Even as you inhale the damp stench that emanates as you exit the newly revamped facade of Mumbai’s Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport and jump into a yellow and black taxi that thunders to a start, crackling, spouting fumes and jostling amongst Tata Nano’s and Toyota’s on Mumbai’s potholed roads, one wonders where the India shining avataar a political party had once painted has faded into. When business newspapers print glowing stories of India’s meteoric GDP rise or unprecedented industrial productivity, or when Indians hear of India sitting at the global high table at international summits, we wonder where all this blistering wealth is, where does all the rising FDI pour into and how is it improving the life of a common Indian who survives on lentils and rice.
But things are changing and for the better. Although they are small, steps are being taken, it’s that sometimes we who live in India’s metropolises don’t realise these alterations. While India might not change the skyline of a city in a year or stage a jaw dropping international games arena unlike its neighbour to the north, India has over the past few years taken strides for the better.
Curious about why so many Chinese companies were interested in India’s market potential in the last year, I asked a Chinese businessman who has been working in India for the past four years, ‘Why are so many Chinese companies interested in India all of a sudden?’ Its the market he responded matter of factly, you have over a billion people and growing. The number of Indian youth will soon outnumber the number of Chinese youth. But yet why India I asked, we can’t even build a bridge and we are so very cautious of Chinese companies? He responded – India has developed a lot even since I got here four years ago, many malls have sprung up and purchasing powers have risen manifold, plus we like your food he responded with a smile.
Having a Chinese person appreciate the country I thought was inferior to his, I took a step back, maybe India does have something going for it. Maybe it’s not what I can see, but its in the small changes that I cannot see. The internet and mobile phone revolution has transformed the way Indian’s do business, are entertained and even find a mate. Our soon to be launched identity cards will make sure every citizen is accounted for given an equal right to food and education. India’s second and third tier cities have been blessed with prosperity, the nation’s private sector has outdone itself, allowing competition to foster better quality and increased value to consumers. We usually pride ourselves in our democracy, freedom of speech and uncontrolled media, over China, however we fail to realise that Indians are also more innovative, entrepreneurial and have taken more companies global than China. Ultimately, it’s not a race of who comes first or who has the largest treasury, but which country does provide the best for its citizens – India is definitely Inchin Closer to that goal.