Modi's double-engine sarkar.

WHEN Prime Minister Narendra Modi barrels around India to support allies running for state government elections his war cry is: 'ab ki bar double engine ki sarkar' (this time a double-engine government). At face value this means having the BJP at the centre together with BJP governments in every one of India's 28 states. State residents are promised that two engines pulling together will deliver twice the power.

But the true meaning of Modi's double engine metaphor transcends India's state-level electoral politics. It's actually about reinventing national ideology, culture, and education. To understand why India presently stands so high on the world stage - and also how it could crash down - let's peek inside the two engines. The lessons for Pakistan are immediate and obvious.

The first engine pulls India along the road to prosperity and modernity. It has sent Indian spacecraft winging to the moon and Mars, placed India's IT and pharmaceutical companies among the world's largest, filled America's best universities with professors who are graduates of Indian universities, and created some of the world's biggest business empires. Several top Silicon Valley entrepreneurs are Indian.

President Joe Biden recently quipped that 'Indian Americans are taking over this country'. He could have meant Britain as well where Rishi Sunak is its new prime minister with personal wealth surpassing that of the newly crowned King Charles III. Sunak's Bangalore-based father-in-law is the founder of Infosys; this Indian IT company's market capitalisation recently crossed a staggering $100 billion.

Also read: Modi opens work on airbase near Pakistan border

These are substantial, undeniable achievements that hubris-filled Hindu nationalists say derive from their greatness as an ancient civilisation. But wait! China has done still better. And, though far smaller, many emergent countries of East Asia - Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, and Singapore - also boast of better performance than India's.

In every case, the secret of success is well-known - strong systems of education that create skills, knowledge, attitudes and social behaviours suited for modern times. Together with that, a strong work ethic in the labour force. Stated differently, high national achievement springs naturally from the quickness with which a country universalises or 'Westernises' its education and creates positive attitudes towards work.

Here's how India grew into the present. Empowered by the...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT