I started this website back in February and now, just over six months later, I’m going to do a quick upsum to see how far we’ve come, where we’ve got to, what topics we’ve covered and where we’re going. It’s a drawing of breath before moving forward again.
First of all, I haven’t done much over the past month – in fact the work has been mostly behind the scenes as I’ve been ‘SEO-optimising’ the site (mind-numbing work) and bringing various things up to date. At the start I decided I wouldn’t take advertising on here because Bharatiyata! was not created to be a money-making vehicle, at least not in the short-term sense of scraping fractions of pennies from click-throughs. I have zero interest in that model of commerce. I’m trying to be generous with this site and am simply attempting to give information and insight to people who might be interested in those topics.
As Seth Godin says of his writing on the web:
‘I would do it even if no-one read my blog. The act of noticing things, making a stand, describing what you think is going to happen next, clearly and generously outlining your point of view, knowing that it’s going to be in the world, and knowing you’re going to do it again tomorrow, just opens all sorts of doors.’
I agree. The act of writing regularly ‘in public’ charges up your brain and increases your work-rate in all sorts of areas. It is stimulating and rewarding of itself. My ulterior motive is of course to help me to do more things in my career. The plan is to write about all manner of topics related to India that I can then use as a solid body of material to get a book out of. The idea of the book is a guide to India for Western investors and entrepreneurs as the subcontinent rises to global prominence over the next two decades – an inevitable process I have no doubt is already happening.
The goldrush of journalists, analysts and consultants into China has been happening for 20 years now and most of the veins there have been played out. India is the new place and hardly anybody from the West is prospecting there yet. I want them to come and I want to sell them shovels and supplies.
So there we go. In six months I have written 30,000 words for this site, and that is in addition to the other, paying jobs that I’ve done. If I keep that up I’ll have 100k words about India and the best part of a book after two years.
I have been quiet on here over the past month partly because I’ve had other (paid) writing to do that’s taken up my time and energy. I can manage 20-25k words a month, researched and re-written, and after that I’m on fumes, so it’s best to stop. Also it’s been school vacation, and I am the home-working father who looks after my son while my wife pursues her prestigious but time-hungry career. At last we’re getting back to routine now (after the stomach bugs and sick days of the new school semester) and my time is again somewhat my own.
I am looking forward to writing about many topics I’ve been researching, such as:
- India’s waterways and the potential of their development (‘liquid infrastructure’)
- The strategic response to Pakistan’s tactics of terror and India’s new military-strategic stance
- The demographic dividend that will help propel India into the economic stratosphere
- The untapped markets of India and the digital reach that will revolutionise them
- A guide to the Indian political system
- A guide to the Indian media (don’t believe all you read!)
- A proposal for the Andaman Islands – concrete ideas for the next Hong Kong
- Case studies for future foreign investment (e.g. the Indian wine industry)
- Some kind of brief and colourful guide to each of the Indian states
- An in-depth comparison of the Indian political system and culture to the US congressional and the UK parliamentarian one
And many other things.
What I also do is to try and act as a reader for the reader. I keep up to date with media and events in India – and China, Pakistan and elsewhere in South Asia, and give a digest of what topics I see as important and relevant. Above all, it has to be useful information for my imaginary Western reader. That will stop the site becoming parochial and uninteresting to ‘outsiders’: this site is designed for outsiders.
I have started to acquire some readers and they’ve asked me why I only write about India/South Asia and not more generally about other things that interest me. The answer is that the focus of Bharatiyata! Has to stay on what the site was designed to be, and that is the editorial filter that applies. If I can find a way to include an interest of my own that in some way I can make apply to India then I’ll do so. Anything further away than that would need another website.
In the six months since I started writing here a lot has happened in India and elsewhere. In the UK, where I am based, we have decided to leave the EU – which may end up tying us more closely to India and Asia in general. Let’s hope so. In India the ‘dogs of boom’ as I call them have not yet been unleashed, and a laudable ‘steady-as-she-goes’ approach to the economy has survived, while Modi has been doing a lot of his usual, incredibly energetic and smart behind-the-scenes stuff. Things are looking not bad …
China has decided to go for broke, literally, by creating over a trillion dollars’-worth of new credit just when it should have been thinking about how to re-balance the books. This is a way to allow the privileged and connected to buy foreign assets before the domestic house of cards collapses.
Pakistan has reverted to type, executing its terroristic strategy of ‘death-by-1000-cuts’ against India. The latest atrocity against Indian soldiers has, however, prompted a much underestimated change (or implementation) of tactics by Modi that will begin to remorselessly throttle Pakistan – and incidentally put much more pressure on China. All is going to plan. Ajit Doval, a great man and Modi’s personally-chosen NSA, has rung the changes, in his George Smiley manner, by calmly elucidating the difference between ‘defence’ and ‘offensive-defence’ and leaving no doubt which is now changing to which.
The ‘new Indian commonwealth’ is trundling along merrily and in a filial fashion: Myanmar, Vietnam, Nepal, Tibet, Indonesia, Australia – every free country in Asia and the southern Pacific is beginning to recognise the civic alternative to China’s diplomatic and military aggressiveness that India is offering. And the countries of the region know full well that folded into that free-market commonwealth, they stand together much stronger than China’s creaking, communist-era dictatorship – which is almost bankrupt now, not to mention ageing fast.
There’s a lot going on and it will be an interesting 12 months to come – especially if, in the West, the dictatorship of the central bankers also cracks apart, as it must at some point.
I’ll be back right after this word from our sponsors. No, wait …