Two stories from TIME magazine:
… The one subject that doesn’t come up — and almost never does when this tight-knit group of friends gets together — is politics. That sets them apart from previous generations of Chinese élites, whose lives were defined by the epic events that shaped China’s past half-century: the Cultural Revolution, the opening to the West, the student protests in Tiananmen Square and their subsequent suppression. The conversation at Gang Ji Restaurant suggests today’s twentysomethings are tuning all that out. “There’s nothing we can do about politics,” says Chen. “So there’s no point in talking about it or getting involved.”
That’s the story from China. Now consider this:
True, India, a noisy nation of over 1 billion voices, can’t match the hyper-affluence of Singapore or China’s titanic boom, but it shows that hearing those voices is the best long-term strategy. “Attila the Hun was great for his country’s GDP also,” says Akbar, “but the future of the world is not just about growth rates. It’s about the principle of human equality.” India is neither East nor West as Kipling saw it, but in its diversity and exuberance a reflection of something universal. It is, as Akbar concludes, “the first modern nation of the emerging world.” A nation where, more than anything else, democracy rules.
I do not know how much of this is truth and how much of it is the mere perception of a western journalist (or the over-simplification of ground realities, or stereotyping).
It does, however, provide the contrast between the two nations that most folks from the western hemisphere do not realize exists.
We have to ask the question, though: how much of an advantage is democracy to India and does it really matter in the long run ?
Only time (no pun intended !) will tell .