I have recently returned from India on a trip of ex-Indian civil servants and I endorse the excellent article by Peter Popham, "Hold the Fireworks" (10 August). I had not been back for 50 years and saw much change. The most obvious was the growing affluence of the middle class, a fairly broad sector of society, evidenced by the proliferation of TV dishes, the development of tourism by Indians and, above all, the spread of towns in all directions. Most of the equipment needed to support this improvement in the standard of living is Indian-made.
What impressed me most, however, was something different. Indians, without losing their ability to criticise themselves, have acquired a real patriotic spirit that has given people a self- esteem and confidence which I do not remember. Gone is the old deference to Europeans.
Surely this is the true benefit of independence. India has found its dignity and I am glad in my old age to have witnessed it.
C M Lloyd Jones