The great success story of India, a country that so many learned scholars and journalists assumed would disintegrate, in the ’50s and ’60s, is that it managed to maintain consensus on how to survive without consensus.
Now, that is the India that is emerging into the 21st century. And I do want to make the point that if there is anything worth celebrating about India, it isn’t military muscle, economic power.
All of that is necessary, but we still have huge amounts of problems to overcome. Somebody said we are super poor, and we are also super power. We can’t really be both of those. We have to overcome our poverty.
We have to deal with the hardware of development, the ports, the roads, the airports, all the infrastructural things we need to do, and the software of development, the human capital, the need for the ordinary person in India to be able to have a couple of square meals a day, to be able to send his or her children to a decent school, and to aspire to work a job that will give them opportunities in their lives that can transform themselves.
But it’s all taking place, this great adventure of conquering those challenges, those real challenges which none of us can pretend don’t exist.
But it’s all taking place in an open society, in a rich and diverse and plural civilization, in one that is determined to liberate and fulfill the creative energies of its people. That’s why India belongs at TED, and that’s why TED belongs in India.
Thank you very much.
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