India must seize the moment:Editorial Dailypoineer

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by ajtr, Jun 18, 2010.

  1. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    We must seize the moment

    Gautam Mukherjee

    -- I set my sail as the tide comes in And I just cast my fate to the wind.-- Vince Guaraldi

    When a nation approaches a fresh apogee in its destiny, it must review its own narrative, no matter how bitter. For growth, not just economic, but an overall enhancement of stature, which could lead to greatness, demands the shedding of inappropriate baggage.

    But, almost axiomatically, there is the anxiety at the prospect of casting off from familiar shores. It calls for changes: For an end to navel-gazing and decisive action against enemies of the state, but also to let bygones be bygones. It calls for not only the ruthless elimination of security threats and the relentless pursuit of national interest, but also for the forging of new ties and alliances, sometimes with unequal and powerful partners that have not always done the right thing by us.

    India is rapidly and inexorably approaching that hallowed threshold, that long desired entrance to the portal of resurgent leading nations, with the appropriateness of our candidature held beyond dispute, and is called upon to make ready to seize its moment.

    Part of the reason for arriving at this juncture is attributable to our innate virtue. Our Hindu/Buddh- ist/Sufi/Jain influenced pacifism and philosophical moderation, and the capacity to absorb different strains and viewpoints into our body politic. In a troubled world perplexed by the mayhem let loose by Islamism, our nuanced responses, our seemingly paradoxical embrace of opposing viewpoints, seems wise after all, and no longer wily or effete — no more the object of derision and contempt.

    And other reasons, such as the upheaval in a settled world order, caused humiliatingly by self-inflicted implosion, not external aggression or sabotage, is climactic. An order undisturbed since before the fall of the Berlin Wall, perhaps unchanged from the first Bretton Woods Conference after World War II.

    The hard reality is that Europe and America, large as their economies are, will, evidently, not grow at more than one or two per cent per annum for years, if not decades. And this too is dependent on mercantile and political cooperation of the sizeable fast-growing nations such as India and China.

    A mirror held to the changing world reflects news of China looking at buying Newsweek put on the block by its owners, The Washington Post, struggling to survive as a broadsheet in the Internet age. But why does China actually want Time’s feisty competitor? Could it be to get its worldview out more clearly to the target audience, and without inherent Western bias and prejudice?

    India, recent purchaser of iconic British automotive brands Land Rover, Range Rover and Jaguar through the Tata Group, is now moving towards making its engines in India. This move would have been deemed a sacrilege a few years ago; but now, it has been prompted not by a jingoistic Indian manager but by the European CEO of Tata Motors. So the erstwhile financially troubled brands will be transformed, becoming more profitable and affordable. The engine design team will still be from the British Tata-owned operation, but the luxury vehicle’s engines will henceforth be made in India.

    Meanwhile, Press reports state Beijing and Mumbai are pleased at the windfall discounts available on their high-end Mercedes Benz, BMW and Audi car purchases, occasioned by the persistent weakness in the Euro. This is probably good in the long run also, because the buying demand these days is in these and suchlike places.

    The prompting to resize our ambitions is coming in from various sides, some positive some negative in their impetus. The intensifying of terrorism and internal insurgency is a measure, if backhanded, of both our democracy and our success. Nobody is whisked away at midnight in India for railing at the state, however misguidedly. Treason is not a term used to gag dissent and make political opponents disappear. Nor is the Indian state put out at suggestions that it is the greatest terrorist of them all. This state, now seen as a contender, is subject to efforts from certain quarters to hinder its progress and sap its strength. Ergo, it is necessary for us to find the modern wherewithal to prevail, and thwart such designs.

    But even left to itself, India’s economic growth is posing challenges to our somewhat bullock-cart and buffalo-gazing political leadership. Besides, no politician or political party is able to hoodwink the people anymore. In the Internet age, the control over information is innately slippery. It is not just a matter of secrecy and leakages, but the transparency, including the hackery, engendered by the possibilities of technology available. It is this technology that is proving harder and harder to outwit. Every side of the fence is affected, the heroes and villains, and all those of us betwixt and bemused.

    And the ideological narrative too has changed drastically. We are no longer Socialist. Perhaps neither is China. But ideology to the Chinese has become an internal matter for them to interpret as they see fit. Because China realised its priorities in the now seemingly distant 1980s. And today, having paid its dues, is indeed in control of its metamorphosis.

    So to do this thing we are now called upon to do, we too must ignore the scars of recent centuries, must let go the post-colonial angst, as well as more recent geo-political biases against us.

    We need instead to focus and not be distracted by rear-viewing cacophony and narrow parochialism. It is not wrong to jettison that which is spent. Since independence, through 40 years of a Socialist India, we worked obliquely to undermine the authority and power of the West. So it should come as no surprise that they did nothing to help us either. :?: {Wasn't the West(UK first and then US) also trying to undermine the idea of India? When he wants bygones to be bygones shouldn't that be reciprocal?}

    But now all is different. We have a shot at reforming global trade talks and international institutional financing in our favour. We could be in the UNSC soon, not just as a temporary but permanent member. We could be taken off all the presently inaccessible high-technology lists. Our nuclear programmes could go forward unfettered. We could address our regional concerns with Pakistan and China with much greater confidence.

    However, first we have to drop the burden of history and cast our fate to this favourable and prevailing wind.

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