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Independent India At 60: The View From Britain

October 2007
Independent India At 60: The View From Britain

The mayor's office in London has put together some impressive facts about the city's deepening connection to India. With more Indian companies listed on the London Stock Exchange than on the New York Stock Exchange, London accounts for a third of India's investments in Europe. It's not just the so-called curry houses that have proliferated there, since London now has 10,000 Indian-owned businesses. So, six decades after India won freedom from Britain, is this a case of reverse colonialism? Not quite, although some trends have been noteworthy. According to UK Trade and Investment, India is going to overtake Japan and China to become Britain's largest investor. Indians in Britain, as per the most recent census, form close to a quarter of the ethnic minority population and almost 2 percent (over a million) of the total population.

London's India Now festival, commemorating not just the 60th anniversary of Indian independence but also the enduring relationship between these two nations, got off to a grand start this summer, when a replica of the Taj Mahal floated down the Thames. Described as "the most comprehensive festival of culture from the subcontinent ever to be staged in the capital," a number of events—from theatrical productions and film screenings to music and dance programs, lectures, and art exhibitions—were scheduled for July, August and September. And this month, the Diwali-in-London celebrations include all day events at Leicester Square and cultural programs at Trafalgar Square, culminating in an arti ceremony.

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