What is alike and different about the historical experience of India and China in the twentieth century? Which country offers the most useful model for development for poor countries today? Beginning in 1947, India kicked out the English and as a result of the English, India went from being the wealthiest nation in the world to one of the poorest! In the 1990s, socio- economic reforms led the country to becoming one of the engines of the world economy. Today, India is on the verge of regaining the prime position that it held throughout most of human history.
China, already a poor nation in 1914, went through the "great leap forward" - a socio - economic movement. Tens of millions of people died of starvation and political unrest and the country turned to communism. Over the century, the country became a low wage production centre hiring Chinese peasants for abominable wages and working in inhuman conditions! Today, China, with its strong military, is one of a few power centers in the world. China has been centrally run state through its history with limited periods of instability and lack of a single authority. India’s history has been exactly the reverse. There was only a short period of time when India was ruled over by a King or political authority, but in China’s case there was a deep desire for reunification of the country as a driving force of nationalism in the 20th century. In India’s case there never was any authority which has ruled over all of India.
Both India and China were a highly urban civilization by the 18th century. China was much advanced in science and technology, with gunpowder, printing, paper and paper currency as its inventions. India was known for its mathematics and its philosophy. Both were major exporters of fine textiles, silks and muslins; their ships sailed around the world and dominated the seas till 1500. After that the Chinese withdrew from the seas and while the Indians continued. Both India and...
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