Making the Cut–Top 100 Public Intellectuals from South Asia

Foreign Policy Magazine is conducting a survey of top 100 public intellectuals. This list consists of 10 South Asians and 5 Indians from various walks of life, including two Nobel Laureates —Amartya Sen and Muhammad Yunus. Undoubtedly, South Asia, particularly India has come punching out or say breaking the glass-ceiling of the world of high-powered intellectual community.

This list speaks to my overall point that India is no longer a mere outsourcing and off-shoring outpost, merely servicing the needs of its colonial masters. It can and it has significantly contributed the outgrowth of ideas. India has genuine home-grown high-quality intellectual pioneers, these individuals are seriously altering the structure of the intellectual make-up of the global policy making.

South Asians in the Foreign Policy Top100 List

• Ashis Nandy, India, Political Psychologist
• Amartya Sen, India, Economist (Nobel Prize in Economics)
• Sunita Narain, India, Environmentalist
• V.S. Ramachandran, India, Neuroscientist
• Ramachandra Guha, India, Historian
• Salman Rusdhie, India via Britain, Novelist (Knighted in Britain)
• Fareed Zakaria, India via United States
• Mahmood Mamdani, India via Uganda
• Aitzaz Ahsan, Pakistan, Lawyer, Politician
• Muhammad Yunus, Bangladesh, Microfinance, Activist (Nobel Peace Prize)

Here are some Indians, who are not included in the list:

• Jagdish Bhagwati, India via United States, International Trade Economist
• C.K. Prahalad, India, Business Strategist
• Vandana Shiva, India, Environmental Activist
• Sashi Tharoor, India, International Diplomat, Novelist
• Partha Chatterjee, India, Historian
• Jumpa Lahri, Novelist,
• Mira Nair, Film-maker, Essayist

Untangle this Mess–Indian Telecom Infrastructure

There is much ballyhoo about the emergence of global outsourcing giant. It always been my argument that compared to China, India’s telecom and other infrastructure facilities are teetering on the brink. I got these pictures through email today. Talk about India’s telecom infrastructure. To say that it is jumbled would be an understatement. Here, take a look for yourself and identify which wire is connected to which call center. How long do you think this infrastructure arrangement will last?

Friedman, Outsourcing, Globalization-My Analysis

Here is my analysis of Tom Friedman’s take on Outsourcing. Mr. Friedman seems to overstate the impact of outsourcing on India and he seems to jin-up the young and upcoming youth in India. Yes, true call-center jobs have indeed opened up new vistas to a lot of Indian youth, but these jobs have high turnover rates and low job satisfaction. Besides, these are not career-paths, the terrible hours, high-pressure environment, bosses obsessed with the bottom line and mean clients produce very minimal attachment to these jobs. These positions are bottom-feeders and they are unlikely to push India up the value chain in the long-run. Now, if you are serious programmer, with good coding skills, and language ability I am sure you will be picked-up by the MNCs and exported abroad.

Towards the end of the video clip, Tom Friedman travels to the slums outside of Bangalore and meets with some NGO activists. The most problematic element of this tour is that despite seeing the devastating poverty around him, he simply ignores them and continues to focus on the Malls, software industry, etc. Mr. Friedman’s selective analysis leaves one with the impression that everything is hunky-dory in India. Few weeks in India, with its terrible infrastructure problems, sky-rocketing food prices, and housing market that has hit the stratosphere will only demonstrate that life in India has become really miserable and the lives of the common-man or the aam adami lies shattered. Bollywood stars, supermodels, and Cricket players rake it in, while the rest transfer their wealth to them so that they can view the shameless and grotesque displays of wealth.

Outsourcing and Globalization-Tom Friedman

Here is Tom Friedman’s (New York Times and the author of World is Flat) take on the global outsourcing to India and its impact on globalization and Indian economic development. Take a look at the video: