Thursday, February 01, 2007

India arrives on the world stage - A cliché ah!! :-)

Enough column inches and air time have been spent on this singular event; post independent India's biggest acquisition! The venerated Indian behemoth of Tata's purchase of the hoary steel giant British Steel a.k.a Corus has all the trappings of a Bollywood movie; the poetic justice of David actually winning over a Goliath. The Indian air waves are filled with with the slights and insults the founders of Tata had to endure during the colonial days, the snippets about white man's cockiness, nuggets on colonial British arrogance and the perseverance of Jamshedji Tata as he went about creating Tata Steel. This corporate take over could well mark the true arrival of India's answer to GE, Citigroup etc. The Tata business house has an illustrious past, a past enriched with integrity, honesty and values (a rare breed in the hurly burly world of Indian business).As we raise toast to this high stakes acquisition, it is easy to fall prey to nationalistic feelings.

This article is not about the economics of this acquisition, the value of the buy, the nature of fundamentals regarding steel industry. This is not about whether Tata, seemingly over reached itself in the short term with debts in its bid to buy a company much larger in size. This is not about profits, losses or even about the intricacies of the business risk. Its about the attitude, it’s about India and Indians beginning to lose their essentially III world mentality about their place in this world. It’s about the ability to think big and execute. It’s something more profound than this acquisition. To me this purchase symbolizes the acquisition of something more valuable than Corus Inc, it’s the acquisition of self-confidence by a country and its business. An attribute that is infinitely more expensive than $13 billion and that had been lost on Indians for quite some time .

But India is a wounded civilization, destroyed and trampled by hordes of invaders from far corners of the globe. British imperialism destroyed the nation, making an economic powerhouse that was India to nothing more than a half ragged 3rd world nation. The idea of India and poverty became so intertwined that Indians and the rest of the world could be pardoned if they thought they were synonyms.

The scar of British imperialism was so deep, that the very idea that India contributed to more than 30% of the world's GDP before the Europeans arrived seemed like a mythical fairy tale. Indians were so used to tales of poverty, hunger and sickness...

India for more than three quarters of the last millennia India was the envy of the world's eyes, the source of knowledge, the fountainhead of great philosophies and host to incredible achievements in science, technology and social systems. Everybody from Mark Twain to Albert Einstein attest to this fact. But it was so systematically destroyed or negated that post independent India never really got off its feet. India lumbered through a majority of it post independent days mired in pathetic laws and shackled by red-tape.

The 21st century may be the time that the cycle turns full circle and India regains its rightful place in the comity of nations. It’s never too late to be great!!


Blogger Ragini said...

well said.....maybe these thoughts should be published where many more indians and prolly shilpa herself can read it..(that is if she can read n understand "english")


November 27, 2007 11:36 AM  
Anonymous Stefanie said...

Keep up the good work.

November 11, 2008 8:11 PM  

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