I have just received a copy of this book in Portuguese ( India: da miseria a potencia") , which was launched on 25 March in Sao Paulo. Patricia is a journalist, curently based in Washington DC as the correspondent of Estado de Sao Paulo daily. She had visited India for three weeks in 2006 to interview people and collect materials for the book. India Brand Equity Foundation had financed and organised her visit.
Patricia has given an overview of the emergence of India as an important market, IT power and rising power. She has quoted the usual sources such as Thomas Friedman and businessmen like Nandan Nilekhani. She has quoted me too...
She contrasts India's IT skills and business boom with the poverty, caste system and problems faced by India. The photos she has put in the book are those which describe the misery and problems. She has forgotten to put the pictures which could have reflected the potencia! India seems to have given her a cultural shock from which she did not succeed in gaining her balance.
She has made the predictable comparison with China. She has earlier written a book on China called as " o mundo tem medo de china".
She has compared Brazil with India , the countries of the future. She says that while Brazil has been waiting eternally as the country of future, India has taken off. She has referred to the term "Belindia" which is used in Brazil to describe the inequality; the developed part of Brazil is compared to Belgium and the rest to India. She says while Brazil continues to be Belindia, India is no longer what India meant in the past. She has mentioned in passing the growing partnership between the two countries.
Patricia's book is a timely fill-in for the Brazilians who are puzzled and amazed by the sudden and rapid rise of India. Brazilian government and the business are curious and serious about India.There are no contemporary books on India in portuguese. Books on India available in Brazil are about culture and spiritualism. Although Patricia has not gone into the details of what has caused the paradigm shift in India and and in the mindset of Indians, the book serves its purpose by making the Brazilians to search for answers within themselves. I guess the three week stay was too short for her to understand the complexities of India.
My feeling is that the Brazilians have also reached a take off stage with a new confidence, energy and optimism. Brazilian companies are on a buying spree in neighbouring countries and outside. In 2007, Brazilian outward investment was more than the inward Foreign Direct Investment. The discovery of new oil fields, the commodity boom, leadership in fuel ethanol... are some of the factors which have strengthened the confidence of the Brazilian business. This has been complemented by the political equilibrium achieved by the government with its pragmatic policies friendly to both the Wall Street and Favelas. The government has successfully raised its profile in the region as well in the world by careful and astute diplomatic initiatives. This business- government synergy and putting their act together with a new vision and determination has made Brazil unstoppable....
Viva Brasil !