India can now qualify to be a Senior Citizen (a person who has crossed roughly 60 years of age), being on its own for over 60 years after having gained independence from the British Raj in 1947. The battle that was fought over decades with the British and other colonizers like the French and Portuguese is now a memory of the past. It is something that comes up only sporadically when one reads a History textbook or comes across during the Republic day, Independence day or while surfing television channels.
From the time we have gained independence, it has been an exciting journey for the country to start walking as a toddler, stumble across the license raj, political instability and finally take mature steps towards industrialization and opening up of the economy in 1990’s with a stable government at the helm of affairs. This era of liberalization that current Prime Minster Dr. Manmohan Singh (he was the finance minister then) and Mr. P. V Narasimha Rao (he was the Prime Minister then) created, opened up an ocean of opportunities that continue to flood India across various sectors like IT, Telecom, Manufacturing, Automobiles, Aeroplans, Consumer Goods even today. This has definitely contributed in immeasurable ways to the growing confidence and self reliance of Indians on their own skills, hardwork, talent and entrepreneurial skills. We as a nation have hence overcome the self-doubts created by the colonial mindset unknowingly inherited from the British.
As I write this, the generation I belong to (age group between the 20’s and 35’s) is indeed fortunate to have the right platform to showcase our talent in this ocean of opportunities. Gone are the days when a job in a public sector company – like a Reserve Bank of India, Nuclear Power Corporation or Government was your license to retiring young and stay complacent. The today’s youth works in the swankiest of the organizations with air conditioners, Computers, Mobile phones and other perks like travel through aero planes to India and abroad than trains. He switches jobs faster, gets unhappy very soon has low patience levels to wait and watch. He wants to be in the midst of the action – to do, to drive and not to be driven around. He is in a period of time when the entire world is waking up and excited about the “India Story” and respects and looks at Indians in a different way than before. The acceptance from the West is indeed reassuring for the easterner, who reciprocates the feeling by being as Westernized as he can. He eats Pizza, has an IPod, plays his Wii, has an IBM Thinkpad and can get the latest of American / European brands in the nearest mall. If one is in the Information Technology (IT) industry, the perks get even better with an opportunity to travel to the Western World and enrich your personal and professional life. The global Indian (GI) gets to visit places that he dreamt of – Niagara Falls, Florida, Las Vegas, Big Behn, Florence, Rome, Switzerland during his journey of serving the Western World with their technology needs. And the GI works with customers or makes friends in Western World, he starts feeling more wanted because of this “Wow” factor that the world has for India. The GI saves most of his money in the foreign currency and repatriates it back home to India – which not only adds upto India’s Forex reserves, but also at times becomes the reason for sudden demand driven hike that leads to increase in real estate prices, inflation, gold prices etc.
The GI is indeed doing what the colonials did to India centuries ago – plundered the wealth of the foreign land he is in and repatriating it back home. The only difference being the GI is being a soldier without a sword and is not interested in gaining territories demarcated by physical boundaries. He is conquering his new horizons (markets / customers) by using a combination of the most intangibly significant inheritance from the British – English, intelligence and hard work. In return for conquering these horizons, he is providing services and enabling business in these horizons to transform themselves to the next level. If the colonial rulers plundered India of her wealth and in return gave bloodshed – this is exactly the opposite where you transform businesses and communities across the globe. This is GI’s and India’s soft power. The empires of the companies for which GI works are built across countries not by coup or force, but through business interests and focus to conquer unchartered territories. And in this journey to conquer the unconquered, the GI spreads India’s soft power.
Though in these times of a slow global recovery, there exist protectionist measures in different markets where governments are being socialistic in the name of capitalism – in the long run it would be difficult for the pseudo socialists to ignore the contribution by India and its sons and daughters in enhancing the competitiveness of their nations.
From the days of India being branded as the land of “farmers and snake charmers”, this is indeed a moment of pride to celebrate, treasure and spread further the message that “This is the right time to be an Indian”.