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Celebrating Brand India

Surinder S. Jodhka

Edited by Sharif D. Rangnekar
Rupa and Co., New Delhi, 2005, pp. 188, Rs. 395.00


The reform processes initiated during the early years of 1990s brought about a major shift in India’s approach to economic development. The old Nehruvian model of mixed economy gave way to a market driven economy. Despite changes in the political regimes, the reform process has, more or less, continued unabated over the last 15 years or so. Though these processes of liberalization and globalization have attracted a good number of serious criticisms, locally and internationally, they continue to generate a sense of hype and excitement among its supporters.   The volume put together by Sharif Rangnekar can be seen as a good representative of such writings. Though the editor recognizes the continued problems in certain areas of Indian society, the book is essentially a celebration of the “new India”. It is not only in the sphere of economy that India is booming, the reforms have changed the face of India, its standing in the international arena, its representations, its self-image, and the manner in which middle class urban Indians look at themselves. In the global society today India is no longer seen as a land of snake charmers, elephants, maharajas and palaces. India is also not seen any longer as a country marked predominantly by corruption, poverty and starvation. In his introduction to the volume, the editor proudly claims, ‘there is a new brand, or definition, for India’. India today stands for a knowledge economy, a growing manufacturing sector, a mature democracy and the land of vibrant music, art and films.   Apart from the editor there are as many as 15 journalists and other analysts who have written for the volume. However, the nature of their contributions is rather uneven. While some of the chapters provide us with detailed analysis of the specific subjects they deal with, some are short comments. But they cover a large range of issues and go much beyond the counting of growth rates of the Indian economy. As would be expected of such writings, the book identifies information technology as the sector where this change became first visible. It was through the Indian software engineer that the “new India” began to be seen the world over. Though initially it was largely in the elite centers of software industry in countries like the United States where the skills of Indian professionals were recognized, information technology soon began to generate new opportunities within the country as well. The business ...

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