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Indian Economy: Growth -3
[url="http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/08/0812_030812_indiadinosaur.html"]New carnivorous dinosaur identified[/url]

[url="http://www.projectexploration.org/"]Indian abelisaur[/url]

New Indian dinosaur identified. Apparently Prez. Kalam is going to inaugrate the display of the skull today.
HH: If it's not relevant here let me know, I'll move this to the Misc thread.

Received via email (seems to about 2/3 months old) - nevertheless is good read:


Thought provoking speech by Azim Premji at the 37th Annual Convocation 2002, IIM, Ahmedabad

While change and uncertainty have always been a part of life, what has been shocking over the last year has been both the quantum and suddenness of change.

For many people who were cruising along on placid waters, the wind was knocked out of their sails. The entire logic of doing business was turned on its head. Not only business, but also every aspect of human life has been impacted by the change. What lies ahead is even more dynamic and uncertain. I would like to use this opportunity to share with you some of our own guiding principles of staying afloat in a changing world. This is based on our experience in Wipro. I hope you find them useful.

First, be alert for the first signs of change. Change descends on everyone equally; it is just that some realize it faster. Some changes are Sudden but many others are gradual. While sudden changes get attention because they are dramatic, it is the gradual changes that are ignored till it is too late. You must have all heard of story of the frog in boiling water. If the temperature of the water is suddenly increased, the frog realizes it and jumps out of the water. But if the temperature is very slowly increased, one degree at a time, the frog does not realize it till it boils to death. You must develop your own early warning system, which warns you of changes and calls your attention to it. In the case of change, being forewarned is being forearmed.

Second, anticipate change even when things are going right. Most people wait for something to go wrong before they think of change. It is like going to the doctor for a check up only when you are seriously sick or thinking of maintaining your vehicle only when it breaks down. The biggest enemy of future success is past success. When you succeed, you feel that you must be doing something right for it to happen. But when the parameters for success change, doing the same things may or may not continue to lead to success. Guard against complacency all the time. Complacency makes you blind to the early signals from the environment that something is going wrong.

Third, always look at the opportunities that change represents. Managing change has a lot to go with our own attitude towards it. It is Proverbial half-full or half empty glass approach. For every problem that change represents, there is an opportunity lurking in disguise somewhere. It is up to you to spot it before someone else does

Fourth, do no allow routines to become chains. For many of us the routine we have got accustomed to obstructs change. Routines represent our own zones of comfort. There is a sense of predictability about them. They have structured our time and even our thought in a certain way. While routines are useful, do not let them enslave you. Deliberately break out of them from time to time

Fifth, realize that fear of the unknown is natural. With change comes a feeling of insecurity. Many people believe that brave people are not afflicted by this malady. The truth is different. Every one feels the fear of unknown. Courage is not the absence of fear but the ability to manage fear without getting paralyzed. Feel the fear, but move on regardless.

Sixth, keep renewing yourself. This prepares you to anticipate change and be ready for it when it comes. Constantly ask yourself what new skills and competencies will be needed. Begin working on them before it becomes necessary and you will have a natural advantage. The greatest benefit of your education lies not only in what you have learnt, but in working how to learn. Formal education is the beginning of the journey of learning. Yet I do meet youngsters who feel that they have already learnt all there is to learn. You have to constantly learn about people and how to interact effectively with them. In the world of tomorrow, only those individuals and organizations will succeed who have mastered the art of rapid and on-going learning.

Seventh, surround yourself with people who are open to change. If you are always in the company of cynics, you will soon find yourself becoming like them. A cynic knows all the reasons why something cannot be done. Instead, spend time with people who have a "can-do" approach. Choose your advisors and mentors correctly. Pessimism is contagious, but then so is enthusiasm. In fact, reasonable optimism can be an amazing force multiplier.

Eighth, play to win. I have said this many times in the past. Playing to win is not the same as cutting corners. When you play to win, you Stretch yourself to your maximum and use all your potential. It also helps you to concentrate your energy on what you can influence instead of getting bogged down with the worry of what you cannot change. Do your best and leave the rest.

Ninth, respect yourself. The world will reward you on your successes. Success requires no explanation and failure permits none. But you need to respect yourself enough so that your self-confidence remains intact whether you succeed or fail. If you succeed 90 per cent of the time, you are doing fine. If you are succeeding all the time, you should ask yourself if you are taking enough risks. If you do not take enough risks, you may also be losing out on many opportunities. Think through but take the plunge. If some things do go wrong, learn from them. I came across this interesting story some time ago:

One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally he decided the animal was old and the well needed to be covered up anyway it just wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey. He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and begin to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone's amazement he quieted down. A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well and was astonished at! what he saw. With every shovel of dirt that fell on his back, the donkey was doing some thing amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up. As the farmer's neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and totted off! Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick is too not to get bogged down by it. We can get out of the deepest wells by not stopping. And by never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up!

Tenth, in spite of all the change around you, decide upon what you will never change: your core values. Take you time to decide what they are but once you do, do not compromise on them for any reason. Integrity is one such value. These have contributed to our success, including our parents and others from our society. All of us have a responsibility to utilize our potential for making our nation a better place for others, who may not be as well endowed as us, or as fortunate in having the opportunities that we have got. Let us do our bit, because doing one good deed can have multiple benefits not only for us but also for many others. Let me end my talk with a small story I came across some time back, which illustrates this very well.

This is a story of a poor Scottish farmer whose name was Fleming. One day, while trying to make a living for his family, he heard a cry for help coming from a nearby bog. He dropped his tools and ran to the bog. There, mired to his waist in black muck, was a terrified boy, screaming and struggling to free himself. Farmer Fleming saved the boy from what could have been a slow and terrifying death. The next day, a fancy carriage pulled up to the Scotsman's sparse surroundings. An elegantly dressed nobleman stepped out and introduced himself as the father of the boy Farmer Fleming had saved. "I want to repay you, "said the nobleman. " Yes," the farmer replied proudly. "I'll make you a deal. Let me take your son and give him a good education. If he's anything like his father, he'll grow to be a man you can be proud of." And that he did. In time, Farmer Fleming's son graduated from St. Mary's Hospital Medical School in London, and went on to become known throughout the world as the noted Sir Alexander Flem ing, the discoverer of Penicillin. Years afterward, the nobleman's son was stricken with pneumonia. What saved him? Penicillin. This is not the end. The nobleman's son also made a great contribution to society. For the nobleman was none other than Lord Randolph Churchill, and his son's name was Winston Churchill. Let us use all our talent, competence and energy for creating peace and happiness for the nation."
Indian restaurant in US gives free meals during blackout

New York: As New York reeled under a severe power cut, an Indian restaurant owner earned much praise for traditional Indian hospitality.

When the lights failed Thursday night, several restaurants downed shutters. Those that remained open doubled or tripled their prices but the stranded had nowhere else to go.

As ATM machines did not work and credit cards became useless, those with little cash had a tough time.

In this greedy jungle, Madras Mahal on Lexington Avenue, owned by Nitin Vyas, offered free meals to the hungry.

More importantly, it provided free cold water when the going rate for a small drinking water bottle was five dollars compared to usual one dollar.

The restaurant served rice with the Punjabi dish Channa-Bhatura and tea which was much in demand.

Even last afternoon, there was a queue of hungry people outside the restaurant waiting for a free meal. PTI

Source: [url="http://headlines.sify.com/2498news2.html?headline=Indian~restaurant~in~US~gives~free~meals~during~blackout"]Sify[/url]
I am not sure whether this is the appropriate thread for this. While the results of the survey are not surprising, they are nevertheless interesting.

[url="http://headlines.sify.com/2477news1.html?headline=Indian~women~want~s~e~x~only~on~wedding~night:~Survey"]Indian women want sex only on wedding night: Survey[/url]

New Delhi: Despite living next to erotic temple art in a land that produced the Kamasutra, it seems Indian women are not interested in sex, a survey by a leading newsmagazine suggests.

And premarital sex? Forget about it. Don't even think of talking about oral sex, the respondents to a weekend survey by India Today said.

Most Indian women are trapped between "propriety and pleasure," the survey of women aged 19 to 50 found.

"For 25 percent of women nationwide sexuality is still a problem area, treating it as they do with inexplicable indifference."

At least 41 percent of women polled said that they did not know or at least would not comment on oral sex. Frequent sex doesn't translate into better sex," the poll concluded.

"Only eight percent have sex daily. Masturbation and extramarital sex, associated with guilt across the world by women, have few takers in India," said the poll. A staggering 75 percent of Indian women never masturbated.

Women were interviewed in their homes in 10 cities across the world's second most populous nation by the newsmagazine and AC Nielsen's Org Marg.

As many as 2,305 women were interviewed. The survey report did not specify the margin of error. It found women in Chennai were most conservative, while Delhi women were comparatively happy to experiment in bed.

Overall, the survey showed most women still believed in traditional marriages and fidelity, although 67 percent claimed they would "talk and sort it out" if their partner strayed.

Even talking about sex is taboo in parts of India, the magazine found. The poll ran into some trouble in Jaipur, where "some questionnaires were torn and even police complaints registered."

In keeping with the conservative findings, the survey said 64 percent of Indian women did not approve of sex before marriage, which echoes responses to a survey conducted last year by The Week magazine and another by Outlook magazine.

The Outlook poll said 55 percent of Indian women not only wanted to be virgin brides but that they also wanted their men to be virgins before marriage.

The India Today survey did, however, note glaring inconsistencies in this year's poll. "Some women were willing to tick the number of partners they have had outside marriage. They know where their erogenous zones are and find oral sex and foreplay essential ingredients of gourmet sex," said the magazine.

"Some even masturbate in front of their lovers and for most orgasms are a must."
From SAAG.ORG (link: [url="http://www.saag.org/paper8/paper747.html)"]http://www.saag.org/paper8/paper747.html)[/url]

Can India Regain its Lost Glory?

Guest Column: By Rajesh Tembarai Krishnamachari

The last 15 years have witnessed dramatic developments in the Indian subcontinent. Economic liberalism has firmly placed India on the fast path to prosperity and progress, notwithstanding Pakistan's perennial corrosive proxy misadventure. Scholars have demolished the notion of any Aryan invasion, established the unparalleled achievements of our illustrious forefathers, and have veritably provided a new identity to the common people to take pride in their heritage, their culture and their past and of course their country. This has raised a pertinent query in many Indians' minds. Can we regain our lost glory and reclaim our position as a world leader in every sphere of influence?

My answer to this question would be a resounding YES.

Historical Perspective:

Let us take a brief look at the mind blowing accomplishments of the ancient Indians. We spoke arguably the most refined and grammatically precise language till date viz Sanskrit. The Chola kings ruled over a territory extending as far as modern day Indonesia. Kalidasa 's literary feats and Adi Sankara's theology (not to forget ontology and epistemology) make the works of the western scholars pale into insignificance. Indian mathematicians invented negative numbers in addition to zero and infinity. Aryabhatta, Bhaskarcharya and Varahamihira 's mathematical acumen and astrological insight have confounded modern researchers for the amazing precision that they exhibit. Udayana and other Jain thinkers excelled in Chemistry; while Katyayana and Panini's masterpieces on grammar still make the linguists drool over them. Kanada spoke of a theory of atoms which was extended to elementary particles by later Jain thinkers. It is not a mere coincidence that the concept of 'maya' is so starkingly similar to a modern physicist's conception of an all-pervasive invisible Higgs field.

Even in the middle ages, after the complete annihilation of the academic traditions of our country by marauding invaders and intolerant rulers, India was still better off. Visitors to Agra in Mughal times have described London and Paris as villages in front of it. As recently as in the early 1830s , Indians were involved in 30% of the world trade as compared to 1% by the United States.

Coming to the present, India stands at the threshold of a great future awaiting it. The transition from the Third World to the First World can be made within a 15 years time frame, if the people and the goverment realising their obligations towards posterity discharge their responsiblities sincerely and take concerted efforts in the direction of the achievement of the objective.

Economic Front:

Half of India's economic woes can be summarised by a solitary Jagdish Bhagwati statement :" By contrast, those countries that turned inward and had extensive regulations of all kinds on domestic economic decision-making in production, investment and innovation, are the countries that have really not done too well." Realising the long-term benefits of a purposeful integration into the global economy, the Indian government must embrace globalisation more firmly. Further cuts in tariffs and a removal of quantitative restrictions have to be effected. Foreign Direct Investment remains at distressingly low levels; 0.5% of GDP as against 5% for China. Simplifying the approvals process, removing regulatory impediments and improving the infrastructure would definitely attract more foreign capital inflows. The pace of economic reforms must not be allowed to slacken.

The factor and product markets need significant structural reforms. Industrial deregulation (including eliminating preferences for small-scale producers), and reforms in the agricultural and power sector would be steps in the right direction. Controls over prices of agricultural commodities should be abolished and the government would do well to stop selectively patronising farmers from certain states. Tariffs must be set at economically sensible levels, and distribution of power must be commercialised.

Food need not rot away in government godowns while millions starve in stark penury. The concept of Build-Own-Operate-Transfer (BOOT) must be encouraged. It is imperative on the GOI(Government of India) to reawaken the Keynesian-'animal spirits' of the private entrpreneurship.

Some serious steps must be taken to ensure that the BIMARU(Bihar+Madhya Pradesh+Rajasthan+Uttar Pradesh) states do not drag down the whole nation's economic indicators to a dismal level. The report of the Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council correctly notes that 'universal primary education is an effective anti-poverty measure that promotes equity.' GOI should actively promote literacy campaigns through the length and breadth of our vast nation.

As Stanley Fischer pointed out in the course of his talk in India last year, the most important lesson that we have learnt from the East Asian crisis is the importance of a strong and well-regulated financial sector. We must ensure that there is no political interference in private financial institutions. Problems with the UTI and other urban cooperatives reinforce the need for strengthening supervision and governance for the resolution of non-performing loans.

The World Health Organisation has documented in great detail the economic impact of human health. The innumerable amount of manhours lost to illness and disability could be easily averted by preventive measures that the GoI should undertake. Economic progress should be sustainable in the long run and this implies environmental concerns be given precedence over short-term pecuniary gains to a select mercenary group of benefactors. The GOI could concentrate its energies on widening the tax net rather than deepening it causing heartburn among the salaried class of this country.

Fiscal deficit must be curbed at the earliest. Reduction in subsidies and tax reform would be welcome initiatives in the direction. A burgeoning foreign exchange reserve (now in excess of $84 bn) could be used to pay back some high interest loans. Vast investments are needed in order to improve the basic infrastructure in India.

The pathetic power situation was highlighted rather bluntly by the Wipro chief recently in Bangalore. The Golden Quadrilateral project should give an impetus to the economy. China is today the fastest railway line laying country in the world. The Indians could take a leaf out of their notebook and implement similiar schemes.

The GOI should give an incentive to select industries like the hardware sector. Easing of customs and making it easier to export and import items would make India at least as competitive as, if not better than Thailand.

Political Front:

The ubiquitous corruption and the widespread criminalisation of politics especially in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh is a matter of great concern. The 'permit raj' which allowed the inept bureaucracy to make millions must be uprooted and eliminated. Educated people must be brought into Indian polity. There is presently a vicious cycle: Either educated people do not stand, and when they do, they are defeated by the all-powerful electorate. The politicians need to stay away from populist schemes like the late NT Rama Rao's infamous 2 Rs a Kg rice one. The people of India could also do without demagogues who wanted the GOI to award Rs 2000 Cr to Pakistan as compensation money for the Kargil war.

Communal amity is a sine qua non for progress and development of our country. The Gujarat experience should not recur. Our nation cannot progress if 15% of the population wants to destroy it. While minority rights must be safe guarded, politicians must restrain themselves from castigating the majority community for every ill in this country.

Capital punishment for rapists, murderers and corrupt ministers would be a welcome idea. The Islamic Shariat implemented into with the punishments meted out (Saudi-style) in the full glare of the public would deter even the most incorrigible of the wrong-doers.

Intellectual Front:

In this information age, knowledge is power. Reduction on foreign technological dependence is essential for safeguarding the nation's interests during any eventuality. The Indians in the last 25-30 years have demonstrated their capability to go beyond chalkboard diagrams and abstract theories to apply the concepts for practical purposes. Science & Technology self-reliance has to be achieved through successive steps of adaptation/indigenisation capability and product innovations.

While the Schumpeterian paradigm advocates an oligopolistic scenario over a purely competitive one; one must realise that barring the entry of new firms dampens the incentive of the involved concerns to innovate. National laboratories can be awakened from their half a century long slumber by making them survive more and more on sponsored research from industry. The IITs and the IISC must take a lead in this matter, and at least demonstrate an absorption of 'know-how' if not 'know-why'.

Making the Param series of Supercomputers has given a huge boost to the Indian scientific community. Further strides have to be made in missile and space technology. [The next war might be fought over water and it will be fought in space.] The development of a Nuclear Missile Shield by the US is an ominous indication of the insecurities that a prosperous nation faces today. The GOI appears to have underestimated the importance of indigenous fabrication and manufacture of chips; this lacuna should be recitfied. Standardisation of the unit sizes would aid the processes industry.

The 'Made in India' brand should be promoted similar to the way Japan projected it in the 70s. The newspapers must shed their negative and defeatist mentality and adopt a positive attitude. Project positive facts about our nation; refrain from portraying it as a country of beggars, and senile mendicants.

The 'great eminent secular historians' would be doing India an unparalleled favour by refraining from dubbing it 'a fascist, racist and communal nation ruled by despotic Hindu warmongering zealots' in stage-managed conferences in New York.

Strategic Front:

In a rapidly changing world, COMINT(Communication Intelligence) and TECHINT(Technical Intelligence) have superseded the traditional discipline of HUMINT(Human Intelligence). We no more need any permanent love affairs with any nation. Israeli cooperation suits our designs as we are faced with a common foe. The Jewish lobby in US could be of considerable use if its efforts and reach could be effectively utilised. The nefarious designs of the Chinese dragon have to tackled in a clever manner.

Working Groups for economic cooperation of the countries amongst the rim of the Indian Ocean should be established. India would also have to face the Pakistani crab mentality, which will prefer Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) to mutual progress. A good rapport with old allies like Malayasia, Egypt and Iraq would bolster India's case for a permanent Security Council seat.

India would have to reach out to protect the rights of its expatriate population in the rest of the world. A doctrine similiar to Monroe Doctrine taking countries like Nepal, Bhutan and Maldives under an Indian security cover would act as a leverage against growing Chinese hegemonistic designs. India cannot afford to remain neutral of any Fiji or Uganda type development.

Social Front:

India cannot go ahead with half of its population ie women steeped in medieval values and customs. Empowerment of women must be a top priority with the present dispensation; though it need not necessarily be attained through reservation in the parliament. Economic reservation has to replace the present scheme, the moment a fool-proof method of locating genuinely economically disadvantaged sections of society is established. Muslims have to be encouraged to provide secular education, inclusive of modern mathematics and science to their children along side Koranic instructions in madrassas.

Literacy rates are dismal, as are other indicators of human development. (India is 111th on the list slipping some 29 places in the last 30 years.) The looming catastrophe of AIDS must be countered actively using the official media. Interlinking of the rivers might provide a solution to the water problem plaguing many parts of the country today.


Though brief, various endeavours given, if undertaken could enable India to transmigrate from its current position to a formidable place within a brief time span of 15 years. There are bound to be impediments in the way like unforeseen calamities, intransigent psuedo-secular leaders and corrupt bureaucracy. There shall also be status quoist idealogues and privileged business groups who may be disadvantaged by any change in the present order. It is upto the Indian common folk to rise to this challenge and reciprocate in an appropriate measure. India cannot be driven ahead by a small group of ivory tower seated intellectuals. The feeling of nationhood and the emotion of collective responsiblity have to sink in to every Indian's psyche. Only a concerted effort by all of us can realise our fond dream of India surpassing every other nation in its way. Truly destiny and fate have thrown down the gauntlet and the ball is in the people's court.

(The writer is a Bangalore based young Graduate from IIT and can be reached at tk_rajesh_iitm@hotmail.com)
HH garu>> More here


[Image: Dinoskul_sml.jpg]

August 12, 2003

U-M researcher co-discovers horned dinosaur in India

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—A team that includes a University of Michigan paleontologist has identified from bones collected in India a stocky, carnivorous dinosaur with an unusual head crest.

The dinosaur belongs to a lineage of predatory dinosaurs known from the southern continents, and the discovery represents the first skull ever assembled of a dinosaur of any kind from India.

University of Michigan paleontologist Jeff Wilson co-led the team with Paul Sereno of the University of Chicago, Suresh Srivastava of the Geological Survey of India and Ashok Sahni of Panjab University. The research was funded by the National Geographic Society and the American Institute of Indian Studies.

“It’s fabulous to be able to see this dinosaur, which lived as the age
I am not sure whether this is the most appropriate thread, i guess at some point we need a thread on the economy.the url is by subscription only







NEW DELHI -- Is India finally set to join China as a powerful new economic growth engine for Asia? Judging by the speed at which economists are ratcheting up growth estimates here, it certainly looks that way.

Government officials are predicting that India's inflation-adjusted growth for the current fiscal year, which ends March 31, may "significantly exceed" New Delhi's earlier forecast of 6% growth and could approach 8%. Private investment firms concur, estimating growth of as much as 7.5% and citing the potential for even faster expansion down the road.

With economies in the U.S., Europe and Latin America still wobbly, India's emergence could be one of the world's most important economic-trend stories over the next two decades. More immediately, the growth explosions in India and China, the world's two most populous nations, signal an inevitable changing of the guard in Asia. East Asia's traditional tiger economics, in countries such as South Korea, have seen their export-driven models challenged by sluggish global trade.

Indians increasingly feel that their country has chosen the right balance of growing its domestic economy and its export economy at the same time. And no country, many Indians feel, is better positioned to profit from the global boom in information-technology services than their own.

Foreign capital is increasingly taking notice of India's growth. International portfolio investors have poured $3.65 billion into Indian equities so far this year -- up from $763 million for all of 2002 -- helping the country's main index rise by 50% since late April.

At the same time, private-equity firms, mainly from the U.S. and Europe, have injected $300 million to $500 million into Indian companies since January, according to the Indian Venture Capital Association, with the bulk of it in long-term capital commitments. Blue-chip U.S. investment houses such as Warburg Pincus, Citibank's private-equity arm and Carlyle Group are among those who have recently bought stakes in Indian companies, aiming to tap into the country's growing consumer class and its emergence as a center for software development and information-technology services.

"My bet is that India will begin to outperform China within the next five years," says Rajiv Lall of Warburg Pincus in New York, whose firm has invested roughly $600 million in India since 1993. In fact, Warburg Pincus is one of the few Wall Street firms that have placed a bigger bet on India than China. Warburg is currently in discussions to purchase a major stake in closely held food concern Radhakrishna Foodland Ltd., and Mr. Lall says his firm should close a number of Indian transactions in "the near future."

Positive Cyclical Factors

Economists cite several cyclical factors as contributors to India's growth this year. The country is enjoying an excellent monsoon season after last year's drought, providing hundreds of millions of farmers with more cash to buy everything from cellular phones to motorcycles. Meanwhile, companies are again investing significantly in their new production facilities, after many suffered from overcapacity following an anticipated boom in the mid-1990s that never materialized. A July survey of business confidence by a leading Indian institute showed the most optimistic outlook since mid-1995.

Important structural changes in the Indian economy are also driving consumption and investment patterns. Construction of everything from ports to telecommunications networks has accelerated and Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's support for a $10 billion nationwide road-construction program is expected to be a boon for cement and steel companies. Banks are reporting a 30% rise in loans to consumers and a 30%-35% increase in home mortgages, as they shift from focusing on corporate loans to the country's growing middle class, an estimated 250 million Indians.

These trends are filtering through to the wider economy. Car sales, for example, jumped 26% for April to August this year compared with the same period of 2002. "There are only six cars for every thousand people in India ... We can only grow," says Jagdish Khattar, chief executive of India's largest car manufacturer, Maruti Udyog Ltd., which produces 600,000 units annually.

As Indian companies reduce costs and focus on competing with foreign firms in India's increasingly open economy, their earnings are also improving. Investment banks such as Citigroup's Smith Barney are projecting earnings growth of 25% to 30% among top-tier Indian companies, as they benefit from cheaper credit and growing demand for their services and products from foreign companies. In addition to operating call-centers and back-office operations, Indian companies also are increasingly being tapped to produce high-end products such as auto components and pharmaceuticals.

"In our opinion, the frontline Indian companies have never been in better shape since liberalization began in 1991," declares a September report on the India economy by Smith Barney.

Despite such optimism, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank warn that India will struggle to reach its 8% annual growth target set out in the government's current Five-Year Plan without more rigorous reforms. They point to New Delhi's yawning budget deficit, which stood at more than 10% of gross domestic product in the past fiscal year. The World Bank projects that without strong efforts by New Delhi to raise tax revenues and cut spending on subsidies and civil-service salaries, the rising debt could stifle expansion and cap annual growth at 5%.

Impact of Debt Load

The World Bank and IMF aren't predicting a balance-of-payments crisis for India, as the government is holding $85 billion in foreign reserves and India is running a healthy current-account surplus. But World Bank officials do say New Delhi's debt load -- owed mainly to domestic lenders -- is undercutting the government's ability to fund new infrastructure and development programs. "Interest payments are crowding out public spending," says Mark Baird, who wrote this year's World Bank report on the Indian economy.

The World Bank and others are also pushing New Delhi to move more aggressively to open up the economy. Despite recent initiatives, they say India still maintains among the highest average tariff rates in the developing world. Steps to privatize state-owned companies have faced stiff resistance from labor unions and political parties. And caps on foreign investment in sectors such as retailing and the media have denied India a potentially hefty inflow of new funds.

"In India, it's the sectors where the government isn't interfering that are thriving," says Rishi Sahai, a principal founder of the Indian Venture Capital Association.

Write to Jay Solomon at jay.solomon@wsj.com

Updated September 25, 2003
When was USA's share of world GDP was in single digits and how long did they take to go from 1% to 10%? I believe their method of initial growth was mostly internal rather than export driven plus they have huge resources.
Obviously, before INDIA becomes a SP (Super Power), One of the Gandhiji's great dream of seeing India as a 'Graama Raajya' has to be implemented.

Kudo's to APJ for saying this publicly. The party that calls itself a follower of Gandhiji, should remember this in mind.

‘villages need urban amenities’ :cool

Focus on rural areas, says Kalam


From M K Chandra Bose

DH News Service KOCHI, Sept 26

President A PJ Abdul Kalam today presented an alternative model of development, Vision 2020, at an august gathering of over 160 business leaders from India and abroad. The shift in balance of development towards the village is the focus to make India a developed country by 2020.

The occasion was the CEO leadership summit held at the elegant auditorium of Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences in connection with the ongoing Amritavarsham-50. In the implementation of Vision 2020, the Math’s role will be limited to that of a facilitator. Amma always believed that rural development project had to focus on spiritualism.

“Our basic strategy for social and economic transformation of India towards its vision as developed society by 2020, would be a strong focus on providing urban amenities in rural areas in a most creative and cost effective manner,’’ the president said.

At the summit, the business leaders framed a practicable resolution to transform India into an economically secure and spiritually strong global leader within the framework of India 2020 vision. This vision has been encapsulated by the acronym PURA, Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas. Providing urban amenities in rural areas will attract professionals and businessmen by providing them better amenities. This could check migration to urban areas.

‘Sun needs no candle’

In her address, Amma said, “Our President mon (son) is deeply concerned about our country. Children, all of you know how to run your business. But what is important in life is Grace. Business is for life, but life should not become a business. The talents given by God are our wealth and wealth of the world. The sun does not need a candle. Likewise, God does not need anything from us. Today, poverty is the cause of evils like terrorism and prostitution. We can do a lot for the betterment of the situation.

President mon has a great dream for India and all of us should support his vision.”

This vision has five core areas: agriculture; education and healthcare; information and communication technology; infrastructure and self-reliance in critical technologies.

“Therefore, our basic strategy for social and economic transformation of India towards developed society by 2020 would be a strong focus on providing urban amenities in rural areas in the most creative and cost-effective manner. India’s consumption of food would have to double by 2020 whereas land availability for cultivation would further reduce. Fundamentally, our economic growth strategy would be to enhance wealth generation from the services sector, and most of it should happen in rural areas,” the president said.

“All development actions have to be activated in 580,000 villages, which have missed both the Industrial Revolution and Informational Technology Revolution and, in many of the states, even the first Green Revolution.”

Following the President’s talk, blueprints for the future were presented by the Hinduja Group; Mr Sabeer Bhatia, co-founder, Hotmail; and Mr Rajan Mittal, Director, AirTel. The CEOs were then divided into six groups to discuss the summit resolutions.

Other highlights of the summit included the launch of the India 2020 Centre for Societal Transformation and the launch of the Blueprint for four PURA projects including Bangalore Amrita-PURA by Mr B VJagdeesh, CEO, Netscaler. The project envisages development of Bagalur village near Bangalore.

RESOLUTIONS: Over 160 global CEOs and business leaders from India who literally worked round the clock on Thursday and Friday presented their commitment to transform India into an economically secure, spiritually strong global leader late in the evening. The CEO resolution was presented to the president by Mr C K Prahlad, management guru, on behalf of the CEOs. A core group has been formed to initiate to initiate and initiate the process.

The CEO summit formulated the following resolutions:

We agree with the India 2020 Vision. We think it is doable.

We believe that we can mobilise the efforts for the entire Indian Family across the globe. We believe that it is motivational and directional. We believe it is a win-win strategy-win for the rich and win for the poor, win for India and win for the world.

We believe that the intent of the resolution can be widely shared. We believe that we can create the same energising moments as when man lnded on the moon.

We believe that our focus will not only be on rural poor but also on urban poor. Welcoming the core group idea, Dr Kalam said in a lighter vein: ''My term is up to 2007 and I have to market 'India 2020' by 2007.” :ind
Uniform Civil Code essential: Kalam

September 29, 2003 19:48 IST

President A P J Abdul Kalam on Monday said the Uniform Civil Code was essential for a country like India with a billion people.

The President's comments on the Uniform Civil Code came during an interactive session with school children in Chandigarh.

Stressing on the need to make India a developed nation by 2020, he hailed the launch of INSAT-3E on Sunday as another milestone in the country's space communication.

He said India's Moon Mission and Mars exploration would be another area where success would be achieved.

"We have to make India economically strong, technologically advanced and prosperous," Kalam said.

Asked what was the most important thing that would help India earn a place among the world's developed countries, he said education for all and employment generation were the key factors.

"Education, particularly girls' education, is very important We must also generate employment for several of our unemployed. I believe these are the two most important factors," he said.

The cost of education has to come down to make it affordable for all, the President said.

On the reservation policy, he explained to the students, drawn from 120 schools in the Union Territory, that in the Constitution there is a provision that certain people need help.

"I believe in due course of time merit will have to play an important role," he added.

Special schools where computer education can be imparted to physically challenged children should come up immediately, Kalam said responding to a question by a blind student.

To another question, he said there was a law to deal with child labour. "Child labour is a crime. Many governmental and social organisations are working in this direction," he said.

The President also called for a movement to curb corruption in society and said, "You can make any number of laws to remove corruption but only three people -- father, mother and teacher -- have a great role to play to put an end to this menace."

Urging the students to develop curiosity and thinking power, he said, "Thinking is progress. Non-thinking is stagnation to the individual, organisation and the country. Thinking leads to action..."

Talking of his association with his guru Dr Vikram Sarabhai, he recalled a student in Kochi asking him to select one achievement that provided him happiness and contentment.

He said the most joyous occasion was when Dr Sarabhai asked him to build India's first satellite and when he finally succeeded in putting it into orbit.

The next most joyous occasion was when Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee announced this year of India's 2020 plan -- to make the country a developed one, he added.
Another one from APJ ....

This should please Rahul Mehta if he is sneeking around !

Kalam for on-the-spot justice

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29

The President, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, today described judiciary as a prime pillar of the democratic set-up and said it should be able to administer natural justice with speed and nobility.


“The rate of change of national development was directly proportional to the speed and quality of justice delivered with nobility”, observed Dr Kalam while inaugurating a two-day international legal conference being organised here by the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The President departed from his prepared text of speech to cite an incident which took place in Madurai 1,500 years ago to emphasise the point that any miscarriage of justice could lead to unpredictable consequences.

He quoted a Tamil epic to emphasise that “people who are in high and responsible positions, if they go against righteousness, the righteousness itself will get transformed into a destroyer. Whoever deviates from righteousness, whether they are individual or states, they are responsible for their own actions”.
India entering golden era: Deutsche CEO

Thursday, 09 October , 2003, 07:42

“Discover India. Not the India of yore known for its spiritual traditions but `India of the 21st century', a country on the move," said Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Prime Minister, addressing a gathering of businessmen and State heads at the Asean Business and Investment Summit in Bali on Tuesday.

[url="http://architecture.about.com/library/weekly/aanewtallbuildingsb.htm"]India to have the tallest building in the world[/url]
K. Ram, Maharishi's proposal for San Paolo, Brazil.


Pritish Nandy

A drain inspector's report

There was a time when everyone frowned on India. Including us.

Everything was wrong with India. We hated her rags and yet, at the same time, we resented the rich and went out of our way to harass those who created wealth. With unreasonable and punishing taxes. With regulations that crushed all initiative and enterprise.

We complained about the roads, the phones, the buses, the trains, the hospitals, the distribution of foodgrains. Yet we insisted that all these should remain firmly in the hands of the State. A lazy, corrupt, bestial State, as we described it. Yet we allowed it to control everything and become more and more arrogant, more and more corrupt, more and more wicked.

We were bitter about how government servants, from the lowliest peon to the all powerful prime minister, were busy stashing away personal wealth and ignoring the problems of the common citizen. We complained about their callousness, their highhandedness, the sheer brutality with which they treated us ordinary people. At the same time, we wanted our children to grow up and join government service. Even though we were so critical of the government, we applauded when the State hijacked more and more powers, more and more authority in the name of socialism and a welfare society. Ofcourse, the only welfare this society was interested in was the welfare of its corrupt babus and criminal netas.

There was simply no doubt that India was sick, very sick. Yet we were busy hanging up portraits of politicians on our walls and telling our children how wonderful they were, how they had fought for freedom and self reliance, how they were busy building the temples of modern India. And what were these temples of modern India? Big, ugly, polluting factories that churned out rotten, substandard products and employed thousands of untrained people who emerged as vote banks for those who provided them jobs. Jobs which they did badly even as they kept upping their demands, rendering most of the factories sick and inefficient.

There was all round anger and resentment. All round mediocrity. All round disappointment with the way we were going. Those who lived here hated India.

Those who came to visit India hated her even more. She was a nation on the skid.

The nineties began to change all that. Economic bankruptcy was no longer seen as fashionable. Liberalisation, slow as it was, slowly began to change our attitude towards the creation of wealth. And even though Narasimha Rao himself got trapped in the vortex of his own corruption and bribery we were lucky that subsequent governments persisted with the reforms he initiated. Sometimes fast, sometimes slow. But the reforms continued, largely because weak, waffling governments at the Centre made it impossible to roll them back.

India was lucky.

She was even luckier when Atal Bihari Vajpayee came to power and, instead of succumbing to the internal pressures groups within the BJP who were (once again) talking about swadeshi and self reliance, euphemisms for going back to the licence raj where everybody in government could make a fast buck, he pushed ahead with reforms and in fact accelerated the pace of change. Dismantling more and more state controls in the process and returning freedom, as it were, to the people of India.

In retrospect, it is difficult to say which were the worst years of slavery and colonization for India. Three hundred years of Muslim rule or two hundred years of British imperialism? Or, sadly, the 45 years of the Nehru-Gandhi dynastic rule when we lived with the pretence that we were free. Dressed in elaborate chains, we spoke of socialism and non-alignment with the ardour of slaves who were taught that freedom was a dangerous idea that only helped the rich and the powerful.

Thank God, that is all over now. Whatever may be the failures of the Vajpayee era, it will be remembered as that period when India started dismantling a corrupt and lazy empire of crime masquerading as a benevolent, welfare State and returned freedom to her people. It was the time when enormous wealth was created, when taxes were paid because they were reasonable, when people realised that profit was not such a dirty word after all. When excellence entered our lexicon.

It was the time when India began to realize her full potential. When she figured out that she was not a Third World nation, as the Nehrus and Gandhis had preached, equating us with Yugoslavia and Egypt. We realized that we had the talent, the wealth, the ability to be a first world nation if we wanted to and the fact that millions of Indians were still defecating on railway tracks or living below the poverty line was not exactly inimical to change or success.

That is why you see less Indians complaining today. You see them going out and doing things and doing them so well that the whole world has woken up to our talent. Leading international corporates, global banks are now headed by

Indian professionals. The sexiest start-ups in Silicon Valley are spearheaded by Indians. Some of them first generation literate. Some of the richest men in the world are, in fact, Indians today. Measured dollar for dollar, wealth for wealth.

The fact that apna Azim Premji who lives in Bangalore is richer than the Queen of England or Gururaj Deshpande (having created a new start-up, barely a year old) has acquired wealth faster than the Sultan of Brunei in the past year are indications that Indians are a lot smarter, a lot more hard working and a damned sight more ingenious than most. Give us one more generation of free Indians and you will see how the pattern of wealth changes globally.

What is doubly satisfying is the fact that most Indians who have succeeded overseas are ready to share their ideas, their wealth with people back home.

In other words, the Great Indian Diaspora is growing. Give us five more years and you will find an amazing change in our equation with the rest of the world.

Five years ago when I persuaded Captain Krishnan Nair of The Leela to set up

India's first cybercafe little did we realize how quickly and fundamentally dot com would change India. The critics carped and said it would take us a century to catch up with the internet population in the US. Today Indians use e-mail more than any other community in the world. There are more Indians working for the knowledge economy than any other people. Soon all businesses requiring talent, skill, ingenuity, technology, service will not be able to do without us. We can leave making steel and cement to the rest of the world.

All this has happened because we chose freedom and democracy as the key metaphors of change. Unlike our neighbours. This is what set us apart. We did not chase short cuts. We stuck to democracy and the rule of law. Yes, we faltered. We faltered many times. We made many mistakes. We allowed, at times, fundamentalist ideas to flourish side by side with liberal convictions. We banned Rushdie when he hurt Muslim sentiments. We rapped Husain on the knuckles when he painted Saraswati naked.

But whatever our failures may be, we allowed a thousand flowers to bloom, a hundred schools of thought to contend. This is what has now paid off. We are today right in the midst of a flourishing new era, an era of far greater self confidence than we have ever had. That is possibly why we get so worked up with Deepa Mehta. We have nothing against her films but we are sick and tired of a mindset that sees only squalor and disease, pain and failure in modern India and wants to export this image to the rest of the world.

No, George Lucas, this is no lone individual's battle against an insensate, unreasonable, fascist State. It is, in fact, exactly the opposite. It is an attempt to commercially exploit a false, misleading image of India to win encomiums in the West. A West that loves to see us as we once were. A nation of losers.

We are no longer losers. We are no longer a sick nation, teetering on the edge of bankruptcy and shackling its people to a cantankerous, obsolete socialist ideology. We are a free nation today, trying to redesign our future and our lives. There is still much to be done, ofcourse. I am sure there are many lonely wives finding solace in each other's arms. I am sure there are many poor widows in Varanasi whoring for a livelihood. There is no shame in admitting that.

But surely there is much more to India today than its failures, its aberrations and that is why there are many people like me who are neither bigots nor religious fanatics nor supporters of the VHP who feel that Deepa Mehta must stop selling such sick, prejudiced pornography to the world, as Katherine Mayo once did, to make India wince in public.

The idea is not to curb Mehta's free spirit as a creative artist. She is most welcome to peddle her brand of pornography wherever she wants. She is welcome to see India through the eyes of a drain inspector. But, then, she must also be ready for the backlash of public opinion. In a democratic society you have to live with that. You can mock such opinion as traditional, unduly conservative. But it reflects in its own way, as it ought to, what people feel about their country, their society, their

religion, their values.

It is fashionable for the creative elite to treat such opinion with contempt. But then they must be also ready to face the consequences. We are poor. Many among us are uneducated. Some of us may even be lesbians and whores. But we still love India and will not allow it to be denigrated by someone out to make a quick buck.

:ind :guitar
k.ram ,

isn't it true some indians who are now NRIs left India years before due to this frustration to make bucks in US and other countries?

I want to know what NRIs think today about india?...do they hold same image today about india as corrupt and hopeless?...because i didn't saw any NRI coming back and investing in india.....am i wrong? <img src='http://www.india-forum.com/forums/public/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/sad.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt='Sad' />
[quote name='tovishal2003' date='Oct 25 2003, 12:35 AM'] k.ram ,

isn't it true some indians who are now NRIs left India years before due to this frustration to make bucks in US and other countries?

I want to know what NRIs think today about india?...do they hold same image today about india as corrupt and hopeless?...because i didn't saw any NRI coming back and investing in india.....am i wrong? <img src='http://www.india-forum.com/forums/public/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/sad.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt='Sad' /> [/quote]


It is a very complex issue. I can only give my two cents and keep it very short for now. Yes, I left india for lot of reasons, heck I even had to change my name in INDIA to show that I am not a brahmin. Anyways, I am still willing and want to do everything for India and hinduism in India and here is good ol' USA. For people like me, India is a punyabhoomi now, not karmabhoomi anymore. Wish it could become both. However, yes there are lot of indians who want to invest in India from the west. I know Sri kaushal and HH and other can give you cogent and precise reasons for this phenomenon, but for now :beer
I didn't know where to post this? here or on the economy thread, to laugh at it or simply <img src='http://www.india-forum.com/forums/public/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/laugh.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':lol:' />

Anyway, u decide:

New World Of Guppies

Meet the globally mobile citizens of Gurgaon, the newest subspecies of the yuppies, who are creating a city within a city in a maze of malls, multinationals and Manhattan mores

By Kanika Gahlaut

South of south Delhi is defying all definitions. Time magazine declares it to be the symbol of New India and its young Big Spenders; its glass-and-chrome-dazzle offices inhabited by MNCs have economy watchers likening its hub to that of Silicon Valley in its pubescent energy; architects are brandishing its "walk-to-work culture" and its soaring, snot-green buildings as a "mini Singapore" of organised development.

"I feel I am stopping over in Zurich. You don't think you are in India."

Sona Kaur Airhostess with a Swiss airline, with her cousin

"Seventeen couples moved here after me, inspired by our quality of life."

Sumer Dutta CEO, Hewlett-Packard, playing golf with friends

For urban anthropologists, it is a curious example of cowdung capitalism. Buffalo and Benz share road space here. The Haryanvi and the high-rise cohabit. Both the Jat and the jet setter are marvelling at their luck. Who would have thought that a fringe town in O.P. Chautala's rustic Haryana, its closest claim to modernity till a decade ago host to the humble Maruti Suzuki offices, would be regarded as urban utopia?

In the seven years since Gurgaon saw its first skyscraper, high-rise buildings have gone up to 99, overtaking Delhi at 76, though its population is minuscule in comparison-barely two lakh to Delhi's one crore. Its globe-trotting residents compare it to foreign locations. "Sitting in the City Centre Mall is like being in Zurich," mutters Sona Kaur approvingly as she sips vanilla-flavoured cappuccino at the glassy mall, with 150 shops and seven movie screens. An airhostess with a Swiss airline, she shifted from Delhi to Sushant Lok in order to be close to the airport. Once a footnote in the Mahabharat-legend has it that Guru Dronacharya taught archery to the five Pandavas here-Gurgaon is now compared to Manhattan. There are as many types of people as there are reasons to move here. from the frequent traveller subspecies that resides in the snootily premium Laburnum building to the globally aspiring residents of its thousands of 20-something call-centre "chowkidar shift" employees. But when they cross over to the other side of the Ship Building-the blue-green monstrosity that indicates where Delhi ends and Gurgaon begins-irrespective of income bracket and social standing, they become the Guppies.


YUPPIES: Young upwardly mobile professionals in urban America in the 1980s who valued all things material. Their lifestyle led to the term "rat race".

PUPPIES: Not a professional-he "inherited dad's business"-he, with his decked-up Maruti and taste for Scotch, Punjabified the American dream. A Yuppy gone wonky.

GUPPIES: Gurgaon's upwardly mobile professional, with his global pursuits and snazzy local lifestyle, has made suburbia swing.

After the Yuppies of the 1980s and their Indian counterparts, the Puppies of the early 1990s, this is the latest subspecies of the upwardly mobile. The executive who works out from DLF Square Tower, "the highest building in Gurgaon at 90 m and 22 floors", as he will tell you, is one of them. As is the suburban siren, an English instructor at GE who shops at one of the twin towers of pleasure, the Metropolitan Mall or DT Malls. (In deference to the Guppies' needs, the malls close at 9.30 p.m., unheard of anywhere in the country, and Guppykids can be left in the mall crèche). Then there is the Ship Worshipper, the paan-chewing property dealer next door who has made his office into a mini-replica of the Gateway Tower or the Ship Building, "because people are more ready to do business if your office has an international look". On the map Gurgaon is a dot in Haryana, but the Guppy will marvel about how "this could be anywhere."


The Guppies come in various varieties, each with their own hang-ups and compulsions regarding suburban life


At night they work for America, by day they are American. The call-centre crowd earning Rs 8,000-Rs 14,000 a month, aged 18-25 years, are the pseudo yankees. They hail from towns such as Lucknow and Patna. Gurgaon is as close to their dream land, America, as they will get. They visit pubs over the weekend, watch American films at the multiplex and discover "American" relationships-live-in liaisons that have come as a culture shock to the residents of sectors 14 and 17, who rent out their barsatis to them.


If you live in Gurgaon, you do yoga. Says Usha Chengappa, yoga teacher at the uppity Golf Club and the less uppity South City Club: "Suburban lifestyle lends itself to yoga, with its pretty clubs, close at hand, and the ambience." The Nirvana Seekers need to drive home the point that their lifestyle is healthier than that of city dwellers. Being asana-aspirational gives you a leg up on the lifestyle ladder.


Her idea of bliss is finding a jar of Australian honey. Her husband's decision to leave Delhi and her kitty party friends was justified when she realised that besides broccoli and kadoo, the Supermart also delivers the rare jar of Australian honey. What's more, the order can be placed on phone. Since there is little by means of public transport-autorickshaws do not exist and Haryana Roadways is nuisance rather than conveyance in the Guppie scheme of things-her dependence on the phone, and on direct marketing ventures such as Amways, is high.


For the Gurgaon denizen, Metropolitan and Lifestyle represent victory over his Delhi counterpart. "The self-esteem of the resident of Gurgaon has risen in direct proportion to the occupancy in the malls," observes Nitin Bhayana, owner of Interiors Espania in Udyog Vihar. Since their advent, the Guppy housewife has dumped her Delhi friends, with whom she earlier did the South Ex, GK rounds and now only hangs out with new friends in Gurgaon. But what really gets snob-quotient going up as high as the skyscrapers is that Delhiites-the same species that once raised their eyebrows and said "Gurgaawan?!" in an accent when the Guppy gave out his address-now make their way here for shopping or movie-watching or even dinner at the American-styled The Fox, where crooners in micros belt out tunes while you lounge at the bar.

If his predecessor, the Puppy, was the Punjabi who thought he was American, the Guppy is the Global Citizen living in Gurgaon. The word global pops up almost like a badge-from the Global Business Park to the Global Pathways World School (which offers personal PCs to its students). An advertisement during the interval at the PVR cinema in the Metropolitan Mall sums it up best. Local flats are sold in "global" packages: "Italian tiles!", proclaims the accented voice, showing clips of yet more condominiums representing self-sufficient apartment living, "English upholstery! American bathroom fittings!" There is a city within this city for everyone, a piece of London or Malibu, New York or Singapore. When Chautala's promised casino comes here, they will have a piece of Las Vegas.

Delhi is no longer the Big Brother next door, but the fuddy-duddy distant uncle. The Guppy takes pride in his Manhattan mores. "Unlike in Delhi, where privilege is associated with the old-boy network, Gurgaon offers corporate facilities that are not hereditary," says Hardeep Singh, CEO, Cargill, who shifted his office from Chanakyapuri, forcing a majority of his employees to move residence as well. And while Singh himself may be teeing off at the Golf Course-which has a 1,500 membership costing Rs 9.5 lakh for 10 years, not within the reach of most of his employees-he sees no irony in that. "The basic luxuries of a good life are there," he says. "Shopping, eateries and club options, for corporates at all levels."

While there is no doubt that DLF built this model city, there is some dispute over who is making it rock. So if the NRIs who live in Garden Estate or the pilot families in Heritage Apartments bring to Gurgaon yet more global-while-living-in-India authenticity, the suburban CEO who left south Delhi in favour of a Rs 1 crore villa or a split-level penthouse in Gurgaon, will have you believe he created this urban haven. His power lies in his ability to move his employees' cheese. Forty and above, this breed is security obsessed (constantly talks about his "fully wired home"). His mode of transport is nothing less than a Lancer-there is a Maruti in the garage too, but that's for the maid to pick up fresh sabzi from the supermart. He restricts himself to get-togethers in other "fully wired" homes and will not be seen at Mojo, where he could find himself rubbing shoulders with junior executives-unless of course he hires the whole place for his party. The centre of socialising remains the Arnold Palmer-designed uppity Golf Club. The exclusivity-obsessed exec networks here, while wife, a spaghetti-top wearing suburban siren, swims at the Golf Course's Lagoon Pool or works out in the club's gym on equipment that come with TV monitors. Their children learn expensive hobbies like squash in glass back courts and riding (never to be called the more plebeian ''horse riding"). "The non-member does not exist for us," says Akash Ohri, pr manager in costly casual-gear and keds, with a snobbish air acquired during years of corporate schmoozing.

Sumer Dutta, ceo of Hewlett Packard, first mobilised his office, ordering it to shift to Gurgaon. Then he mobilised his social circuit. "When I sold my home in Greater Kailash four years ago, 17 couples followed me, inspired by our quality of life," he shrugs. "Qualify of life" for the CEOs of suburbia includes "chirping of birds", fauna following and "time saving". Datta's route between Unitech's Greenwood City, his private villa, and DLF Corporate Park, his office, takes five minutes (this includes dropping the Guppykid at Sri Ram, the school next door). He travels often-US for the weekend, Mumbai for a presentation-and the airport is close by. He last visited Delhi four months ago to attend a birthday party.

If the suburban CEO stakes claim to mobilising the exodus to Guppyville and the original inhabitant of Gurgaon, with his brand of jiski lathi uski bhains (whoever wields the stick owns the buffalo) philosophy, believes that because he lived here first he presides over it, it is the Suburban Swinger, the younger corporate, who believes that with the sheer numbers of his breed and his lifestyle he defines it.

The Suburban Swinger talks about his neighbour, the senior executive at J.W. Thompson, but is as likely to drop the names of buildings-"the one opposite Belvedere Towers". He points out the Golf Course, haloed in yellow at night and visible from any high-rise in Gurgaon, to visitors. Though he cannot avail of the facilities of this final symbol of Guppydom arrival, glory can be derived from association. Though the high-end apartments within the Golf Course are beyond his means, the more budget-friendly pads overlooking the complex is the property that he covets.

The Suburban Swinger is pad-proud. Between Windsor Place and Beverly Park, Richmond and Hamilton House and Regency Park, a cluster of DLF buildings, the sibling rivalry is ripe. They share their Community Centre-where Amaan and Aayan Ali Bangash and Mallika Sarabhai perform-but Richmond and Hamilton, costing about Rs 55 lakh, consider themselves more premium than Regency Park (costing about Rs 44 lakh). They have a pool, a gym and laundry facilities in the basement. Regency Park, boasting a 24 acre complex, considers its bonuses no less. The rwas battle it out over alleged crossovers into spaces, with dogs, maids and vegetable sellers included in this fight. The Guppy leans towards a Punjabification of apartment living. Never a dull moment for anyone, including the Dalmatian. Delhi no longer pops up in conversations. Having sold his home in west Delhi to move here, the Swinger enjoys his new symbols of Guppydom. And though some need to drive to Nehru Place for work (unlike the CEO, not all can order the company home), they are apologetic about this, complaining about the traffic "in town".

As DLF, Unitech, Ansal and other private builders clamber to meet the dreams of the suburbia seekers "at all levels", new malls go under construction and top-of-the-line gyms muscle for space. So do eating places, from the ubiquitous south Indian to high-end Thai and chains such as Chor Bizarre. Little wonder then that Mr and Mrs Suburban Swinger, who live in Heritage building, sandwiched between the three malls, have not cooked at home for the past two months. This is also turning into take-away town: of the 21 outlets of Dominos, the Gurgaon outlet, along with Saket, has come up as most profitable with 205 orders placed daily. Watering holes (11 at the last count) open every week, high-rises with full power back-ups, intercoms and security systems spring up on erstwhile cattle grazing land.

Cultural centres are being dreamed up. As Guppyworld's only eyesore, the roads, undergo maintenance, the Guppy's tolerance of those outside his orbit-those on The Other Side of the potholed MG Road or the truck-infested NH1-wears thin. Guppyville, pronounced "Gurgawan" before its glorification, promises to become so insulated in its globality that you almost expect someone demanding to see your visa at the border.

I don't know if it deserves the thread of itself ...

From Anirdam Banerjee ..


A Lakshman Rekha for journalists?

By Arindam Banerjee
Wednesday, 28 January , 2004, 05:12

Thumbing through the pages on the Deccan Chronicle site, I happened to scan an article on 'PM vs Sonia'. The article itself was not worth writing home about – it was just the 316th such analysis of why Vajpayee's BJP succeeded and Sonia's team failed at the recently concluded Assembly elections. | From The Archives: State Polls 2003 |
Nevertheless, two words of one sentence in the whole article kicked me painfully in the shins. I had just run into a phrase that I'd hoped I would never have to see in an Indian newspaper. The author proclaimed: "He consults all for a feedback, makes up his own mind, and then acts with the Brahminical deviousness for which he is renowned."

The funny thing is - I'm sure that the lady has never met my father – but, yet she feels free to call him devious – a trait, I've never seen in him. OK, OK - I can get over the fact that the lady writer let slip her latent bigotry by stereotyping all Brahmins as devious, including people I personally know very well. I can even handle the rather troublesome issue that in most cases, had any insane Indian journalist dared to color an entire group of people, say Sunni Muslims or Catholics, with such verbiage, a competent editor would promptly have snipped out the phrase. But, there's a much bigger issue here?

Question is - for us journalists, columnists and various forms of media participants, where is the line? Where is the 'Lakshman Rekha' that we must not cross? Equally important - if such a hypothetical line is crossed, as was done in this fetid piece of writing, how should the system of editors, newspapers and the journalist community react? Remember, the writer and the writing was never criticised or apologised for, in this case. | Discuss: Lakshman rekha for journalists? |

Now, before the peanut gallery lapses into 'arre yaar – this is a free country only – bolne do usko – freedom of press hai na?'. Sure, the writer is welcome to spew expletives in private, or even do so in public, using her own resources. But, what she should not automatically have is free access to a mass media forum, such as a widely distributed newspaper, to spew her venom. Free speech and a free press are mandatory for our democracy but free access to a mass media forum to spew out bigotry is NOT.

Let me explain what I mean. Two Sundays ago, a well-known TV presenter in the UK, Robert Kilroy-Silk wrote an article in the Sunday-Express. In it, not only did he put his foot in his mouth, but he pretty much swallowed it whole – essentially, labeling all Arabs in derogatory terms. Here's a report on what he said: Titled, 'We Owe Arabs Nothing,' the article stated, "Apart from oil - which was discovered, is produced and is paid for by the west - what do they contribute? Can you think of anything? Anything really useful? Anything really valuable? Something we really need, could not do without? No, nor can I. What do they think we feel about them? That we adore them for the way they murdered more than 3,000 civilians on September 11 and then danced in the hot, dusty streets to celebrate the murders? That we admire them for being suicide bombers, limb amputators, women repressors?" Sure, the bigotry flowed out of Kilroy – but the reaction in the UK, is interesting to note.

Various media outlets and the Muslim council of Britain criticised it, while BBC immediately took Kilroy-Silk’s show off the air "pending an investigation of his comments." The Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) has even brought in the police to consider whether the article might constitute an offence under the Public Order Act.

No, No, No – I'm not suggesting that the writer from the Deccan Chronicle be thrown in jail. Far from it, in an openly free country, she has the right to say whatever she wants to say, however disgusting it may be. But, where are the checks and balances in our system to prevent or at least mitigate the effects of such writing? In Kilroy-Silk's case, more than half a dozen journalists and columnists wrote articles and short pieces, openly criticising this race baiting. The public mockery that Kilroy-Silk is living through is well deserved and exactly what should happen in any open society. In India, however, the writer at Deccan Chronicle, has had herself declared 'secular' and obtained a carte blanche for any kind of open bigotry – no criticism applies. The typical pat response from media community seems to be 'I agree with you 100 percent saar, but, we cannot criticise a fellow journalist!'

So, where is this mythical line for us, in India? Most people will agree that religious bigotry, such as labeling or stereotyping a whole group of people, is not cool. But, is it OK, to praise the perpetrators of genocide?

Well, oddly enough, a few weeks ago, we found an Assistant Editor of a national newspaper writing in the Daily Times of Lahore, doing exactly that. She tries to credit the 'bravery' of the perpetrators of one of the worst genocide in the past 50 years - a genocide that killed quite probably 2-3 million civilians in less than nine months; far surpassing the kill rate the Nazis achieved in six years of systematic gassing. She writes about the much vaunted Pakistani army of 1971: "The fighting men seem to have performed remarkably well against overwhelming odds. It is shocking, therefore, to discover that they were not received with honour by their nation on their return...the answers don't lie in unthinking vilification of the fighting men who performed so well in the war."

In her selective perfidy, she blithely skipped mentioning what the Pakistani army actually did do, such as: "The number of dead in Bangladesh in 1971 was almost certainly well into seven figures. It was one of the worst genocides of the World War II era, outstripping Rwanda (800,000 killed) and probably surpassing even Indonesia (one million to 1.5 million killed in 1965-66)."

As R J Rummel writes: "The human death toll over only 267 days was incredible. Just to give for five out of the 18 districts some incomplete statistics published in Bangladesh newspapers or by an Inquiry Committee, the Pakistani army killed 100,000 Bengalis in Dacca, 150,000 in Khulna, 75,000 in Jessore, 95,000 in Comilla, and 100,000 in Chittagong. For 18 districts the total is 1,247,000 killed. This was an incomplete toll, and to this day no one really knows the final toll. Some estimates of the democide [Rummel's "death by government"] are much lower -- one is of 300,000 dead -- but most range from one million to three million. ... The Pakistani army and allied paramilitary groups killed about one out of every 61 people in Pakistan overall; one out of every 25 Bengalis, Hindus, and others in East Pakistan. If the rate of killing for all of Pakistan is annualised over the years the Yahya martial law regime was in power (March 1969 to December 1971), then this one regime was more lethal than that of the Soviet Union, China under the communists, or Japan under the military (even through World War II)." (Rummel, Death By Government, p. 331.)

OK, here's a suggestion folks – try writing the same article, except switch out the phrases about the Pakistani army with references to the Nazi SS. The reaction in most western countries is not hard to predict - if the article ever manages to see the light of day, the editors and owners of the publication would be pilloried in public, and the writer will pretty much have to kiss his/her career goodbye. Unfortunately, in this case, neither happened. We find that the writer got subsequently published in a reputed Indian business magazine – no points taken off, it would seem, for praising the bravery of the perpetrators of genocide. Strangely enough – both the scenarios, so far are softball issues – most people will fume and cuss at such putrid writing. So, let's make the case a little harder.

Lately, the editor of the leading English daily in India has developed a fetish for promoting the secession of Kashmir from India, under the guise of loosening Indian sovereignty on Kashmir. We get the first hint of this, in an article called 'Zurich on the Jhelum' in the August 22, 2003 edition of the daily. Next we see a very similar proposal being pushed in a lead article (January 20, 2004) titled 'Make Kashmir a neutral space'. Of course, another writer in the same daily was a little more direct and openly asks the leading question "India has to realise that it cannot settle with the Valley Kashmiris on the basis of the situation that prevailed before 1990... Will India be willing to forgo or even dilute its sovereignty in the Valley?"

Note, that this is the editor of a newspaper that claims a daily distribution of six million or so. No follow-ups countering this point of view and no presentation of such mundane facts like – "what rewarding terrorism with territory, may do to our terrorist neighbour’s next-step ambitions" or "what would allowing Pakistan close to our river headwaters likely result in." | Discuss: How long will the Indo-Pak ceasefire last? |

Who cares about such mundane things about securing the water supply for hundreds of millions of Indians? Of course, it is quite possible that the editor fully understands that once such editorials are published in his newspaper, they'll automatically be picked up Pakistani and US newspapers as proof of an "Indian desire to settle Kashmir, even if it means loosening Indian sovereignty over it."

Sure, the editor of the rag in question has the freedom of press behind him. But, so do the editors of the other mainstream media houses. They were happy to lash out at Jaya's minions for their recent peccadilloes with the press as in this HT invective: "The Tamil Nadu Speaker's directive to arrest the publisher, editor, executive editor and senior journalists of The Hindu is a matter of concern as much for the public as it is for the press." Would they consider directing their corporate wrath, against some of their colleagues, who actively promote secession?

Another incident – another scenario – but, the same question. Here's what I'm talking about - a respected member of the Parliament, on a jaunt to Islamabad, took time out to laud the advances of the Pakistani economy. He writes "Shaukat Aziz... announces that the Pakistan economy in the current financial year, July 2002-June 2003, has recorded the fastest growth in South Asia. He does not say so but the sad fact is that they have overtaken India as we slide downwards and they slither up. Per capita income in the current fiscal year," he adds, "has risen by a double-digit figure..."; In the article, the author made three somewhat fraudulent claims:
1. Per capita income has gone up by a double digit figure
2. Pakistan recorded the fastest growth in S Asia.
3. "have overtaken India as we slide downwards and they slither up"

Fine, I'll agree that these are strictly not BIG lies, but subtle fudging of the truth, you know like:

* Indian per capita income has actually left Pakistani incomes behind and poverty in Pakistan has doubled, while in India it has almost halved in the past 15 years. An average Indian has gained 50 percent over their income in 1990, while the Pakistani's income has only grown only 13 percent in the same time.

* Pakistani growth without the $one billion of free oil from Saudi Arabia and about $one billion of grants and airbase rental from the US, would be about one percent, that is essentially a stagnant economy. India, on the other hand, is fuelling the rise of Asia, along with China.

* Even if he could not predict the 8.4 percent growth of the last quarter, the huge migration of jobs and companies to India over the past few years, is almost unparalleled, except in the case of China – no prizes for knowing this factoid.

The question - does this cross the line of journalistic ethics, according to you?

Surprisingly, some BJP types, who virulently oppose this same gentleman, find nothing wrong with the writer's fanciful writing, since "everyone knows he's a politician, so he has some freedom." OK, fine – I give up – so from now on, I'll handle articles by politician writers, the same way I treat Arundhati's scribbles – by, first calling a fact-checker! So, what is the solution to all this? First of all, the solution does NOT lie in getting the Government involved or even establishing new laws. That would surely defeat the purpose.

What, however, is necessary is to create a level of comfort in criticising other media organisations and personalities. This 'effective freedom' is a key part of why the Kilroy-Silk issue was handled well in the UK, while conversely, the Deccan Chronicle article was mishandled here. The prevailing mindset of "cannot criticise our colleagues in the media, yaar" needs a quiet and painless death. The change is happening in some circles, but has clearly left many a mainstream media house by.

Next, editors must recognise that what is good for the goose is good for the gander, too. For example, Bibhuti Bhushan Nandy reports in HT, that: "A recent article by Sharmila Bose (Ananda Bazaar Patrika, August 3) depicted Ram as an impotent wretch and Sita as a nymphomaniac." The question is, would the same publication feel comfortable publishing similar profanities about deities and prophets from other religions? Somehow, I do not think so! But, by publishing such nonsense, the publication forfeited any credibility that it had, in decrying the real fundoos. Nobody wants a battle on religious idiosyncrasies to be fought out on in newspaper articles and columns and editors should be the last people to start such wars. Here is a case where the editors and owners must step up to the internal policing required to maintain propriety.

A complete lack of balance on political issues has been a pet peeve of quite a few people. Tavleen Singh writing on the media fascination with Sonia states: "How much is Sonia Gandhi a real figure and how much a myth created by the media? This is a question that comes to my mind every time I see an interaction between her and Delhi's political journalists. The most recent one was last week when a gathering was arranged at the Parliament House annexe. It was clear that the country's most hardened hacks fell over themselves trying to get close to 'Madame' much as if she were a movie star. 'No questions, please, no questions, no questions, no television cameras,' her flustered flunkeys yelled but they need not have worried because when the questions did come they were so mild that any child could have answered them." | Discuss: Does Sonia Gandhi have leadership qualities? |

The ceaseless BJP bashing without any similar spotlight on the Congress and its leaders (except after the recent Assembly elections) has left the BJP hardened, and has allowed the Congress to continue living in la-la land. Who looses – the Indian democracy and the Indian voter, of course! In the end, they’re left without an effective opposition party. It is here that effective oversight committees formed from within the media are critical to rectify this imbalance – once again, no governmental oversight, please.

For example, media watchdog groups in the US often track and highlight the number of positive/negative references made by the various network news channels, about a Presidential candidate. Similar groups in India could track the number of positive and negative references about the BJP and Congress in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls; at least for the major media outlets.

In the end, I do recognise that, not every media house will draw the line, where I have drawn them and I do not expect them to, either. However, we all need to recognise that, just as freedom of expression and a free press, are the very legs that any true democracy stands on, the lack of propriety, unbalanced reporting and blatantly slanted facts can cut off these very legs, at the knees.

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