Posts tagged ‘Jawaharlal Nehru’

25/07/2016

Ways India Has Changed Since Liberalization 25 Years Ago – WSJ

Twenty-five years ago this week, India unshackled private industry and embraced foreign investment, ending four decades of socialist self-reliance and making a major bid to reclaim its place as an economic power.

The finance minister at the time, Manmohan Singh, had a keen sense of the moment’s place in history. Presenting the budget before Parliament on July 24, 1991, he framed the new economic policies as a means of eliminating “the scourge of poverty, ignorance and disease,” and of realizing the full potential of the Indian people. In the famous closing flourish of his speech, he invoked Victor Hugo: “No power on Earth can stop an idea whose time has come.”

But even Mr. Singh, who later served a decade as the country’s prime minister, could not have foreseen all the changes that this set of ideas would bring about.

1 Economic Liftoff

By every measure, India has grown more economically prosperous. National output last year was nearly five times what it was in 1991. Indians sell more to the world, and enjoy more of the outside world’s products and services, know-how and technology. A country that was once a byword for famine is today one of the planet’s biggest exporters of rice, cotton and other agricultural products.Not all sections of Indian society have risen as much as others: The country is still home to more of the world’s poorest people than any other nation. And much of the growth has been in the informal economy, where companies don’t pay taxes or have access to large-scale finance, and where workers don’t receive benefits or protection from unfair treatment. That suggests the deterrents to doing business above-board, such as government regulations and enforcement, are still too many.ANUPAM

2 People Power

Indians are living longer, and fewer are dying at or shortly after birth. More are literate, more receive schooling and more go to college. Still, the nation badly lags its neighbors on many of these human indicators. Women fare worse than men. And despite recent government sanitation campaigns, more people in India have cellphones than have access to decent toilets, according to the United Nations.

3 Consumer Explosion

In 1991, Indians had two television channels to choose from, and both of them were produced by Doordarshan, the state broadcaster. In much else, too, from sweets to cosmetics to butter, autarky meant the choices for the average consumer were very limited. Today’s riot of options makes pre-liberalization India seem, as the writer Mukul Kesavan wrote recently, like “another country.

4 Car Crazy

It isn’t quite true that Indians had only one car available to them, the Hindustan Motors Ltd. Ambassador, before 1991. But their options have certainly multiplied since then. Almost every major international maker has tried to enter the market; not all have succeeded. The industry in India churned out nearly 24 million vehicles in the year that ended in March.

5 A Flailing State

Over the last quarter-century, as India’s economy has grown more complex, it has arguably loped ahead of the government’s capacity to manage it and provide essential services. That’s why the Harvard economist Lant Pritchett in 2009 called India a “flailing state”: The top institutions of government are sound, but they don’t deliver reliably on the ground.Public health facilities are understaffed and underfunded. Schoolteachers don’t show up for their own classes. Unlike in 1991, “India’s problem is not what the state does wrong now,” says Manish Sabharwal, chairman of TeamLease Services Ltd., a Bangalore-based staffing company. “It is what the state does not do.”

Source: Ways India Has Changed Since Liberalization 25 Years Ago – WSJ

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05/02/2016

‘One family’ not letting Rajya Sabha function, Modi says – The Hindu

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday accused Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi of disrupting Parliament to avenge defeat in 2014 Lok Sabha polls and hence blocking the passage of Bills aimed at benefitting the poor. Prime Minister Narendra Modi being presented Jaapi, a traditional hat from Assam at a meeting in Sivasagar district on Friday.

Addressing tea garden workers in Assam, Mr. Modi alleged that “one family” was indulging in “negative politics”, as he claimed that there are leaders in opposition parties other than Congress, who want Parliament to function even though they oppose him.

“Those who have lost the election (in 2014) and have come down from 400 to 40 have decided not to allow Modi to work. They have decided to create obstacles and difficulties. The conspiracy for the same is going on,” he said, referring clearly to Congress.

“They have now decided to take revenge from people, from the poor workers for voting the Congress out of power,” Mr. Modi said.

“There are many leaders and parties even in the opposition who oppose Modi, the BJP and the government but they want Parliament to run and carry out is business. But one family is so rigid that they do not allow the Rajya Sabha to function and let the nation’s agenda of development to be taken forward because people of the country have defeated them,” Mr. Modi said.

“The country is not going to benefit from this politics of negativism and obstructionism. There is only one family with such a thinking, which has brought this kind of destruction. Leaders in the other opposition parties are not like this,” the Prime Minister said.

Mr. Modi urged people to give a chance to the BJP to form a government in Assam.

He contended that laws for the welfare of the State can be put in place only when there is a government in Guwahati, which listens to Centre.

Source: ‘One family’ not letting Rajya Sabha function, Modi says – The Hindu

22/01/2016

Prime Minister Narendra Modi flags off Mahanama Express in Varanasi – The Hindu

In his fifth visit to his constituency, Varanasi, after assuming power, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday flagged off a new train, Mahanama Express, connecting the temple town to the national capital through Lucknow. Named after Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya, the founder of the Banaras Hindu University, the train is fully equipped with modern facilities and boasts of bio toilets in every coach and has renovated and refurbished AC-coaches fitted with led screen. The train will run thrice a week and cover the distance from Varanasi to New Delhi in 14 hours.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacts with a physically challenged child while distributing assistive devices at a function, in Varanasi on Friday.

Attending the Divyangjan Sashaktikaran Samaroh in Varanasi, Mr. Modi also gave away assisting electronic devices, artificial limbs, tricycles, Braille kits, hearing aids, teaching-learning material kit and other equipment to 9,296 ‘divyangs’ or specially-abled persons.

“When I say let us use the word ‘divyang’ it is about a change in mindset,” Mr. Modi said while reiterating his plea for doing away with the word “viklang” (handicapped) and instead calling the differently-abled as “divyang” (those born with a divine limb/organ).

“Let us not think about what is lacking in a person, let us see what is the extra ordinary quality a person is blessed with,” said Mr. Modi, who personally distributed electronic devices to around a dozen persons.

The PM last visited his constituency in December 2015 along with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe. In his address, Mr. Modi recalled the visit and even praised Mr. Abe for appreciating and mentioning his trip to Varanasi in a speech in Japan. “In one year of this government, 1800 such camps have been held. While in the two decades not even a 100 camps were set up,” Mr. Modi said taking a jibe at previous Congress government’s indifference to the differently-abled. On the way to the function, a bus carrying ‘divyangs’ met an accident injuring around 20 persons. Taking cognizance of the matter, Mr. Modi ordered swift action and officials reached the spot. “Most of the received minor injuries, but some will need to be hospitalized for a few days. The government will make all arrangements for treatment,” Mr. Modi said.

The PM also interacted with ‘divyang’ children who have overcome disabilities relating to speech and hearing with the help of the ADIP (Assistance to Disabled Persons) scheme of the Centre.

“The result of such camps is that middlemen will get eliminated-nut bolts are being tightened and the shops of these middlemen are shutting down. And due to this some people are getting worried but not me. If I am in pained, it is by the plight of the poor in the country,” Mr. Modi said.

Source: Prime Minister Narendra Modi flags off Mahanama Express in Varanasi – The Hindu

20/09/2014

To engage with China, India must stop peddling myths about the Line of Actual Control

Nehru’s hubris about his own statesmanship, coupled with a refusal to discuss the matter reasonably since 1962, has led us to the present tangle.

Political commentators have been gushing over the possibilities of strengthened economic and strategic relations between China and India, but the unresolved border dispute remains alive and can always play spoiler in the future. A border is, after all, more than a line on the map or a series of military posts on the ground; it is a reflection of how the political elite of a nation-state thinks about its security.

Chinese-controlled Aksai Chin is claimed by India as part of Jammu and Kashmir, and Indian-controlled Arunachal Pradesh is claimed by China. The only feasible solution is to accept the status quo and transform the Line of Actual Control into an international boundary. There have been several rounds of talks since the 1990s, but a resolution remains distant. Despite its parliamentary majority, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government will be unable to sell a permanent boundary settlement without being accused of ceding territory in Aksai Chin, though in reality it will only be giving up its claim over a territory India never controlled.

This raises a pertinent question: what precisely is the border upon which India and China cannot agree?

New neighbours

Through history, China and India have not been neighbours. The current de facto border has its genesis in a line drawn on a map by Henry McMahon during a secret treaty between Britain and Tibet in March 1914. Both entities, British India and Tibet, are no more: one has been transformed into postcolonial India and the other was occupied and colonised by communist China. Yet India and China, both of whom have overthrown the mantle of Western imperialism, are jostling over the same imperialists’ line – and have completely militarised and destroyed the traditional zone of contact that the border regions were.

The border is a legacy of a few dynamics, including the expansionist policies of the British in the Himalayan regions of India, the disappearance of the traditional Tibetan state, which had political and sacral hegemony over much of the region, and the modern nationalisms in postcolonial India and revolutionary China, which are keen on implementing a rigid notion of sovereignty in the border regions and legitimising the primacy of militarised security over the religious, cultural and human rights of the people inhabiting the region.

Stuck in the middle

The primary loser in the dispute is neither India nor China but Tibet. China has occupied most of Tibetan territory, while India has occupied the Tawang tract, which was historically part of Tibet. The Tibetan state had given up the Tawang region to British India in 1914 on the understanding that they would get friendship and assistance to protect their independence from China. When China went on to occupy Tibet in 1949-’50, India reneged on that understanding, preferring the diplomatically attractive Hindi-Chini-bhai-bhai rhetoric over a strategically sound and morally defensible Indo-Tibetan friendship.

Despite reluctantly hosting the Tibetan exile community today, India did not offer any tangible help to the Tibetans in their struggle for independence. Today, as Modi and Xi plan collaborations on various fronts, Tibetans are reminded that in this world of realpolitik, morality and human rights are subservient. Tibetans are perceived as strategic assets or liabilities in bargaining with China, not people of an occupied land for whom India should raise its voice. For India, it is the border matters, not the border inhabitants.

Myths peddled by India

The popular as well as strategic approach of many in India towards the border dispute is jaundiced by the myths the Indian state peddled about the humiliating war of 1962. After the 1962 defeat, there was no credible reflection at the policy level in India. Indians accepted as real the myths that Indian territorial claims were legitimate and sacrosanct, and that the Chinese were duplicitous and stabbed gullible India in the back. The reality could not be further from this. The first Survey of India Map in 1950 showed the boundary as undefined in Aksai Chin and as undemarcated in the north east. It was only in the summer of 1954 that Jawaharlal Nehru gave personal orders for all old maps to be withdrawn and destroyed and to remove qualifiers and show the McMahon Line in bold, as if that was the de jure boundary.

Nehru later claimed innocence, insisting that there was no boundary disagreement and that Chinese claims were surprising. Since 1959, India rejected all the diplomatic overtures of Zhou Enlai and said negotiations could only take place if China withdrew from Aksai Chin, though India would not offer anything in return. Since 1961, the Indian military followed a “forward policy” in the border regions that was not only provocative but based on the assumption that China would not retaliate.

A great unresolved mystery from the time is why the best Indian minds working in intelligence, military and diplomacy accepted this assumption without a murmur of protest. It can be explained by Nehru’s hubris in his own capacity as a statesperson, bureaucracies subservient to him, and the inability of the civilian and military elite to be independent-minded. Macho posturing was the order of the day. The Indianisation of the top brass in the military occurred only after independence in 1947, so they were inexperienced as leaders. Faced with an army that had its genesis in revolutionary wars, the Indian army, which had been servant to an imperial power, failed to perform its basic duty of protecting the country.

via Scroll.in – News. Politics. Culture..

22/08/2014

India’s Government Blocks Release of Film About Sikh Assassins Who Killed Prime Minister Indira Gandhi – India Real Time – WSJ

India’s government has blocked the release of a film about the Sikh assassins who killed the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1984, saying it could pose a threat to law and order.

Theaters across northern India and select cities elsewhere were set to start showing the Punjabi-language movie, “Kaum De Heere,” which translates as “Diamonds of the Community,” on Friday.

The film tracks the transformation of Mrs. Gandhi’s killers – anointed as martyrs last year by Sikh religious authorities — from dependable bodyguards to assassins.

Mrs. Gandhi’s death sparked large-scale anti-Sikh riots, one of the worst episodes of communal violence in Indian history. Around 7,000 people, mostly Sikhs, are believed to have died in the rioting.

Leela Samson, chairwoman of India’s Central Board of Film Certification, said the movie “rakes up very old and strong sentiments” and sends a “wrong message to the youth that a particular ideology comes above the nation’s interests and that taking the law into your hands is permissible.”

She said that after officials from the Home Ministry, Information and Broadcasting Ministry and film review board watched the film Thursday, film regulators decided to withdraw their earlier approval for it to be shown in theaters.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal Thursday, the film’s producer, Satish Katyal, said the film was about the lives of the two assassins and the difficulties faced by their families.

“Nobody has been shown as being good or bad. There are no biases,” he said.

Mr. Katyal said it was unfair for the film board to reverse course just hours before the film’s release. If the government had any objections, he said, there was “ample opportunity to raise them before.”

The film opens with the assassination of Mrs. Gandhi, the daughter of independent India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. Mrs. Gandhi, like her father, led the Congress party.

While she was premier, Indian security forces attacked alleged Sikh militants inside the Golden Temple, Sikhism’s holiest site, in a raid dubbed Operation Blue Star. Hundreds of people were killed.

Soon after, Mrs. Gandhi was killed by two Sikh bodyguards, touching off a spasm of religious violence. Senior Congress politicians have faced trials, some of which are ongoing, for inciting mobs and fueling the conflict.

“There will never be any justification for the attack on the sanctity of Sikhs and the targeting of an entire community,” said Avtar Singh, head of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, Sikhism’s highest authority.

The party has attempted to reconcile with the Sikh community. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, himself a Sikh, apologized for the riots when he came to power.

via India’s Government Blocks Release of Film About Sikh Assassins Who Killed Prime Minister Indira Gandhi – India Real Time – WSJ.

18/08/2014

Modi Sends India’s Soviet-Inspired Planning Commission Packing – India Real Time – WSJ

India’s prime minister used his inaugural Independence Day speech last Friday to cut off an arm of the country’s government that dates back nearly all the way to independence: the powerful, unloved and sometimes irrelevant-seeming Planning Commission.

The body was the creation of Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister, who took from the experience of Japan and the Soviet Union the lesson that late-industrializing countries needed to use state intervention to transform their economies from the “commanding heights.” In the words of the 1950 cabinet resolution that created the commission: “The need for comprehensive planning based on a careful appraisal of resources and on an objective analysis of all the relevant economic factors has become imperative.”

Narendra Modi said on Friday that India could do better. The new prime minister said circumstances had changed since the commission’s creation. He said the federal government wasn’t the only driver of economic growth, and that state governments needed to be empowered to innovate. He promised the creation of a new institution that would serve as a platform for exchanging economic-policy ideas within government.

The announcement wasn’t unforeseen. The prime minister serves ex officio as the Planning Commission’s chairman. But Mr. Modi had spent his first months in office leaving the commission’s other full-time seats conspicuously unfilled. As a former chief minister of the western state of Gujarat, Mr. Modi was said at the time of his election this spring to have a strong interest in giving state governments more space to set budget priorities.

Killing the Planning Commission won’t entirely decentralize government spending in India. Federal tax revenue, according to the country’s constitution, is first distributed between the central and state governments by the Finance Commission. The Planning Commission then allocates spending to states along lines laid out in its Five-Year Plan for the economy.

That’s how it’s supposed to work, at least. Critics have accused the Planning Commission of gradually usurping the Finance Commission’s role as chief arbiter between the federal and state governments, all in the service of Five-Year Plans that are meticulously crafted but rarely achieved. The current plan, which covers 2012 to 2017, runs to three volumes and more than 1,000 pages. It covers all and sundry from boosting the manufacturing sector and increasing female literacy to promoting sports medicine and modernizing the powerloom sector.

The Five-Year Plans pervade policy making in India, at least in name if not always in effect. All federal expenditure is classified as either “plan” or “non-plan,” depending on whether it is undertaken in pursuit of the current Five-Year Plan. The Planning Commission occupies a monolithic grayish structure in New Delhi—Yojana Bhawan, or “Planning House”—just down the road from Parliament.

via Modi Sends India’s Soviet-Inspired Planning Commission Packing – India Real Time – WSJ.

19/05/2014

Modi’s Next Move – India Real Time – WSJ

The simplest way to understand the enormity of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s victory Friday in India’s election is to place it in historical context.

For the first time since 1984, India’s voters have given a single party rather than a ragtag coalition a majority in Parliament. The BJP won 282 seats, 10 more than the 272 needed to reach the halfway mark in the 543-seat lower house of Parliament. The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance coalition snagged 336 seats.

For the first time ever, India’s traditionally left-leaning politics has moved decisively to the right. Even when it won more seats than the left-of-center Congress Party in three elections in the late 1990s, the BJP always lagged its rival in share of the popular vote. This time the BJP snagged nearly one third of the national vote, while Congress claimed less than a fifth. The BJP also made inroads into southern and eastern India, outside its traditional strongholds in the north and west.

The rightward swing is all the more notable because incoming Prime Minister Narendra Modi belongs to the conservative wing of India’s conservative party. Unlike the last BJP prime minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee (1998-2004), Mr. Modi cut his teeth in politics battling Congress when it briefly suspended democracy in the mid-1970s, not admiring Jawaharlal Nehru’s parliamentary eloquence in defense of socialist policies in the 1950s.

Congress itself has been reduced to a rump. The 44 seats it won is less than half of its previous low of 114 seats in 1999. Congress has proved naysayers wrong before by bouncing back. Still, for the first time talk of the possible extinction of a party that has ruled India for all but 13 years since independence in 1947 seems plausible. And the two main communist parties, which have traditionally wielded influence both inside and outside Parliament and helped set the tone for much anti-capitalist and anti-Western discourse, have been reduced to a footnote. Together they hold a meager 10 seats.

via Modi’s Next Move – India Real Time – WSJ.

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17/02/2014

The Other MIT: Microsoft CEO’s Alma Mater in India – Businessweek

Satya Nadella studied engineering at southern India’s Manipal Institute of Technology. Unlike its Massachusetts namesake, the Indian MIT isn’t so accustomed to the spotlight. The school is part of Manipal University, a private school that traditionally hasn’t enjoyed the same prestige as the Indian Institutes of Technology, the country’s elite public-sector schools launched by Jawaharlal Nehru shortly after independence.

Image representing Satya Nadella as depicted i...

Image via CrunchBase

“People’s general perception was the private universities were not able to bring out this kind of quality,” explains Ranjan Pai, Manipal’s chancellor. When it comes to higher education, “the private sector in India has generally been looked down upon.”

Having an alumnus from the Indian MIT in one of the world’s highest-profile—albeit most difficult—corporate jobs should help Pai, 41, as he tries to change that perception. His grandfather founded Manipal in the early 1950s, and today there are two campuses in the state of Karnataka as well as separate schools in the northern city of Jaipur and the Himalayan state of Sikkim. Combined, there are more than 30,000 students attending Manipal classes in person, with an additional 250,000 enrolled online.

via The Other MIT: Microsoft CEO’s Alma Mater in India – Businessweek.

See also: https://chindia-alert.org/2014/02/04/microsoft-names-satya-nadella-as-ceo-india-real-time-wsj/

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31/12/2013

BBC News – India country profile – Overview

The world\’s largest democracy and second most populous country emerged as a major power in the 1990s. It is militarily strong, has major cultural influence and a fast-growing and powerful economy.

Map of India

A nuclear-armed state, it carried out tests in the 1970s and again in the 1990s in defiance of world opinion. However, India is still tackling huge social, economic and environmental problems.

The vast and diverse Indian sub-continent – from the mountainous Afghan frontier to the jungles of Burma – was under foreign rule from the early 1800s until the demise of the British Raj in 1947.

The subsequent partition of the sub-continent – into present-day India and Pakistan – sowed the seeds for future conflict. There have been three wars between India and its arch-rival Pakistan since 1947, two of them over the disputed territory of Kashmir.

A peace process, which started in 2004, stayed on track despite tension over Kashmir and several high-profile bombings until the Mumbai attacks of November 2008, carried out by Islamist militants overwhelmingly from Pakistan and organised by the Pakistani movement Lashkar-e-Taiba. India announced that the process was on pause the following month.

Communal strife

With its many languages, cultures and religions, India is highly diverse. This is also reflected in its federal political system, whereby power is shared between the central government and 28 states.

However, communal, caste and regional tensions continue to haunt Indian politics, sometimes threatening its long-standing democratic and secular ethos.

In 1984 Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was gunned down by her Sikh bodyguards after ordering troops to flush out Sikh militants from the Golden Temple in Amritsar.

And in 1992, widespread Hindu-Muslim violence erupted after Hindu extremists demolished the Babri mosque at Ayodhya.

Economic progress

Independent India\’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, dreamed of a socialist society and created a vast public infrastructure, much of which became a burden on the state.

From the late 1980s India began to open up to the outside world, encouraging economic reform and foreign investment. It is now courted by the world\’s leading economic and political powers, including its one-time foe China.

The country has a burgeoning urban middle class and has made great strides in fields such as information technology. Its large, skilled workforce makes it a popular choice for international companies seeking to outsource work.

But the vast mass of the rural population remains impoverished.

Their lives continue to be influenced by the ancient Hindu caste system, which assigns each person a place in the social hierarchy. Discrimination on the basis of caste is now illegal and various measures have been introduced to empower disadvantaged groups and give them easier access to opportunities – such as education and work.

Poverty alleviation and literacy campaigns are ongoing.

Nuclear tests carried out by India in May 1998 and similar tests by Pakistan just weeks later provoked international condemnation and concern over the stability of the region.

The US quickly imposed sanctions on India, but more recently the two countries have improved their ties, and even agreed to share nuclear technology.

India launches its own satellites and in 2008 sent its first spacecraft to the moon. It also boasts a massive cinema industry, the products of which are among the most widely-watched films in the world.

via BBC News – India country profile – Overview.

See also: https://chindia-alert.org/2013/12/31/bbc-news-china-country-profile-overview/

18/12/2013

The rediscovery of India – excerpted from Reimagining India: McKinsey & Company

From: http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/asia-pacific/the_rediscovery_of_india

Is diversity an excuse for disunity? CNN’s Fareed Zakaria says Indians must embrace their common ambitions if the nation is to fulfill its tremendous potential.

November 2013 | byFareed Zakaria

Is India even a country? It’s not an outlandish question. “India is merely a geographical expression,” Winston Churchill said in exasperation. “It is no more a single country than the Equator.” The founder of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, recently echoed that sentiment, arguing that “India is not a real country. Instead it is thirty-two separate nations that happen to be arrayed along the British rail line.”

India gives diversity new meaning. The country contains at least 15 major languages, hundreds of dialects, several major religions, and thousands of tribes, castes, and subcastes. A Tamil-speaking Brahmin from the south shares little with a Sikh from Punjab; each has his own language, religion, ethnicity, tradition, and mode of life. Look at a picture of independent India’s first cabinet and you will see a collection of people, each dressed in regional or religious garb, each with a distinct title that applies only to members of his or her community (Pandit, Sardar, Maulana, Babu, Rajkumari).

Or look at Indian politics today. After every parliamentary election over the last two decades, commentators have searched in vain for a national trend or theme. In fact, local issues and personalities dominate from state to state. The majority of India’s states are now governed by regional parties—defined on linguistic or caste lines—that are strong in one state but have little draw in any other. The two national parties, the Indian National Congress and the BJP, are now largely confined in their appeal to about ten states each.

And yet, there are those who passionately believe that there is an essential “oneness” about India. Perhaps the most passionate and articulate of them was Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister. During one of his many stints in jail, fighting for Indian independence, he wrote The Discovery of India, a personal interpretation of Indian history but one with a political agenda. In the book, Nehru details a basic continuity in India’s history, starting with the Indus Valley civilization of 4500 BCE, running through Ashoka’s kingdom in the third century BCE, through the Mughal era, and all the way to modern India. He describes an India that was always diverse and enriched by its varied influences, from Buddhism to Islam to Christianity.

Can the country live up to its potential? If so, it will happen only because of a bottom-up process of protest and politics that forces change in New Delhi. India will never be a China, a country where the population is homogeneous and where a ruling elite directs the nation’s economic and political development. In China, the great question is whether the new president, Xi Jinping, is a reformer—he will need to order change, top-down, for that country.

In India, the questions are different: Are Indians reformers? Can millions of people mobilize and petition and clamor for change? Can they persist in a way that makes reform inevitable? That is the only way change will come in a big, open, raucous democracy like India. And when that change comes, it is likely to be more integrated into the fabric of the country and thus more durable.

I remain optimistic. We are watching the birth of a new sense of nationhood in India, drawn from the aspiring middle classes in its cities and towns, who are linked together by commerce and technology. They have common aspirations and ambitions, a common Indian dream—rising standards of living, good government, and a celebration of India’s diversity. That might not be as romantic a basis for nationalism as in days of old, but it is a powerful and durable base for a modern country that seeks to make its mark on the world.

About the author

Fareed Zakaria is host of CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS, an editor-at-large for Time magazine, and author of The Post-American World (W. W. Norton & Company, April 2008). This essay is excerpted from Reimagining India: Unlocking the Potential of Asia’s Next Superpower. Copyright © 2013 by McKinsey & Company. Published by Simon & Schuster, Inc. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

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