The myth of shining India

Published: August 5, 2015
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The writer heads the independent Centre for Research and Security Studies, Islamabad

The writer heads the independent Centre for Research and Security Studies, Islamabad

To illustrate how differently India and Pakistan carve and peddle their narratives, former ambassador to the United Nations, Munir Akram recently quoted an excerpt from a review by Pankaj Mishra, a noted Indian author and writer of literary and political essays.

“An unblinkered vision of South Asia would feature a country whose fanatically ideological government in 1998 conducted nuclear tests, threatened its neighbour with all-out war and, four years later, presided over the massacre of 2,000 members of a religious minority. Long embattled against secessionist insurgencies… the ‘flailing’ state… now struggles to contain a militant movement in its heartland. It is also where thousands of women are killed every year for failing to bring sufficient dowry and nearly 200,000 farmers have committed suicide in the past decade.” Mishra added: “This country is not Pakistan; it is India.”

The review noted that India has revamped its image in the West through a most successful rebranding effort and one of “the cleverest PR campaigns”. On the other hand, Pakistan seems to have “lost the narrative”, argued Akram. He suggests that Pakistanis in general and officials in particular are often defensive and non-assertive even when they are on the right side of the argument. Pakistan, indeed, suffers from poor branding and its own people have failed in carving a narrative built on the positives. Ironically, this article reminded me of a few conversations with foreigners who have been to both India and Pakistan. At the cost of being taken on by nationalist Indians, I am reproducing some of the comments here which were made in the context of the brinkmanship and arrogance that has accompanied Narendara Modi’s government.

After taking a study tour to Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India, members of an international officers’ delegation made some poignant observations about their stint in the three countries. Some of these observations may be cursory but still reflect certain realities of some South Asian cities. Arriving in and moving through New Delhi was a shocking experience, recalled a German official. According to him, the life outside the grand airport was in sharp contrast to what he had read about the new, shining India. Unlike the image of a clean and vibrant New Delhi reflecting the oft-trumpeted ‘shining India’, he encountered congested roads, vehicular mayhem, and filth and trash all over.

The delegation visited the Taj Mahal too; the Taj itself is grand but the road up to and from Agra as well as its vicinities often make you nauseous as you see countless people openly squatting along the roads, recalled an official from England. How else would you feel when you came across these images in a country that boasts a nuclear arsenal and is investing billions in nuclear submarines and the latest combat aircraft? Unfathomable that such a country is host to about 400 million people living on less than two dollars a day and a huge number of them don’t have toilets in this day and age.

Big advertising billboards, recalled a British officer, display a yearning for a Western lifestyle, with light-skinned models. Discussions are very much centred on a nationalistic ethos and self-confidence, he said. It is good to be nationalistic and self-confident, but misplaced over-emphasis is not, he remarked. This over-emphasis reflects a disconnect between the marketing gimmickry of the corporate sector and the discourse on ground.

An official from Ukraine was disappointed with his experience in Bangalore and Chennai; these are rightly touted as IT cities, but the life on the roads doesn’t reflect the order and prosperity that comes with the IT-related development. Poverty and disorder is omnipresent, he recalled. Officials from Belgium, France and Spain found Colombo and Islamabad to be much more organised, cleaner and quite orderly. A Japanese delegate complained of “very few women at work” at the Islamabad airport. They also wondered as to who is really running the government. But most officers, who had visited places such as Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia, did appreciate what they described as the “resilience of Pakistani society”, despite nearly 14 years of unrest.

One of the top executives of a multinational communications company complained bitterly about the unpredictability of doing business in India. At the same time, however, he felt that the Indian market is too big to ignore so his company is still sticking its necks out because of the potential the market offers.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 5th, 2015.

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Reader Comments (83)

  • Vikas
    Aug 5, 2015 - 3:13AM

    Agree with the author. Life is difficult outside the cities. Also mostly the economic growth has happened without employment growth. Can’t blame the govt alone.Recommend

  • Vikas
    Aug 5, 2015 - 3:14AM

    Everyone in India needs to works towards being more efficient and create more jobs.Recommend

  • Pinkman
    Aug 5, 2015 - 3:34AM

    It’s true that most of the Indian cities may seem to be chaotic and disordered to the Western people. But we are not sitting back, we are improving faster than ever . And by the way please ask your govt to disclose the no of tourists who visited Pakistan in last decade and then compare the three countries . Thanks. Recommend

  • Bairooni Haath
    Aug 5, 2015 - 3:42AM

    A shining India may be a myth, but a failed Pakistan is a fact!Recommend

  • Sun Tzu
    Aug 5, 2015 - 3:43AM

    At least the myth made this “analyst” happy!! clap! clap!Recommend

  • Lol
    Aug 5, 2015 - 3:55AM

    Bharat exposedRecommend

  • Pervez
    Aug 5, 2015 - 3:57AM

    It is true our Indian friends wont like this article. But no point in quoting one or two authors who have criticized India and gloating about it. For every one author criticizing India, there are literally thousand authors who are writing how bad things are in Pakistan, and much worse in so many aspects. Recommend

  • Grafello
    Aug 5, 2015 - 4:05AM

    I always knew that we are better than India, only if we can learn the art of marketing ourselves! the comment made about nationalistic feelings of Indians is interesting and too true.Recommend

  • Grafello
    Aug 5, 2015 - 4:06AM

    I always knew that we are better than India, only if we can learn the art of marketing ourselves! the comment made about nationalistic feelings of Indians is interesting and too true.Recommend

  • Grafello
    Aug 5, 2015 - 4:06AM

    I always knew that we are better than India, only if we can learn the art of marketing ourselves! the comment made about nationalistic feelings of Indians is interesting and too true.Recommend

  • PB
    Aug 5, 2015 - 4:27AM

    Tch tch.. Are will still in that era when showing your neighborhood down was enough to deny our own vagaries.. In terms of economic resurgence Pakistan is at least 20 years behind just like india is 20 years behind post 1970 steps taken by China.. One cannot fathom the number of weatern expats living in those countries who are exposed to absurdities of local culture and economic disparity. Paksitan is few years away from host even an established cricket team before they seek filth in other countries..Recommend

  • curious2
    Aug 5, 2015 - 4:47AM

    I don’t know many people who view India as shining … but India no longer spends all it’s time bad mouthing the West – isn’t associated with terrorist who kidnap and behead Westerners, and provides a ready source of educated Indian’s excited to take high paying jobs in the West. How does that compare to Pakistan? Recommend

  • vasan
    Aug 5, 2015 - 4:57AM

    What is the purpose of this article? Bash India, (though many things about India as described by the foreigners , esp life outside the airports, are true). Still I fail to see the purpose.Recommend

  • NRI
    Aug 5, 2015 - 5:05AM

    Regarding outsider’s observation of congested roads and homeless people on the streets, this is the result of having a democracy with majority of the voting population comprising poor people. The total lack of feudal families has ensured that the police cannot take any action against squatters.

    Also, no new cities can be planned/built as almost all of the land outside of the pre-existing cities belong to millions of villagers whose land cannot be forcefully acquired by the government….

    The reason Islamabad and Colombo are less-crowded and clean is because of the vigorous anti-squatting laws and its enforcement by the police, which works for the richer folks…. Also, they are both planned cities.Recommend

  • Gujesh
    Aug 5, 2015 - 6:04AM

    Another feel-good article for Pakistanis.Recommend

  • indrapal vansia
    Aug 5, 2015 - 7:09AM

    I do not think author know about economy or read financial time .He write about he-say, she-say and finish article.Recommend

  • Karanjeet S Sumra
    Aug 5, 2015 - 7:27AM

    Many visitors crossing into India from Lahore are struck by the sight of young girls going to school, university or just shopping by themselves on Amritsar streets. A few weeks ago in “Lower Dir” election NO women voted. A society where half of the population is effectively barred from education is regressing. Recommend

  • ziddi
    Aug 5, 2015 - 7:53AM

    From the very beginning the author’s intention to project India in poor light was evident.Firstly India is a developing country with a population more than a billion, does have certain grey areas and is trying to overcome these with remarkable success.Secondly Indian standards may be lower in the eyes of westerners whom author has quoted but comparing with Pakistan is quite hilarious.Pakistan ranked number 12 on a list of the “most failed states”, according to an annual report published in the Foreign Policy* magazine.The report titled “The Failed States Index 2012 compiles a list of countries in terms of vulnerability. From refugee flows to poverty, public services to security threats,In both 2009 and 2010, Pakistan took the number 10 spot on this index, whereas in 2008 it was ranked number nine.Anyway when Pakistan army &air force tackling it’s own created monster within the country, such articles are good for keeping the sagging morals of countrymen up.Recommend

  • wb
    Aug 5, 2015 - 7:54AM

    This is an utterly nonsensical article despite being honest.

    Why?

    Because, the idea of Shining India is not something the Indians themselves proclaim. I honestly don’t know who the target audience of Shining India campaign was, but no one in India bought it.

    Looks like Pakistanis are the only once who bought this idea in order to use it as a whip against India.

    So, what Mr. Gul is doing is measuring India on an India that no Indian ever bought.

    How stupid and dishonest and nonsensical it is.Recommend

  • ajeet
    Aug 5, 2015 - 8:02AM

    So the same delegates told the author that Pakistanis are more resilient than the afghans and the Somalis and he is happy with that? Their expectations of Pakistan was very low and weren’t surprised. They expected India to be like western countries and were disappointed.Recommend

  • Rollin & Trollin
    Aug 5, 2015 - 8:04AM

    Indians are good in maths and science, that’s for sure, and ultimately those are the fields which are required to advance in the knowledge economy. On the other hand, Pakistanis seem to excel in the banking sector, but that has its own limitations and cannot be solely relied on in Pakistan’s case. After all, the country is no Dubai, Singapore or Hong Kong. Pakistan needs to have value-added products and services which are competitive on the global markets if the country hopes to remain viable by 2050 when its population is expected to reach 300 million. Recommend

  • AKbob
    Aug 5, 2015 - 8:07AM

    For heaven’s sake talk about extremely prosperous Pakistan and leave India and Indians alone. Recommend

  • Vectra
    Aug 5, 2015 - 8:26AM

    I dont care if it was myth or reality but the fact that world is counting on India is a reality,biw if the myth is the word one need to use then this entire world itself is a myth and fake except the omnipresent Nature.Recommend

  • Vectra
    Aug 5, 2015 - 8:36AM

    Well this article should also applicable to China also,despite big economy still its peoples standard of living are low.Even in US people with less standard of living are found outside cities like New York and Washington spending their life in train tunnel,abandoned tunnel and i have seen it some program in National geographic or discovery channel.So what you say about that.Recommend

  • Sumra
    Aug 5, 2015 - 8:41AM

    visitors crossing into India from Lahore often notice presence of girls and women on Amritsar streets. A few weeks ago in an election in “Lower Dir” in Pakistan NO women voted. One half of population in Pakistan is effectively barred from education, regression is the result.Recommend

  • Naren
    Aug 5, 2015 - 8:53AM

    In Marathi, there is a saying “There should be a neighbor who scolds you. It helps you in improving”. Thanks Sir, we are not perfect, but your article may certainly give us a boost to improve ourselves. Recommend

  • Ravindra Sharma
    Aug 5, 2015 - 8:53AM

    Indian market is too big ? India knows this advantage and doing business on her terms and greedy businessmen of the world will certainly want to do business where they sense smell of money .Recommend

  • Feroz
    Aug 5, 2015 - 9:52AM

    The writer as everyone else is entitled to his opinions, but he cannot change what India stands for nor what Pakistan stands for. What any country stands for needs just a cursory reading of its Constitution, all biases and insecurities showing up in that document. What India stands for is :-
    1]Independent Judiciary.
    2]Free Press
    3]Secularism
    4]Democracy

    These values may not count for much in the Islamic world but carry resonance with all freedom loving people across the globe. India may be dirty, filthy, unclean or whatever but it guarantees that the voices of the oppressed will be heard, there will be a debate on all issues that plague it. That the world sees great potential in India is without doubt. What Pakistan stands for is known to the world and need not be elaborated here.

    The first lesson any student in marketing learns is that the best publicity, promotion and advertising cannot sell a poor product, blaming the marketing team being nothing but an exercise in self flagellation. The European Union with a lot less diversity in terms of culture, language, religion and lifestyle is falling apart.

    India is respected for the opportunities it provides to its people without any discrimination. Only in India could a son of a fisherman from a small coastal hamlet become a President or a penniless refugee from Partition or a Tea Seller on a railway platform become a PM. Its religious minorities have occupied every top post in the country, a feat no other country could come close to achieving. Those who value enterprise and have known discrimination understand what these qualities stand for. India has been the dominant economic power for three fourth of recorded human existence based on the capacity and capability of its people. Sure all its wealth was looted by raiders, conquerors and colonial powers, leaving it in extreme poverty at its Independence. Indians have faith in their own ability, they do not need the largesse or generosity of anyone to reclaim their lost glory. Recommend

  • Virkaul
    Aug 5, 2015 - 10:15AM

    there are two ways one can promote or market its country; by highlighting its strengths or by highlighting opponents weaknesses. Considering Imtiaz Gul’s background, this was the best he could churn out. I would have expected him to tell his audience that they have better railways syste, electoral system, better foreign policy, larger number of foreign tourists, vibrant sports atmosphere, robust drinking water and electricity supplies, a formidable space program or an efficient oil exploration sector with huge amount of foreign investments. But Pakistanis, especially faujis or those associated with them don’t change.Recommend

  • Aug 5, 2015 - 10:16AM

    You can criticize us only if you are better so that we can improve. We are criticized by a neighbor where army has ruled more than five decades and terrorism is their national policy. If you compare the achievements of India and Pakistan since independence you can feel the difference. So one piece of free advise Set your house in order first and you get the right to criticize us. Recommend

  • Nope
    Aug 5, 2015 - 10:31AM

    There is a Sanskrit verse ,”Namranti Phalinah brukhyah” or in English , “Stones are thrown at fruit laden trees” . Few years ago, same thing was being told for China . And the last lime also says everything , “At the same time, however, he felt that the Indian market is too big to ignore so his company is still sticking its necks out because of the potential the market offers.” So we won’t argue with you and receive all the stones thrown at us , the way PM Mr.Modi had received before election . We will grow stronger day by day and one day we will bring back our Indian civilization glory.Recommend

  • Toka
    Aug 5, 2015 - 10:37AM

    I hate these type of write-ups. The author gives a feel-good to the readers and makes his money. But are we that dumb enough to not realise that we have a 1.2 billion market next door and we haven’t capitalised on it? Recommend

  • Tepper
    Aug 5, 2015 - 11:04AM

    For someone who heads a research centre in Islamabad to form a conclusion basis a view point of 3 or 4 people from a sample size of hundreds of thousands, speaks volumes of the educational and analytical capabilities in Pakistan. Those Pakistanis who are well off, must look for education overseas. What future does research have when such people, like this Imtiaz fellow, are running the show in Pakistan. India and Pakistan share the same DNA. Surely, there must be more competency available in Pakistan. Recommend

  • Milind
    Aug 5, 2015 - 11:05AM

    As a nationalist Indian, I am not offended by you showing us the mirror because
    – your columns exhibit integrity and you have my respect
    – we ourselves talk about it and agitate over it. Narayan Murthy (founder & ex-CEO of Infosys) himself complained about the poor infrastructure in Bangalore.

    Having said that I have a few points
    – Pankaj Mishra, lacks integrity in his thoughts & speeches and can go over the top to absurd
    – The resilience thing has been overused as an euphemism for incompetence and denotes a fatalistic approach bordering on resignation… Thus Pakistanis are resilience is pretty much useless as they don’t have much choice.
    – About Pakistan lacking branding – again not much choice is available. Branding can be used to exaggerate and enhance a positive or neutral image. Unfortunately your country carries a negative image and branding may not help much.Recommend

  • N.S
    Aug 5, 2015 - 11:30AM

    Westerners coming to Pakistan got pleasantly surprised…for they find the country totally different to what the western media has portrayed.
    Westerners coming to India also got surprised as they find India totally different to what the Indian media and Bollywood portrays…this time not a pleasant surprise.
    So what is important perception or reality. In perception India is much ahead of Pakistan, in reality Pakistan is matching it, slightly ahead in poverty indices, a better living standard. Recommend

  • N.S
    Aug 5, 2015 - 11:35AM

    Natural gas consumption in India is 64.49 billion cu m (2011 est.) and in Pakistan it is 42.9 billion cu m (2011 est.). And the population of India is 1.27billion and that of Pakistan is 180 million. Recommend

  • N.S
    Aug 5, 2015 - 11:50AM

    @wb: The myth of Shining India and the myth of failing Pakistan. Check this out.
    Pakistan is exporting precision engineering parts to Boeing USA for the last many years. A Karachi based company “Integrated Dynamics” are into exports of surveillance drones to many European countries. Now Haier Ruba has started joint production of smart phones and Laptop computers near Lahore. All household electrical appliances and kitchen appliance are made in Pakistan, for the last many years, by local Pakistani companies.Bike production has risen to 2 million bikes per year, many with 100% deletion. Car vendor Industry, which supplies parts to car assemblers/manufacture is worth more than 200 billion Rs. Check out the link below related to exports to Boeing.

    http://archives.dailytimes.com.pk/business/04-May-2006/boeing-places-100m-manufacturing-orders-with-pakistani-companies

    http://nation.com.pk/business/17-May-2015/laptops-mobiles-to-be-manufactured-locallyRecommend

  • nk
    Aug 5, 2015 - 12:13PM

    Im so glad someone finally took note of this, and disappointed it took not only this long to notice this but that not enough people are writing about this. Our leaders are totally oblivious to this PR campaign of India. We chest thump alot and fall into jingoistic habits when we pronounce pakistan as the best country in the world, but most of us, especially are leaders, don’t necessarily believe it. The narrative is also spun in such a way that we cannot possibly preach effectively.

    I’ve studied in international institutes abroad, and have met many many indians through my travels for work and education. And i’ve noticed that all indian nationalist is shallow and yet so effective. In the past 10-15 years, India has used bollywood superbly. ANywhere there are two indians, they will make sure something like diwali is celebrated. THe colours are more than enough to dazzle any gora. Additionally, the same worn out narrative is used everywhere – worlds largest democracy, peaceful, asian tiger. But any discerning individual that speaks to an indian will realize within a matter of days how shallow these statements are. Additionally, Indian’s will claim all the beautiful architecture that their society has built, until someone points out that its uniquely mughal architecture and not indian architecture that indians are so proud of.

    And yet, Pakistanis being so weary of not only their society and their leadership, will mostly just not have any proper defense because as a nation we have been so abused by our leaders for the past 60 years the only defense we can claim is some shallow rebuttal of “no but pakistan is better. allah akbar”. We need to instill some pride in the people of this nation so they can fight india on even terrain. instead our political parties are so selfish some are throwing dharnas, others are callign upon nato and foreign nations to help save them from their own country.Recommend

  • N.S
    Aug 5, 2015 - 12:19PM

    …at the same time I think that instead of pondering on the ‘myth of Shining India’…we should come up with some sort of marketing strategy, image building, perception management and try to build the ‘Shining Pakistan’ narrative…instead of trying to belittle India and its success.
    Failure of India is not Pakistan’s success and vice versa. Also with two huge economies of China and India around us with big markets as well, we should try to use it to our full advantage.
    Its the region which prospers…and not isolated countries. Recommend

  • Vishesh
    Aug 5, 2015 - 12:34PM

    People go to China and say the same thing. They talk about poverty and inequality. india is shining because it is growing, not because it is considered a developed country. It was a poor country that is becoming richer at a fast pace. As it with every developing country, it has it’s problems to solve. But the fact is we are solving it, and generally in a peaceful manner. Unlike pakistan which is just going down the tube with it’s extremist ideology and poor talent. You guys rejoice mediocrity of falling FDI and fake growth rates of 4% and borrowed forex. In India, when forex was at $250 bn ( 15 times what you consider is the highest forex you had and for a forex per capita of 2.5 times what you currently have) and India’s growth was 5%, we were going through our worst phase of economic stagnation. Hence, look at how the two countries measure success. Look at any indicator, Be it HDI, Per capita, Per capita number of cars, smartphones etc sold in India and you will see India is far ahead of pak and growing at a strong rate. Plus we all did this, without selling ourselves as a client state to another like how pak did to the US and saudi. And now to China.

    The fact is that Indians are far more talented. Forget the subcontinent. Even a recent research paper by a UK based institute on migration stated. Indians earn considerably more than the UK born residents, whereas pakis and bangladeshis are the worst of the lot. Shows the sheer difference in the ability of the two people. similar things can be seen even in the middle east, where pakis go for less skilled work and Indians are more skilled (which is very evident by the remittance per capita of Indians more than double that of pakis from the gulf).

    Give it up! we are superior. Period!Recommend

  • Narendra
    Aug 5, 2015 - 12:38PM

    Try creat this type of myth about your country.Recommend

  • singh
    Aug 5, 2015 - 12:41PM

    Shining what shining? Corruption at every step. The only positive side of india that its a colourful country & nothing else.Recommend

  • antihindu_singh
    Aug 5, 2015 - 12:46PM

    @Pinkman

    It’s true that most of the Indian cities may seem to be chaotic and disordered to the Western people. But we are not sitting back, we are improving faster than ever . And by the way please ask your govt to disclose the no of tourists who visited Pakistan in last decade and then compare the three countries . Thanks.

    Pakistan isn’t the one having the PR campaign to boost tourism with the slogan “incredible India”/ “shining India” etcRecommend

  • ravi
    Aug 5, 2015 - 12:56PM

    Another issue which could be raised which Europeans would love to discuss is Executions

    In last one year Pakistan state has executed more than 200 people, most of whom were not terrorists. All executions happened smoothly and no one questioned the govt or Army.

    In last one year, we in India, reluctantly, after lot of deliberations, counter arguments and mercy petitions, were just about able to execute one person, after lots of hue and cry. We are still hearing a lot about it.Recommend

  • Namaste
    Aug 5, 2015 - 12:59PM

    Yes I agree with you Mr Author but there are stark differences between the negative aspects in India with the negative aspects in Pakistan

    In India the electricity supply, however inadequate is not an issue that causes people rioting on the roads. The worst hit due to poor electricity supply are the small business owners and entrepreneurs. For Pajero riding fat cats it is a minor inconvenience of asking the servant to turn on the generator. So the whole goody goody big cities where majority of the foreign investment exists recieve electricity without any circular debt. Does kalabagh Dam ring a bell? There’s another one I would want you to Google is tehri Dam in India.

    The problem exists in India of homeless and poor people is due to the high population, and yet the literary rate of the country went up in the last census in 2011.
    Its been 14 years that Pakistan government counted it’s population. No matter what ultimately what your government does matters, not the romanticized feelings you carry in your heart.

    The security situation, I mean you go outside the cities in India and you’ll see poor infrastructure and poverty, but what happens when you go outside the cities in Pakistan, the rural areas, not the motorways
    No city in India bans two ppl riding on motorbikes, this regularly happens in Pakistan, despite the fact that motorbikes are the personal mobility option for the not so rich.

    I’m just talking facts here.

    There’s nothing brave about living in a country of conflict while you sit in a bungalow with security guards at the gate, and drive around in a pajero.

    The class divide in Pakistan is disturbing.

    Most Pakistanis simply curse the government and that’s it.

    And yes the malnutrition and toilets in India
    The fact that government has acknowledged these two problems with mid day meal in schools and clean India movement
    The problem in villages is that either family is too poor to even have a proper house, so toilets are luxury. While even the rich in villages are often neglect the toilet, which is more of a cultural problem than anything else. The ads on tv with vidya balan scolding a family that instructs the new bride about ghoonghat, with no toilet in the house. This ad plays on every channel even on prime time Recommend

  • DOHO
    Aug 5, 2015 - 1:26PM

    Finally, someone speaks the truth.

    All we need is good PR, branding and marketing to showcase the real “shining” South Asian powerhouse. If we can successfully run ads and PR campaigns in North America, Europe, East Asia, we will create a positive and powerful image of Pakistan.

    This will bring us 100s of billions of FDI, large investment in IT, manufacturing, High tech engg, health care sector. We should be able to suck in 150 bn USD Indian IT industry within 5-8 years. I won’t be surprise if Apple, Amazon, Samsung will line up to build huge factories and large R&D center in Pakistan.

    Furthermore, the real Muslim architecture is in Pakistan and we should get as much as tourist as tiny Thailand – 20-30M/yr. Recommend

  • N.S
    Aug 5, 2015 - 1:36PM

    @Karanjeet S Sumra: This is nonsensical thoughts, there are more women parliamentarian in Pakistan than there is in India, proportionately, I think it is about 35% or so. Also the area you mentioned is in FATA, a tribal area, in Urban and small towns and the rest of the country the situation is totally different.
    In Karachi university, for instance, the percentage of girl students is about 60% of total students, more than the male students. Similarly in medical colleges it is about 50 percent for both genders.
    BTW Malala was a student in a remote area in Swat, KPK, with a large number of quality school and colleges, full with girl students. A few fanatic Taliban or extremists doesn’t portrays Pakistan, now they have been decimated from here. Recommend

  • Sunshine
    Aug 5, 2015 - 1:45PM

    Thank you for giving us an honest, well thought out and thoroughly analyzed report on India and Pakistan’s real condition and the potential.

    I think we all suffer from negative view of our own people, culture, religion and the country. All we need is a confidence boost and we can take over Indian economy within 10 years.

    What we do better:

    Great sports culture (team and individual)
    Awesome in music
    Better movies and TV shows
    Great culture of science and discovery from Islamic times
    Solid textile industry
    HIgh tech and precision engg
    Well developed automobile sector

    This is just a short list. I only hope that our PM does not waste money on metro project, but build a proper PR/Ad campaign to improve image of bright and shiny Pakistan. By 2025, we will be 3rd biggest economy and military in the world. Recommend

  • Rollin & Trollin
    Aug 5, 2015 - 1:59PM

    @N.S: How about ‘Blazing Pakistan’ ? Knocks you out, first time, every time !Recommend

  • Vectra
    Aug 5, 2015 - 2:02PM

    @DOHO:
    PR campaign in North America,Europe,East Asia you cannot create powerful image of Pakistan like India.India’s PR campaign is backed by it robust domestic mega corporate sectors including Industrial manufacturing and Service industries that forms the India Inc but pakistan PR campaign has nothing to be backed with so such branding is bound to fail from start itself.Recommend

  • Vectra
    Aug 5, 2015 - 2:04PM

    @DOHO:
    As i said change pakistans global perception on terrorism 1st then i am sure what you said you won’t be surprised if Apple, Amazon, Samsung will line up to build huge factories and large R&D center in Pakistan. Recommend

  • whatever
    Aug 5, 2015 - 2:13PM

    Pakistanis search more Indian failure then their own success. No wonder you can find darkness around a well-lit candle too but you have to stoop to the bottom.Recommend

  • Indian Guy
    Aug 5, 2015 - 2:20PM

    No doubt India has many many problems to resolve and hopefully we moving steadily towards resolving at least some of them. But this article seems a bit similar to articles by Indians who keep picking problems in the Chinese system in order to feel good about self. No ones stopping anyone from writing though. Whatever floats your boat.Recommend

  • DOHO
    Aug 5, 2015 - 2:41PM

    @Vectra:

    If India is so great than, why you guys are wasting your time here?

    “.India’s PR campaign is backed by it robust domestic mega corporate sectors including Industrial manufacturing and Service industries that forms the India Inc ”

    Yeah, but Pakistan already have a sizable textile, heavy engg sector, and we can build from that. Recommend

  • A Peshawary
    Aug 5, 2015 - 2:46PM

    @Karanjeet S Sumra:
    Do u know Mala Yousafzia if also from the same area?

    A PeshawaryRecommend

  • N.S
    Aug 5, 2015 - 3:13PM

    @Rollin Trollin: ROFL…actually I was thinking of ‘Aalishan Pakistan’ or ‘Resilient Pakistan’, Progressive Pakistan like slogan, something to build on.
    I think for India it is ‘Incredible India’ which is more famous than the ‘Shining India’, point of sale or a ‘reason to believe’. Pakistan can do it…it is just a matter of time. Recommend

  • N.S
    Aug 5, 2015 - 3:25PM

    @Vectra: That perception actually has changed internationally after the operation against Taliban, with no good and and bad Taliban narrative. Now I see a huge change of hearts and minds in western people and media reporting about Pakistan…just read the Forbes report, there was another report few days earlier bloomberg gave positive vibes about Pakistan. US is happy with the current ongoing operation so are the western countries, China and other countries, US and China are the observer here with current talks with Afghan Talibans, here in Murree. Yes the India and Pakistan relations need some real dialogue, notwithstanding the current LOC tensions.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-06-30/in-best-hidden-frontier-market-boom-signals-pakistan-revivalRecommend

  • N.S
    Aug 5, 2015 - 3:38PM

    @DOHO&Vectra: The Banking sector and the service sector like Telecom and Media is really doing good in Pakistan also. Big MNC’s like Nestle, P&G, Unilever have invested big here in Pakistan. Engro Pakistan is now a 4 billion USD company. Check out these links.

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/483287/corporate-revenues-the-growth-of-the-billion-dollar-club-in-pakistan/

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/566034/procter-and-gamble-lists-pakistan-among-top-10-emerging-markets/Recommend

  • Arbit
    Aug 5, 2015 - 4:28PM

    I’ve seen too many Pakistanis making the argument that “branding” is the only thing that is wrong with their country. And they project India as a clever marketer, nothing else.

    Please read Kapferer’s brand prism to understand basics of branding. You will find that “image” is only 1 of the 6 branding parameters. The rest 5 do not go away simply because you wish. Recommend

  • Liberal
    Aug 5, 2015 - 6:49PM

    It is total waste of time and meaningless for us to debate whether India is shining or not. After nearly 70 years, we are looked upon as a failed state by the entire world community and Pakistanis themselves. One has to open the front page of ET and see the headlines on Pakistan. Obsessing on India is the single biggest reason for our downfall. Recommend

  • Gratsy
    Aug 5, 2015 - 6:54PM

    Interesting to read the comments of Indians. They are spending all their breath to show how great India is. This is exactly what a person has said that they overdo it which amounts to overdoing, exaggeration. Or is it trying to hide something? Ha,ha,ha…Recommend

  • raw is war
    Aug 5, 2015 - 7:07PM

    “Shining Pakistan”, there , are you happy now?Recommend

  • SNKN
    Aug 5, 2015 - 8:55PM

    It is impressive what India has accomplished in the past few years. However, I can assure my
    friends in India that life in Pakistan is not very different from what they experience. As a matter of fact, Pakistan fares a lot better in many aspects. I travel to both countries frequently and can observe this over and over.

    Pakistan has a free media, by far!! Surprised? It’s a fact. Indian state machinery has done a great job in blocking most of what comes out of Pakistan. It is not the case in Pakistan. It has resulted in false misconceptions about Pakistan in the average Indian mind. In fact, there is constant poison being fed against Pakistan in this controlled environment. This is again very
    easily observed in India and it is only getting worse. The result is ever increasing bitterness, resentment and sheer animosity, being elevated to belligerence in the average Indian citizen which is steering its people further apart by the day. From news channels to talk shows to newspapers to films, there is a complete brain-wash of the ordinary citizens in India. This is the sad part – the cleverest and well synchronized campaign, more potent than the ‘shining India’ campaign – another well orchestrated but a positive campaign. The anti Pakistan campaign at home in India has done great damage to the chances of the two countries living
    Peacefully side by side.

    On its part, Pakistan has not done any favors to its own image either.Recommend

  • omer
    Aug 6, 2015 - 1:23AM

    Well said and truly worded.Recommend

  • Talking Point
    Aug 6, 2015 - 1:39AM

    @N.S: How about “Pakistan – the mind blowing experience “? Covers the good and the bad aptly , ain’t it? Recommend

  • Anwar Hasan
    Aug 6, 2015 - 1:54AM

    Twenty million international tourists visited India last year.Twenty visited Pakistan. Not sure what is the point of the article. Recommend

  • Avtar
    Aug 6, 2015 - 5:28AM

    Indians, at least admit, it could be shinier than it is. Marketing India through this slogan has paid out dividends in terms of tourism and foreign “presence”. The author is admitting to it. Pakistanis do not have choice but to become resilient to daily bombings, sectarian killings and religious bigotism. Recommend

  • Sach Bhol
    Aug 6, 2015 - 8:10AM

    Like many Pakistanis, who suffer from obsessive envy and anti-India emotions, that eventually hurt them most, the author writes a highly unbiased and one-sided story about “Shining” India. The term “shining” is not indicative of a land where milk and honey flow. However “shining” suggests that the country’s spirit is changing and clearing the cobwebs of darkness that exist elsewhere. Yes, I am insinuating this darkness exists in Pakistan which does not even have a proper economy, let alone a modern one which is omnipresent in India’s entrepreneurship spirit. The garbage that the foreigner (of course, it has to be a German for whom the whole world, including Pakistan, reeks of filth) noticed in India compares better than Pakistan which has often been portrayed in the international media as the world’s gutter oozing out the worst kind of filth. And I am not even talking of the horrors of extremism and terrorism, the religious intolerance, the all-pervasive drug problem, the lack of human rights, child prostitution and, and … shall I go on? Recommend

  • sach bhol
    Aug 6, 2015 - 8:25AM

    The author, like most Pakistanis, lives in one of the world’s failed states (assessment by leading international think tanks). Any progress achieved by any other country, particularly India turns them green with envy and sets their brains on fire. The author and his ilk typify the aforesaid category of Pakistanis whose obsessive envy and anti-India emotions are reflected in whatever they think and act. I also don’t think he has ever visited India (and should not be allowed to do so in the future) and is relying on some “German acquaintance” (without mentioning the person’s credentials to establish the veracity of his statement) to criticize India’s pollution problems. I have, as a matter of fact, heard horror stories about Pakistan’s filth and sewage problems, particularly in the big cities which would be a nightmare for those engaged in sanitation and cleanliness. India does “shine” (it is not intended to convey the land-of-milk-and-honey characteristic) because this attributed is associated with the entrepreneurship spirit that has descended on its people. By contrast, Pakistan remains a dark planet inhabited by corrupt politicians, unscrupulous military, fanatic mullahs, etc. Did I forget to mention extremism and terrorism, religious intolerance, rampant corruption (in fact, the ‘parallel’ economy, a nice word for widespread corruption, is so well-established that some even call it a mafia system of collecting ‘protection money’ from the subjects just because they breathe Pakistan’s foul air!!), child prostitution, open defecation in the fields and elsewhere by Pakistanis who do not use paper/water but use sand and mud after doing you know what. Should I go on? Recommend

  • Tiuo
    Aug 6, 2015 - 8:46AM

    Wow, so much heartburn from Indian folks on this page. This is another proof that Indian growth story is just that, a story.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if in next few years we will find out that India has inflated its GDP numbers and is in huge debt. We might have another Greece on our hands.

    Pakistan, with all terrorism problem continues to grow and become stronger. I think in next 10 years we will be a 2Trillion economy and will easily be in top 4. Recommend

  • rama
    Aug 6, 2015 - 9:59AM

    Author and some of the Pakistanis is taking comfort with these article and comments , This it not going to help anybody. Even US has the slums may not be similar to the subcontinent. Remember India’s poplation is 1.3 B and we can expect large variation in every aspect. World is counting on India because of the stable political system, large educated middle class population, reliable security polcies , indepedent judiciary and many things. Pakistan is failing on many of these aspects and major concern is the raising religious fundamentalismRecommend

  • Aug 6, 2015 - 10:28AM

    @Tiuo: : wishes are not horses on which you are trying to ride . Recommend

  • Juggernaut
    Aug 6, 2015 - 11:41AM

    @N.S: Check your facts before writing any comments about India. India is part of BRICS club which are fast developing countries of the world. You are not yet even part of BRICS, first grow up to that standard.

    Also compare GDP/Per capita Income of India and Pakistan, you are also way behind, even if we are country with 1 bn population still we had much higher per capita income.

    You don’t have enough CNG in your country for household and industry while we run CNG trains in India.

    We had much better education system compare to Pakistan, none of your universities are in the list of top 100 even in Asia, while we had atleast 2 universities of top class in the world.Recommend

  • observer
    Aug 6, 2015 - 1:32PM

    But most officers, who had visited places such as Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia, did appreciate what they described as the “resilience of Pakistani society”, despite nearly 14 years of unrest.

    Well, Pakistan is better than Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia.

    Need one say anymore?Recommend

  • Fuad
    Aug 6, 2015 - 1:47PM

    The number of Indian comments versus the Pakistani comments (above) clearly proves the point of view, that Pakistanis “….are often defensive and non-assertive even when they are on the right side of the argument…”.

    Recently, Delhi based European executives visiting Islamabad narrated their pleasure at the quality & fragrance of air in Islamabad, compared to the stench and acrid air of Delhi.Recommend

  • Mahreen
    Aug 6, 2015 - 7:33PM

    Pakistan is a failed state? I don’t think so: https://www.facebook.com/PakistanDevelopmentNewsRecommend

  • Tor Palm
    Aug 6, 2015 - 10:31PM

    @vasan: Basically to bust the myth of shining india….I visited India in 2011 for 5 months working for red cross……Delhi, Mumbay, Channai, Agra, Calcutta, Jaipur and few more….with my girl friend….who just left after two weeks, being sick and nauseated. I found many thing good in India but obviously nothing as close to as the image of being “shining India”. My car was dented because people didn’t had the road sense, it was chaotic and over-crowded would be the understatement. I got mugged at Agra and police was simply not interested in helping. So travelling in the day was nauseating and in the night mugging haunted me. I got sick twice but I remained steadfast. The poverty was way too much than I ever imagined about one of the “fastest growing” economies. Disillusioned with all that experience, I thought about Pakistan even more negatively so I struck of subcontinent off my bucket list of my leisure/work destinations. However in 2013, I visited Pakistan and Indonesia on the insistence of my girl friends brother who had been to Pakistan many times for trekking and mountaineering…I really found the road infra-structure much better even outside of the big cities….traffic was slightly less chaotic. The road travel from Islamabad to Lahore was great with nice resting points along the motorway with clean free public toilets….I visited many small towns in Punjab like Sahiwal, Chakwal, salt range….and I found no security risk….no mugging…though day experience was bit nauseating but not as much as I had in India…and oh the northern area were superb, the majestic mountains along the silk road was an experience of life time and I would surely return with my girl friend. I really saw the difference in the perception of both countries in the west and the realities on the ground. This article really reminded of my experiences in both countries and I found it really Recommend

  • Tor Palm
    Aug 6, 2015 - 10:34PM

    @vasan: @vasan: Basically to bust the myth of shining india….I visited India in 2011 for 5 months working for red cross……Delhi, Mumbay, Channai, Agra, Calcutta, Jaipur and few more….with my girl friend….who just left after two weeks, being sick and nauseated. I found many thing good in India but obviously nothing as close to as the image of being “shining India”. My car was dented because people didn’t had the road sense, it was chaotic and over-crowded would be the understatement. I got mugged at Agra and police was simply not interested in helping. So travelling in the day was nauseating and in the night mugging haunted me. I got sick twice but I remained steadfast. The poverty was way too much than I ever imagined about one of the “fastest growing” economies. Disillusioned with all that experience, I thought about Pakistan even more negatively so I struck of subcontinent off my bucket list of my leisure/work destinations. However in 2013, I visited Pakistan and Indonesia on the insistence of my girl friends brother who had been to Pakistan many times for trekking and mountaineering…I really found the road infra-structure much better even outside of the big cities….traffic was slightly less chaotic. The road travel from Islamabad to Lahore was great with nice resting points along the motorway with clean free public toilets….I visited many small towns in Punjab like Sahiwal, Chakwal, salt range….and I found no security risk….no mugging…though day experience was bit nauseating but not as much as I had in India…and oh the northern area were superb, the majestic mountains along the silk road was an experience of life time and I would surely return with my girl friend. I really saw the difference in the perception of both countries in the west and the realities on the ground. Recommend

  • Bahubali
    Aug 6, 2015 - 11:01PM

    We accept our weakness and will try to do better ….and therefore there is hope for us. However, Pakistan does not have any hope simply because the first step in curing a problem is to accept that a problem exists.Recommend

  • InDIOT
    Aug 7, 2015 - 12:01AM

    I don’t know who is obsessed with whom, and what this says; but according to my understanding this page supposed to be a Pakistani page.

    But you can see the commentator’s list, and guess yourself…. lOl…… :D

    And if got some time then “look at yourselves in the mirror” just for the sake of FUN….Recommend

  • Human
    Aug 7, 2015 - 12:47AM

    India has reached Mars (launched orbital satellite) and Pakistan is still trying to enter India.Recommend

  • Vicky
    Aug 7, 2015 - 9:34AM

    Despite of many challenges India comes in top ten countries in field of economy, agriculture, IT, medical tourism, software, space mission etc….
    India’s growth rate is more then China ….India’s forex reserve have crossed 350 billion dollars…
    India is a part of big international forums that G20 and Brics…,.

    so instead of competing India, Pakistan should compete with Bangladesh…..
    because Bangladesh’s 24 billion forex reserve is higher than Pak’s 16 billion forex reserve……
    Bangladesh’s currency taka is stronger than Pakistani currency…
    Bangladesh’s 6% growth rate is much higher than Pak’s 4% growth rate…,.
    if Bangladesh keep this momentum on, then by 2024 it’ll become second largest economy of SAARC leaving Pakistan behindRecommend

  • Sanjay
    Aug 7, 2015 - 9:44AM

    @Tor Palm:
    Nice try with an imaginary story. Firstly, it’s Chennai and Mumbai not like what you have stated. I work for IRCS TN branch in Chennai so don’t try to mislead people here. There was no such visit in 2011 Chennai since I am reponsible for logistics for all the visitors both local and abroad.

    ET: please publish since I stated facts here and given my real name.Recommend

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