[pic] Book Review Reviewed by group – 18 Think India: The Rise of the World’s Next Superpower and What It Means for Every American By Vinay Rai and William L. Simon. Dutton Publications. Pages 284. Rs 495. “Deserves to be widely read by anyone who wants a proper understanding, of the great twenty-first century economic and political power that India promises to be” – BILL EMMOTT, former editor in chief of The Economist. One of the many reasons you pick a book is because of the author’s credentials, Think India by Vinay Rai and William L.
Simon is one such book. Vinay Rai is the son of Kulwant Rai, the founder of the House of Rai, one of India’s family owned conglomerates–which specialized in steel, telecommunications, hotels, and information technology. He studied electronics at MIT in the 1960s and then returned to India to eventually run the family businesses. He worked hard for 30 years growing the family business and by 1999 the Usha group had it reached to its peak, and made Rai appear in the listing of Forbes magazine 200 wealthiest people in the world.
Post 2000, when Usha group faltered and he was under indictment by Indian police who charged him with illegally shifting assets within his family business, Usha Group, and defrauding financial institutions during the dot-com boom; Rai who wanted to renounce worldly things was given the task to reform Indian education by his guru Sri Sai Baba. Since then Rai has become a vigorous campaigner for education in India and has set aside $150 million to create a foundation to support education, and set up Rai University, which now has 14 campuses and 9,000 students nationwide.
THINK INDIA is a good introduction to India, its culture, its rapid change towards modernization, its businesses, its political and economic reforms and reveals the forces and unique characteristics behind India’s amazing rise. The book is like a colorful journey to everything that is Indian and how India is making its impact at the global level in the 21st century. India will never be a stranger to anyone who has read this book, it is India’s growth story told well and an interesting read for anyone who wants to understand how India works.
The author carefully crafts his way through the several chapters elaborating his points. He portrays a contrasting pictorial view in chapter 1, showing how beggar & millionaire, camels & Mercedes, illiterate & Booker prize writers coexists and ends up writing about the diversity in religion and Indian culture. The author talks about what makes India click in chapter 2, and starts with Bangalore – India’s IT hub, his vivid description about the IT city will make you feel a part of India’s silicon valley.
Vinay Rai openly challenges Thomas Friedman’s thesis in “The World is Flat. ” Rai argues that technology in itself does not guarantee the creative health of a people, though IT contributes to Billions of Dollars to the Indian economy, India is growing in all directions be it tourism, to manufacturing, to retail, sales or entertainment. His brief insight into the life of Dhirubhai Ambani, Azim Premji, TK Rao, JRD Tata, Kiran Mazamdur etc is a treat to read.
Through Think India, Vinay Rai portrays India as the trend setter of the next century and how multinationals wants to be a part of India, from Lockheed martin to McDonalds, from Ford setting up factories to how Coca Cola is heading to the country side in rickshaws; becoming the world’s top destination for retailers. Rai emphasizes on the fact that India will be ahead of China in whatever definition one may chose because of the vast pool of talent India has and how India has emerged as a key strategic partner of the US.
Rai wants India to calibrate its relations with other nations to increase her Global stature. He highlights key issues of energy supplies, natural resources and wants India to tie up with Russia, EU and Brazil to tap the market there. The book gives the reader an insight about the mindsets of Indians and how to an outsider the diverse India may look complicated. Rai explains how diversity is Indians strength and how a multi tasking, multi processing Indian searches for the truth through any eligion, dharma or Vedas but still stand up for his individuality and privacy. He explains that the spiritual and cultural heritage of the Indian people empowers them with the ability and sense to deal with any kind of challenges and how Indians are full of exuberance. The book highlights the fact that to do business with Indians, one need to be polite, has patience and expect some indiscipline as far as time and punctuality is concerned.
The book also highlights the grim side of India where disparities exist between different sections of the society on basis of socio-economic conditions prevalent in India. The author points out government is trying to bridge the gap between the poor Indians and rich Indians and providing the poor with the basic amenities, empowering women, controlling populations etc to ensure that growth story of India continues for years to come.
In nutshell, The book “Think India” will make readers give some serious thought about the country India, with world’s youngest workforce (over 500 million under age of twenty five). The book is like a tour to everything India – its achievements, economic emphasis, history and present challenges. The commentary is easy to read and a must read for anyone who wants to understand the rise of world’s next super power – INDIA.