Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Making India shine

The 3 June 2006 issue of The Economist carried a special report on Indian business, titled “Can India fly?”.

I wrote to Simon Long, the New Delhi correspondent of The Economist and the author of the report. (I met Simon at the international conference on “Does Culture Matter” organised by the Goethe Institut in 2004.)

Hullo Simon,

I'm writing to you a propos the India special report in The Economist.

That section concluded by saying:

"Business leaders know that including the excluded majority in the rise of modern India is essential for social harmony, and ultimately for the success of their firms. They also know that compared with improving their bottom lines, this really is the hard part."

I would like to suggest that a future special report takes up this question: social inclusion. If the 1991 issue of The Economist looked at India the caged economic tiger, and that is viewed as significant from today's context - I for one would like to see a different India 15 years from now, on this matter of social exclusion and inclusion.

I can visualise a scintillating, brilliant educative special report on various aspects of this concern, with articles, tables / graphics, interviews, opinion review (i.e. a report on the views of eminent Indian economists like Amartya Sen, Jagdish Bhagwati, Meghnad Desai, Pranab Bardhan, Partha Dasgupta, Debraj Ray, C Prahlad, etc etc), review and analysis of indicators, academic work, as well as actual public policy and social development performance. Looking at the whole civil society domain, and throwing a challenge to this section. I believe The Economist can play an important strategic role, for India, through such a report.

I would be glad to assist in such a venture! Do consider this.

In today's 21st century context, The Economist's ideology should be for wealth creation for the well-being of the poor of the world, rather than for the likes of the scions of Enron etc! And hence poverty, and poverty reduction as the most important concern and end of economics. A shift of focus from "economics" to welfare economics.

I thought of the title: "Making India Shine" - with a picture of smiling, healthy, happy children (from a poor community) working together in school or something like that. Making India really shine, not the India that the world has now awakened to, but the other India that is really the non-convoy disappearing in the darkness - quoting Arundhati Roy in The Economist's earlier India special report.

When one sees, relates to and dwells in this other India, then one can't see the shining India at all. The great Urdu poet of the subcontinent, Faiz, in his poem "See the city from here", wrote about just this.

An Indian literature professor in the US wrote about giving a compilation of articles on agrarian violence in Andhra Pradesh written by Balagopal to a young professor, who later responded: "I am stunned. How can we theorize this ? How can we represent such corporal violence in words and images?"

Best wishes and regards


1 comment:

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