Chinese Checkers

In my travels across the world, never have I been ever awed by the magnificence of their cities or their styles of lives or their culture – always insisting wherever we are as Indians – we are better. That was until the last two years since when I have been visiting China. There I have been under awe, surprised – nay saddened by what they have achieved and what we will probably never.

They have roads; the have telecommunications; they work their butts off; they don’t try to cheat you all the time, understand international standards and wow! They will off course, that must, raise the bogey of human  rights and abuse in the same sentence and the great firewall of China. What I saw though – no human rights were getting trampled; people seemed happy and no one looked like they had anything taken away. The internet was a bit iffy yes – but nothing really got in the way that much. I mean far less than the iffy ness we have at our end of the world. And the cell phone worked like  a dream – even in  the south china sea!

No I was not under a government minded program for western audiences and I was free and not under supervision and frankly they could not have cared for me. The people there eat a cuisine which might be a bit harsh on those attuned to eating a less vibrant variety of creepy crawly living creatures, but that is about it. Chances of Indian cuisine succeeding there in spite of novelty is not very strong. The French will eat tandoori before the Chinese will ever break out a roti or an idli. The visa systems are also fairly straightforward and permissive towards us Indians.

So what does it take – an absence of civil liberties and democracy, an insular system of dirigisme and yeah most of all that sounds bad and abominable to say the least but the mind is  set aflutter by the thought yes indeed it is. The Economist venerable paper that it is stated this week about China in its ‘leader’ (an editorial) Already a big idea has spread far beyond China: that geopolitics is now a bipolar affair, with America and China the only two that matter. Thus in London next month the real business will not be the G20 meeting but the “G2” summit between Presidents Barack Obama and Hu Jintao. This not only worries the Europeans, who, having got rid of George Bush’s unipolar politics, have no wish to see it replaced by a Pacific duopoly, and the Japanese, who have long been paranoid about their rivals in Asia. It also seems to be having an effect in Washington, where Congress’s fascination with America’s nearest rival risks acquiring a protectionist edge.

It will be I guess a cold day in hell before they say something like that about us? In the same article – they did have this to say about us and yeah it may have been lost in the rest ……China is in a more precarious situation than many Westerners think. The world is not bipolar and may never become so. The EU, for all its faults, is the world’s biggest economy. India’s population will overtake China’s. But that does not obscure the fact that China’s relative power is plainly growing—and both the West and China itself need to adjust to this. So yeah they maybe on top but it is a precarious top that in the current times of economic upheaval. But while the Chinese are trying to do something about it – the fact be stated – we are in the election mode where politicians think nothing about offering television sets as freebies; rice at prices that cannot be – thus taking in fact the contrary approach to what the need of the hour is! It is not a battle anymore to see who can be better – I think this is one battle that us Injuns have lost!

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About Soumya
A technology enthusiast, forever enamored by all that it hath wrought and of course here is an attempt at making sense of it all and perhaps simplifying it!

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