India Shining!

The largest democracy on the planet. Majority of the billion people in India are uneducated and illiterate. They still live on less than a dollar a day. In the recent elections, 350 million ballots were cast. The incumbent party was humiliated. The people elected a foreign-born to lead the country. All this happened peacefully.

Compare that to the last Presidential elections in the US between two ivy-league educated individuals. In India, no chads were hanging; No lawyers were hired; No court decisions were required.

Imagine, Manmohan Singh, architect of India's economic reforms a decade ago and a shoo-in as finance minister, needs to calm markets by saying: “We are not against disinvestment if it is in the national interest.” Confirms that the mantle of economic reform has passed to the nationalist BJP. And the Communist Party leader advises that his party is not really against privatisation. Truly, economics trumps ideology.

With grace Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee conceded defeated and called it a triumph for democracy. “My party and alliance may have lost, but India has won,” he said.

That is India Shining! Things worth living for.

Small hiccup in the market. In Monday mornings trading on the Bombay Stock Exchange, about $40bn of market valuation was wiped out (Added in revision: this is in addition to the $22bn wiped out on Friday). Does the market not have faith in Govinda, the Congress and its Communist Partners? Foreign funds net outflows this month total $357m. Notice is served!

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