Monday, February 1, 2010

The elephant , the tiger , the cellphone and my musings - II The two sides of the Vindhyas..

I’ll continue with opinions on ST’s “the elephant , the tiger and the cellphone”. Mr Tharoor several times in his book states that he sees only South India making economic progress. He feels that it is South India that is India’s economic engine and is carrying the baggage of the rest of the country! Mr Tharoor , being in the government must surely have his facts right when he says this but somehow my opinion on this issue differs from his.
North India has produced some of India’s finest businessmen. These business leaders have generated wealth and employment for Indians. This fact certainly cannot be ignored. It is widely accepted that Gujarat has contributed more to the country’s economy than any other state could even imagine. Gujarati’s have gone on to assume important positions in several countries. Gujarat contributes to a major share of India’s diamond exports. The Gujarati and Punjabi Community in the USA have contributed a great deal in improving ties between the US and India. That is one of the reasons we are seeing so many NRI’s being awarded by the Padma Bushan. The current government’s mantra is simple – Anyone who helps improve India’s standing in the world would be awarded. The Sikh community has a significant presence in the UK and have generated ample employment and revenue. It is after looking at these facts that I am surprised with the stand taken by Mr Tharoor.

Another fact that cannot be ignored is that people from the north of the Vidhyas assume significant positions in the government machinery. The enthusiasm to join the IAS is greater among the youth in Bihar than in any other state. So it is important that Mr Tharoor clearly defines a metric with which he measures a state’s contribution to a country. In my opinion, it cannot be simply measured by the number of jobs generated by the Information Technology Sector, something that Mr Tharoor does. After all , the IT sector only caters to a million jobs in a country of 1.3 billion.

Another fact that cannot be ignored is that India allows the free movement of people. Hence it is impossible to state that South India’s progress or North India’s progress is only fuelled by people of that region. The Reliance and the Tata empires are run by some of the brightest minds from South India while some of the brightest engineers from north India contribute to the IT sector growth in Bangalore.
If you have read thus far, you would assume that I am a person from North India and hence my opinions. No I am what most people would call a “Madarasi” and I call myself a “Bangalorean”.

It would have been very glad if the whole concept of North Indians and South Indians and their respective contributions to the country would not have featured in the book. After all we are all Indians first.
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