imperialist doom-mongering. It says, in the words of J K Galbraith, that India is 'an anarchy that works'; that the democracy which often seems so ramshackle and corrupt gives India a rare strength and flexibility; and that the gifts and skills of its people, properly harnessed, could make it the most dynamic and enterprising nation in the world.
Friday's bomb outrages in Bombay make optimism difficult. They come after an autumn of communal bloodshed, Muslim against Hindu, which itself simply added a new dimension of slaughter to the deadly separatist struggles in Punjab and Kashmir. India is no stranger to the terrorist bomb but it has seen nothing like Bombay. The exact purpose in killing more than 300 innocent people is still unknown. Its likely consequence, however, is renewed Hindu-Muslim conflict of perhaps unprecedented intensity. India's Muslim minority is increasingly alienated, but Muslims have not so far (outside Kashmir) embraced separatist politics. If they do, then India's now slender thread of optimism will finally snap.Reuse content