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<blockquote class=’posterous_long_quote’><p>Around the time of Independence, we were broke, poor, had no power and not given much of a chance. But what saved India from becoming a banana republic was the intellectual ambition of its elites. They were sometimes haughty, sometimes got things badly wrong. They were open-minded, not foreign-minded. Now we are foreign-minded, but not open-minded. In the realm of thought, they never gave up on the idea that we have to do our own thinking and take our own measure in some respects. The failure of our education is that it has depleted that confidence. </p><p>Ironically, as India has grown in power, there is a curious lack of intellectual self-confidence. Benchmarking to global standards can be a spur to excellence and innovation, but what is happening is something more psychologically insidious. It is a kind of “Gurgaonisation” of the mind. Quality is signalled by an indiscriminate foreign branding: so long as you can give a building a foreign-sounding name, from Princeton to Beverly, you have signalled quality. What its real substance is, whether it is an appropriate fit for our circumstances, is beside the point.</p></blockquote>

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