Over the centuries, the idea of India has inspired multiple visions and manifold actions. Venerated as sacred geography, fought for as Bharat Mata, codified in the Constitution as a democratic republic—each way of seeing has influenced our being and becoming, cultural identities and political movements.
Brand New Nation focuses on a much more recent idea of India—‘India Rising’, ‘India Shining’. Unlike older ideas that are deep-dyed into popular imagination, this new vision rose rapidly during the first 15 years of the new millennium. It then deflated just as swiftly. However, Ravinder Kaur argues that, in its short life, this image revealed how the idea of nationhood has been transformed in the context of a globalised economy. Old formulae about India’s distinctive moral place in the world—non-alignment, non-violence, unity in diversity—no longer apply. Today, being a global player means parading one’s assets to investors and tourists. The assets are also newly minted. India is now depicted as buzzing with entrepreneurial energy, educated youth, and booming markets—all presided over by a government that’s ‘open for business.’ This is the New India, conjured up by India Inc.