India and China – A different Viewpoint

May 5, 2006 at 8:50 pm (Economy, India)

For the world economists, the biggest question before them is "Can India match China" and there are arguments and counter-arguments put forth for each of the sides. Both nations have lots of similarities, yet they are strikingly different. Thus, the comparison is very interesting and presents two entirely different spectrum of choices.

India and China developed parallely and their histories trace to the early bronze age civilizations. Since, then both nations had cultures, civilizations and philosophies spawning from them. Interestingly, though these two countries were neighbours, there were very little cultural exchange between them. The biggest reason for that being the Himalayas. China was guarded on all sides by hostile terrain. Mammoth Pacific ocean to the east, daunting central asia to the west, roof of the world to the south and freezing Siberia in the north cradled a civilization and thus is responsible for a very different Chinese culture.

India on the other hand was a land being continuously invaded by raiders from west. Its ancient Indus valley civilization was probably replaced by the Central Asian Aryans and countries like Greece, Iran had lots of cultural interchanges with it and was followed by 800 year Muslim occupation and 300 year European colonization. Thus, while China developed in isolation, India developed in variety. This is probably the reason why, China wants to be One China, whereas India wants to have Unity in Diversity. Probably, this is one of the reasons why Communist dictatorship still survives in China while India clings on to a noisy, but stable democracy.

From ancient times, Indians were predominantly interested in abstract thoughts, while Chinese were focused on concrete, worldly thoughts. India led the world in Mathematics, Fine Arts, Religion and Philosophy, while China invented everything from umbrella to seismograph. While China built the imposing Great Wall of China, Indians were more interested in building artistic rock temples and majestic cave paintings. All the Chinese temples, Palaces and other religious centers appear to be constructed with the same typical architecture, while no two Indian building appears the same. India has atleast a dozen different prominent architectural elements inherited from Kushanas, Mauryas, Cholas, Orissa rulers, Hoyasalas etc. While the Chinese religions of Confusiansim and Taoism spoke mostly of worldly principles, India's religions like Hinduism, Buddism and Jainism focused on mystic aspects and abstract and loft philosophy. Chinese imported a lot of Indian religious concepts, like Buddism and learnt Karathe from the Indian found- Shoalin school of martial artis. While Chinese were busy manufacturing, Indians were busy thinking. Thus, China leads the today's world in Manufacturing, while India is good at services.

The strengths of these two nations are different. China is good in Unity. India is good in diversity. China could single-handedly build enormous number of bridges, roadways, and airports, while India lags behind a lot in infrastructure. However, India's soft elements are good, with a fine banking structure, respect for property rights and most importantly a stable democracy.

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