More than sixty years ago, in the summer of 1948, the Indian nation, then newly-born, was struggling for its very survival. It was pierced from the left by the Communists, and pinched from the right by Hindu extremists. And there were other problems aplenty. Eight million refugees had to be resettled; provided with land, homes, employment and a sense of citizenship. Five hundred princely states had to be integrated, one by one, a process that involved much massaging of egos (for the Maharajas tended to think very highly of themselves), and just a little coercion. Few Indians now alive know how uncertain our future looked in the summer of 1948. The question then being asked everywhere was ‘Will India Survive?’ Now, sixty-four years down the road, that fearful query has been replaced by a far more hopeful one, namely, ‘Will India Become a Superpower?’
From the very dawn of history, whether it is for matters of the mind or material, India has always been a fertile land. The first references to astronomy are found in the Rig Veda which dates back to 2000 BC. Mathematics has its roots in the nearly 4,000 years old Vedic literature. Indians developed many important mathematical concepts, including the baseten decimal system. India’s Panini is well-regarded as the founder of linguistics, and his Sanskrit grammar is still considered to be the most sophisticated of any language in the world. Even in manufacturing, India had an important position. According to the Yale historian, Paul Kennedy, India accounted for roughly 25% of global industrial output in the 1770s. India’s tangible and intangible assets had always attracted external worshippers and warriors alike.
Today, India’s economic story is still impressive. The economy has been performing well, growing by an average 9% in the last three years. Many high-tech industries have emerged and grown in India. These include information technology and...