To see slide show click here.
With minimum fuss, noise and bragging China informed the world that it is now the world's 2nd largest economy. Now imagine if India became the world's 3th largest economy what would happen.
The politicians, media and Indians would fall over each other in congratulating themselves for India's performance. There would be full page advertisements in all national and regional dailies. TV channels would debate on prime time for days on end i.e. till the next big story broke out.
Sonia Gandhi would repeat her mother-in-law's slogan of the 1970's Garibi Hatao and pass one more law saying 'Housing and Food to all is a fundamental right'.
Manmohan Singh would smile meaning India has attained this status because of His economic policies supported by telecom minister Raja and Suresh Kalmadi of Commonwealth Games fame.
Like his grandmother Rahul Gandhi would say corruption is a worldwide phenomenon. Respected Pranabda would head a Group of Ministers to investigate how India became the 3rd largest economy without fiscal stimulus.
Somewhere in the skies, the architect of India's economic reforms former PM Rao would wonder why everyone had forgotten him.
Atalji would write a poem on India. Advaniji and Jaswant Singh would together author a book on Jinnah. The BJP would say we scripted India’s progress, were the pioneers of PSU Disinvestment and the first to urge Indian corporates to buy foreign companies; the Tatas took our advice seriously.
Dalit ki beti Mayawati would boast that India could never have progressed but for the writing of the Indian Constitution by India’s Dalit ka beta Dr Ambedkar. Further it was due to the blessings of the recently made statutes in Uttar Pradesh that India progressed.
NCP Chief and Lalit Modi would attribute India’s rise to cricket / IPL.
The Congress and Leftist state governments of Assam and West Bengal would take credit for some of India’s architectural marvels like the Konkan Railways because these were built by Bangaldeshis. After all, if they had not turned a blind eye to illegal infiltration how would crores of Bangladeshis have become Indian citizens today?
The Leftists would term India’s progress as hogwash by saying so many Indians are poor and hungry. Mamta didi would say that India will outperform others if she became Chief Minister.
Aging Karunanidhi hoped that the becoming of Tamil as India’s national language would take the Indian to the next level but alas! Balasaheb Thackeray would proudly say that India progressed despite of the demolition of the Babri Masjid.
Narendra Modi would add that India was only following the footsteps of Gujarat and Gujaratis.
The Maoists ambush security forces regularly - nothing has changed!
The surge in growth rates makes the Ambani and Thackeray brothers realize the importance of unity. The Petroleum ministry is relieved but the Congress-NCP leadership is worried!
When India grew at under 5% the nationalist squirmed since it was called the Hindu rate of growth. Not any longer.
Now let us look around the world.
The British strategists are stunned! They ask themselves, we partitioned India, divided her into Aryan and Dravidian and by caste/religion yet how did she progress? The Pakistani Generals wonder that we Indians kis mitti ke bane hai? Inspite of relentless export of Jihad these Kafirs show no signs of giving in.
The average Pakistani will quote Dr Ambedkar’s 1941 book (click here to read.) to argue that before Independence Hindusthan contributed app 75% of undivided India’s revenues and subsidized the predominantly Muslim Indian Army. Since India’s growth rates have leapfrogged can she subsidize the Pakistani Army again? We are after all the same people!
The U.S. says - you still need our help to deal with the rogue state of Pakistan. The Chinese dismiss India’s progress. Strategic encircling of India is to keep their foreign policy team occupied! The French say buy our nuclear power plant with no cap on liability. The Germans rediscover the India Aryan connection.
The British Chancellor pleads with Indian CEO's to buy out more factories in U.K. Visits to Bombay House, Chennai and Bengaluru become more frequent! He promises to return all Indian artifacts lying in the British Museum London (To see pictures http://www.esamskriti.com/around-world/British-Museum-London.aspx) provided Indian co’s create 5 lakh jobs in his country.
Countries of South East Asia want to revive India's century old relations and form a separate economic block with India. The Thais release a CD Hindu symbols in Thailand (click here to read.), the Cambodians tell us that the biggest temple complex is in their country (click here to read), the Indonesians refer to 2000 year old links (click here to read) and the Malaysians invite us to their Diwali celebrations (click here to read). But there is a problem! Capitalizing on these relations means openly acknowledging India’s Hinduness.
The pseudo secularists are up in arms. A PIL is filed in the Supreme Court. What follows is a furor in the Lok Sabha with the BJP and Congress daggers drawn. The day ends with a three hour debate on prime time TV. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar amongst other tries explaining the concept of Sanatan Dharam to Constitutional Experts but how can a country ie based on the Westminster model understand the concept of Dharma?
Yet for some nothing changed. The Pakis continue to export Terror to India because the day they decide to love us they will cease to exist as a separate nation. The World Bank continues to lend to India, foreign postings required! Missionaries continue to pour crores of rupees into India (click here to read.) and convert poor Indians in the name of social service. Media reports indicate that Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar rediscovers his Maharashtrian roots but can any Indian Government grant him amnesty?
At the end of all this I wondered whether Indians were better off not being the world’s third largest economy! How does this affect aam aadmi?
1. Residents of Jammu and Ladakh like to know when will stop being treated as second class citizens in a state i.e. dominated by Kashmiris.
2. In Srinagar a stone throwing youth asks when will one of India’s richest Muslims Aziz Premji open a development centre there so they can write codes instead.
3. The Buddhist monk of Tawang is still waiting for PM Singh to visit them, upsetting the Chinese!
4. The housewife in Madurai wants to know when the price of Tuar Dal would be Rs 40/per kg so she can liberally serve sambar to the family.
5. India’s farmers plead – do not take away my family jewel to set up a nuclear plant.
6. Gujaratis worldwide like to know if the media can love all Chief Ministers as much they love Modi.
The thoughts expressed above a slice of satire. If I have offended any individual or group my sincere apologies in advance since that was never my intent.
On a serious note, some Indians are eager to declare India as the next superpower. We must learn from the Chinese who have underplayed their becoming the world’s second largest economy.
A nation i.e. confident of its abilities need not shout from the roof top to say 'We are the next Superpower' and behave like a man who brags about his competence. Vallabhbhai Patel did not give himself the titles 'Sardar' or 'Iron Man of India'. The people he worked with did. The title is a reflection of his contribution to India and tough decisions that defined India’s borders.
We must work quietly with the firm belief that you reap what you sow. India's time has started yet she has a long way to go. She must stop looking up to the world for appreciation or approval. The day India has truly arrived the World will speak to us differently. The humble and aware will sense the difference.
We must reach out to the world without letting our guard down. A strong nation is one that has the ability and will to fight but chooses to restrain itself till provoked.
We need to be patient, increase agricultural productivity, allow Indians to realize potential, acquire more companies abroad, share our wealth with the needy, derive strength from India’s past and remember these words of Sri Aurobindo: “Our first necessity, if India is to survive and do her appointed work in the world, is that the youth of India should learn to think, - to think on all subjects, to think independently, fruitfully, going to the heart of things, not stopped by their surface, free of prejudgments, shearing sophism and prejudice asunder as with a sharp sword, smiting down obscurantism of all kinds as with the mace of Bhima…”. (India’s Rebirth).
The author is founder www.esamskriti.com
First appeared in www.rediff.com