Welcome to the English Conversation Class sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ We teach Beginning English Conversat. Nandan Nilekani's book on Imagining India is an important landmark in finding strategies between the tension between. India and Bharat. Even though the book . World Is Flat have been perennial favourites for Indian pirates. Imagining India: ideas for the new century/. Nandan Nilekani; New Delhi: Allen Lane an imprint of .

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Access a free summary of Imagining India, by Nandan Nilekani and other business, leadership and nonfiction books on getAbstract. Imagining India Book Review p PDF - Download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read online. Editorial Reviews. From Publishers Weekly. The premise of this suave and unabashedly free market overview of the New India—the rising economic.

Research methods included formal and informal interviews with over people connected with the software and business process outsourcing BPO industries as well as workplace observations. For this paper I have drawn partially on this database but more extensively on a survey of print media, websites and internet discussions, and other secondary source material.

This paper also draws on Upadhya and Vasavi I thank Sujata Patel, A.

Vasavi, Peter Alexander and the anonymous reviewer for their constructive comments on an earlier version of the paper; the usual caveats apply. From Infosys founder N. Although business magnates from the older industrial sector of the economy, such as the late J. Narayana Murthy signify the benefits that can flow from liberalisation and globalisation.

The Indian industry is devoted almost entirely to software services, with very little presence of hardware and only a few companies engaged in developing software products. ITES is very different from the software business, but both are offshore outsourcing industries.

Several of the examples used in this paper concern Infosys Technologies. This is not due to deliberate targeting of a particular company, but because the incidents that best illustrate my argument happen to have concerned Infosys.

All the information about Infosys used in this paper was gleaned from publicly available documents, websites and news reports. From the blurb, Nilekani In the context of conflicting social imaginaries, the IT industry has had to defend its activities by manufacturing and controlling representations of itself, especially through the media.

In the discussion below, I am able to document only a small slice of these highly com- plex transformations through an analysis of the ideological scaffolding that is being erected in support of the liberalisation agenda, the cultural strategies that are employed by the IT industry to negotiate this complex social and political terrain, and the forms of resistance that have appeared in response.

This discussion is then used to analyse the ideological power of IT in India and, more broadly, and to draw out the broader sociological implica- tions of the elevation of private corporate capital to a new role in the country.

Liberalisation and the IT industry For several decades after independence, India followed a strategy of relatively autarchic state-led economic development.

The Nehruvian planned economy, controlled by a bureaucracy-heavy developmental state, revolved around five-year plans, state-led indus- trialisation through heavy investment in public sector industries, and tight controls over exports and imports as well as the activities of private capital.

Although India had a small but significant industrial capitalist class with its roots in the colonial era based on textiles, jute, chemicals and even steel , restrictions on investment and trade limited its expansion. At the same time, private industry benefited from protectionist policies that put strict lim- its on imports and investment by foreign companies. Much of the business activ- ity was carried on through family and caste based networks, which provided informal channels for the flow of capital and economic transactions.

It was in this climate of the opening up of the economy and nascent globalisation that the software outsourcing industry was established, and it was the first industry to take full advantage of the dismantling of controls.

Bangalore is one of the most important centres of IT activity, hosting more than companies and employing about , people out of a population of more than 7 mil- lion.

Imagining India: The Idea of a Renewed Nation

Software companies operating in India include both Indian-owned organisations that work on contract for foreign clients, and captive software development centres of multi- national corporations.

The discussion in this paper is concerned primarily with Indian soft- ware services companies which are the largest employers in this sector rather than multinationals, and their relation to local society in Bangalore and the state of Karnataka, where the city is located. Apart from the emergence of new industries such as IT, liberalisation has set in motion a range of social, economic and cultural transformations in India, including the process of globalisation itself, a sharp rise in the economic growth rate and enhanced incomes for some segments of the population.

Despite the rhetoric about the benefits of liberalisation and the demand for withdrawl of the state from the economy, the IT industry has benefited greatly from extensive state subsidies and policy support Balakrishnan In all these processes, IT has been central — socially, economically and symbolically. The swirl of representations that surrounds the outsourcing phenomenon suggests that the significance of IT for contemporary India is as much ideological and cultural as it is economic or social Van der Veer It is not possible to relate the entire history and politics of the IT industry in Bangalore in a single paper; instead I focus on several key events that seem to encapsulate the contradictions that have been thrown up by the advent of this global industry.

Representations of IT Like corporates across the world, Indian software companies carefully design and dissem- inate images of themselves, especially in order to market their services to the foreign cus- tomers on whom the industry depends. The popular discourse about IT, and the iconisisation of several of its leaders, are also aimed at creating legitimacy among domestic audiences, including politicians, the local state apparatus, the middle classes and the masses.

However, these widely circulating images of IT are not just products of corporate marketing strategies, but are also generated and reinforced by the media itself especially the English print media such as the Times of India group and by self-styled intellectual lead- 5. Deshpande Chap.

Meaning, Power, Structure

The unifying theme of these representations, which are articulated by many people in the IT industry as well as by corporate communications, is that of difference. The Infosys website, for instance, declares: Infosys has built an enduring value system based on openness, honesty, fairness and transparency, which has earned us the confidence and trust of our clients. This set of representations appears to be aimed mainly at the global market, to reassure potential clients that it is safe to outsource to Indian companies.

A second important theme is the representation of the IT industry as a middle class success story. The rags-to-riches life story of N. The IT 6. Accessed These organisations support development projects in areas like primary education, rural development, and rural water and sanitation.

A fourth key element in the branding of Indian software companies is the trope of the global. As part this strategy, the Indian software majors have set up offices across the world and diversified their workforces.

Several companies have been listed on the Nasdaq and have even bought out foreign companies — major media events in India in which success in business is constructed as success for the nation as a whole. IT as symbol of liberalisation The discursive construction of the IT industry as a new and better form of private enter- prise has a social and symbolic significance that goes much beyond the industry itself.

Their interviews on affairs of national importance appear frequently in the domestic and interna- tional press. The constant reiteration of the IT story has 8. So the subtext of these stories is about the entry of middle class Brahmins into business for the first time.

The IT industry has been offered up as proof of the argument that the market will provide many more jobs and greater prosperity than the public sector was able to do.


The close connection between IT and the ideology of liberalisation is illustrated in the Narayana Murthy NRNM story, which has been carefully crafted and is constantly re- told. During his student days in India, the story goes, NRNM was inclined towards social- ism, but while travelling through Europe on his way home after working in Paris for three years, he had an unpleasant experience in an East European country which showed him the true face of socialism and converted him to capitalism.

Apparently aimed at the classes who had benefited from the recent economic growth and stock market boom — the middle class and the elite — it was seen by some critics as deflecting attention away from the heavy social costs of the economic reforms themselves. The rapid rise of this enclave economy in a city earlier dominated by public sector enter- prises and central government establishments, an older manufacturing sector including the garment and electronics industries, and a large informal economy, and located within a predominately agricultural state with a strong history of social justice movements and pol- icies as well as conflicts rooted in language and caste identities, has created a series of dis- locations and disjunctures that are still being played out in diverse ways Nair These 84 South African Review of Sociology , 40 1 fissures have become visible in the frequent conflicts and debates over what is widely seen as a Bangalore- and IT-centric development paradigm that excludes the majority of the populace.

Discontent among marginalised groups in the city, farmers and other rural resi- dents is palpable, funnelled through political parties like the Janata Dal JD, more recently incarnated after a split as the JD-S, or Janata Dal - Secular as well as Kannada nationalist groups promoting the primacy of Kannada culture and language in an increasingly cosmo- politan city Kannada is the official language of Karnataka.

A widespread perception among the lower middle classes, the working class and the urban poor is that they are excluded from participating in the benefits that IT claims to offer — at most they can find insecure employment in the burgeoning contract labour industry as drivers, maids, secu- rity guards, and other such low-level service workers — even as many harbour aspirations that their children may be able to join the IT boom. In this section I describe several recent key events and conflicts in Bangalore that point to the divisions that are being created or widened by globalisation-led development.

This adulation, especially among upwardly mobile pro- fessionals, culminated in a campaign for his nomination for the post of President of India. As founder and now chief mentor of one of India's most successful IT companies, Narayana Murthy is eminently qualified for the post. He has been at the vanguard of Indian industry's growth story and played a vital role in putting the country on the world map.

An inspiring role model, he has always shown a willingness to share 9. In India the President is not directly elected by popular vote but is chosen by the Parliament, usually after being nominated as a consensus candidate by the various political parties.

South African Review of Sociology , 40 1 85 success in the collective interest of India's citizenry. A new India needs new ideas. For that, it needs to break free of notions rooted in the past. On this occasion an instrumental version of the anthem was played instead of being sung by participants, as is the usual custom.

But then we cancelled it as we have foreigners onboard here. They should not be embarrassed while we sing the anthem.

NRNM quickly apologised for his remarks and then went on to say: We have always kept the interest of India foremost in our minds and our work speaks for itself. We are a proud Indian company, with strong univer- sal ethos of transparency, accountability and honesty. It has always been our endeavour to represent India with the highest standards of respect and enable it to take its rightful place in the world economy. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court and was finally dismissed.

Editorial, Times of India, 21 April , italics added.

Imagining India: The Idea of a Renewed Nation

Times of India, 11 April , italics added. SiliconIndia, 11 April The numerous articles, blogs and comments that appeared in the news media and on the Internet followed the contours of the social and political divides that the IT industry has created in Bangalore and in the state.

In an interview soon after the event, Anantha Murthy stated: Narayana Murthy … speaks only for the English medium. He is a cosmo- polite. That really worries us. What has he done for the state? We are creating jobs.

We are adding to the foreign exchange reserves.

Despite all this, why this intolerance towards us? Merely because a person has generated jobs or added to the forex reserves or provided a brand-name This is something I have regularly felt while reading the otherwise brilliant Dilbert Blog as well. I don't know how technology can make women feel safer. Or how technology can convince a poor family to opt for education and vocational training when subsidies and grants can satisfy its immediate needs.

But then, these are the ideas of one man. We need more such people to put forward their ideas. The answers lie in the united wisdom of these experts. The concept was new to me before reading this book.

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It is expected that, in , the average age of an Indian will be 29 years, compared to 37 for China and 48 for Japan; and, by , India's dependency ratio should be just over 0. When China , USA and other major economic peers of India will be spending a major part of their money on the dependents, India will have a robust work force and a minor spending on old age.

This will result in a major increase in output in terms of productivity of the nation. But there are cases wherein such a golden opportunity was squandered, like in the case of Brazil which enjoyed such a dividend from to The mistake Brazil did was that it never created enough jobs for its young people, thereby making them waste their youthful energy doing nothing productive.

India today is at cross roads having reaped rich dividends in the 20 years of economic reforms, complimented by the boon of Information Technology. This gives us a golden chance to mitigate the environmental impact beforehand and still maintain the growth rate. India has a per capita energy use oil equivalent per capita kgs, which is much lower than the developed world USA and China — This is partially because of the lack of access of electricity to the rural areas and the general low standard of life.

But the positive side is we still have a chance to mould our people to keep the energy use minimum and yet maintain a decent life style, without wasting energy like the developed world do.

The author covers seemingly trivial but hugely important for the Human Development Index, the availability of toilets in the country. A point which India has to improve upon before sending our man to the moon, along with the other parameters like malnourishment and the skewed sex ratio.Flag for inappropriate content. Learning To Forget: In Rang De Basanti, we see the similar transition of a Hindutva activist turning into a secular personality.

Nilekani also takes up the important question of how globalisation would treat India and how can India avoid the pitfalls and still maintain its commitment to open market. They may strive hard to bring their fellow Muslims on modern times, but that is of little interest to the media. So this is where Rahul Gandhi gets his ammunition of "India is an idea. There developed a symbiotic relationship between Kashmir—Pakistan and Muslims.

Ideology of the Hindi Film: