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Encyclopedia > Indian Century

The Indian Century is a term used to describe the growing power of India in the 21st century. It has become a more prominent feature amongst the speeches of the key government leaders, commercial and media commentators of India in the last year. February 2006 : ← - January - February - March - April - May - June - July - August - September - October - November - December- → 28 February 2006 (Tuesday) Al Askari Mosque bombing: Sixty-eight people have been killed so far today in Baghdad, Iraq. ... The 21st century is the century that began on 1 January 2001 and will last to 31 December 2100. ...

The concept of the Indian century is based on the capacity of India becoming the biggest economy of the 21st century. It has been claimed that various trends will make 21st an Asian Century. However, this is based on the assumption that China will become the biggest economy in the world based on the current economic growth trends, whilst Indian will become the third largest by 2020 on purchasing power parity and on international exchange rates by 2050. Asia is the largest continent on Earth with 60% of the human population. ...

The main argument for the possibility of an Indian century is based on the demographics of India - with the largest under 25 population of any country in the world (in a future global trend towards a much older population that is less dynamic in the labour market). This demographics will give India a bigger economic advantage than its neighbour, China. The result will be a higher rate of economic growth than China and this will eventually translate itself into India becoming the largest economy within the 21st century.

There are other comparative advantages of India that may enable it to perform better than China and overtake it as the leading economy in the world in the 21st centry: democracy versus dictatorship; cultural diversity versus cultural uniformity; greater philosophical and religious capacity. India's democracy acts as a channel of popular decision-making - with the freedom of 1.1 billion people to reject the ruling party and throw it out of office during elections. Professor Amartya Sen, the Nobel prize-winning economist, in a version of this thesis argued that famines were stopped by the power of democracy as a political system. On the other hand, it has been argued that China's dictatorship (or one party rule without national multi-party elections) may derail the economic growth trends through a failure by the system to acknowledge possible popular pressure points within the system. This scenerio is based on the possible successful occurrence of Tiananmen protests or a prolonged stalemate within China between popular democratic movements and an unelected elite group at the centre or fissure points within China's less developed provinces with a rural neglected population agitating against resources being concentrated in the hands of the few in urban areas. It has been suggested that Dictator be merged into this article or section. ...

India has had a long political tradition of managing cultural diversity of its population, with a powerful weighting of regional linguistic and ethnic groups, and an acccomodation of the beliefs of different religious groups in the concept of 'secularism' enshrined in its constitution. Post-Independence India has managed this cultural diversity through celebrating it and maintaining and balancing the legitimacy of different groups. This has given the Indian system a capacity to successfully manage and resolve tensions, when the diversity is under strain. The Indian system is more elastic than the Chinese system that has lesser experience and a more ideological approach to managing and resolving such tensions. This may become a barrier to China's economic growth, if the tensions lead to major demands for secession based on linguitic and ethnic diversity.

Philosophically, India also posesses a more open system, which has developed itself over several millennia. Buddhism was exported to the east, north and south (only very slightly to the west). India's main religion - Hinduism - is very pluralistic and multifarious in its mode of reference points and activities. It has several versions of non-harm ingrained to its philisophical traditions - including the one espoused by Mahatma Gandhi in his Jain religious concept of ahimsa (non-violence). It has modern religions such as Sikhism with their democratic and egalitarian concepts, which were synthesised from eastern religions and western religions (such as Islam). Equally, India has absorbed Western philosphical traditions such as Islam and Christianity. Furthermore, India has a tradition of giving persecuted religious groups home such as the Zoroastrians or Parsees (who migrated from Iran) as well as Jewish people and many sects of Islam as well as Tibetan Buddhists. It is the birthplace of many synthetic religions, which fuse other traditions togther - such as Emperor Asoka or Emperor Akbar or Maharajah Ranjit Singh or Mahatma Gandhi. The philosophical breadth of India enables it to draw on a very powerful ability to accommodate rather than fight ideological difference and create an environment of mutual respect. This is in contrast to the Chinese communist ideology, which seeks to impose a specific philosophical outlook on its population - which has clashes with other philosophical outlooks such as religion. Buddhism (Pāli Buddhadhamma or Sanskrit Bauddhadharma) is a religion and philosophy based on the teachings of the Buddha, Siddhārtha Gautama, who lived in the 5th century BCE. Buddhism spread throughout the ancient Indian sub-continent in the five centuries following his death, and propagated into Central, Southeast, and... This article is about the Hindu religion. ... Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Devanagari: मोहनदास करमचन्द गांधी; Gujarati: મોહનદાસ કરમચંદ ગાંધી; Telugu: మోహన్�దాస్ కరమ్�చంద్ గాంధీ; Tamil: மோஹன்தாஸ் கரம்சந்து காந்தீ; Kannada: ಮೋಹನ್�ದಾಸ್ ಕರಮ್�ಚಂದ್ ಗಾಂಧೀ) October 2, 1869 – January 30, 1948) was a major political and spiritual leader of India, and the Indian independence movement. ... JAIN is an activity within the Java Community Process, developing APIs for the creation of telephony (voice and data) services. ... Ahimsa is a religious concept which advocates non-violence and a respect for all life. ... The Golden Temple is a sacred shrine for Sikhs Sikhism (Punjabi: , ), is a monotheistic religion based on the teachings of ten Gurus who lived in northern India during the 16th and 17th centuries. ... Islam (Arabic: ; ( ) is a monotheistic faith and the worlds second-largest religion. ... The neutrality and factual accuracy of this section are disputed. ... Zoroastrianism was adapted from an earlier, polytheistic faith by Zarathushtra (Zoroaster) in Persia very roughly around 1000 BC (although, in the absence of written records, some scholars estimates are as late as 600 BC). ... The word Jew ( Hebrew: יהודי) is used in a wide number of ways, but generally refers to a follower of the Jewish faith, a child of a Jewish mother, or someone of Jewish descent with a connection to Jewish culture or ethnicity and often a combination of these attributes. ... This article is about Ashoka, the emperor. ... Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar (Persian: جلال الدین محمد اکبر), (alternative spellings include Jellaladin, Celalettin) also known as Akbar the Great (Akbār-e-Azam) (October 15, 1542 – October 27, 1605) was the ruler of the Mughal Empire from the time of his accession in 1556 until 1605. ... Maharaja Ranjit Singh (Punjabi: ), also called Sher-e-Punjab (The Lion of the Punjab) (1780-1839) was a Sikh ruler of the Punjab. ...

India will become the most populous country in the world according to population growth trends - with higher fertility rates - and on this criteria alone, it will be India's century. The population as a driver in economic development has been recognised by the idea of the purchasing power of the Indian middle class, which is sveral hundred million strong. It is also possible to extend this to the notion of India as a market of 1.1 billion purchasers - with a critical question posed as how to enable the whole of this population to become purchasers through enhancing the economic capacities of all of them (including in the rural areas or shanty towns surrounding major Indian cities). Shanty towns are units of irregular low-cost and self-constructed housing built on terrain seized and occupied illegally -- usually on lands belonging to third parties, most often located in the urban periphery of the cities. ...

Finally, India can be controversially regarded as a larger area - as an Indian sub-continent or South Asia - based on a pre-Independence geographical definition known as British India. Economic or infrastructure as well as cultural integration of this may result in this region of Asia and the world to become the centre for global economic activity. This idea has been referred to as Akhand Bharat but with its specific emphasis on religious uniformity - which is closely linked to creating single-ideology India (more totalitarianist than pluralist in character). The Indian subcontinent is the peninsular region of larger South Asia in which the nations of India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka as well as parts of Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and some disputed territory currently controlled by China are located. ... South Asia or Southern Asia is a southern geopolitical region of the Asian continent comprising territories on and in proximity to the Indian subcontinent. ... British India (otherwise known as The British Raj) was a historical period during which most of the Indian subcontinent, or present-day India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Myanmar, were under the colonial authority of the British Empire (Undivided India). ... Totalitarianism is a typology employed by political scientists, especially those in the field of comparative politics, to describe modern regimes in which the state regulates nearly every aspect of public and private behavior. ... In the social sciences, pluralism is a framework of interaction in which groups show sufficient respect and tolerance of each other, that they fruitfully coexist and interact without conflict or assimilation. ...

The political and unifying value of the concept of the Indian century is obvious: it acts to motivate and bring together the global Indian family for a purpose of the pursuit of the idea. It has a nationalist function. This can be regarded as positive nationalism - as India is a low income country with a great deal of poverty and its 1.1 billion population can act as force to achieve economic growth and wipe out poverty and solve major infrastructure and social problems. It could also be seen as a way to devalue the worth of other nations and peoples.

Arguably, the true Indian century is based on the political power of the India's immense population (through democracy), the power of Indians as consumers (as the purses of the so-called Indian market class continue to enlarge); the power of the Indian diaspora members through their success in the country of adoption as equal citiczens and high achievers and their investment in their homeland; India's foreign policy technocrats and economic policy experts, who strive to manage the process of India's global emergence with passion and by taking sensible decisions in the historical crossroads to invent workable roadmaps to peace and prosperity. Over a billion people mobilised by democracy with a youthful outlook and the determination to end poverty, who are armed with the tools of technocracy and open to global cooperation and investment in India can create an Indian century. It will be a bigger celebration than the famous Kumbh Mela. The 2001 Kumbh Mela. ...

Contrarily, India's poor, illiterate, shanty-town dwellers, socially oppressed women, India's ill and victims of child mortality, India's enslaved in lives of despair are all working to make the Indian century inevitable. Even a marginally successful Indian century will be an achievement for the world and for history - 1 billion less people facing life and death choices--sometimes daily, sometimes monthly and, for the lucky ranks of impoverished, sometimes only several times a year. It is an idea as powerful as the idea of communism by Karl Marx and capitalism by Adam Smith - the ideas of the old British and European century. The Indian century is an idea of the 21st - with its zeal, creativity, innovation and drive - centered on the billions of people of Asia. This article is about communism as a form of society and as a political movement. ... Karl Heinrich Marx (May 5, 1818 Trier, Germany – March 14, 1883 London) was an immensely influential German philosopher, political economist, and revolutionary. ... Capitalism has been defined in various, but similar, ways by different theorists. ... Adam Smith, FRSE (baptised June 5, 1723 – July 17, 1790) was a Scottish political economist and moral philosopher. ... Events and Trends Beginning of the Napoleonic Wars (1803 - 1815). ...

External links

  • Speech by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
  • "The Great Reverse - Part I" by Clyde Prestowitz
  • Speech by Indian Prime Minister Mnamohan Singh
  • [http://www.gs.com/insight/research/report/99.pdf Global Paper 99 BRICs Report by Goldman Sachs
  • [1] Foreign Policy Centre World set for 'an Indian Century'
  • [2] UBS on India's youth advantage
  • [3] Bush and India's religious diversity
  • [4] Defence of Religious Diversity by Former PM Vajpayee
  • [5] India's diversity website general
  • [www.esc.eu.int/sections/rex/ asia/india/rt/9/Zoya_Hasan_Paper_en.doc] Diversity and pluralism in India
  • [6] Congress document illustrating extent and breadth of economic and social development for over a billion people



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