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India! I dare you to be rich

Let’s get this very clear. India is definitely a Third World country

There seems to be an exaggerated sense of pride – bordering on delusion – among at least some of India's educated "elite". Some of them claim that India – a Third World nation by ALL objective standards – is already a world super-power! If only wishes were horses.

Note that, as I wrote in the past on this blog, India is "Third World, even though most of its people are first rate." The fact of the matter is that it is not the people but their leaders – and it is not what they do but the systems they create – that matter. India has a deeply problematic governance system that leads to the worst possible outcome for its millions of people. Instead of being ENORMOUSLY WEALTHY and HONEST as a nation, they have been converted into the garbage bin of the world. A more filthy part of the world can't be imagined – physically and (at least as far is governance is concerned) morally. [See pics here]

True, at one time I too used to be annoyed with this term, "Third World". But then I discovered that there is a huge difference between a developing country and a Third World country. A developing country genuinely aspires to develop. Singapore, Taiwan, S. Korea – 50 years ago – were developing countries. They sought to apply world-best policies and create HONEST societies. Hong Kong and Singapore are more honest than even the well known Western societies. But India was a Third World country from day one, or at least after Sardar Patels' death. Third World countries are genuinely third rate in virtually every way. They are arrogant and refuse to learn. They boast about tiny worthless "victories". They delude themselves at every step. Their deplorable performance in virtually everything tells the true story about them. 40 years after Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong rose to wealth from virtually nothing, India remains a miserable mess. And struts about on the world stage imagining itself to be a peacock!

If anyone thinks that India is not a third rate country today – then please read on!

I cite (as one of many such examples) the recent comments made by Ravi – a highly educated, active and otherwise highly perceptive commentator on this blog. In the past some of Ravi's comments have been very perceptive, such as this one:  "Very useful article Sanjeev. Really enjoyed it. Its true that critical thinking is lacking in even educated people nowadays." Clearly, Ravi appreciates the need for greater objective critical thinking. (Or at least that is what this comment implies). So far so good.

But then Ravi posted four comments (on four different blog posts on the same issue – that India is apparently not a Third World nation) that made me pause. I decided to publish all his comments separately. They are published below, along with my analysis.

In my view, denying that India is a Third World country – as Ravi desperately seeks to do - doesn't hide the truth about India. Satyameva jayate. The Truth Always Triumphs. You can't hide the truth. 

Anyone without coloured glasses can see the obvious reality of India – daily, along any railway line: rows of people defecating. 55% of Indians defecate in the open even today. Ravi, you may have a rich family that can afford a toilet. More than HALF of the Indians can't afford a toilet. (Also hear what Narayanan Krishna of Madurai saw – an old man eating human feces). OPEN YOUR EYES, RAVI! Or at least your nose. 

Note: This post is not written only to debate with Ravi, but to highlight to all those who are educated and deluded,  the need to become aware of the TRUTH.  "Education" is of no use unless our young people learn to observe the truth and speak the truth.  Moral standards a crucial. Accepting world-leading corruption as part of daily life or brushing it under the carpet (as Ravi tries to do do in his comments – see green highlight) reeks of deplorable moral standards that are the shame of humanity. 

True, India COULD become a great nation, and MAY even become one, but NOT the way it has been going about it for 60 years. The far-reaching governance reforms India needs are so daunting and so distant from its current reality that India is GUARANTEED to remain a Third World nation under its current dispensation.

That is why I write. That is why FTI exists. – to change this deplorable situation. If, however, you feel this is PERFECT, then God save India.

Addendum

The third world behaviour of India towards its entrepreneurs

India ranks a low 134 among 187 countries in terms of the human development index

Below is not a developed country but the worst Third World nation: North Korea. I suppose India is now the Fourth World.

RAVI'S FOUR COMMENTS, COMBINED TOGETHER

"I am just going to comment on the use of the word "third world" in your post. I have often heard and read people in the west use this term in a derogatory manner. I hope you haven't used this term in that way, or have you been referred to a third world citizen constantly in Australia, that you have started believing that you are a third world citizen in a derogatory manner. Have some self respect for god's sake. Being critical is something, but you sound pathetic with words like that. India may suck in many ways, but not from where I see it.

I feel Australia sucks with its sick social order, unemployable youth, violence, racism both institutional and otherwise etc. For people like you any english speaking white country is a godzone. Give me a break for gods sake. 

People like you are the ones who give too much importance to countries like Australia, than they really deserve. I have hope for India and am proud of India for whatever little it has achieved unlike you. I get hurt when people use "third world" to refer to India cause this term has been just invented by the academics in the west to most probably misuse it, like you have just done.

I have been living in so called OECD developed "first world" for last 8 years and I know parts of India are far better than the country I am in and parts of "first world" are far worse than India.  India is on its way to become at least a mid level power by 2025. Your ranting like a desparado is not going to stop it.

First, India's emergence as a superpower will show that itis possible to lift millions of people out of poverty within one generationwhile embracing pluralism, a free press and a vibrant multiparty democracy. Most analysts predict that, over the next two decades, India's GDP will grow at a faster pace than China's. As the world's fastest-growing large economy on a sustained basis, India's rise will put to rest the idea that a command-and-control political system is the only viable route to rapid economic growth and that democracy is somehow antithetical to rapid economic growth.

Second, India has the potential to serve as a leading example of how to combine rapid economic growth with fairness towards and inclusion of those at the bottom rungs of the ladder. In a democratic system such as India's where even the poorest people exercise their political rights actively, fairness and inclusion will be even more critical for social stability than in China. As it becomes a great power, these values will likely become an enduring part of the country's DNA.

Third, the prospects are high that, by 2025, India will likely emerge as one of the world's least corrupt developing economies.While widespread corruption is a reality in almost all developing economies (as well as some of the developed ones), India is one of the very few developing economies with a free press that continues to be vigilant and merciless in exposing the corruption. It is very likely that a vigilant and free press will ensure that the likelihood of getting away with corruption will decline rapidly – with salutary deterrent effects.

Fourth, India will likely emergeas one of the world's leaders in leveraging information technology (IT) to boost the effectiveness and efficiency of its institutions – the corporations, the government and as well as civil society organisations. As 3G and 4G wireless connectivity becomes widespread over the next five years, it is a near-certainty that we'll see a rapid diffusion of low-cost tablet computers along with free or near-free applications aimed at self-learning, mobile banking as well as commercial productivity. India in 2025 could well emerge as one of the world's most connected and IT-savvy societies. 

Fifth, India will almost certainly become a leading example of efficient resource utilisation, especially in energy. India relies on imports for a bigger proportion of its oil & gas needs than any other large emerging economy. The situation is likely to get worse, with sustained growth.  

==

you said "In many third world nations like India, these artefacts will likely be stolen and/or melted/ sold in the black market"

So you have proof that many artefacts in museams in India are duplicate etc. They are not properly managed. I think small nations like Australia can only dream of having big (both the size of the building and the value of the artefacts) like the ones in Calcutta Museam etc. As far as I have heard they are well looked after and safe in India. So may be in third world countries its not looked after, but India is not a third world country in whatever way you define "third world", so its is well looked after.

Your arguments are sounding just as silly as your 80's education with the terms you have been using. Look at what happens when people in position calls India "third world". http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/hayden-angers-bcci-with-third-world-remark/386088/ Hayden angers BCCI with ‘Third World’ remark. Now the same Australian cricketers are dying to play in this "third world" for mega bucks. What a paradigm shift.

Dont you think you are still stuck in your 80's paradigm by using this term. A developing country would be a far better term, you could have used.  

==

I just came across an article where China is mentioned as "third world" as well. Haha if China can be classified as "Third world" in 2010 than I forgive you for your use of the word for India….:) China, a country that is buying up debts of many starved European countries, is still called a third world, than I can only assume the term have multi-faceted meaning..:).

==

As they say let the dogs (Western academics) bark. The poor world has changed fundamentally. Others are barely coming to grips with the implications Rethinking the “third world "EARLIER this year, Bob Zoellick, the president of the World Bank, grandly declared that “2009 saw the end of what was known as the third world”—that is, the end of a distinct, separate section of humanity that is poor, aid-dependent and does not matter very much. Is he right?"   Your use of the term "third world" for India is out of date. Sorry."

INDIA – THE REALITY OF ITS BEING A THIRD WORLD COUNTRY

I agree at least with one statement (in blue highlight) that Ravi has made. But his main thesis is wrong. 100% wrong. Ravi (and thousands of 'educated' Indians brainwashed by "India shining" slogans) needs to open their eyes to the facts (apart from their nose – as I pointed out above)

The facts never lie. Never look at a single case. A statement like "parts of India are far better than the country I am in and parts of "first world" are far worse than India" – is TOTALLY MEANINGLESS. We must use data and statistics to understand reality. Not a few random observations from inside one's air-conditioned car. 

a) India is the world leader in corruption (see this and this and virtually all my writings. Also try to observe things around you, Ravi). Read BFN.

b) India is the world leader in poverty. 80% of India's population lives on less than $2 a day. More than HALF of the world's poor are found in India. The number of poor in India is greater than the number of poor in the entire African continent. Yes, you may be rich, Ravi, but if education has failed to show you India's poverty, then please go back to the school of life. Get down from your air-conditioned car and walk the streets of India. Travel the interior of India. Look around yourself.

c)  Nearly half of India’s small children are malnourished: one of the highest rates of underweight children in the world, higher than most countries in sub-Saharan Africa. (see this)

d) India is the world leader in lack of freedom. (see this) This includes a NOT-SO-FREE press. It is not only bought out by the corrupt businessmen and politicians (see this), but also takes money from foreign spies to work against India's interests (this). 

I won't go into other details – e.g. India's pathetic performance in academics, research, sports (except cricket), rotten infrastructure, etc. etc. etc. Every corner, every incident in India reminds us of its Third World status. Even its cricket is contaminated by deep corruption and racketeering. Fourth rate performance on the moral front. 

The FEW things that work are working because of the breakdown of governance (see my blog post on India as the world's largest free market laboratory). 

EVEN ANIMALS IN THE WEST (INCLUDING FAR EAST SUCH AS JAPAN AND HONG KONG) USUALLY LIVE FAR BETTER LIVES THAN HUMANS IN INDIA. If this is the final goal of your aspiration for India, Ravi, then God save India. I shudder to imagine what kind of education India imparts to its children that this disgusting mess is the highest that Indians aspire to.

We need to call a spade a spade. The truth must not be hidden away because it is unpleasant. You can't hide India's stink by shooting the messenger. So don't attack me personally. That is really silly. Attack my arguments WITH FACTS, if you can. I'm happy to listen to facts. Don't bull-doze me with strong words. I don't get swayed by falsehoods no matter how forcefully spoken.

Note that I am not only a messenger (unlike the academics you cite). I am a REFORMER. I offer a SOLUTION to India's woes. I am here to lead India, not merely to criticise its bad governance. I don't write in vain. I write to change things for the better.

Our educated people like you, Ravi, must wake up and use critical thinking. That means they must: (a) RECOGNISE the truth, (b) FIND OUT the solutions, and (c) LEAD India. Let's not rest content with this level of shoddy performance. (At least that's not my plan – regardless of what your goals are for India.)

IF YOU HAVE THE CALIBRE TO ACTUALLY CHANGE THINGS THEN STEP FORWARD AND JOIN FTI. Else please keep your delusions to yourself. [Once again, I speak not just to Ravi, who has conveniently offered me an example of the delusions typical of many 'educated' Indians. I speak to ALL EDUCATED INDIANS]

Addendum

The innovativeness of nations – what’s India’s competitive advantage?


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38 thoughts on “Let’s get this very clear. India is definitely a Third World country
  1. raj

    I have gone through similar phases..first in not accepting the reality and the truth. All the super power stories are a joke if a nation can't provide basic necessities for the masses. People will always argue about our potential. Potential will always remain a dream if the right steps are not taken. So it's good to forget the hype and face the reality.
    India can become the greatest nation on earth only if we accept the reality…till then nothing will change and we will be the largest third world population in the world.
    Recently…one of my friends said a part of Chennai is developing and soon will become developed. When I asked him if people get basic water supplies….electricity..garbage disposal.. The answer was a rude statement saying I have become Americanized. To him developing and development – a small bridge that should have been built in the 90s…but it had hardly started in 2010. All the recent economic growth has been due to the liberalization in the 90s. We still have a long way to go. Fortunately we still have a good chance since we have a limited level of freedom…
    He became very defensive as almost every Indian is and started blaming me!. We need to defend the country from enemies but not from truth. 

     
  2. raj

    I have gone through similar phases..first in not accepting the reality and the truth. All the super power stories are a joke if a nation can't provide basic necessities for the masses. People will always argue about our potential. Potential will always remain a dream if the right steps are not taken. So it's good to forget the hype and face the reality.
    India can become the greatest nation on earth only if we accept the reality…till then nothing will change and we will be the largest third world population in the world.
    Recently…one of my friends said a part of Chennai is developing and soon will become developed. When I asked him if people get basic water supplies….electricity..garbage disposal.. The answer was a rude statement saying I have become Americanized. To him developing and development – a small bridge that should have been built in the 90s…but it had hardly started in 2010. All the recent economic growth has been due to the liberalization in the 90s. We still have a long way to go. Fortunately we still have a good chance since we have a limited level of freedom…
    He became very defensive as almost every Indian is and started blaming me!. We need to defend the country from enemies but not from truth. 

     
  3. bob smith

    india is a 3rd world country. it sucks. i have been there 5 times.
    i am indian, born in america. i hope i never have to go there again.

     
  4. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Bob
    That’s not a nice thing to say about India. Yes, it is a Third World country but that is because its best people have stayed out of its politics and governance. If you have it in you, then change things.
    S

     
  5. sanjay

    dear Sanjeev ,
    u r right on hitting the nail of truth squarely on the head , however truth cant be bought down  to the masses rather people have to rise to face and embrace the naked  truth ,  am glad someone like you steps up to the plate and walks the talk , your blog is as honest and clear as daylight

     
  6. Prabha

    I came across this website when I did a google search on how India is a third world country as I believe the same too because I always wondered and tried to reason why are those developed countries are developed and why India is not able to come up even after 60 years. This search was based on my own issue (self) with the self development. I am not perfect myself and could also be contributing to not developing the country or represent the country with my imperfections. I always wanted to improve myself everyday and so the country as well. I am not sure how I can contribute to a change to India but I would be the first person to contribute for any growth. I agree with all the statements as myself living in the worlds super power and know the differences between the developed nation and India. I completely agree that we shouldnt be delusional but to accept the truth and try to work towards it even if its educating people not to defecate in the public!! India is definitely a third world country as of now. Personal discipline and responsibility is definitely lacking in Indians… Atleast educated people like me who can change or improve themselves and do something about it may bring in some changes but the corruption is still a road block for any improvement until there is a magic change that makes all the politicians and business people to be honest and think of the country's development. 

     
  7. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    “until there is a magic change that makes all the politicians and business people to be honest and think of the country’s development”

    Yes, there is. The “magic change” is fully outlined in my book, BFN (http://bfn.sabhlokcity.com/). It is the system of natural liberty.

     
  8. srikanth

    i have no problem if india is called third world country. but if u are talking about corruption and moral values then what about US and its allies. they invade other countrys in day light. so i would say india is better than those country even if we are not rich.

     
  9. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Sure, some “educated” Indians are apt to take a “high and mighty” approach, forgetting their own oppression of Indians. How many people have died in police and Army action (often atrocities) in “independent” India? I’ve myself seen the brutalities committed by India on Indians.

    Let’s call a spade a spade. A piece of rubbish is rubbish, regardless of whether “others” are as bad rubbish or not.

     
  10. Manohar

    1) We should be least affected by the term 'third world'. No matter what you do, if a person wants to degrade you, he will find a way to degrade you, but YOU should know really what you are.
    2) Yes corruption is prevalent, many poor people are still fighting poverty, hygiene is a big concern etc these are the metrics that the west has invented to evaluate a country. Nobody can refute these, these are the facts. Proper eduction system and governance will solve these, as it has solved in the west. We are on the right track to get better.
    3) I am 100% confident when I say that India has the most number of 'good' people when compared to the entire world. In western terminology, I would measure a country with this metric. Not with wealth or any other. What is the use of a highly rich nation filled with people who lack compassion love, humanity REGARDLESS of the circumstances. A society based on generating wealth is going to look great from the outside but will really be rotten inside.
    4) Regarding Ravi's comment compilation,
    'Satyam brooyath, priyam brooyaath. Na brooyath satyam apriyam'
    I think ravi is trying to convery this. I am with ravi. Stating the facts are one thing. The way you state a fact really is more important. By reading your articles, it feels as though you are wrting articles 'putting on' a western eye. That dilutes everything. Our culture is different, definition of development is different. And you sound like a colonial era writer :).

     
  11. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Manohar,

    I’m glad you agree that “corruption is prevalent, many poor people are still fighting poverty, hygiene is a big concern etc these are the metrics that the west has invented to evaluate a country. Nobody can refute these”. These are the key criteria to be called the Third World. It is a statement of the facts, no more, like saying that someone is rich and healthy, another is poor and sick.

    This is not about the number of “good people” (e.g. your claim that “India has the most number of ‘good’ people when compared to the entire world”). There is no measure of good people. All we can measure is the level of corruption and level of communal violence, government and police violence, terrorism, etc. India is one of the most violent places on earth. That confirms its Third World status.

    I state the facts so that Indians REALISE these facts and determine to change them. Then they must learn about good governance and step forward to change things. Else India will remain a Third World nation for ever. Are you ready to lead, or are you merely being defensive? Check out FTI (http://freedomteam.in/) and read my book BFN.

     
  12. Bharat Chovatiya

    Sanjeev,
    I agree with you on India conditions, however I respectfully disagree with you on some points.


    The terms like second world and third world country are inappropriate, because the terms don't have clear definitions and it is used in different context. A while ago I came across a website which stated that the term "third world" was originated during cold-war and the countries which were not associated with west or east were labeled as "third world" countries. Incidentally, those were financially poor countries.


    Moreover, it may be misleading. E.g. Both India and Somalia may be perceived as third world countries (in context of economic and administrative conditions), but there is a huge difference between condition of both and so putting them in same group will give wrong signals to those aware with one country but not the other.


    Finally, I think certain things should be measured at individual levels as certain things at country level. Things like Poverty, illiteracy etc. are better measured by %of population rather than labeling an entire country as poor country or illiterate country. Even developed countries have high level of poverty in terms of peoples living standards, and poor in those countries are often in far worse situation than they are in India (I see many of them everyday here in Washington-DC, USA ), which make their title "developed" debatable.


    The bad news is that the developed countries are increasingly following the principles of socialism which bankrupted many countries, including India. Since early 1980s, administrations on developed countries are cashing all opportunities to put more restrictions on people & businesses, and they are too busy accumulating public debt and printing currencies of their respective countries. The current recession is biggest opportunity, after the great depression, for elites and expect to be much less free 10 years from now then we were 10 years ago, unless something dramatically happens which changes the trends.

     
  13. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    First, to clarify. I mean Third World in its standard usage in economics literature. E.g. refer. Todaro’s famous textbook: “Economic development in the Third World”.

    I think you are only superficailly correct when you talk about “developed countries have high levels of poverty”. What appears is not what is. But I won’t spend time on that.

    On the other hand you are right that “the developed countries are increasingly following the principles of socialism which bankrupted many countries, including India”. That’s the problem I’ve identified as the SOURCE of India’s problems.

    S

     
  14. Bibhuti

    Namaste Sanjeev,
     
    Thanks and you have outlined major Issues of India here. Past few years I’ve been analyzing on this as well, and one foremost thing I feel is that to have a better preset and even best future tomorrow one must know its “real” past. “Real” means the actual past, not the history what is taught in the Class Room; the base was led by “Asiatic Society of Bengal” in 1784 with an intention to squeeze the Greatest History of Bharat by one to one mapping with Chandra Gupta Maurya with Alexander etc…….and till today we are taught the deliberately misguided history….this is one of British’s action plan to demoralize and divot the people here so that it will be easy for them to conquer….likewise, so much of interest rose among the Western Scholars to learn Sanskrit starting in late 1800, the intention was to misguide people by the spreading the wrong interpretation/translation of our own values…..have we ever thought what happened to this nation in last 250 years which was once upon a time “A land of values, morals and Wisdom etc.” it’s experimentally verified – just keep saying or show bad attitude to a living being and after sometime one can compare both the states(pre and post) and feel the difference.
     
    Over past several years, our morals have been brought down with the spread of wrong information about our culture, values, belief, religion etc. when someone is morally down then how do we expect a good activity or even a thought from that one.
    British did all these to bent the people here so that they can easily Raj and Loot here.
     
    So, after so called (Independence, have we got Independence? This is another topic…) we should have burnt all those misguided information, all those Anglicized culture, Language, and System, burnt all those single damn thing where we get the stink of “Gulami”……and could have re-established our own “everything”…..but, not, till today we are proud to be recognized as the product of “Macaulay – British Soul in Bharatiya Body”…. Our base needs to be re-established with our own values, system needs to be re-established for the people of this nation, people should be taught what is real and beneficial for this nation and its mankind….one may be aware of these developed countries what action they executed as soon as they got the Independence….
     
    When a base-system and its principles are not right then how can we expect a favorable result out of that?
     
    Let’s unit and work together to impose those values on this nation which has been cherished by the World ever! Let’s find out the root of all these issues and throw that out far from our reach; symptoms are to be used to find out the root cause and then based on the root cause, apply the treatment, and at the same time make the immune strong so that the symptom never appears; unlike Allopathic medicine which plays a nice Hide and Seek game with the Symptom and never be able to cure the root cause, but gives other few more symptoms as a gift during its lifecycle…
     
    Namaste!
    Bibhuti (Bharatiya)

     
  15. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Bibhuti

    I wish I could have understood what you are saying, but I can’t. I think it would be useful if you read BFN and try to understand the actual causes of India’s problems which have NOTHING to do with its people’s morality nor the alleged loot of India in ancient times, but ENTIRELY based on Nehru’s introduction of socialist policies on top of a colonial governance system.

    S

     
  16. peterparker

    what india is in reality is a nation of hypocrites? how i will tell you..before that i will make clear, that i am a BRAHMAN and a staunch believe in BRAHMANIC/VEDIC tradition..and no, i am not going to boast anything about the superior and all…the problem comes here..i am ready to accept all are one concept,which is a failed ideology…but then, suddenly, one community will emerge and will start dominating everyone? they will give preference to their community in each and everything? is that acceptable? no right..then, there are other things…first of all, a nation where even accessing a thing called education needs money is a failed anyways, as all child irrespective of where he stays in a bungalow, or in a slum must get access to books,etc..so that at least, he can learn some skills to land a job…again, the concept of equality is written only in books or in theory,and they drum beat about it..but it is not implemented actually…then, don’t ask about politics which happens by division..same, i am ready to accept the equality, but then, politicians divide everyone on the name of ‘caste’ where no productive works happen

     
  17. peterparker

    social order is inherent in all societies..there are communities which bind everyone and guide…they are knowns as custodians or guardians..then, there are those who are involved with governance of a nation..guardians give guidance to those who are in governance..then, comes those who raise capital…they do their service towards a nation by giving taxes back which in turn must be used to develop infrastruture..then final is the one..LABOR/WORKER classes..they can be imported from anywhere..can be made to work like slaves also..presently, the entire country india falls in that category..good servants/slaves of entire world ..so india will never become a developed country until n unless they don’t want to rule

     
  18. IK

    I am an Indian and I am studying in the US. And yeah, I get a lot of facilities here, high-speed internet, automatic tissue paper things and what not. But the people here are so archaic in their thoughts. A politician here is against contraceptives, can you believe that?

    We are a huge population and we have been looted for many centuries by many people. Our independence started with poverty indeed. But despite having poorly performing politicians, we have come a long way. We HAVE made progress. There are much more opportunities available than in 1947. People are striving to give their children education. We are creating a strong and educated work force. Now I know, our education system isn’t the best. And same can be said for every system we have. But you know what, WE ARE IMPROVING. And you refuse to believe that and see the statistics. Do you think by showing a negative picture of Mumbai and a good picture of Barcelona changes anything? I can show you the worst parts of the US, and believe me, they are much worse than Mumbai. (Do you want to know who created the Pacific Garbage Patch – the US)

    Every country has its own problems. And you say that you offered a solution – recognise truth and find solution. That’s not a solution! Those are the basic steps of problem-solving. Please stop being so negative about India. “They are arrogant and refuse to learn. They boast about tiny worthless “victories”.” – Do you have any evidence or specific examples for this statement? It’s one thing to point out mistakes (and at least give solutions), and its another to continuously criticize and insult. I am proud of how far India has come, and I know how far India has to go. We are the largest democracy in the world, so apologies for not being aboard the express train of progress. But I know that we are moving, and we are accelerating. We are not yet the world super power, but we will be.

     
  19. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    IK, you clearly don’t know much about India. The statistics do not lie.

    And why, pray, are you studying in USA if India is so good?

    Let’s recognise the issue and work to fix it. Don’t gloat over non-achievements.

    s

     
  20. Bhanu Shukla

    very true we are a third world nation, but why because most of the talented people of this country hates politics and not have enough guts to fight for the right. Dear Mr. Sabhlock no doubt that you are a great economist and policy maker but even you do not have enough guts to come india and take part in elections the way you can change the system as you have mentioned in your own articles that theory and practicle are two different things the same thing is here, you can make great policies on paper but applying those policies in india is very difficult even for very honest people.Don’t take it personally its my own observation. Every body has one life and people want to live that without any trouble people want serenity in their life. In our country the person who is enough talented has degree from iim or iit just want a job in foreign and want to settle down their. its in our dna you can not change it.

     
  21. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Nice try: “you do not have enough guts to come india and take part in elections”.

    I trust you are aware that I’ve been organising political movements PRECISELY to contest elections – for nearly 15 years now. If not pl. read BFN and learn about FTI.

    s

     
  22. vijay

    Bhanu, even if Sanjeev didnt take part in any politial movement, how does it negate any of his observations/insights? This “Preach only if you practice” attitude has to go. Look at the message not the messenger. I might be a chain smoker myself but if I tell you that smoking is injurious to health that doesnt mean you shouldnt listen to me. Maybe Iam speaking from my own experiences.
    Not everyone who advocates good policies, or writes provocative articles or support a certain ideology like Mr. Sanjeev HAVE to jump into politics. In fact we dont even have enough writers like Sanjeev in the first place writing about issues like these.He is a part of fixing that problem.Let the awareness be created first through blogposts like these.

     
  23. Sivasundar

    Vijay, Please don’t take my observation personal.
    In other post, you commented for Ramdev speaking about anti-corruption (where he shall be considered as a messenger to spread anti-corruption) but here you support messenger of freedom. If you are OK with a messenger (and concentrate only on message) you should be unbiased. Again your example of a chain smoker advising no-smoking, how many will even give it a thought (let alone following it)? Lead by example! And it works, Gandhi did that. Again going by your logic, corrupt politicians (chain smokers) can advise on anti-corruption (no smoking)?

    Mr. Sanjeev, I understand you aren’t only a messenger but slowly (strongly may be) building a platform for FTI but in this article, claiming (or making others to agree) India is 3rd world country – how does it help in any movement? Won’t it put negative thoughts in younger generation and make them run away from us? No one likes to hear all bad things and join person who insults (however true it may be)?

     
  24. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Sivasundar

    I’ll only say about my writings – I don’t pull punches. A good doctor speaks the truth, about the seriousness of the problem. He doesn’t hide and fluff around. Else the patient won’t take the medicine and will die.

    If people in India are put off by the truth, then millions more will die from socialist policies.

    s

     
  25. vijay

    “If you are OK with a messenger (and concentrate only on message) you should be unbiased. Again your example of a chain smoker advising no-smoking, how many will even give it a thought (let alone following it)? Lead by example! And it works, Gandhi did that. Again going by your logic, corrupt politicians (chain smokers) can advise on anti-corruption (no smoking)?

    Are you Bhanu? I was responding to his post
    why should Sanjeev lead? If his policies and ideologies make sense to me I’ll make my own decision to follow. Not follow him, but follow his principles. To your question on whather corrupt politicans can advise on anti-corruption, yes they can. They know the loopholes in the system, so whatever they advice they give on how to fix the system is going to be sound. If you have seen the film “Catch me if you can” they show FBI recruiting a master counterfeiter/criminal to take advice on catching other counterfeiters. This doesnt mean I’ll start following those corrupt policitians or join their parties, but if there is any merit in what they are advocating I’ll definitely listen. For that matter I dont even know Sanjeev personally. I like to believe that he is a honest person really intending good things for India. But what if he is not? what if he has ulterior motives? There is no end to this. So just look at what he says and make the judgement for yourself. How many people are even writing about these things and doing the things he is doing now online? You can count them with your fingers

     
  26. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Thanks, Vijay. I must add that you must be particularly careful with those who claim to be honest!

    How can you know I’m honest? How can you know I’m talking sense? The only way is for me to PROVE it to you.

    So you (and all citizens) must CHALLENGE those who seek to lead, for proof. Be vigilant. NEVER trust your leaders.

    In FTI’s Code of Conduct, there is a condition to disclose financial interests of the FTI member to public scrutiny and of “immediate members of their families” to the Board of FTI which will use it if any allegations of corruption are received.

    [See 4.3 Standards to be committed to before contesting elections at http://freedomteam.in/blog/code-of-conduct

    I personally REFUSE to work with anyone not committed to such (and higher) Code and disciplinary standard. And I expect that if I do contest elections, I will be CHALLENGED by the people of India to prove every word of what I say. If you accept anyone at their word – in public life – expect to be disappointed. Trust but verify.

    The honest man will have NO PROBLEM in producing the proof. This is a basic mechanism design (economic design) principle. The good car company gives 5 years warranty. Same principle.

    s

     
  27. Chirag Aidasani

    Dear Sanjeev ,

    It was an interesting article to read . i think this article is a little cynical and i disagree with some facts.

    Firstly I would like to say this period is the best time for India in its 5000 years of History .. Now before you think i am a fool let me tell you why ..

    India is united for the very first time in its 5000 years of history . For that i thank the british :P

    Yes we have flaws major ones at that but we are on the right path …

    Yes the corruption is overwhelming but the nation’s youth is getting aware and change is coming albeit slowly you cannot deny that .

    The British had not left us in a good shape . When the british left the Indian economy was only worth 1 billion !! our forest cover was less than 10% !! Most of our cultural possessions are still in the british museum.

    And your point of press freedom was ridiculous ! yes freedom is suppressed in India but not as much as in countries like china where the government had banned Facebook and twitter just because people cannot criticize the Government . And have you forgotten tiananmen square incident ??? And in arab countries people are afraid even to take the name of the sheiks let alone criticize them so this point of yours is invalid.

    Also your point about poverty , the figures are wrong . 37% live below the poverty line , yes its a huge number.

    And your point about the 2dollar a day . 2 dollars account for 100 rupees and per month that is 3000 rupees a month . Thats not much but in India you will definitely not die of hunger with this .

    And lastly are people like you doing your bit .? people write and forget but don’t do anything . You write about the shortcomings of India but fail to mention how to overcome the shortcomings . I am a doctor as well as a social worker working with a NGO which empowers people to use RTI … Iam doing my small bit and and when the educated class quits talking and start doing this nation will achieve prosperity.

    We have a very long way to go but as the famous proverb goes the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step , India has taken the step in the right direction.

     
  28. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Thanks, the fact that India is a Third World nation doesn’t change because of your analysis. Many other nations started with similar or worse positions. They are all First World now. India still is Third World.

    s

     
  29. Chirag Aidasani

    How can India be a third world nation when its HDI is 0.547 ???? At present in India there are only 4 states which have Low HDI , rest all the states have a medium HDI .

    Like wise even china has a medium HDi .. so will you call china a third world nation ??

    Secondly what the hell is third world ?? i still don’t understand why this term is still used ? Definitoon wise this classification died after cold war …

    India is a developing nation and its definitely not underdeveloped but also not developed . You make it sound as if the situation in India is very grim .. Well guess what !! It may not be that great but its not that grim either !!

    And the countries which you talk of i.e Singapore , taiwan etc they are all small countries which had a much less complex ethnic background.

     
  30. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    HDI is meaningless, so let’s not go there.

    Third World might have had its origin in the Cold War but it is a term used in common language to represent a really messed up place – with corruption, filth, poverty. India is pretty much a Third World nation by any standard.

    E.g. standard textbooks are entitled: Economic development in the Third World (Todaro). These refer to really poor countries like India. (India is poorer per capita than most sub-Saharan nations.)

    Re: your comment re Singapore, etc. please do read BFN.

    India could have been richer PER CAPITA than Singapore today. But of course we had socialists running India (and have socialists even today).

    s

     
  31. Saarthak

    Dear Sanjeev,

    I agree with you in most terms but i do think you are a little bit harsh (just a bit). I have seen the condition of this country and being an indian i feel ashamed sometimes to see the reality . I want to see my country grow into a superpower but this cannot be done without a visionary and a leader. Travelling in trains in india is not a gateway to numerous states but instead a gateway to numerous diseases. The condition of the WORLDS BIGGEST RAILWAY NETWORK is extremely bad. Just the mere smell you get near railway stations is enough to make someone pass out. People urinating on the walls, faeces lying on the tracks, beggars begging in the compartments, cockroaches, flies and the unbearable smell all contribute to make the railways a HOSTILE way to travel. Corruption is the biggest issue by far. Everyone from police to ministers are corrupt . And those who wish to change this are pushed down and kept quiet. however between all this mess, some parts of India are developing . Places like Noida have changed a lot in the last 3 years. All India needs is a visionary to become like countries like singapore and malaysia, who have practically risen from nothing. All the 4000 years of history are useless if we dont capitalise on today and stride towards a better tomorrow. I am an Indian i will work for the better of this country and i hope millions of others also do. If you think my comment is immature then im sorry because im only 14.

     
  32. Manoj

    Sanjeev, I am an Indian living in India, and find your blogs very interesting, even though I find myself ignoring the last message 9Join FTI :-)) often – it’s becoming a bit overstretched.

    Also, I was trying to do a SWOT analysis of Indian workforce and am a bit concerned that I wrote 4 major weaknesses (I must suffer from them too) -
    1. Lethargic, given to inaction
    2. Tendency to spout philiosphy, slip often into the past
    3. Approval seeking, get defensive quickly when criticised
    4. Selfish and indifferent to colleagues – wont listen, will only focus on self, wont acknowledge others

    Please correct me if I’m wrong, if these weaknesses are endemic in the workforce, it is not amenable to a industrial approach as it is a fast trajectory. In that case, we may need to stay an agrarian economy much longer than people think

    Your thoughts? And yes, I have read BFN. Don’t agree with all of it, but will love to exchange ideas with you – you are evidently a person with clear ideas and a great articulation style.

     
  33. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    You’ve got a choice of either living with your SWOT analysis or changing things. Pl. let me know where you fit into this world. If you are merely a “SWOT” analyst, then there’s little we share in common. But if you are a doer, we can talk further.

     
  34. Arunabha

    I read your blog for the first time and found it interesting as it echoed many of my thoughts and sentiments. For the convenience of everyone who would love to argue whether or not India is first world: This is a simple test: Go to any part of India: Enter any household: Go to the kitchen: Open the tap and drink the water. If you have any problems doing this then you have answered the question. The tap-water test is widely used and countries such as Singapore, U.S, and Germany pass it with flying colours. I speak from personal experience. I believe it must also be the same for other countries.

     
  35. Sandeep

    Well i agree very much with your article,as people of nation we always try to run away from The TRUTH. we make many excuses like great history,british Raj etc to hide our inefficency but Truth is wide open. By facts and statistcis India is a Third world country.
    And do you know why india is Third world country.Its social structure and prime fault with that is Castesim.30% of population is of Low caste.Higher castes dont want them to uplift them.Even constitution of india couldnt do that after 60 years.When intention is wrong nothing can go right.
    as long as there is divisive society as large as ours,we will remain third world country and people will rot like hell here in this “Proud to Be” country.

     
  36. Ramesh

    Sir I do agree with what you are saying. I do believe that India is not going to make any progress anywhere if current conditions are going on .
    I think that radical actions must be taken so as to make any progress.
    Instead of being pompous about any small achievements we must think about making major changes.
    According to me our government is not going to make any progress because it is in a kind of stalemate.
    So we must change the government only. And by this I don’t just another party , another corrupt politician .
    I want to say that we must change the whole form of government .
    I would have opted for communism which would do some good here .
    But then I think should we really trust our nation in hands of few representatives .

     
  37. Deepak

    All the observations made about India are true, but the reasons given are wrong. India is not third world because of Govt, but because of its people. It’s easy to attribute all the problems to the Govt , but its not possible in democracy that the problems continue in the long run without support of people. Think American Govt is any better than Indian in terms of red tape and inefficiency, think again ! America is first world because of its people, not Govt. Go to Singapore and you would be surprised to see IQ of cab drivers, and how things work there. If there is no willingness in the people to live better life, why would Govt care ?

     

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