The Asian Century

Arun Maira, the chairman of the Boston Consulting Group who is one of India’s foremost leadership gurus, set out three scenarios for how India might end up in this, the Asian Century….

1) Wallowing Buffaloes:
India becomes like a group of buffaloes, wallowing in the mud. Everyone is doing their own thing, making great show of movement and energy, but not actually going anywhere.

2) Peacocks and Wolves:
Quoting an old saying, that ‘when the peacocks have fed we hope there is enough left for sparrows’, Mr Maira made the point that India needs not a ‘trickle down’ of wealth but a flood. The wolves in this analogy are the Naxalite rebels and the increasingly restless disenfranchised poor who are left prowling dangerously on the margins of society.

3) Fireflies:
…the insects can be seen swarming round trees at night in rural India, like natural fairylights. An amazing natural phenomenon. In this world “millions are working together, moving India from darkness into light.”

Peter Foster in New Delhi for The Telegraph asks, “Which, I wonder, will it be?”, and continues, “I’m going to have one final word on the nature of Indian democracy…”

“The fact that India’s impoverished millions vote out incumbent parties every five years because they’ve failed to improve their lives is not an expression of power, or even a demonstration of true ‘democracy in action’.

“On the contrary. Since the people feel that their lives don’t seem to be improving, and that the previous lot of politicians is no better than the next lot, it is the ultimate expression of powerlessness.”