Typically, in the lives of countries and organizations, after the fertile dreams and flux of the founding years come the halcyon days of stability. A period of security wrapped in routine lasts only so long before tumult and possibility move in to force new change. That feverish time has now descended on Aravind and India.

Indifferent to the initial tug of globalization, Madurai has long been more of a vibrant, overgrown village than a slick, modern-day metropolis. But a decade into the 21st century, progress has whetted a new ambition in this ancient city and brought a novel prosperity within reach. It is on the cusp of change, and the evidence is everywhere. Hay-stacked bullock carts halt at traffic lights with ...

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