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Oct 22, 2003
Gandhi’s revenge?

No day seems complete in India these times, without some MNC or the other moving white collar jobs to its shores. And certainly, not a week will pass, without some panic reaction in West’s media or legislatures. Media is clogged by reports of India’s dominance in services.

Sullen acceptance must inevitably follow impotent rage in this wired world. But, rarely do you see deep introspection. George Monbiot writing in the Guardian, UK calls the new phenomenon as one rooted in history. He declares, “The jobs Britain stole from the Asian subcontinent 200 years ago are now being returned.” He says Britain grew by stifling industry in its colonies-- India in particular. But oddly, it made Indians learn English in the hope of making them loyal subjects of the Crown. And that may be backfiring now. The Empire banned the import of Indian calico because it was superior to the British produce. But today, no gunship can plug the wires that deliver the most competitive services. MNCs --those successors of the East India Company-- will go where they can cut costs and increase profits. Right now, it is India.

Monbiot’s article will embarrass the most strident Indian right-winger. “We are rich because Indians are poor,” he says. Again “Standards of education are high, and almost all educated Indians speak English. While British workers will take call-centre jobs only when they have no choice, Indian workers see them as glamorous...at least 30,000 executive positions in Britain’s finance and insurance industries are likely to be transferred to India over the next five years...hundreds of thousands of jobs, many of them good ones, flee to the economy we ruined.”

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