his downfall.

Icarus Paradox applies to companies whose success ultimately leads to downfall. Success makes companies arrogant and soon they lose contact with reality, leading to downfall.


Bajaj scooter is good example of Icarus Paradox. Bajaj scooter was a big success when it was launched, at one stage it had 10 years waiting period, a customer had to wait for almost a decade after booking to get delivery. Success  resulted in decline, company was not innovating, competition from Japanese two wheelers lead to decline in sales of Bajaj scooters as it had outdated design and was manufactured in factories which were inefficient. Finally Bajaj had to stop production of scooter.

Icarus Paradox is not confined to just business; it is also applicable to field of academics.

Post-independence, Jawaharlal Nehru become prime minister of India. Nehru was impressed by progress made by communist Russia and was influenced by leftist ideology. He encouraged people with leftist ideology to occupy important position in field of art. Taking advantage of this situation leftist soon got jobs in universities, government bodies etc. These were well paying and comfortable jobs. One such beneficiary was historian Romila Thapar. Even without knowledge of Sanskrit or Tamil, managed to get herself labelled  as eminent historian of ancient India and retain her job in Jawaharlal Nehru University.


“Universities in USA like Harvard, Berkeley and Stanford have often half a dozen Nobel Laureates each of whom have made scientific discoveries, and have thus expanded the frontier of knowledge. What genuine research is done in JNU ( or for that matter in most of our Universities ). Most of such ‘research’ is worthless or plagiarism.”

-Justice M Katju

Leftist historians soon became arrogant and started producing mediocre work. To maintain status quo, they consider themselves above criticism and they labelled their critics as “rightists”, “communalists”, a strategy used by Stalin and Mao to destroy their opponents. JNU has failed to produce any significant work in field of social sciences.

After enjoying era of prosperity, due to hubris, the leftist historians are now on decline.







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