has new generation that can take on the world'
By Madhusree Chatterjee
Delhi, Sep 21 (IANS) Author Sanjeev Sanyal, whose new book
"The Indian Renaissance: India's Rise After a Thousand
Years of Decline" has just hit the stores, feels that
India is at a very extraordinary turning point.
book is a celebration of the economic boom. For the first
time in 1,000 years, we have a generation who can take on
the world. We had shrunk inwards after the 11th century since
crossing of the seas was banned. The inward looking socialist
policies protected ourselves from the evil external world,
but now there is a fundamental shift in the way we perceive
ourselves," Sanyal told IANS.
who works in the Deutsche Bank, was in India to promote his
book is a plea to make Indians realise the opportunity,"
argues Sanyal, is not a stray example. History is full of
such instances. "We are not the only civilisation who
removed our mind from the world. Europe did it at the end
of the Roman empire in the fifth century.
the early Christian Church consolidated its power in the fifth
century, it shut down centres of learning and persecuted scholars
for being too 'pagan'.
library of Alexandria and Plato's academy were forced to shut
down. Great voices were suppressed," he said.
said Sanyal, have from time to time taken the easy route to
shutting themselves off. "India did it a certain time,
not because we were dominated by foreign powers but because
we were closed-minded.
the early Muslim invasion of the 10th and 11th centuries,
we were open-minded. Foreign students came to study in India
and we were also the safe haven where political and social
refugees ran for shelter. We controlled 30 percent of the
global economy," he said.
author uses two dates as watersheds to describe India's rendezvous
with change - 1947 and 1991. "I think 1991 is more important.
In the years between 1947 and 1991, India went back to its
period of revision to an ancient mistake that it made in the
11th century. It just closed up," he said.
felt that Nehruvian model of socialism in the first decades
since independence was not the superstructure that carried
the country forward.
the very first day of Socialism, Licence Raj as a concept
came into force. Even B.R. Ambedkar refused to incorporate
the word socialist in the Constitution. It was like going
backward," Sanyal explained.
illustrates his point with Kolkata as an example. "Kolkata
best epitomises the thinking process. In the last 50 years,
it democratically elected to go backwards and closed itself
to the world, It needs to open up - and has several examples
like Raja Rammohan Roy, Rabindranath Tagore and Swami Vivekananda,
whose ideals need to be re-ignited. If it is unable to adapt
to change, then Kolkata is doomed to being a backwater,"
offers an effective model to market India - Bollywood. "Bollywood
is the new spirit, but not decidedly Indian in nature. It
steals ideas from others, shoots on foreign locations and
is a mongrel enterprise that is happy to innovate. But it
remains an Indian product. It is the best way to market India
to the world," the author held.
foresees a shift in demographic pattern in India, which might
move from primary subsistence agriculture in another four
decades to urban trades.
will become an urban majority country with both good and bad
consequences. Large-scale environmental degradation is a major
risk," Sanyal said.
recommends state intervention to contain pollution, more investment
in state generated energy and municipal governance.
will also become a 90 percent literate state by 2020 and might
replace China as a manufacturing hub," he said.
on globalisation, he said nothing was good or bad about it.
"It is for us to take advantage of globalisation and
see it in terms of opportunities and quest for excellence."
author believes that the world is not flat just because technology
allows us to connect to various points on the planet. Internet
is just a tool to the next stage of progress.
take advantage of the world, one needs the right attitude
towards innovation, change and risk-taking because it is the
key to consolidate in the new global order, he prescribed.
is not the external manifestation of technology. The Soviet
Union was a bad innovator though it had requisite technology
at its disposal," he said.
is also a case study. Even as it battles an economic downturn,
its future as a great power will continue with openness and
the ability to take risks. If it closes itself as a society,
it will go into a long decline. When things go wrong, it is
very easy to close yourself.
civilisations are those which believe in taking risks and
innovating even during times of crisis. Where the US goes
in the next 50 years will be determined by how it deals with
the ongoing economic crisis," the author said.
Chattejee can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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