What does the author mean by India’s strange rise?
India’s ‘strange rise’ is a phrase which is the reader encounter on the title of the book, In Spite Of the Gods: the Rise of Modern India. It is hard to explain what the author meant by the phrase without looking into the detailed meaning of the whole title. It is also proper in the outset that the author wrote the book while living in India where he worked for the financial times in the period 2001 to 2006 in New Delhi. The contents of the book, In Spite Of the Gods: the Rise of Modern India, are therefore a first hand experience of the author. While living and working in new Delhi, Mr. Luce observed how a country respected by the international community for its economic strengths was among the highest in disparity between the rich/wealthy and mighty and the poor and vulnerable was very high. The title is therefore a paradox of the situation in India where despite its immense wealth many people are still very poor, more than or at similar levels with sub Saharan countries of Africa. It is with the awareness of the situation in the background that the author titles the book, In Spite Of the Gods: The Rise of Modern India. It is also worth noting that the author uses the word strange, this implies that it is not an ordinary rise. Compared to other countries, putting China and Japan in mind, India’s economic is strange because, unlike these other countries, it has left many Indians wallowing in poverty while widening the gap between the rich and the poor. This is a contradiction to other developing countries where development improves the living standards of people of all the classes uniformly. India experiences an annual growth of 8% hut only 1% of Indians get out poverty. It is about the unique pattern of development that the country has adopted. This does not only point to the fact that India’s economy is growing up, a fact which is pretty obvious, but to get the reader’s attention to see the unique growth of India. This is a special feature of china’s economic growth and makes it strange (Kulke & Rothermund 112).
Any one who is aware of the India’s economic growth can point out that the entire progress in economic growth is paradoxical. For example, within the same economy, there exists global multinational corporate like Yu telecommunications with the resources and power to influence international business conditions. A contrast in the same economy is marked by the presence of medieval cottage shops established by the poor entrepreneurs without adequate capital to begin large industries. The economic situation in India is unique because it is the only country where both multinational IT industries in service/high tech sea of villages and agrarian feudalism or peasantry cottages co exist and compliment each other. One sector relies on recycling the waste of the other to create cheaper goods and services for consumption of the low income earners (Luce 356).
The political situation of India has not left out in the mystery. In fact the political situation in India has made political scientists to raise questions like whether development leads to democracy or its democracy that leads to development. Unlike other countries n the neighborhood, India has maintained a stable democracy where citizens participate in choosing their government. This however has not changed the economic situation in the country. Traditional problems of India like national integration, identity crisis, public participation, problem legitimacy and penetration. These have been referred to as the chronic wounds of India because 60 years after independence the country has never been able to solve these problems. Indian major problems like language barrier, economic caste system, poverty and illiteracy continue to haunt the Indian leadership. It is a fact that elections are regularly held in india when electorates chose members of the parliament (both in lower and upper houses), the president and the prime minister. However, that’s usually the end of everything. It is the only forum where people participation is searched for. Even during these elections, religious believes, the class system, poverty and other obstacles safeguard the status quo. There is little chance of real change in India. It is for this reason that most politicians in India are sons and daughters of former politicians. Religious conflicts economically and politically have led to political and economic marginalization of Muslims in India. It is good to point out that around 14 per cent of Indians are Muslims but out this, only a mere 1 per cent have higher civil service jobs in the government and are employed at management positions in large multi national companies of India (Mitra & Singh 402).
In conclusion, the large disparity between Indians society in industries, democracy, level of access to land, difference in religion, literacy level and general level of education is what makes Luce to view India as strangely rising.
What's wrong with both the Congress Party and the BJP according to Edward Luce?
Unlike other contemporary authors, Edward Luce adopts a very objective of the congress party and BJP, which are the main political parties in the Indians country. He observes that the parties are dominated by traditional names who share the same traditional ideas of founders, ideas which are not related with the current global environment and can not offer or implement any reform agenda. This traditional approach is maintained by the two parties to ensure that they serve the interest of the elite alone. Edward is against contemporary authors perspective that disparities in India are as a result of a liberal economy. He observes that the government is in charge of a lot resource which it collects from citizens and businesses in form of taxes and those it finds from exploitation of natural resources. This makes government tenders to be a hot cake and a preserve of businessmen with good connections in the government. The ruling class on the other hand has to use all the means to maintain the status quo so that they can hold with a firm grip government tenders. The product of this shred interest among the elite members is a competition among members of the elite on how to get to power. The masses, who compose the majority are only reduced to voting robots who are only useful in times of elections. The business classes are not as disadvantaged as the poor because they can their way by paying bribes to government to secure their interest. According to Edward Luce, this situation has contributed so much to high gap that exist between the rich and the poor in India. It is also for the same reason that Indians do not have any hope with either political party that it will come to their rescue. The lack of political will between on either side of the government has led to regression, a problem of national integration, poor public participation in government policy, religious conflicts and other problems that have remained in India (Shively 213).
Edward Luce thinks that to reduce these disparities between communities an classes in India, the political class to take responsibility of past mistakes and stop blaming all the problems of India on colonialism. Once the political class has the good will and is willing to take responsibility, it should start by involving the poor, the minority religious and ethnic group and other marginalized segments in policy formulation. If there I public participation and goodwill from the government, equality in distribution of government resources will be achieved. This means that all citizens of India will benefit from government resources, a situation which will check the disparities among Indian communities. The government should also fight corruption within the government and outside the government (private sector) this will reduce government resources lost through corruption and these resources could be channeled in other development areas of the society (Tawa Lama-Rewal 412).
Finally, the government of India, according to Edward Luce, needs to give some special attention to marginalized communities more so those in the lowest level of the caste and those from Muslim communities. This special attention could be in the form of scholarships to poor but bright students to enable them complete their education. The government could also improve the quality of education in public schools located in marginalized areas by improving facilities and hiring more teachers to teach children from poor backgrounds. This will help them compete adequately with those from well to d families in the future.
Kulke, Hermann and D., Rothermund. A History of India. Rutledge. 2004. Print.
Luce, Edward. In Spite Of the Gods: The Strange Rise of Modern India. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2007. Print.
Mitra, Subrata and V. Singh. Democracy and Social Change in India: A Cross-Sectional Analysis of the National Electorate. New Delhi: Sage Publications, 1999. Print.
Shively, Phillips. Power and Choice: An Introduction to Political Science-Parliamentary Government in India. McGraw Hill Higher Education, 2008. Print.
Tawa Lama-Rewal, Stéphanie. "Studying Elections in India: Scientific and Political Debates". South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal, 3 (33), 12-18. 2008. Print.