India! I dare you to be rich

Category: Books

The junk-pedalling “professor” Prodosh Aich’s book Truths: European Christians in History. War, Robbery, Murder, Genocide, Occupation, Exploitation

Some time ago, I had been referred to Prodosh Aich’s book by a commentator.

Now another commentator has cited yet another book (“Truths.: 500 Years European Christians in History “).

Given this man figures twice on my blog, I took the plunge and bought the book from Kindle a few minutes ago. I was curious to know how Macaulay had been presented in that book, given I have at least some knowledge of Macaulay’s work.

Here are extracts and my comments

On the 15th October, 1800 another “William Jones” is born: Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800 – 1859). As the offspring of a renowned evangelical family he gets a better start, but he is otherwise endowed with the same character traits as William Jones.

This is apparently how a “professor” introduces a new character in his book Given Aich’s dim view about Jones, the idea that someone is BORN with a Jonesian personality is a reflection of that professor (Aich’s) limited intellect, than a reflection on the child that was born.

Thus the intrigues in Parliament by which Thomas Babington Macaulay gets his income increased from £ 1500 to £ 10000 remain undiscovered. This is how biographers write “history”. We generalise in full intentions.

Here, again, is a lot of allusion and throwing of suspicion. He forgets to mention that Macaulay was a PIVOTAL PLAYER in the 1832 Reform Act, and that his extensive knowledge of British history and political theory (he was a superlative classical liberal, who promoted liberty and scientific attitude wherever he went) marked him out as one of the he most talented thinkers of his time.

Then follows the usual litany of his ‘comments’ (these are factual ones, not cooked up, which is a relief) suggesting his belief in science education. He was a committed Christian and had a personal hope that Indians would reduce their “idolatory”. A big fuss is made about this – something he wrote this in a private letter to his father. Sure, he was a Christian. But he was a Christian who ADVANCED LIBERTY and SCIENCE at a very significant level. Both in England and India.

The follows innuendo re: his not reducing funding for Sanskrit:

Thomas Babington Macaulay did not cut all those expenditures on Asiatick Society, Asiatick Researches, Sanskrit “Pandits” and the likes. He knew that he had all powers to cut those expenditures. Why did Thomas Babington Macaulay not cut all those expenditures? He was not a fool. Within the limits of his missionary blinkers and strong prejudices he knew how to exercise power.

In fact, there is abundant evidence (in peer reviewed, as opposed to JUNK work like this “professor”‘s) that it was the Indians who had persistently wanted to learn English, had no interest in learning Sanskrit, and that or decades before Macaulay came on the scene, a significant amount of work had been done by the British to try to promote Sanskrit, to no avail. Remember, the British were the RULERS of Bengal, but they did not impose English. Decades passed. The Indians wanted to learn the language. So finally they started funding the teaching of English. I’ve covered this in great detail in a separate blog. But this “professor” has no clue about any of this.

And then this nitwit makes the most wild statements possible. And he is (or was) allegedly a “professor”.

The Indian National Congress has just been ousted as a ruling power of the “Republic of India”. It has reigned over the Republic with one break in 1977. It was founded in 1885 by Allan Octavian Hume (1829 – 1912), a Briton. Those “Indian” founding members were “children” of Thomas Babington Macaulay. Collaborators like Raja Ram Mohan Roy and Dawarkanath Thakur. Do we remember today that Jawaharlal Nehru (1889 – 1964), the first Prime Minister of Republic of India, was educated at home by a series of English governesses and tutors until the age of 16?

Then in 1905 he was sent to Harrow like William Jones. His academic career was in no way outstanding. From Harrow he went to Trinity College, Cambridge, like Thomas Babington Macaulay, where he spent three years earning an honours degree in natural science. On leaving Cambridge he qualified as a barrister after two years at the Inner Temple, London, where in his own words he passed his examinations ‘with neither glory nor ignominy’. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869 – 1948), son of a “Dewan” in a princely state in British India, studied in England, also a barrister from Inner Temple like William Jones.

The British Parliament passed “The Indian Independence Act 1947” that divided British India into two new independent dominions, India and Pakistan, and many “Princely Indian States”. The ruling power was handed over to products of Thomas Babington Macaulay’s 30-year plan: “We must at present do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions we govern; a class of persons Indian in blood and colour, but English in tastes, in opinions, in morals and in intellect.”

The Britons quitted from British India to remain as intermediate rulers. The same process was repeated in other areas occupied by European Christians. This is the story of “decolonization”, of “independence” of occupied foreign lands in a nutshell. “The Era of Vasco da Gama” is still going strong under many camouflaged terms created by “modern scholars”.

I rest my case. This man (and his co-author) neither knows history, nor the vast differences in time period between Raja Ram Mohun Roy and Nehru, nor the radically different politics involved. He also has no clue about the extremely sincere efforts of AO Hume (about whom I’ve written extensively on this blog).

I think you’ll agree by now that I don’t need to spend more time on this PURE JUNK. I gave it a go. I spent a small chunk of money. I even spent 30 minutes of my life on it. (To be precise, it is now nearly one hour of my life on this junk).

No more is it worth. It is worth NOTHING, to be precise.

DON’T BUY THIS BOOK. WASTE OF TIME. TOTALLY CLOSED MINDED, PREJUDICED, ILL-REFERENCED, BADLY WRITTEN, BADLY ARGUED, AND IN ALL RESPECTS WORTHY OF THE TRASH BIN.

I might (having bought this book) spend some time reading it in the future, just out of curiosity at the HOW BAD Indian “professors” can get. But for now, this is it.

Macaulay had his shortcomings (who doesn’t – particularly from a perspective that applies modern standards to people who lived long before us). But he was one of the most superlative thinkers and authors of his generation. His clear thinking about the evolution of British political history and economy inspired Hayek.

Those who have not read him and judge him by one or two sentences from his ENTIRE work, are  nincompoops who will fall by the wayside of history.

It is time Indians actually started reading Macaulay and the classicals like JS Mill. They will learn something that would help India become a great power. And achieve the goal that Macaulay had for India: to make it a great country.

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My consolidation of Richard Fox Young’s proofs of plagiarism by Rajiv Malhotra and Aravindan Neelakandan

I interacted with Prof. Richard Fox Young after having failed to make sense of his tweets (I've since deleted my previous attempt/post on this issue). He has been kind enough to provide me with a sequenced set of images which I've now compiled into a Word document (with table of contents) and also converted into a PDF.

His tweets now makes sense. 

My verdict is unambiguous. BOTH Rajiv Malhotra and Aravindan Neelakandan (editor of Swarajya) are guilty of plagiarism.  This is INTELLECTUAL CRIME, no less. Richard Fox Young has done well to expose the feeble intellectual "exploits" of these Hindutva "intellectuals".  Only someone with significant depth of knowledge could have done so. 

Such PROVEN charges would be enough, in normal circumstancesto lose an academician his job. But these bigots have no sense of shame, so I expect nothing will happen. No one will apologise, no one will lose their job. Nevertheless, their exploits will long remain in the public domain and the people now know.

(Indeed, as would be expected from these dimwits, Rajiv Malhotra has already DEFENDED his plagiarism! He thinks plagiarism is a purely Western conception: everyone should have – according to these nitwits – the right to copy from each other. Why not copy the complete works of Shakespeare, Malhotra? Would that make you Shakespeare?) 

And Madhu Kishwar (who is PAID by him – by his Infinity foundation {infinite bigotry foundation?}, I read somewhere) has leapt to his defence! And she is an academic in Delhi University! What kind of a university system do we run in socialist India? (I'm really sorry that I spent so much time interacting with Madhu, under the delusion that she was a classical liberal. She's turned out ot be a pure Hindutva bigot, first defending killer Modi, now the intellectual criminals Malhotra and Neelakandan.)

The main author plagiarised, Nicholson, has expressed displeasure at plagiarism and distortion ('Upset about Rajiv Malhotra’s plagiarism, even more upset about distortions of my work').

Download below 

(the files are relatively big, around 5-6MB each)

Word version

PDF

ADDENDUM (from reddit)

Source: https://www.reddit.com/r/hinduism/comments/3c8quf/confirmed_widespread_plagiarism_found_in_hindu/

Additional Example (courtesy of Ashay Naik): Swami Krishanandahttp://imgur.com/1vsIy3W

An Open Letter to Malhotra's Publishers http://imgur.com/3pOYEbc

EDIT: We are getting some good media traction everyone! Keep up the pressure and let's protect academic integrity.http://www.thenewsminute.com/article/american-hindu-conservative-writer-rajiv-malhotra-mired-plagiarism-controversy-32036

EDIT: Today two news articles were published about controversy and Malhotra's response

The Publishers and the Crackpots: Mihir Sharma http://bit.ly/1fFYBem

Plagiarism Row: Shoaib Daniyal http://scroll.in/article/740814/plagiarism-row-how-rajiv-malhotra-become-the-ayn-rand-of-internet-

FOR THE RECORD

My initial post on this topic: For my record, re: Rajiv Malhotra, the anti-liberty, crooked, deliberately cheating plagiarist

THE IDIOT JUSTIFIES PLAGIARISM

FURTHER

The West doesn't have a copyright on proper attribution. Here's what Sanskrit commentators and anthologists have to say on the subject.

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Sanjay Sonawani’s Origins of the Vedic Religion: And Indus-Ghaggar Civilisation #1

I have a problematic habit: I question everything. When I start examining any issue I test all claims. That often means going to the original sources. But that's not all. I question the original sources for their methodology and integrity. I beat up all arguments and claims to death – till only the truth remains standing.

It is this approach that led me to throw out the Out of India Theory (OIT) within just a few days of starting reading up on the subject. I've already elaborated the "big picture" reasons why that theory is untenable. The common sense test was badly offended by the OIT.

That doesn't mean AIT is "correct". I've come out with a view that there is an In and Out Theory (call it IOT). That ideas can come and go (in various forms and shapes) is not remarkably interesting: just the way the world works. 

In the process of "beating the arguments to death", I found that even stalwarts like MK Dhavalikar make massive deductions on the basis of facts that are not established. He is an archaeologist but his paper "Archaeology of the Aryans" necessarily makes use of the findings of numerous other disciplines. Unfortunately, he seems to take as "fact" things which are not necessarily facts. He doesn't "beat the arguments to death". He is a good archaeologist but a poor critical thinker. He needs to weigh the "facts" and attribute a "truth value" to them. Most importantly, he needs to assemble alternative explanations even for the well-established facts. 

An example is his assertion: "It has now been scientifically established that the river dried up in the lower basin because of change of courses of its tributaries, viz Sutlej and the Yamuna, the former joining the Indus system and the latter, the Ganga".

I NEVER take anything as "scientifically well established" because I know how poorly most empirical science is conducted, and understand the limitations of data. (Climate "science" is absolutely bogus in most respects, for instance).

So I started testing this "well established fact".

And within minutes I found that this is a minefield. The assumptions made by people on the basis of a mere "satellite map" are frighteningly vast! Is this how people do science?!

In this process of investigating this a little bit further I chanced upon Sanjay Sonowal's 2015 book, Origins of the Vedic Religion: And Indus-Ghaggar Civilisation. I've now bought the book (readily available in kindle) and browsing through it.

Here's the section on the Sutlej-Jamuna issue. The man does have a critical mind. It would be worthwhile reading his book. I'll talk more about the book and its findings in the next few days/weeks. I am trying to assemble, separately, a set of facts that ARE true. These facts constrain all "theories" in this space, but definitely the Saraswati as a major river is not a "fact" to rely upon. 

Did Yamuna and Satlej ever change their course?

            It is widely assumed by the Indian scholars that during the Harappan Phase, Yamuna and Satlej used to be tributaries of the Ghaggar river. It is said that the Yamuna and Satlej added ample water in the Ghaggar channel and made it a mighty river. This assumption has been derived from the satellite images that show the palaeo-channels of both the rivers. However, the satellite images do not define the minute topography and geological age of the river channels.

            Did Satlej and Yamuna ever flow in the channel of the Ghaggar? We need to consider opinions of various scholars in this regard.

            According to ‘Current Science’ report (2004) contributed by Indian and German scientists, “…the Saraswati did not carry glacier waters. The Ghaggar-Hakra area does not show mineral deposit of Himalayan glaciers, and thus it could not be a big, perennial, glacier fed river, but, rather, a smaller, seasonal, monsoon fed one. Based on sediment geochemistry and composition and geomorphologic and palaeoclimatic constraints that the Ghaggar-Hakra river was likely always Siwalik fed.

            Further, the report adds, “The suggestion of glacial sources and the Yamuna and Satluj rivers draining to the river Saraswati through Ghaggar before they were pirated by the Ganga and Indus respectively, are not supported by our isotopic data. If these hypotheses were correct, we would expect to find sediments derived from the Higher Himalayas in the Thar. Our data also do not support the idea that there was a change in the source area for the Ghaggar from a glaciated region to rainfall region.” 12

            The report emphatically states that the Satlej and Yamuna being the tributaries of the Ghaggar, even in the remote past is a myth nourished by scholars neglecting the vital proof. According to the same report, the waning of the Ghaggar was only because of the declining of the rains, which was a gradual process, and not because of the capture of its tributaries by the other rivers or any tectonic events.

            This means Satlej and Yamuna were never tributaries of Ghaggar, or at the least they were not feeding Ghaggar during the Harappan times, if taken into the considerations the other reports. Satlej and Yamuna are glacial fed rivers. Had they been feeding the Ghaggar in the past, the glacial mineral traces would have been detected in the sediments of the Ghaggar channel, but that is not the case according to the above-mentioned report. Rather, mighty rivers such as Satlej and Yamuna feeding a moderately small river even in the remote, pre-Harappan, past is a ridiculous idea.

            In a research paper, published in “Geology”, Peter D Clift et al states, “…although loss of the Yamuna from the Indus is likely to have occurred as early as 49 ka and no later than 10 ka. Capture of the Yamuna to the east and the Sutlej to the north rerouted water away from the area of the Harappan centers, but this change significantly predated their final collapse…… Throughout the Holocene, including the Harappan period this river was fed only by seasonal monsoon rain in the east. This rain-fed Ghaggar-Hakra was active until after 4.5 ka and was then covered by dunes before 1.4 ka. What this means is that the Ghaggar-Hakra, unlike any of the major Indus tributaries, was not fed by snow melt, which begins in Spring and may be unpredictable, but was entirely reliant on swelling its banks from the summer monsoon.” 13

            According to Sanjeev Gupta (Imperial College London), the river sediments ceased in the tract of the palaeo channel after 14,000 BCE, long before the Indus civilisation era had began. He reached this conclusion after his team did extensive drilling in the 30-40 m thick sand body in the subsurface beneath a tract of the Ghaggar-Hakra palaeochannel adjacent to the Indus city of Kalibangan.14

            The Project Palaeo-Environmental Research Group — FB conducted field research and analysis of satellite imagery to identify the former course of the Ghaggar river and determined the causes and the dates of its avulsion. Contrary to its description in the Rig Veda text, field evidence demonstrates that the Ghaggar was not a large river, but a small one capable of providing water for agriculture only during the monsoon season.15

            Sedimentary Geologist Suvrat Kher, referring to the research of Clift and his colleagues, states on his blog that the Yamuna and Satlej stopped feeding the Ghaggar long before 50,000 and 10,000 years respectively. While doing in-depth analysis of the critical issue, he clearly states that, “…I have stressed that this attempt to link a hypothesis of a mighty Saraswati to the presence of Aryans is misguided and the one that has caused harm to the public understanding of the topic and to what constitutes good science. Many geologists and archaeologists accepted the validity of a glacial Saraswati without critically weighing the evidence. Taking their cue, in web forums and books, supporters of a glacial Sarasvati have popularised the hypothesis of a late river avulsion and often presented it as irrefutable evidence favoring the indigenous Aryan theory.” 16 This statement speaks for itself.

            The research paper published in  “The current Science” which was mentioned earlier, also concludes that, ‘If the snowline did not drop to the Sub-Himalayan ranges even during glaciations and the glaciers continuously occurred only in the HHC, a higher rainfall for the huge erosion of Sub-Himalayan lithologies and to sustain the rivers was essential. Our isotope data provide a scientific basis for the absence of a glacial-fed, perennial Himalayan river in the Harappan domain, i.e. the River Ghaggar is not the Saraswati as far as its origin in the glaciated Himalayas is concerned.” 17 (Emphasis mine.)

            From the abovementioned facts, we can conclude the following:

            1.      The Ghaggar is not the mythical river Saraswati.

            2.      The possibility of the mighty Satlej and Yamuna being the tributaries of the comparatively minor monsoon-fed rivers is unlikely. 

            3.      Even if considered, though unlikely, that the Satlej and Yamuna were flowing through the Ghaggar Channel before they changed their course, it was quite long before when even the early phase of the Harappa culture had began.

            4.      The decline of the Harappan culture was gradual for several centuries due to the climatic changes and was not a sudden event as thought by some scholars.

            5.      At the least, equating the Ghaggar with Saraswati cannot become the basis of indigenous Aryan theory.

            It appears that the problem with some was also to find anyhow the location of the Vedic people in the vicinity of IGC sites to stake the big claim that they were authors of the magnificent civilisation. Scholars like Kazanas seriously try to place the date of the Rig Veda in third millennium BC to coincide with the previously supposed date of Yamuna and Satlej changing their course, but the hypothesis is ridiculous in the light of the geological findings. 18 C

            For the time being, let us leave aside the geological proofs, which clearly indicates that the Ghaggar could never have been Rig Vedic Saraswati, and consider different other points of view as to why the Ghaggar could not have been Saraswati.

            In addition, we have already discussed that the Ghaggar river never was a lost river, like Saraswati. It always flowed, though seasonably, in summer showers, though its water discharge had reduced considerably because of the weak monsoons. Desertion of the Harappan sites was a gradual process that might have continued intermittently over hundreds of years. No foreign aggression or sudden natural or social calamity in the vicinity has been recorded. Still there are other socio-cultural evidences as well which misfits the Ghaggar as a candidate for being the lost Saraswati.

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Alex Epstein is spreading Julian Simon’s message of rational thinking: The moral case for fossil fuels (and nuclear energy)

I have absolutely no doubt that without CO2/CO emmiting fuels (largely fossil fuels such as coal and oil) we would have lived short and brutish lives today – like mankind did in the past. There would be no internet, no blogs, no international or space travel.

It was the discovery of the steam engine (which used coal) and – later – oil based engines, that revolutionised how we produce things, creating the unprecedented ability to produce and supply vast quantities of food and other goods very cheaply to hundreds of millions (now billions) of people.

Anyone who has cared to read the very best book on such subjects – The Ultimate Resource by Julian Simon – knows all about this, and much more.

But Simon's book is huge and tailored mainly to an academic audience. It was pleasing to find time to listen to Alex Epstein's recent interview with Glenn Beck.

I would recommend the entire interview, from the beginning to the end. There are many useful points made during this interview that are hardly ever considered by the vast majority of the easily deceived, gullible and unthinking socialist-greenie driven "educated classes" (not you, the reader of this blog, but the vast majority of others).

You will learn a lot from this book if you have ever been attracted to socialism or greenism (environmentalism). If you haven't read Simon's work, then read Alex Epstein.

Chapter 1 of the book.

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Republishing S.V. Raju’s review of ‘Breaking Free of Nehru’ (Freedom First, 1 October 2009)

I published this here (now, all these are digitised and available online on FF's website).

Republishing, to express my deep appreciation for SV Raju. He took the time necessary to provide carefully considered comments. 

===

BREAKING FREE OF NEHRU: LET’S UNLEASH INDIA! By Sanjeev Sabhlok.  Publisher: Anthem South Asian Studies, C-49, Kalkaji, New Delhi 110019. Pages: 290(including the preface)  Price: Rs. 495

Reviewed by S.V.Raju, formerly Executive Secretary Swatantra Party. Currently editor Freedom First.

The title is explicit, leaving little to the reader’s imagination. That’s typical of the author of this book. I have had the pleasure of knowing Sanjeev Sabhlok. Met him first at a conference he had convened at the Habitat House in New Delhi in January 2004 (to discuss the potential for the emergence of a liberal party) and to which he had invited me; subsequently through the occasional email; and since March 2008 as a regular contributor to Freedom First with his column “Come on Liberals: Let’s Change India”.

The book is well organised and the narrative style absorbing and quite passionate. You get the feeling that he is talking to the reader one to one. The preface explains who he is, why he resigned the IAS, how he got to write this book which in draft form had the benefit of critical comments from those who were broadly in agreement with the general tenor of his views.

The preface is also quite exhaustive, some 22 pages; so impatient is he to unburden himself, that the preface tells it all – almost! “The real choice before us today” he writes “is between two western models of governance – socialism and capitalism; between the life-denying concept of equality and the life-sustaining concept of freedom.” Freedom, to the author of this book is the flip side of capitalism and vice-versa. He does anticipate that this perspective might not be acceptable to everyone who upholds the sanctity of the liberty of the individual vis a vis the State and society.

There are six chapters in all, two appendices, a copious 5 pages of printed notes and a reasonably informative index.

Chapter 1 begins with what he describes as a “stylized overview of the history of our freedom and divided into three phases: First phase: pre-battle of Plassey 1757; second phase: 1757-1947; third phase: post independence.

Taking a critical look at India in Phase 1, Sanjeev Sabhlok concedes that India had “cultural unity based on Hinduism”. Citing from historian Vincent Smith’s Oxford History of India (1958) , ‘Indian unity rests upon the fact that…India primarily is a Hindu country’ the author accepts the fact that “Hinduism has therefore had a significant influence on the concepts associated with freedom, ” but the “individual still did not count for much being merged into collective identities such as caste.” For instance “very rarely do we find an individual artist’s name acknowledged in an Indian painting or sculpture…. even today beautiful paintings are sold without individual signature.” Or, unlike the Magna Carta, “no argument to advance justice or freedom was articulated in ancient India.” Yet another marker to indicate the absence of individuality was the “uniquely Indian trait of obsequiousness” particularly “towards ‘seniors’ in India.” Indians despite the foreign invasions by sea from the West were insular, perhaps because of difficulties of travel that prevented Indians from travel to the lands of the colonisers or perhaps it was due to the “great haughtiness among the Indian elites who believed they needed to learn nothing from others …” Frogs in the well – that is what our ancestors were for most of our history prior to 1757.”

Phase 2 the period between 1757-1947; Indians were quick to learn English as it helped Indians secure jobs as clerks which it did, but also opened the “Pandora’s Box of knowledge.” Indians were “quick to become aware of the enormous leaps made by Western political thought over the centuries with men like Raja Ram Mohan Roy Mahadeo Govind Ranade, Gopal Krishna Gokhale and Pherozeshah Mehta “catching up with the liberal ideas and start demanding self-governance.” Along with this also rose the “competing theory of socialism (or communism). Both rejected feudalism but, unlike the freedomwallahs, the socialists/ communists wanted to revert to the tribal state. The two distinct philosophers of these competing “Western ideologies” were Adam Smith and Karl Marx.

But only a few Indians like, Tagore and Gandhi raised the “broader issues in relation to freedom” even if these were “incidental to the focus on self-rule and opposing racism”. Sabhlok gives full marks to Gandhiji’s philosophy of non-violence: “the most awe inspiring independence movement the world has ever seen…far ahead of its time in its principle-based standards of political protest….His exposition of the equality among peoples and of non-violence protest were significant contributions to the freedom of mankind as a whole.”

In the 3rd phase: Independence and Freedom are not quite the same points out Sanjeev Sabhlok. “Independence is at best a minimum condition. It is very poorly related to the level of freedom prevailing in a society,” The author, clearly an incurable romantic, writes: “freedom needs constant attention, even fawning and at times ferocious battle to protect it against the enemies of freedom. Very reclusive, reluctant, but the most beautiful and graceful lady of all, is freedom.”! He cites with enthusiasm Rabindranath Tagore’s famous poem in Gitanjali “Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high…” pointing out that nowhere in this poem (written in 1912) does Tagore talk about independence. “Tagore’s poem is truly embarrassing to socialists. Each of Tagore’s lines resists socialism.” He interprets the poem as Tagore “asking …each individual to achieve this ‘heaven of freedom’. The Tagore poem points to an enabling role for government.” And has a dig at Nehru “Nehru never reminded us of this embarrassing poem.” Ah! But his daughter’s censors did! In 1976 when Minoo Masani then editor of Freedom First decided to reprint this poem to protest the infamous emergency and submitted the issue to the government’s censor under the censorship rule then in force, the poem was censored and its publication disallowed on the ground that it endangered national security and encouraged disaffection!

It is essential to understand the philosophical framework of what the author means by “freedom” to appreciate the rationale for his all out attack on Nehruvian socialism which did reach “dizzying heights of incompetence.” As someone who not only lived through those years of avoidable scarcity, misery and misgovernance but had the added opportunity, as the executive secretary of the Swatantra Party, to fight for “freedom” there is little that this reviewer finds wrong in his high voltage criticism of the Nehruvian era. This reviewer recalls an article by Rajaji in Swarajya (March 4, 1961): “The egalitarian socialism of the Congress is a fallacy and a fraud, a mere election-carrot for the donkey the Congress takes the electorate to be. We must kick the rider from our back, rider and carrot. The mechanism of wealth production is something quite different from the socialism of the Congress, which ignores the incentive, the capital, the frugal management and the output of work needed for increase of wealth.” This quote full justifies the grief expressed by the author for missing out on “the opportunities we have had in the past 60 years to bequeath to our children the greatest possible country on earth.”

In a passage headed “Rediscovering Rajaji” Sabhlok observes: “Rajaji, however, was no match for Nehru. Nehru was far more charismatic and popular. He also had populist policies.” True. Also true is his observation “Rajaji was als
o just too far ahead of his times.” But his next statement is only partially true: “People simply didn’t understand what he was saying, and he did not have sufficient time left to explain to them what he wanted to stay.” Oh they did. Rajaji’s big success was his denouement of socialism, even if he did not live long enough to strengthen the foundations of the party he started, and this, it must be underlined, he managed in Nehru’s lifetime; his daughter Indira Gandhi who ruled longer than her father ‘managed’ by corrupting and destroying the character of the people. After imprisoning a veritable phalanx of opposition leaders during the emergency she disfigured the preamble to the constitution by adding the words “socialist’ and “secular” to describe the Indian Republic.

The author is also an incurable optimist. Quoting with approval a statement by S.P.Aiyar, a political scientist that the challenge lay in finding “solutions appropriate to given situations but only those compatible with freedom” the author observes: “The
good thing is that while the Indian government is not the best protector of freedom in the world, it does not censor books of this sort. It does not prevent people from talking about their views. Its laws almost fully protect our freedoms. We are almost there! Just a nudge to our system of governance – including making our government get out of things where it has no business to be in, and rebuilding our political and bureaucratic institutions to make them compatible with transparency and accountability that are the hallmarks of freedom; and we could soon have the freest country in the world – and thus ultimately the greatest”.

So far this review has covered only the preface and the first chapter. There are five more chapters. Merely mentioning their titles gives an indication of the range of his endeavour – From the macro observations in Chapters 1; Overview of a Free Society Chapter 2 ;Problems with our Constitution (3) ; to micro diagnoses and offering cures in Chapters 4: Causes of Political Corruption in India; 5: Why is our Bureaucracy so Inept? 6: Unleashing India.

In the little space left for this review I shall refer, briefly, to just one of them: Chapter 3: “Problems with our Constitution”. This reviewer does not claim any special qualification to comment on the Constitution. Nevertheless he finds it difficult to understand the obvious ambivalence of the author on its merits. For instance even while agreeing that the Constitution has “served us reasonably well” and “has done us far more good than harm” he says elsewhere it is an “abstruse and distant document not easily understood, not of much interest to most of us….Evaluating its merits I find our Constitution a mediocre product.” compared for instance to its US counterpart. Describing the Constitution as a “social contract” and drawing attention to the fact that it has been amended 94 times, Sanjeev Sabhlok considers “the time has come to completely review and remake our social contract. A statement that he makes which this reviewer finds patently unfair: “The Constitution that we got was a hotchpotch compromise between the whims of the 299 people on our Constituent Assembly not the resonantly clear voice of freedom.” Maybe, but then should we make the best the enemy of the good? There are numerous troublesome matters that need attention, as the author himself details in his book. Surely the Constitution has not come in the way. Liberal critics of the numerous amendments to the Constitution have pointed out that every time the Indian Constitution was amended it resulted in the contraction of the freedom of citizens, whereas the few times the American constitution was amended it was to expand freedoms. In other words blame the carpenter not his tools.

As for the whims of the 299 people, let us be grateful that our leadership including Nehru had the wisdom to nominate men and women of calibre to add to the elected members of the Indian Legislative Assembly which included quite a number of liberals. It might also be recalled that the socialists boycotted the Constituent Assembly because it was not an elected one. Frankly your reviewer shudders to think of the kind of Constitution we would have had if its members had been elected on the basis of adult franchise. Not a liberal statement to make, but an honest one that many secretly felt but did not articulate! Remember Nehru’s Congress swept the polls in 1952 and 1957

Be that as it may, this book offers valuable inputs not only of problems arising from Nehruvian socialism but also point the way out even if some of them could be of the extreme kind that need further discussion – as for example the suggestion to dump the Constitution!

Regular readers of Freedom First have been reading issues raised in the various chapters from his book which are not referred to in this review but feature in his column “Come on Liberals, let’s Change India”.

The author deserves to be thanked for the massive effort he has put into presenting his case for what amounts to be nothing less than revolutionary changes( not “reforms” as he suggests in the Preface) to ‘unleash India’. Well worth the buy and acquire fresh insights.

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Mahadev Govind Ranade’s writings: full text/ PDF/ Word, and some writings about his work

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BY RANADE

1) Essays on Indian Economics: A Collection of Essays and Speeches (by Ranade)

PDF | Word

My critique of his lecture on Indian Political Economy.

2) Rise of the Maratha Power

ABOUT HIM

Mahadev Govind Ranade: Patriot and Social Servant (PDF | Word)

M. G. Ranade and the Indian system of political economy (pdf)

The Institutional Economics of Mahadev Govind Ranade by John Adams, Journal of Economic Issues, Vol. 5, No. 2 (Jun., 1971), pp. 80-92 [Word]

Remembering Mahadev Govind Ranade

Mahadev Govind Ranade: A Biography. by T. V. Parvate

Mahadev Govind Ranade (1842-1901) Life Sketch and Contribution to Indian Economy by  Debendra Kumar Das

Some "exam" notes.

RANADE GANDHI & JINNAH, ADDRESS DELIVERED ON THE 101ST BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION OF MAHADEV GOVIND RANADE  HELD ON THE 18TH JANUARY 1943 IN THE GOKHALE MEMORIAL HALL, POONA By The Hon'ble Dr. B. R. AMBEDKAR

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