Jugaad – Ancient Indian Practises


Jugaad is an ancient Indian cultural belief and daily practise that anything is possible. It is the divine union of the impossible and the possible, a magical mixture of ingenuity and locally sourced ingredients. A meditation on the art of possibility, Jugaad is how things get fixed here in India.


Whenever the custard hits the fan in India (and because India never does anything on a small scale, you have to think a cement mixer full of the stuff) , you can pretty much guarantee that the first words uttered by the first person to regain their senses will be


the words wil be accompanied by that God like hand in the STOP (or have no fear) asana.


This is because at a grass roots level the majority of Indians (that is the ones living in the villages and not their overindulged city cousins who unfortunately do not have Jugaad in their DNA but access it via the contacts of their servants), the majority of Indians live a long way away from services (either financially or physically) and have become used to fixing their own problems.  Grass Roots problem solvers should be consulted by world leaders but unfortunately for world peace and prosperity, Grass Roots problem solvers or practictioners of Jugaad are just your average Ravi or Rani, they are people with a drive and commitment to Get On With It. To be in action is to align oneself with the Creator. To align oneself with the creator is to commit a holy act.


Indians are also practictioners of that most exquisite teaching of the Mahabharata. Condensed into the Bhagavad Gita and poured out like honey spun into a song, “work without attachment to the results”.

So there is a commitment to action, to adaption, to adjustment but never to an outcome. Jugaad is said to have occurred successfully if it solved the problem of the moment.


The Commonwealth Games was a fine example of the principle of Jugaad in action. Despite cost overruns, claims of corruption, flooding rivers, collapsing stadiums and an entire comedy of errors too long to list here, the organisers knew that according to the principles of Jugaad, that it would all be alright on the night. Their theory proved to be correct.

It all went off beautifully, India shone on the world stage and we all forgot about the custard sticking to the faces of some of the organisers, and bowed our heads to the power of Jugaad.

But in everyday  India, the real Jugaad is almost a part of the DNA of the average Indian. Problems are solved in innovative and original ways. Problems that would bring the entire nation of Japan to an absolute halt hardly give India pause, she just adapts, adjusts and keeps on rolling.