This article must be trending very hot on many Indophiles’ and Indians’ twitter handles – both positively and negatively. It has been written by three American scholars belonging to AEI. India’s ‘Economic Times’ has headlined this article as such: “If China heads for stagnation, it may well be an Indian century”. It is incorrect and dangerous.
The authors of the original article are more careful. Well, ET header is not quite triumphalist. But, it is borderline. That is wholly misplaced and unnecessary. We have a very, very long way to go. We may not get there too. There are real issues – regardless of the government of the day implements sound policies or not. Water, fuel resource availability and environment and climate challenges are the chief ones I can think of.
I wrote a MINT column some months ago on the 21st Century. I wrote that the 21st Century would still belong to the West or to nobody. The consequences of the latter are grave. It is a warning of the likelihood of a repetition of the period between 1914 and 1945.
Indian governments must do the right things for India and Indians. If it turned out to be India’s century, then it must be accepted as a natural consequence of India doing the right things. Doing the right things is important and not the bragging rights to the 21st century.
Finally and most importantly, are Indians themselves ready to allow India to make the 21st century its own? To start with, the newspaper that chose to convert a question into a putative statement must ask the question of itself.
Then, there are very many sensible Indians – forget about the ones who have different agendas – who have lately revealed a remarkable hidden talent to miss the wood for the trees and have been busy nit-picking on the government.
Indians’ innate ability to self-destruct, to shoot themselves on their feet and to score self-goals should never be underestimated.