Multi-cultural Britain can benefit from continuing Indian boom

The future is largely Indian and to have a connection to this most culturally rich of civilisations is an awesome privilege

Share

By the time you read this, I shall most likely be in Pune, the
sprawling metropolis that is India's ninth largest city and the
birthplace of my mother.

This trip has a sharpness to it: I used to go back to India every couple of years until the age of 18 but haven't been back in the decade since and am without my parents as my mother is unable to travel. When I booked the tickets earlier this year I had intended for it to be a kind of engagement tour. I would propose in front of the Taj Mahal, or in the hill station at Munnar, or in some back alley of Jaipur. But I got impatient and proposed in September. So now I'm seeing family, having fun, and thinking about the future.

That future is largely Indian. By that I don't mean to say I'm moving back to the homeland, though I'm sure that would come as a relief to you; rather, that as I start thinking about having children myself, and the world they will grow up in, I realise that to have a connection to this most thrilling, blessed, and culturally rich of civilisations is an awesome privilege.

Most people know India is the most crazy and successful experiment in the history of democracy; fewer know that it is widely predicted to be the world's biggest economy in under 40 years; and fewer still know its Constitution declares it to be a "sovereign, socialist, secular democratic Republic."

We should give thanks for this. It's marvellous that by the middle of this century the world's richest nation will be – aside from the occasional flare-up with Pakistan – a pluralist, peace-loving supporter of democracy, well aware of its international obligations.

Then ask if we're doing enough by way of preparation. Why is your little Grace or Johnny learning French, not Urdu? In 20 years, learning French in schools may seem quaint.

And are we producing graduates or school leavers who can compete internationally? No, is my answer.

The best Indian graduates, who lean heavily towards the scientific research and information technology industries of the future, may be harder working and better qualified, and they're certainly cheaper. They're your children's rivals, too.

Our best chance as a country will come from getting more out of what we have that our international competitors don't. This includes time-zone, world-class universities, the English language, an excellent legal system, and a relatively uncorrupt economy.

How can we leverage these things to ensure we don't fall behind? That will be the subject of my next column, when I'm home. Happy new year.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Analyst - 12 Month FTC - Entry Level

£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Chefs - All Levels

£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...

Recruitment Genius: Maintenance Engineer

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive & Customer Service - Call Centre Jobs!

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

I spent six years trying to recover from the bulimia I developed as a fifteen year old - with earlier intervention it all could have been avoided

Morwenna Jones
Suspicious minds: Rachel McAdams and Colin Farrell star in 'True Detective'  

True Detective: Far from being gay, it’s remarkable just how many fictional LGBT characters are miserable

Chris Mandle
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy