Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Rising India

With the US President George W. Bush's visit to India this week, several newsmagazines have covered the India story. The Newsweek's is probably the widest ranging one, with a long cover story, titled "India Rising", by Fareed Zakaria, one of the smartest commentators on international affairs. There are two accompanying articles: the first, by Keith Naughton, examines outsourcing:

as George W. Bush visits there this week, he'll find a maturing economy that is no longer all about call centers and basic tech support. Now big American investment banks and drugmakers are joining tech firms on the passage to India. R&D centers are springing up so fast that there's now a shortage of Indian engineers. And the stigma of outsourcing jobs to India is disappearing. American companies once afraid to put their names on the doors of their Indian offices now issue press releases touting their latest investments there. "American firms have gotten over their anxiety about India," says financial-services consultant Harrell Smith of Celent Communications. "Now the new anxiety is if you're not in India."
The other piece is by Jhumpa Lahiri who examines her 'two lives' as an 'Indian-American':

As I approach middle age, one plus one equals two, both in my work and in my daily existence. The traditions on either side of the hyphen dwell in me like siblings, still occasionally sparring, one outshining the other depending on the day. But like siblings they are intimately familiar with one another, forgiving and intertwined. When my husband and I were married five years ago in Calcutta we invited friends who had never been to India, and they came full of enthusiasm for a place I avoided talking about in my childhood, fearful of what people might say. Around non-Indian friends, I no longer feel compelled to hide the fact that I speak another language. I speak Bengali to my children, even though I lack the proficiency to teach them to read or write the language. As a child I sought perfection and so denied myself the claim to any identity. As an adult I accept that a bicultural upbringing is a rich but imperfect thing.

The Economist, too, has an India story, in which, curiously, the phrase 'Rising India' makes an appearance. However, it does not gush as much as the Newsweek does. In fact, it urges the US to take a hard line on nuclear cooperation. The New York Times too offers a similar advice in its editorial.

[Thanks to reader HalfDesi for the pointer to the Newsweek's coverage.]