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I'd write more, like you said I should. If only, there was more to me.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Ok, so not everyone is bullish about India. A couple of positive quotes down the line have ruffled a few feathers. A particularly angry note flying straight in hotter than a breaking news wire. And I quote:

"I was quite amused to see this on the same day that the International Herald Tribune talks about "Destitute and Dying on India's farms" on its front page. This is of greater importance for this crucial issue from a foreign newspaper than any Indian newspaper, obsessed with fashion and filmstars, has seen fit to give it.

All these comments are from a very, very small group of people who are only looking at a very, very thin sliver of India. You still have millions of people dying of hunger every year (yes, millions), private armies and caste killings in Bihar, and corrupt politicians everywhere. India still has a long way to go, and I would think people should be focusing more on that than on these feel good comments from the second wave of colonialists.

And all those jobs in out sourcing -- who in the West wants to turn day into night? No one.

They are just another form of the T-shirt and sneaker sweatshops in the Third World in the '80s. Pardon the rant, but it is very difficult to keep one's composure when faced with this sort of Mammonistic mumbo-jumbo."

Phew, and we have only just begun.

I, do not, for one disagree with the problems that persist. The red tape, the bureaucracy, the nepotism is there. Yes, 'Apaharan' - the Bollywood version is pretty much a take on stuff that is happening for real in parts of Bihar.

Not everything is alright. But name me one society, one country that has got everything all right. If corporate governance is perfect, the issue of freedom of expression takes centre-stage. If it's a free for all, outsourcing becomes a talking point. If the economy is opening up, protectionists want a say... either way you win some, you lose some.

I spent a week, celebrating all things Indian in sunny Singapore and what a week that turned out to be. The news makers, movers and shakers were all here, thanks to the vision of an event dreamed of and executed with a phenomenal degree of success by the Indian High Commission.

The confidence that I saw around me in the week that went by gave me more reason to cheer but more of that later.

Of course, the cynics won't be satisfied with just that.

So for those who like something substantial, a sheer look at the statistics proves that what is happening in India is no mere 'Mammonistic mumbo-jumbo'.

It would take a life-time to crunch all the numbers, so here are the key ones-
- Over 125 Fortune 500 firms now have Research and Development bases in India.
- India's consumer market stands at an estimated 300 million people.
- Its luxury goods market is estimated to rake in US $14 billion.
- Retail sales are rising at a whopping 28% per annum.
- The price of Indian art is shattering more than its share of records (the numbers saved up for another post).
- World leaders are paying attention to it in a way that they never have before. In fact, it's said that in New Delhi it is not just the foreign ministry but the airport itself which is deluged with dignitaries.
- This is the India, that Fareed Zakaria, Editor, Newsweek, hailed post Davos.

Apart from film stars, designers, authors, writers, artists, playwrights, dancers, just about everyone is putting their best foot forward to project the new face of a resurgent India. And if that isn't a cause for celebration, I don't know what else is.

Agreed we have miles to go, but this is no time to sleep.

PS: My night has been turned into day for over four years and I'm quite happy to keep it that way! And no one in the West forced me into it.