Soemtimes I do not get it. India’s GDP stands at US $774 Billion. US GDP is at US $12,486 Billion !. Even at a current growth rate of 9%, 3 times that of the US, it will be decades before we catch up. So what’s the concept of a Super Power that we believe we soon will be ? Per Capita income in India is still amongst the lowest in the world. Perhaps we should redefine GDP to mean Gross Domestic Potential rather than Product….
It is in unlocking the creative potential of India that explosive growth rates can be achieved. I think we are achieving the current growth rates more through the the export of the service sector. In doing that we are effectively servicing the growth of other economies. I disagree with that. Export, Export Export seems to have been the Mantra of the Indian economists. It cannot be a longer term strategy. Like a country that survives on export of it’s raw material till it runs out.
But in the long run we need to service our own industry, expand our domestic economy, increase standards of living within our own economy. We need to be able to withstand economic fall outs that will become more and more common in the globalized world economy. A strong home based economy, fueled by domestic demand and growth is what we need.
So what do we need to do ? We need to encourage innovation, so that the next Microsofts, or the Google’s of this world are born out of India. How do we encourage an an atmosphere of Entreprenuership that is willing to invest in Research and Developement. How do we encourage Entreprenuership that needs long term investment ? Our Banking system and the new Venture Capital systems are more and more geared towards qucker returns, or ‘exit strategies’ as they are called.
Everyone talks about our great Demographic advantage. Soon we will have 15% of the toal population of teenagers in the world living and being Indian ! How do we unlock the creative potential that exists in this explosive area ? Prmary education is low, and of a terrible standard in most places. It is not an unsurmountable problem. By increasing the spread of broadband, we can have every Indian child interactively connected to classroom on the Web. It will ensure that kids in rural areas get the same education as the urban schools.
There are very few Management schools. Fewer still technology schools. Educational institutions that encourage youth to explore their own creative instincts are practicaly non existent in India. It has never formed a basis of our learning process. If we do not address this issue now, at best we will have a work force that services the needs of the rest of the ageing world. At worst a restless population with little education, not enough jobs to keep them occupied. This young population will bring us down rather that lift us to Super Power status.
Primary education is supreme.
On the optimistic side. Imagine 20% of the world’s youth (not just teenagers) , all with basic education, Broadband conntected, all exploring and connected globally. All coming from one country and one culture ! They will be the ‘tipping factor’ and change the cultural and therefore the economic and political dimensions of our planet. In their own favour.
Then, we will truly be the Super Power that everyone talks about. That is our Gross Domestic Potential.
31 thoughts on “India the next Super Power ?”
I agree that unlocking creative potential, and that means financial investment in it, is the way to go. You’re right, too, that the investment pattern needs biased to the long term. One of the weaknesses in the US today is its past decades’ move towards short-term investing. I’d bet your optimistic scenario is the one that comes to be.
1) Is our ‘culture’ a growth-propelling, competence-rewarding, and wealth-creating one?
I will proceed to argue that it is not. This may only be because I am ignorant, but more likely because I am arrogant.
Which again my ‘culture’ detests.
I feel that we Indians have had no philosophical context to understand the process of wealth creation.
We have been taught to thrive in meagre living, or, excel in our work ‘in a humble sense of social welfare.’
That is why I see so many of the ‘newly-rich’ software professionals and those from the service industry not being able to respond to this new condition.
Should they feel guilty for earning the huge pay packet? Or should they splurge like there’s no tomorrow?
Which might be a reality, actually. With China waiting behind the hill to capture the Service industry soon.
So, theres no immediate ‘tradition’ to refer to when they try to comprehend this.
Where do they refer to for these answers?
2) We speak grandly of being a Super Power. Yet we love to bash up the US and other developed countries. Instead of trying to see what made them click!
Well, the sad truth is, the First Ranker in class never cared a damn about the failures belittling him from the back benches.
So this generation – I, and those that are to come – have to evolve a ‘culture’ of our own.
3) And finally, what really is ‘India’? Or, to put it more specifically, WHO is ‘India’.
It is ‘I’
hen ‘I’ create wealth honestly in my chosen line of work, when ‘I’ advance the bar of excellence a small notch higher, I am pushing the ‘concept’ of ‘India’ a notch higher too.
That is the truth. But we as a nation always like misappropriating an Indian individual’s performance, and somehow by calling it an ‘Indian’ victory and celebrating it for days – we waste so much time and bunk college and office and sit and talk and talk and talk!
If some american discovers the atom bomb – “Oh, we indians have done that a long time ago. See in the Vedas!”
Damn it, what have YOU done?
The Early man questioned. Generations perhaps inherited his ignorance. Until suddenly – quite like the rain – the answer was found.
So too today we have begun the questioning.
Heath, u said that one of the current problems with the US economy is that investment moved to short term gains. Hmmm – never thought about that. It’s interesting.
High interest rates often dictate why investors need short term exit strategies. The cost of money is too high. So corporations then look for money through equity rather than debt. But since price/earnings ratio’s are not the fundamental principle on which people by stock anymore, the only way u can keep your liquidity is an exit strategy.
Let me examine this more, but looking for feedback from others,
Prasanna, one of the problems you metion is directly related to feudalism. We still have very fuedalistic attitudes. We may love and look after our ‘servants’ families, but the very idea that their kids may go to the same school as our kids and they may indeed move ahead is abbhorent to us. Consequently we create pretty tough ‘glass and class’ ceilings.
The only way ahead for the ‘others’ then is ‘manipulate and work the system’ rather than be entreprenuerial and creative.
“In the long term, we are all dead.”
This a well known quote in the stock market circles. We don’t know if we’d be alive tomorrow and yet we plan as if we were to live a hundred years. Having said that, one has to admit that the most money is made in the stock markets by people who are able to hold on to their investments for the long term. To me, it is prudent to follow a balanced approach. A certain portion of your finances which you can afford not to touch for the long term should be put in long term investments which you think are safe & stable. And the rest of your money should be used for short term money making/trading opportunities.
“India the next Super Power ?”
Why should India (or any other country for that matter) aspire to be a “Super Power” in the first place? This whole ambition of becoming a superpower is flawed. The whole idea of “my country is better than yours” is flawed. I don’t think of myself as belonging only to India……I belong to the whole world and the whole world belongs to me. Countries should function only as administrative blocks and no unnecessary sentiments/emotions should be attached to coutries. We should work together for the upliftment of the entire human race in harmonious co-existence with the rest of the species on this planet. Forget about any country becoming a superpower. If I had my way, I’d decentralise power on this planet and distribute it fairly across the globe. Here is a recent piece of news for everybody to reflect upon:
“40% of world’s wealth is owned by 1% of its population. The richest one per cent of adults own 40 per cent of the world’s household wealth, while half the world shares barely one per cent, said a report released on Tuesday, 5th Dec,2006.
The study released by the Helsinki based World Institute for Development Economics Research, part of the United Nations University, emphasizes the continuing disparity between rich and poor.
‘Income inequality has been rising for the past 20 to 25 years and we think that is true for inequality in the distribution of wealth.’____economist James Davies, an author of the report.”
Heavy subject!…lol…not my cup of tea!…i am 27 and when i was 20 , i was busy chasing girls, breaking noses and reading Freud! lol… that was me six years ago!
then came an old man who showed the whole new world of Spirituality!…
So yes…channelizing the youth power is the key! and education and exposure!
i have asked some my economist and CA friends to reflect on the subject. as soon as i will get some feed back from them i will copy-paste it here… ðŸ™‚
take care…lots of love…tata…kedar…
R S Prasanna said, “Should they feel guilty for earning the huge pay packet? Or should they splurge like there’s no tomorrow?”
There are two beneficial ways of creating wealth. One is to let money move (that is, spend it) — the more money moves, the more opportunity there is for all to have some use of it for at least some period of time. The other is medium to long-term investment — if enough money can be kept in one place for a long enough period of time, it can be used to fund new efforts, products & distribution methods. The only negative ways to manage money, in terms of creating wealth that benefits others as well as oneself, are to hoard it so it does no good to anyone, or concentrate it amongst a small number of people who move it amongst themselves, but not outside their own circles, which is rather like community hoarding.
A healthy economy has strong movement of money, and strong medium to long-term investment, so average people have opportunities to make, save and spend money, and others fund the efforts of the future.
The US has been losing the will and vision for long term investing for several decades. We are still OK with money movement and medium term investing. If one of those two fails, our economy will tank until we correct the situation. It would be nice if we’d correct that missing long term investment situation before we tank. Many countries depend on the US as a market. If the US economy weakens further, it will strongly affect worldwide cash flow. So we’d be being good world citizens, if we correct our long term investment situation.
I completely agree with you Shekar, the only way India can become Super power is by Improving the Education backbone in India. 4 IIT’s 6 IIMs and One IISC and a couple of good Management schools is all we can boost of right now!!, the stress should be on higher education as well, we should encourage more people to get into specialized fields, only then can we actually dream of creating the next Micro$sot and GOOGLEs in India. Once we have enough specialists innovations will happen as a side-effect, soon we will also see growth of enterpernuers as well. Now is the right time for the change, i remember reading somewhere that it takes atleast 20 years for change in education to reflect in the society, so if we want to reach that stage atleast in 2020’s then we have to start right now. we really need more people like APJ AbdulKalam who really understand the urgency and push the reforms.
I see the fall out of India’s liberalisation all around. Small players are steadily going under with no rehabilitation system in place.
Being no economist myself, i didn’t realise that economic growth can be divorced from development. Now i do. In India, that’s the ground reality – tho’ India may shine in theory, as per complex parameters i don’t pretend to understand.
I have always been wary of the CPM. But today, I thank god that the UPA Govt. depends on them for survival.
My name is Thejaswi(thejuB.E.) doin my masters in Software Engineering at George Mason University, Fairfax,Virginia (www.gmu.edu)
Your book for the day: “The Rise of Creative Class” by Richard Florida read when u find ur moment
BINGO!!!!!, you’ve the nail on my head ;).
Personally, I find myself fortunate to embrace DIGITAL AGE much faster than falling in love with a bombshells out here.
Battle between AMD vs Intel around the world remains much more entertaining than watching a BOND movie.
I hate (Apple-Intel-Microsoft)triumviriate.
But hey presto, ECONOMIES OF SCALE will work only in one area, shekar
its waste management and PAANI
dealing with chaos in our day to day live(mundane is the keyword) way back in india made me very claustrophobic about life in a cubicle.
Here I enjoy Mother Nature’s beauty and cyber graffiti(aka web surfing)
Take it from me Shekar, future is OPEN SOURCE.
One valuable lesson when came here is:
IT IS WISE TO BE CONTENDER OF YOUR OWN SHORTCOMINGS rather than being with army of pretenders.
I would like to end my blog with 31 postulates of
Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong
1) INTERCHANGABLE PARTS -WON’T
2) IF YOU TRY TO PLEASE EVERYONE, NOBODY WILL LIKE YOU.
3) A SHORTCUT IS THE LONGEST DISTANCE BETWEEN TWO POINTS
4) FRIENDS COME AND GO, BUT ENEMIES ACCUMULATE.
5) IN ORDER TO GET A LOAN, YOU MUST PROVE THAT YOU DON’T NEED IT.
6) THE CHANCE OF A PIECE OF BREAD FALLING WITH THE BUTTERED SIDE DOWN IS DIRECTLY PROPORTIONAL TO THE PRICE OF THE CARPET.
7) IF IT JAMS – FORCE IT.IF IT BREAKS, IT NEEDED REPLACING ANYWAY.
8) IF YOU FOOL AROUND WITH A THING FOR VERY LONG, YOU WILL SCREW IT UP.
9) ANY TOOL DROPPED WHILE REPAIRING A CAR WILL ROLL UNDERNEATH TO THE EXACT CENTER.
10) THE REPAIRMAN WILL NEVER HAVE A SEEN A MODEL QUITE LIKE YOURS BEFORE.
11) NO MATTER HOW LONG OR HARD YOU SHOP FOR AN ITEM, AFTER YOU’VE BOUGHT IT, IT WILL BE ON SALE SOMEWHERE CHEAPER.
12) THE OTHER LINE ALWAYS MOVES FASTER.
13) BUILD A SYSTEM THAT EVEN A FOOL CAN USE AND ONLY A FOOL WILL USE IT.
14) IF IT SEEMS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT PROBABLY IS.
15) THE MINUTE YOU GET INTERESTED IS THE MINUTE THEY FIND SOMEONE ELSE.
16) EVERYTHING TAKES LONGER THAN YOU THINK.
17) ANYTHING THAT CAN GO WRONG, WILL GO WRONG.
18) IF ANYTHING SIMPLY CANNOT GO WRONG, IT WILL ANYWAY.
19) LEFT TO THEMSELVES, THINGS TEND TO GO FROM BAND TO WORSE.
20) IF EVERYTHING SEEMS TO BE GOING WELL, YOU HAVE OBVIOUSLY OVERLOOKED SOMETHING.
21) MOTHER NATURE IS A BITCH.
22) IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO MAKE ANYTHING FOOL-PROOF BECAUSE FOOLS ARE SO INGENIOUS.
23) EVERY SOLUTIONS BREEDS NEW PROBLEMS.
24) ALL WARRANTIES EXPIRE UPON PAYMENT OF INVOICE.
25) A BIRD IN THE HAND IS BETTER THAN ONE OVERHEAD.
26) ANYTHING GOOD IN LIFGE IS EITHER ILLEGAL, IMMORAL, OR FATTENING.
27) BEAUTY IS ONLY SKIN DEEP, BUT UGLY GOES TO THE BONE.
28) IN CASE OF DOUBT, MAKE IT SOUND CONVINCING.
29) NEVER PLAY LEAPFROG WITH A UNICORN.
30) THERES NEVER TIME TO DO IT RIGHT,BUT THERE’S ALWAYS TIME TO DO IT OVER.
31) SMILE……..TOMORROW WILL BE WORSE!
As long your cynical about ur past and equally paranoid about future. (nothing has happened so far
in my case)
dude…i am pasting here my friend Amod Dange’s opinion about the subject. Amod is now in US. He is a professional music composer but has vast experience of banking and finance….
In my opinion, some of the precautions India must take to become a strong nation are –
1. Do not give in to the CPI(M) and other leftist parties and continue the economic liberalization and opening up of government controls at an ever increasing pace.
2. Introduce Uniform Civil Code.
3. Prosecute and give harsh punishment to religious zealots like bal Thackeray and Narendra Modi, and declare any party that disrupts law and order (even on issues such as Valentine’s Day) a terrorist party.
4. Revamp the entire police force if required, but increase its standards by hiring professionals and paying them well.
5. Increase penalties for civic offenses at least 10 times the current level and enforce them diligently. When seemingly small offenses start making people bankrupt, discipline will finally arrive in India.
6. Open the retail sector for Foreign Direct Investment. Let Wal-Mart enter India and consolidate the fragmented retail market. Millions of baniyas will have to retrain themselves, but they are smart people and Wal-Mart will need employees.
7. Aggressively enforce patent as well as copyright protection. Patent protection will create an incentive for inventors to invent and copyright protection will create an incentive for artists to create innovative content. Scientific inventions and original art will flourish and the creators of both will move up the value chain globally.
Additionally, here’s a broad summary of some of the measures I would take if I were running the country –
1. Create incentives for international educational institutions (particularly European schools and American universities) to operate in India. The huge uneducated population makes India the world’s largest education market.
2. Standardize curricula across the nation to make them compatible with American and British systems so that peoples’ skills can be easily transferred back and forth internationally.
3. Shut down all municipal schools and introduce education vouchers (as proposed by Milton Friedman).
1. Invite companies from all over the world to build massive Personal Rapid Transit systems across India.
2. As PRT systems proliferate, introduce progressively increasing taxes on private vehicles.
3. Pass laws to make gasoline vehicles completely illegal by a certain date in the foreseeable future.
4. Invite international companies to invest in building a large network of airports.
5. Transform the existing railway network to integrate with local PRT networks so that high-speed trains (mass transit) run only on long-haul routes; enable shorter routes to be completely replaced by PRT systems.
1. Set up a nationwide internet infrastructure using BPL (Broadband Over Power Line) technology. Wherever there is electricity, there will be free internet. The economic activity generated through this will result in additional tax revenues for the government that will more than make up for the cost involved in setting up such a system. It is very important that such a system be built using open-source technology (and hence be inherently and permanently free from government interference). Also, private businesses must be allowed to offer maintenance and management services to BPL users.
2. The above move would result in a free fall of telephony prices and pretty soon everyone will have free VoIP enabled mobile phones and with it, the ability to call nationwide for free.
3. Companies that provide infrastructure will always find ways to monetize their (seemingly free) products in the face of falling prices (as demonstrated by google, skype etc). Real economic value is created when large numbers of entrepreneurs incorporate these infrastructure objects in their business models to deliver advanced services over them, and in the process, share a part of their profits with the infrastructure providers.
1. Shut down every government counter so the only way for citizens to interact with the government is online.
2. Create applications that can be run by entrepreneurs to enable citizens to carry out business with the government online. The franchisee gets paid by the government automatically for every transaction that is made through her outlet. The service is free for the citizen.
3. This will mean additional business for cyber-cafe operators whereas people with internet access will get to make government transactions for free online.
some good links –
Roots MUST ALWAYS be stronger than shoots
Hi Shekhar ,
Its about a Banana – Thats how i would put it. This whole thing about numbers ( gdp/gnp of america and india)and comparisons is quite not representative of the truth.
I can only think of this example – lets take a banana. Ltes say ,it costs One Rupee in India. It also costs 1 Dollar 25 cents on the US. How strange ! Its the same quantity of Banana-matter that nature produces – having the same calories , filling the same amount of a human stomach. So this whole Macro economy is built upon Mother Nature’s reliable output , which we dont really understand – what faith , from the faithless !!
So now we have a problem. The banana that fills a hungry man’s stomach in India is of course far more valuable than the Banana that an average American will chew on for fun. We also have another diemnsion to it :
Mother Nature continues to produce them , even as we continue to pluck them and grow them with all kinds of pesticides and genetic engineering.
Now we also have something called Joy and Pleasure and Peace – A peaceful mind that knows its place in the physical existance and has been informed by reliable sources of an after-life is much more relaxed and will enjoy the Banana better , than a Restless mind that is worrying about packing all the action possible into one lifetime . Now , probably , only half the Banana would ever be eaten , The rest of the Bananas denied to the rest since the fittest is also supposed to be the meanest.
In Embedded systems , ac-operative schduler out performs a competitive one. this is true of anything in nature. India is better placed to understand this and all its nuances in life.
India does not need to aspire to be a Super power. India is already a Hyper power of Cosmic proportions. Aurobindo said , India is the physical manifestation of ‘Para Shakti’.
As for the neat roads , clean homes , uninterrupted power , the mean nothing if there is no peace or happiness. Lets leave them for the kids to pursue . As for India , the material will always serve the spiritual. Thankfully.
This is my great big idea…and if anyone steals it they shall be swallowed by a blue whale ! lol
India needs 3 or 4 new metropoles…where everything can be given a chance for a fresh start…
I hear several of you who read this laugh at me with pity. To you I say ‘bugger off’ ! lol
I have thought about this. Honest. Details upon request.
If dayal M is talking about redistribution of population, it’s already happening. Corporations are buying land and creating enclaves with better living and working environments. The next step would be to allow the incorporation of brand new cities (such as in the U.S. and Canada). Pioneers could buy large pieces of land in the middle of nowhere (and there’s vast vacant land in India too) and start new cities. Population from existing (old) cities moves to these new cities in search of a better lifestyle, relieving the old cities from pressure to enable renovation. Eventually, most of the “old” country becomes “new”.
Shekhar and Heather,
Long-term Vs Short-term investment:
Heath is absolutely right about the importance of what is called “velocity of money” (one person’s expense is another’s income; movement of money feeds growth). However, there are several factors that influence this at a micro level. The habit of hoarding money comes from the need to “play it safe” (stagnant economy, high unemployment etc.) as well as a culture of buying expensive jewellery (investment in non-performing assets = bad for economy). In economies with lower growth rates, interest rates are so low that there is no incentive to hold on to money. It is better spent than saved, in fact so much so that people tend to spend the money they haven’t earned yet (credit card debt). This is not necesarily bad for the country’s economy as long as there are strong credit monitoring systems. As far as long-term investment is concerned, we must examine it separately at the macro and micro levels. The government surely needs to make HUGE long term investments (macro level) but this may not necesarily be true at a micro level.
india – the next super power?
indian express ran a similar title couple of years ago and i wrote a detailed article and was published also (a wonder considering nowadays newspapers have become corporate torch bearers). the link is
also me and my friend have a blog that chronicles the fake development that has been going on and it is at http://developedment.blogspot.com
blind copying of western models wont work for india. in a human intensive country, development has to come sustainably. unless this happens what we see is a mirage. we have definitely made progress, but that’s for a specific section of people at enormous cost to other sections and environment.
India’s strength and potential lies not in its GDP and Nuclear arsenal but its history of non-alignment and non-hawkish posture in international relations.
India is akin to the old druid of Gaulish times to whom people would come for healing and resolving disputes knowing fully well of his trustworthy benevolent and sagacious nature.And also for his magic potions for vitality and strength.One who would mostly let other stronger individuals, to whom he has been beneficial, take care of his own security and well-being while himself concentrating on discovering newer and newer hidden secrets of nature to heal and benefit humanity.
” “India the next Super Power ?”
Why should India (or any other country for that matter) aspire to be a “Super Power” in the first place? This whole ambition of becoming a superpower is flawed. The whole idea of “my country is better than yours” is flawed. I don’t think of myself as belonging only to India……I belong to the whole world and the whole world belongs to me. Countries should function only as administrative blocks and no unnecessary sentiments/emotions should be attached to coutries. We should work together for the upliftment of the entire human race in harmonious co-existence with the rest of the species on this planet. Forget about any country becoming a superpower. If I had my way, I’d decentralise power on this planet and distribute it fairly across the globe. ”
A very good thought but probably 100 years ahead of its time measuring by the percentage of global human populace that will disagree with it right now.Their minds have been trained by their seperate political and religious leaders and media propaganda for quite a while.
Its only when we see a vast emergence of leaders in these three fields who agree with you that we can imagine this thought manifesting itself by their endeavours in a few decades then on.
Secondly,commenting on the following :
“In the long term, we are all dead.”
I feel urged to clear the unnecessary fear of the long term as disbursed everywhere and to everybody in the recent past by this infamous quote. This much touted quote is probably one of the most important reasons for extreme volatility everywhere.
The “longterm” sung in praise by all sages and Gurus (financial or otherwise) is of three types:
1. For the individual investing for oneself -around 5-10 years.Most of us are surely not dead by then under any statistical study.
2. For one investing for posterity i.e. children,grand childeren,or for a trust or organization,or as property – 10-25 years.Once again chances are that more than half of us wouldn’t be dead by then and even if some one dies her/his goals of providing for his loved ones or for ones she/he cares about would be fulfilled.
3.A decision made by a company or nation to invest in another company or nation- 50 to 100 years or even more.Here again companies or nations are not run by individuals but policies and strategies where in individuals come and go.And surely most of the companies or nations mature enough to invest in other companies or nations for the long term are not expected to die off in this period if history is to be learnt from.
The idea that in the long term we are all dead
is probably one of the most potent weapon of the mythical Satan/Devil to lure us into the fowlest hell of immediate and limitless self-indulgence which in turn will ensure that we actualy die in the short term.
“Long term vs Short term”
is almost akin to “Soul vs Ego”.
As it is not possible to be alive without a little ego the best forrmula I agree with is
divide resources into long term,medium term and short term in the ratio of 70:21:9. Well it just works for me.
This is to correct my comment no. 21 a little.
Rather than ‘the percentage of Global human populace that will disagree with it right now .’I should have written ‘the percentage of Global human populace that will not understand you right now’
The rapid growth of the Indian and Chinese economies have transformed the
two countries in recent years. But this prosperity has also brought other
Heavy investment has turned Beijing into a modern city
I think it was in 2003, that the world suddenly woke up to China.
I am not sure what caused it to happen, what particular event or news story. I
just remembered the phone in the BBC’s Beijing Bureau started ringing and it
has not stopped since.
Well now it is happening again and this time it is not China, it is India.
Every time you turn on the television or pick up a magazine, it is no longer the
rise of China, it is now the rise of China and India.
The desire to make comparisons is understandable. Both have more than a
billion people. Both are growing at 10% a year.
Delhi is an overwhelming experience. It is as if all of humanity has been
squeezed into one city
There are, I suspect, many who are hoping that India, with its freedom and
democracy, will win this new race to become the next economic super power. I
am not so sure.
I have spent the last eight years living in Beijing, and only four days in Delhi, so
comparisons are difficult.
But the few days I recently spent in India made me look at China in a new light.
Over 15 million people live in Delhi
Delhi is an overwhelming experience. It is as if all of humanity has been
squeezed into one city.
The streets groan under the weight of people. The air is filled with deafening
noise and sumptuous smells.
Switch on the television and it is the same.
Between channels blasting out voluptuous Bollywood love stories and pop
videos, an endless stream of news channels dissect the latest political scandals,
and debauched lifestyles of the rich and famous.
Coming from China it is an almost shocking experience.
But after the initial delight at being in an open society, I started to notice other
Foreign tourists stared in bewilderment; locals with the resigned look of those
used to waiting
The hotel was expensive and bad. In my room I searched for a high speed
internet connection, a standard feature in any hotel in China. There was not one.
Then with the night-time temperature still well above 30C (86F) the power went
I lay for hours soaked in sweat trying, and failing, to get back to sleep and
wishing I was back in Beijing where the lights never go out.
But getting back would not be easy.
I looked at my plane ticket. Departure time 0315. Surely that could not be right.
I called the front desk. “That’s correct sir,” he said, “the airport is too small so
many flights from Delhi leave in the middle of the night.”
He was not joking.
My taxi struggled along the Jaipur road towards the airport.
The two-lane road was clogged by an endless convoy of lorries. Finally I arrived
at Indira Gandhi International airport. Despite the hour it was teeming with
The queues snaked around the airport and back to where they had started.
Foreign tourists stared in bewilderment. Locals with the resigned look of those
used to waiting.
I could not help feeling a sense of relief at being back in a country where things
“Is it always like this?” I asked a man in the queue ahead of me.
“Pretty much,” he sighed.
I was finally shepherded aboard the flight to Shanghai.
Next to me sat a friendly looking Indian man in shorts and running shoes.
“Is this your first trip to China?” he asked me.
“No,” I replied, “I live there.”
“Really,” he said, his interest piqued, “what should I expect?”
“I think,” I said, “you should expect to be surprised.”
Six hours later, our plane taxied to a halt in front of the soaring glass and steel of
Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport.
In Delhi I had been shocked to see thousands of people sleeping rough on the
streets every night, nothing but the few rags they slept in to call their own
As we emerged into the cool silence of the ultra-modern terminal, my new
companion’s jaw slid towards his belly button.
“I was not expecting this,” he said, his eyes wide in wonder. “Oh no, I definitely
was not expecting this”.
I also found myself looking at China afresh.
Later that day as I drove home from Beijing airport along the smooth six-lane
highway I could not help feeling a sense of relief at being back in a country
where things work.
And it was not just the airports and roads.
Driving through a village on the edge of Beijing I was struck by how well
everyone was dressed.
In Delhi, I had been shocked to see thousands of people sleeping rough on the
streets every night, nothing but the few rags they slept in to call their own. Even
deep in China’s countryside that is not something you will see.
In Delhi I had been told of the wonders of India’s new economy, of the tens of
thousands of bright young graduates churning out the world’s latest computer
I thought of China’s new economy, of the tens of millions of rural migrants who
slave away in factories, making everything from plimsolls to plasma televisions.
And of the same rural migrants, heading home to their villages at Chinese New
Year festival loaded down with gifts, their pockets stuffed full of cash.
China is not a free society, and it has immense problems. But its successes
should not be underestimated.
They are ones that India, even with its open and democratic society, is still far
You say:”They are ones that India, EVEN WITH ITS open and democratic society, is still far from matching.”
Its not “even with its” but “beacuse of its”.
Welcome to India.Democratic freedom has its price.
India has the experience of 60 years of
1.being a mixed economy-public & private partenership;
2.’Unity in Diversity’ of language,cast,creed,race etc etc.
3. being a peaceful and successful democracy although surrounded by instable democratic nations.
4.being highly adaptive to the physical and administrative infrastructure and scientific education facilitated by the West.
5.having good relations with all important stake holders of the Global society-West,Middle east,East and South-East Asia,Africa,Mercosur countries and Australia…and bartering none for the other.
6.a heritage of assimilation of diverse genes and cultures of the Earth.
7.Non-aggressive yet successful defence of its borders and values.
9.being a benevolent,aid giving welfare state.
10.being a leader in the third alternative(vis a vis capitalism or communism)-Corporate Social Responsibility.
Is India not the natural born leader of the 21st Century world—a leader not self-seeking but sought by others.
INDIA CAN BE A SUPER POWER THE DAY INCREASING RATE OF PEOPLE BELOW POWERTY LINE ARRESTED AND MARCHES TOWARDS ZERO (GIVEN TO THE WORLD BY THIS GREAT NATION), ROAD SIDE TOILETS VANISH AND THE CANCEROUS, CORRUPTED, DYNASTIC MINDED POLITICIANS ARE COMPLETELY ERADICATED
i feel india will never become a super power because of the poverty & crruption & most important the mentality of the people all of them want to be bc or sc only because they have reservtions i very strongly feel india is totaly not fit to become a super power
its a chilling reminder how behind we r when it comes to USA.. we need to set our house in order!!
i wanna die after seein india become a super power!! i have high hopes for my india!
i want to a little favor on this topic…
Can India make it to the leauge of an economic super power in the next 25 years
plz help me out…
i m very thankful if u do some help…
plz reply me as earliest..
Well i think there’s nothing like superpower,i just dont want to see hungry kids on the road,its heartbreaking.
What is meant by ‘super-power’ – largest, richest, strongest, most democratic, most advanced??
Ghazni plundered it, Babur enslaved it, the Dutch depressed it, the French demoralised it, the English defeated, earthquakes eroded and famines benumbed it, but despite all these, India has not only survived but has grown stronger after each crisis………..