On China

From the viewpoint of India, the US-China ‘boxing’ will cause an Indian broad smile. We, as Indians, are so glad to look at “our rival” to be “adequately taken care of.” I have not still come upon any addressing where – just for the heck of it – someone had contemplated an identical plot with India in the notoriety instead of China.

Pearl S. Buck’s book on China – the Good Earth – set in the 1930s, characterizes the Chinese and their state as abysmal.

Around the same time (1927), another American author, Katherine Mayo, wrote a book on India – Mother India, for which Gandhi had concluded as “Drain Inspector’s Report.” Readers (and nearly all non-readers) trashed the “fiction.” The book possesses many valid estimates of India and Indians. (Here)

The aim here is to draw out parallels between China and India. Both countries had launched with a nearly low base. It’s not that India squandered its opportunity, unlike China. It’s that, wherever China is now, India will be there in the future.

The point is not why India is slow vis-à-vis China’s accomplishment. Or what India should look at to get where China is now. The point is – what transpires when we become like China? How will the world counter India, next? What will India require gaining as it inches up the world prosperity ladder?

Recognizing the nasty-China narrative these days shows – power will counter. China, to the world these days, are rogue upstart that the powerful portion of the world has taken up the cudgels to control. It is a playbook. It is the power’s methods and strategies to counter, contain and thwart the claimants. Had India been in China’s place today, the reactions would have been similar. And when India will reach the top one day, the powers will repeat the same playbook.

China has arrived in power with most of the essential sectors achieved. It includes its military industrials, tech, hi-tech (read 5 nm chips) and pharma. The picture of China is not of rows and rows of workers sitting with sewing machines and spewing sweatshirts. It is a picture of a healthy population involved with future technologies.

There may have been a time when the world needed China for its cheap manufacturing. It is the demonstration of Chinese acumen and planning that they did not waste time turning into a “fulfilling centre.” It is quite noticeable that they used the money which they got from the world to create their modernization.

The attention of India should not be towards the West, but the North. That is where great things are happening. Indians are too pro-west, pro-English. We also adopt pro-west (thus anti-east) quotes and epithets for China. Indians mimic the west and mirror the envy and angst which they have towards the Chinese.

In fact, the west has a similar stance towards India too when they push their agenda that the Indian press is not free and our democracy is imperfect. And Indians have no Human-Rights. But, do we Indian really believe that?

But Indians believe the same for the Chinese – that their media is not free and their people don’t have human rights. This cannot be workable – that a country with 2nd largest economy is tyrannical. It’s got to have what it takes to be up there, isn’t it?

It’s time for India (and for the East) to do away with anti-China tilt. That does not mean becoming pro-China. It means becoming ‘with-China.’ A “with-China” stance will help Indian gain indigenous attitudes and not look towards the west for developing technologies. Modi’s “Make is India” is not that a success because the prevailing attitude induces Indians to look towards the West, either for new things and also for their certification.

To every App, China has an App. With every technology, China has an answer – better and cheaper. The West has made everyone believe that the Chinese have stolen substandard technology. We devote Indians love this narrative. It’s time we should call out these lies – for our own sake.