04 August, 2021

Beyond Vindhya Major

The South has no cause to rise again. Its sun has yet to set.

Illustration by Sorit
Beyond Vindhya Major

I never tire of telling friends that India is akin to 28 distinct European nations inside a common border—society, lingo, business methods changing every few hundred miles—and not a homogeneous entity as is believed.

Ruchir Sharma’s Breakout Nations is unarguably an epoch-defining book—unusual for a comparative study of nations based on ground-level data collected from personal experience. On his conclusions about the Indian north and south, though, I beg to differ. A perceptive report by Zurich-based financial services group Credit Suisse titled Fresh Horses argues that between 2004-2008, almost every Indian state, with a handful of exceptions, saw a compounded annual rate of growth of over 9 per cent. Even West Bengal, a state run by Communists for three decades, grew 1.5-2 percentage points more than the national average for 1994-2003, making one wonder about the causality between governance and growth. South India—Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Pondicherry—has a...

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