The changes now underway in India at macro level through top down approach have begun show at the micro level in the small towns also. Unlike the state capitalism of China where the government is behind the changes, Indian changes are taking place in spite of the government.
In the small city of half a million like ours, which is also the temporary capital of a small state of ten million, things are changing incrementally almost on daily basis. If someone is away for one month he may miss out on some action. One year is, however, a long time. Recently a young guy who left India three years ago, for Toronto, Canada, was startled to find changes in everything. He is now tempted to come back. Many non-resident Indians, who migrated outside India in the last one decade, are not planning to settle there. They know that the longer they remain outside, tougher it would be for them to adjust in changing environs. It appears as if the whole ground we stand on is moving up like the self rising cake.
A few years back an English magazine divided the schools according the fourfold rigidly hierarchical caste system prevailing amongst the Hindus. It said that the Doon School is like a high caste Brahmin, while Mayo College was classified as low caste Brahmin. Other prominent public (equivalent to American private) schools like Sherwood, La Martiniere, Lawrence School, Bishop Cotton or St Paul’s were the Kshatriya Schools; all other English medium public schools were Vaishyas while Hindi medium or vernacular schools were the Sudras. But, of late the Sudra schools have turned the tables on the other three kinds of schools, by producing an army meritorious students excelling in all subjects except English language. These ‘Sudra’ schools are government backed institutions where students pay around one US dollar per month in school fee.
This brief account tells two different stories of the two different students who went to the same ‘Sudra’ school as yours truly did between the last four to three decades. One of them was a Muslim boy from a well-to-do family; they ran a small Ayurvedic drugs manufacturing business. After completing studies he joined his family business that started growing gradually. Post liberalisation (1991 and later), however, their firm went on high trajectory of growth. In the first decade if this century, it has become a big corporate firm employing about one thousand people. They sell from Ayurvedic cosmetics and drugs to formulations. Theirs is now a national brand with exports going all the way to the US and western Europe.
The other guy who went to the same school as I did came from the family that made small arms as handicrafts in a cottage industry. They gradually grew into a sizable business with fingers in many business pies. Now, one of their brothers is placed in the US; in the last decade their mother concern has got orders from Hollywood biggies to supply battle gear for at least two blockbusters, while the third movie for which they got the orders recently is under production.