India disappears from Davos
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Not since that long ago year when Deve Gowda came to Davos as prime minister has India seemed more irrelevant in this gathering of the rich and powerful. Deve Gowda went totally unnoticed that year. And, I only noticed when I spotted a platoon of his children and grandchildren lounging about in the finest hotel in Klosters. They seemed to have been brought along for a winter holiday at taxpayers expense. This was 1996 and India was just beginning to emerge from the 'socialist' cocoon that shielded it from prosperity, change and economic growth for forty years. A handful of Indian businessmen came here that year and they were almost as irrelevant to the World Economic Forum's annual meeting as the Indian prime minister was.
Then things changed and they changed spectacularly. The Indian economy began to grow at such a pace that we became a BRIC and the rest of the world suddenly sat up and discovered that India was not just a land of snake charmers and sadhus. As someone who believes firmly that Nehruvian socialism and the mindset it created have been India's ruin, I have often celebrated this spectacular change in this column. I loved it when India began to be taken seriously at Davos. I loved it when Indian industrialists became so rich that they started buying up big international companies and I loved it when 800 million Indians became rich enough to afford mobile phones. But, there were unhappy Indians too. They were all Leftist intellectuals and politicians who sulked and lurked in the shadows waiting for their chance to return to their glory days.
They flocked to alternative Davos conferences and denounced Davos. They denounced economic reforms and I am happy to say that they even included me in their denunciations. A bitter, failed old commie recently denounced me as someone who came to Davos every year as if this were some major disqualification for the column writing business.