In an opinion piece in NYT, Gurcharan Das wrote an interesting article comparing India and China — most of my Indian friends would love that. I did. I wish Mr Das is really right because though I like his writing and agree with it some, I remain disappointed by the rate at which things are likely to change. And I am not sure that required changes will necessarily happen. In any case the best part of the article is:
Both the Chinese and the Indians are convinced that their prosperity will only increase in the 21st century. In China it will be induced by the state; in Indiaâ€™s case, it may well happen despite the state. Indians expect to continue their relentless march toward a modern, democratic, market-based future. In this, terrorist attacks are a noisy, tragic, but ultimately futile sideshow.
However, Indians are painfully aware that they must reform their government bureaucracy, police and judiciary â€” institutions, paradoxically, they were so proud of a generation ago. When that happens, India may become formidable, a thought that undoubtedly worries Chinaâ€™s leaders.
And it is these reforms that I am not sure will take place soon.
“And it is these reforms that I am not sure will take place soon.”
Of course they won’t. India will continue to grow organically and reforms such as these can only be sold to the electorate by a nationally popular, charismatic leader – something that India sorely misses right now.
On another note, I disagree that Indians are ‘painfully aware’. I think ‘comically aware’ perhaps more apt. Indians (like me) know that reform is necessary and yet, they know (like I do) that they’ll be virtually impossible to implement. This irony amuses us all and even motivates us to take more adventurous journeys.