Reviewed by P.S. Sundaram in Vedanta Kesari, April 2015
Prosperous India brings to focus the resilience of the Indian economic scene. Many observers have wondered about the country’s silent but vibrant life that has survived a thousand year long slavery and over six decades of unsteady economic revival. Foreign nations that conquered India worked hard to make Indians feel ashamed of the Indian culture, religion and way of life. But those efforts failed. Poverty was unknown in ancient India. A study by a visiting team from the West was surprised that in Bihar despite natural resources and land fertility, people were kept in poverty. Naoroji did pioneering work in exposing the deliberate drain of our country’s resources to swell the coffers of the British Empire using unethical means.
Prosperous India invites attention to the fact that in ancient India, agricultural practices and productivity were at an advanced stage. Even the Vedas and Puranas provide evidence in support. Arthashastra was the trendsetter in formulation of economic policies.
It is well known that the saving habit is part of Indian culture unlike the affluent nations. Kanagasabapathi has provided further information on Indian economic scene. Indian culture lays ‘ strong foundations in the family, community and their network of relationships’. The culture of cluster-based businesses is a feature in India, such as we find in Surat, Ludhiana, Coimbatore and generally widespread in all regions. Even in the corporate sector, the Indian systems have received approbation from US researchers.
The author stresses the Indian culture of standing on one’s own feet in business enterprises without dependence on Government. But as we know this came under stress during the license-permit raj. Industry had to wait till 1991 for liberalization. The chapters on social capital and the role of women in economic growth are informative and important.
The inherent strength of the Indian economy as observed by Swamiji come to mind while reading the book. What impressed him in the West was the theory of organization which he applied while codifying the structure of the Ramakrishna Movement through a trust. It is essential for every Indian, especially the younger generation, to know these facts and take pride in India’s greatness in every field of human activity, whether economic, scientific, moral or spiritual. The lesson to learn is to develop a patriotic spirit and believe in our inherent strengths as Swamiji repeatedly stressed. The book says it all so beautifully.
(The Vedanta Kesari, Sri Ramakrishna Math Trust, Chennai, April, 2015, p.45)