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Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Indian Entrepreneur is Alive!

On a chilly winter morning I took the train to one of the most historical of places in Bengal - Murshidabad.The way led through places like Plassey,where Lord Robert Clive defeated Nawab Siraj-ul-Daula in the 1700s and laid the foundation of British Rule in India.

The neglect of such historic sites is monumental to say the least and I imagine Lord Clive would not feel out of place was he to wander back today to the site of his triumph!goats loitering on the platform,mudbrick houses and green farms,ducks swimming in muddy ponds,a typical scene from rural bengal and nothing to denote thate this place once was responsible for changing the face of modern India and indirectly leading to the formation of a great nation from a conglomoration of princely states.

On the positive side,having travelled cattle class for this short 5 hour trip I saw a surfeit of home grown entrepreneurs selling books,incense,boiled eggs,home made sweets,a flute player and a magician as well as a stand up comedian.The energy shown by them was amazing.

Its a lot easier for the IIT-IIM-Harvard educated citizen to get PE funding or other sources to start a business.But here were people from the 'have-not' side,how did they capitalize their business?Funding?What profitability?

Especially when there is no safety net(other than family support I suppose) and their dependents mean that they cannot afford to fail.

It was a vibrant thriving community that has demarcated areas of operation as well as the product to be sold.It is such as these that bring their village craft to those who live in suburban areas and provide a minute glance at the indegeneous industry.Wonder how many craftsmen and craft we have already lost?

But as long as this vitality thrives,no amount of redtape and bureaucrasy can styme the development of India.I hope things will only get better from here...