The Strange Rise of Modern India Inspite of Gods

26 Jan

This book is basically the journalistic account of  South Asian chief  of  The Financial Times during his stay in India during 2001 -2005 .Its amazing seeing India from the eyes of a foreigner .  Now the book captures  many aspects of post independence India which were much influenced by Gandhi  , Ambedkar and Nehru . But Nehru was the main architect of Indian policies . Nehru and his propensity towards protectionist economic policy has been elucidated in much detail . His concept of swadeshi and highly regulated economy was responsible for so called Hindu rate of growth .As a result majority of indian population remained below poverty line .  But after the reforms of 1991 India freed itself from the shackles of license raj . India , though   hesitatingly leapt from protectionism to liberalisation and without any industrial revolution  immensely progressed on economic fronts and now it is on path of becoming a superpower .

As far as education is concerned India produces 1 million engineers every year which is more than that of US and Europe put together . Still 35 % of Indian population is still illiterate  . India spends more money on higher education rather than elementary education . This is in direct contrast with China which spends more on elementary education .As a result , literacy rate is high over there .

While appreciating the the diverse multiethnic  character of India author has explored its dark side . Manifestation of caste prejudices in state politics is clearly seen . Author has said – In India people don’t cast their vote , they vote their caste . This kind of attitude nullifies economic strengthening and upward mobility of downtrodden  class . The rise of Hindu Ultra nationalism some of its  sects sparking off riots with their chauvinistic and jingoistic behaviour is appalling .

While describing the obstacles on the road to progress ,  author says that India has one of the most hopelessly corrupt bureaucracy . In the state where 50% of population lives in extreme poverty , state is nothing but like an abusive father . Corruption , nepotism  and bribery   are  engrained in the system . Corruption in many respects is not just the part of system but it has become  the system .

But as someone told author – In India things are never as good or as bad as they seem to be . Keeping aside  corruption , casteism  poverty & illiteracy, India is superpower in waiting .  It is expected that in coming years India will overtake China in terms of economic growth . It is expected that India and its relations with US and China will influence many world affairs . For US , India would act as counterweight for China in Asia .

I quite agree with author that India with its vast diversity  is myriad of contradictions . But with its impressing democracy and not so impressing bureaucracy, i’m hopeful that India will meet the challenges posed in front of it . And then there is no reason to be pessimistic  as Mr Luce says – India is not on an autopilot to greatness but it will take incompetent pilot to crash the plane .

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Posted by on January 26, 2009 in Uncategorized


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