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BOOK REVIEW: “SUPER POWER- The Amazing Race Between China’s Hare and India’s Tortoise” by Raghav Bahl, Penguin,2010

A Synoptic View
This is a much talked about book in the academic and professional circles for its lucid and perceptive comparative analysis of the growth potential of India and China.  Raghav Bahl is not an academic but a media person and a journalist and more than that a globally renowned entrepreneur as a founder, shareholder, editor and managing director of Network 18 Media &Investments.  He is known for his acumen for pragmatic analysis of global and national economic and business scenarios through his TV presentations.  This book has also the same approach of a broader perspective, devoid of any theoretical overtones, confining itself to a scintillating study of the past, present and future insights of the differing growth paths of India and China with a symbolic comparison of the slow paced tortoise and fast moving hare, respectively. He has marshaled facts and figures from authentic quantitative and qualitative sources, relied on shrewd insights of the realities of evolving contexts in both the countries to weigh their strengths and weaknesses to arrive at his conclusions in each stage of his analysis in each chapter.   
Bahl has covered his treatment of the subject in five chapters along with a preface, prologue and Epilogue.  The chapters logically deal with the emerging race between the two countries to become super powers, the geopolitics, the economics of entrepreneurs, consumers and English speakers, urbanization and infrastructure and social infrastructure.  This is the first book of Bahl which has drawn commendations and encomiums from a spectrum of experts from policy makers to business and professional leaders in India and abroad.
Reading this book is a must for the management faculty and students to get updated on this topic of contemporary and futuristic comparative studies of India and China. It is a very engaging ‘un-put down-able’  treatment of the combination of history, economics, politics and management of change at the macro-level.  
In order to bring out the essence of the book, it is worth going through some excerpts.
“……….  The hare we are talking about is a $5 trillion gorilla, while the tortoise is a $1.50trillion cub.  ……… of course the tortoise will have to huff and puff a lot harder for the miracle of the fable to occur” (Prologue P20.)
“There is a subdued acknowledgement of the superior quality of India’s growth when compared to the quantity juggernaut unleashed by China.” (P54)
“In fact, India is a curious study in contrasts: a feeble government, perhaps getting weaker by the day, and an energetic civil society whose aspirations and ambitions are soaring by the minute.  The government must fix itself, or it runs the grave risk of converting aspirations into disappointments, and ambitions to anger.  That is the overriding challenge for India’s muscular tortoise, as it tries to close the gap with China’s adrenalin-pumping hare. (P55)
“So what’s my final wager now?  I would say it is ‘advantage China’ on velocity and momentum, and it’s “odds on India” as the institutional favorite.    But the outcome is still anybody’s guess – it’s Fifty Fifty.(P220).
— Dr. Ramesh.G.Tagat, Professor and Academic Mentor, ISME, Bengaluru.