India! I dare you to be rich

Category Archive: India

Who said this: “India must be a Hindu land, reserved for the Hindus”?

There was no limit to the fanaticism of V.D. Savarkar (who was involved in numerous killings, including that of Gandhi). The more I read his work, the more repulsed I am with bigots like him – who never understood the concept of a modern constitutional state and live in a dark and dingy medieval world.

This is what this man, dripping with hatred for Muslims, Jews and Christians, said in his "Presidential" address at the Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha in Nagpur in 1938:

With every sympathy with the Jews outside India, the Hindus must therefore, oppose the present Congressite proposal of inviting or allowing any new Jewish colony to settle in India. India must be a Hindu land, reserved for the Hindus.

So far as the Moslem minority is concerned, I have already dealt with it at length. In short we must watch it in all its actions with the greatest distrust possible. Not only while we are engaged in our struggle for liberating India but even after India is free we must look upon them as suspicious friends and take great care to see that the Northern Frontiers of India are well guarded by staunch and powerful Hindu forces to avoid the possible danger of the Indian Moslem going over to the alien Moslem nations across the Indus and betraying our Hindusthan to our non-Hindu foes. [Source]

Continue Reading

Well said, Ramdev. Now an opportunity to redeem yourself.

I notice that Ramdev made a statement regarding the 3 Indian Swiss bank accounts recently disclosed to the Supreme Court.

This statement is timely and broadly unobjectionable. It reaffirms Ramdev's opposition to black money. 

But such a position is inconsistent with his support for corrupt BJP. I've also commented on his highly problematic support (earlier, in April this year) for a BJP candidate who was discussing black money use in his elections. Clearly Ramdev knows that BJP is floating in black money.

And his reluctance to rebut the many claims in newspapers, with proper transparent information. Or to provide me with the relevant information I had requested in December 2013, or to undergo a public audit as I had suggested.

But I'm happy to give him the benefit of doubt IF he redeems himself by doing the following:

a) provide me with full financial details I had requested;

b) get an independent audit conducted by a reputed auditor;

c) answer the many issues raised in the press re: his use of black money;

d) endorse the SKC agenda the first draft of which was first launched in his campus in Patanjali at the 4-day National Reform Summit in April 2013; and

e) get Modi to implement the SKC agenda. He should know that without SYSTEM REFORM India's governance can never become clean. Modi has no agenda to reform the system.

Continue Reading

About Naozer Aga, a classical liberal who has promoted liberty in India for over 35 years.

I first came to know about the Indian Liberal Group (ILG) sometime in the early noughties through the unwavering liberal, S.V.Raju. Later, unfortunately, I was forced to more or less write off ILG – after my attempts to get them involved (through my monthly articles in Freedom First that Raju kindly published for over two years) failed to get a single new ‘recruit’ to the team of politically inclined liberals I have been assembling since December 2007.

(Note: As many of you may know, I switched to building such a team after I realised that Sharad Joshi’s Swatantra Bharat – which I had joined as life member, then resigned – was not up to the challenge of becoming India’s national liberal party. I was forced to start from scratch, instead of relying upon past efforts).

In February 2010 Raju brought Meera Sanyal to meet me in my hotel room in Mumbai. I was informed she has agreed to preside over a restructured ILG. ILG converted into a not-for-profit company, LiberalsIndia for Good Governance (LGG). But then Meera joined AAP. The idea that ILG’s/ LGG’s president would join socialist AAP was a complete put off (she should resign!). How could an ILG president possibly join, leave alone support, AAP!

Worse, LGG doesn’t even have a website till today. I was expecting Meera Sanyal’s presence vitalise and bring new resources and energy to the liberal movement. That expectation seems to have been unjustified.

This brings me to my recent engagement with ILG/LGG – after a period of complete frustration it.

I come to know Naozer Aga only recently. He was Hon. Gen. Secretary of ILG (and executive member of LGG – which has no post of Gen. Secretary). It turns out that he has a long history (nearly 35 years) of participating in or supporting the Indian liberal movement. Perhaps nearly as long as SV Raju.

In his late 30s (during the late 1970s) Mr Aga joined the Hindustani Andolan (HA) formed by Mr. Madhu Mehta (Hon. Secretary of the Swatantra Party). The HA formed a "Committee for Creation of a National Alternative (CCNA)" of which he was elected Hon. Gen. Secretary. Later he also became Hon. Gen. Secretary of ILG, a position (unless I'm mistaken) he continues to hold.

Unlike Meera Sanyal (who should start by brushing up her basic political and economic concepts), Naozer is a genuine classical liberal with firm roots in the theory of liberty. I’ve by now interacted with him on his many suggestions to improve the SKC agenda. I by and large I tend to agree with his suggestions, which are well thought out. That has revived my hopes in the ILG.

In 1986, Liberal International invited Naozer Aga to present a paper "The Challenge of Liberalisation in the Third World-the Legacy of Rajiv Gandhi" as a member of a panel chaired by Walter Mondale, the former VP of USA. Naozer has sent me a scanned copy of the typed paper he presented.

I’ve OCRd it and and present it below for wider dissemination. Note that even in 1986 he was inclined to recommend a liberal party for India. (Of course, the liberals collectively failed to do much about such a political outfit, so FTI has registered Swarna Bharat Party in 2013) 

I'm glad to engage with Naozer Aga and look forward to his support for bringing all Indian liberals together under a single platform with a single agenda in 2014-15. If that doesn't happen, I'll evaluate whether the task should be written off as being impossible.  It is possible that if a clear-headed person like Naozer has failed to get any action for 35 years and I've failed for 16 years then India is NEVER going to be a liberal country. The liberals should in that case (- to be determined mid-2015) abandon India entirely and permanently.

But fingers crossed for now.

HAMBURG-CONGRESS May 1986

Theme Report 1986 : “De-regulation and State Intervention, the Liberal View”

“The Challenge of Liberalisation in the Third World” by Mr N.J. Aga

The Legacy of Rajiv Gandhi

Industry and Allied Sector

According to a recent survey conducted by the Association of Indian Engineering Industry in the “competitiveness” scoreboard, India ranked fourth from the bottom line. It ranked 23rd in respect of financial dynamism and socio political consensus and stability, 24th in its dynamics of the market and dynamism of the economy, 26th in human resources and industrial efficacy and nth in natural endowments. Ironically enough in terms of parallel economy India ranked fourth from the top.

The dominant presence of the Government, besides a fettered financial sector lacking in diversity and lack of consumer orientation were the other factors that had come in the way of faster progress. One of the root causes of this precarious situation is the dismal financial performance of the so called Public sector which is actually State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) in which the public have no ownership.

Agriculture

Indian agriculture is still very backward. Its productivity (yield/hectare) is amongst the lowest being one-third of what has been achieved in developed countries, and nearly three-fourths of the world average.

India has 11.6 per cent of the world’s total arable land, but the production of food grains in 1981-82 was only 8.8 per cent of the world production. Indie4 population in that year was 15.5. per cent of the world total.

The State Foodgrains Distribution System has outlived its utility. To maintain this system, the public exchequer has to shell out ever increasing amounts as subsidy, the farmers and traders have to forego their right to free trade; the consumers have to accept sub-standard products, and the banking system has to lock up its funds to the tune of Rs. 55,000 million, at concessional rates of interest, which could be more profitably employed elsewhere.

Besides being irrelevant to the present conditions, it is the costliest system anywhere in the world (the cost of distribution being between 75% to 85% of the price paid to farmers), caters to the needs of no more than 14% of the population and cannot be sustained except at the cost of farmers, who for it; sake, are deprived of their right to sell at the best available price.

General

The rate of growth has been exceedingly slow. It has averaged 3.5% over the years. 3.5% of a miniscule GNP is very little indeed.

There has been a failure to control population. Distribution has been very bad. 48% of the people are below the poverty line, which is defined in India virtually at the subsistence level. Wealth has been created but it has not percolated in spite of socialism. The other failure ‘has been the inability to control inflation. The inflationary rate is 5.6% per annum compounded for 35 years. The country is suffering from corruption which is a cancer eating not only into the body politic but also into the soul because it has been accepted now as a way of life.

This is a consequence to a large extent of the socialist economic policies, because corruption follows where you have physical controls and regulations, and maladministration follows where you have corruption.

Of course, in absolute terms, the infrastructure has been developed and the industrial base considerably strengthened. India is now in a good position for further development. Compared with 1950, in 1980 (figures in million tons) coal production increased from 35 to well over 100, cement from 3 to over 20, steel from 2 to over 10 and fertilisers from 0.02 to 3. Electricity generation increased from 6 billion KWH to about 110 billion KWH. Up to 1986 crude oil increased from 0.3 to 23 and grains from 56 to 150 leading to self sufficiency and even exports of rice and wheat.

Response of the Government led by Rajiv Gandhi

The severe constraints arising out of the failure of socialism, as practised in India over the past 40 years nearly, called for urgent changes which resulted in the emerging economic policy system in India, which has been given the epithet “New Economic Order “ (NEO).

The fundamental keynotes of the NE0 are

(a) The State will increasingly shed direct responsibility for running portions of the economy by delegating, decentralising, autonomising, “dediscretionising”, desubsidising existing and impending commitments. The change will be incremental in the first instance but gradually may also affect current stock situations.

(b) Rules rather than discretion, ad-hocism, improvisations.

(c) Efficiency, viability, consumer and owner accountability, and speed in decisions.

(d) More items will appear in portfolios of investors and householders, portfolio choices for them and for organisations will be less constrained.

(e) Administrative ceilings and controls, prices and allocations will give way to market-determined directions and prices.

If a phrase can describe the NEG it is Marketisation with Social Justice and Macro Rules. India is making its own amalgam. It is mixed economy seeking fulfilment of macro goals of growth and poverty eradication in an environment of micro freedom at levels of households and firms.

Benefits of the NEO

There has been a major effort at reforming the policy frame relating to industry to make it more consonant with contemporary changes and to make it more effective in the pursuit of the growth objectives. The poor performance of infrastructure sectors in the industrially advanced States of the Indian Union, the time-lag in implementing projects, question of selecting suitable foreign technology, slow pace of modernisation, lack of vigorous efforts to boost exports, inadequate information system, and the emerging new pattern of investment are some of the problems faced by industry.

The share markets have responded to the NEO with unprecedented buoyancy and tax collections have surpassed the ambitious targets.

Limitations of NEO

The Prime Minister wants to make India a nation fit for the 21st Century. However, there are restraints on these aims, this makes it necessary to break the stranglehold of government on the economy. This is evident from the Congress (I) meeting in 1985 when the new economic policy resolution draft approved by Rajiv Gandhi was most embarrassingly abandoned and a new one affirming commitment to socialism hurriedly prepared and passed.

The system of controls has outlived its usefulness. The economy is too complex to be administered in the detailed case by case approach of the bureaucracy. Most economic policies are stated to be currently under review by the Government of India. This exercise will, however, prove to be no more than cosmetic treatment, so long as the rural policies, which impinge on the lives of 76 per cent of the country’s population remain unchanged. The changes are not yet over and unless the whole economic system becomes void of discretionary rules, orders and permits, it cannot be said that the new order in full has emerged.

The hurdles against a smooth change to the new system are many. There is a hump of an induced exchange crisis implicit in the changes. Secondly, there is a temporary possibility of the distribution system getting more skewed. Thirdly, there is a danger that the core public sector projects in agriculture, irrigation, fertilisers etc, may get slowed down.

In one sense, the changes so far have been only from the end of the Central Government. The State governments are dealing with a number of spheres like small industry, trade and agriculture. They have been lukewarm. Even the Long Term Fiscal Policy concerns only the Central Government. It is time that a national policy framework is evolved and announced.

There is a need to fulfil the promise of democratic decentralization up to village level. The people should be given an opportunity to participate in formulation and implementation of schemes which are of immediate concern to them.

There are three main interests which feel threatened by the policies of the NEO. The most subtle attack comes from certain business houses who are unwilling to give up old habits of manipulation politics through bribery and corruption. The second attack comes from the old Soviet lobby which has reason to worry because if liberalisation is carried too far and the Indian economy gets more seriously integrated with the capitalist world, there will be a political fallout in foreign policy.

The third attack comes from a section of the bureaucracy. In the past the bureaucracy had developed an alliance with business houses and politicians, as intermediaries and thus acquired a financial interest in the corrupt old system. The Government has made a lot of bureaucrats nervous by dismantling this nexus as well as by dismissing and retiring a few. Indeed, the slowness of this cleansing and trimming has enabled bureaucrats to slow down policies.

The response of Rajiv Gandhi’s government to correct the system is inadequate in its conception as well as execution. It has concentrated only on the economic aspects of liberalism and ignored the political, cultural and social factors, (except for some superficial and cosmetic action) which continue to be severely regulated with excessive state intervention.

The Relevance of Liberalism to India

The inherent drawbacks in the socialist system, inherited by Rajiv Gandhi, to deliver the goods, led to the introduction of the NEO. This in itself is a damning indictment of the socialist system as practised in India.

The massive poverty and gross inequalities of India do not prove the irrelevance of liberalism but its contrary. Precisely because the entrepreneurial base is narrow it needs to be broadened so that the fruits of technological development can be increased and distributed. To speak of relevance of liberalism to the Indian situation is an understatement. It is more than that for it provides not only the philosophy of the original Constitution but also a framework for the future development of the culturally diversified society of India. Ironically, the policies of the Indian government for three decades and a half have served to underline some of the lasting lessons of liberalism. The expanding power of the state in all the key areas of human activity, the growth of Indian bureaucracy, the control of not merely the economy but also of the mass media, the clumsy and costly system of regulation and control have all conspired to smother initiative. It is no wonder that creative individuals nave either suffered frustration or have become sycophants of the powers that be.

Meeting the Challenge

The history of liberalism and its relevance to India clearly indicates that there is a sizeable base available for its further growth and development.

Unfortunately, after the dissolution of the Swatantra party, there is no single political platform available at present to Indian liberals. The Congress (I) is distinctly socialist with all opposition parties falling between communism and at best an incompatible mixture of socialism with patches of communism, fascist or liberalism depending on the area of operation and the vote banks which they cultivate.

Except for the Communists, no party has any commitment to a cause, philosophy or ideology. They are opportunist; populist and vote oriented. The only common link is an all consuming passion for achieving and retaining power at any cost. There is, therefore, a need for a political platform to be created for Indian liberals which will ensure a well co-ordinated and systematic effort of like-minded individuals working for a common objective with dedication and zeal.

Many liberals are today spread out in various political parties and countless others have refrained from joining any party. Unless the liberal elements in such parties, either separately or in combination embark on a liberal path on their own, the only alternative would be for a new liberal party to rise on the Indian horizon.

A NOTE OF CAUTION

The challenge of liberalism as faced in India is without doubt unique and quite distinct from any other country. Hence, any detailed political action programme such as the Manifesto of a liberal political party must take into account, among others, the specific needs of Indian philosophy, the social, political and cultural dimensions and the exact degree of deregulation and state intervention required depending on emerging situations. A complex transformation of the type India has to undergo cannot follow any rigid preconceived model. It will be necessary to find indigenous solutions to meet the Challenge. For example, can anyone predict the social upheaval resulting from deregulation of the State or Public sector? What would happen, in the short term, to the supply demand equation, the price level, the employment pattern etc?

There is no experience, either in India or elsewhere, that one can fall back on and an innovative and creative outlook is necessary. While undoubtedly, the Indian system of values and ideals (which is relevant to Indian conditions) must draw from global experience, it must above all be firmly rooted on Indian soil. The nature and role of religion, class and caste, urban and rural, rich and poor, large scale and small scale, freedom and dissent, deregulation and state intervention, etc, have to be accurately analysed and appropriately included in the political Manifesto as a smooth, harmonious and result oriented programme.

Liberal political development in India must occur in step with the drive for modernisation and take into account the technological, economic and socio-cultural reality of the country.

The pendulum of liberalism will have to swing, when necessary, in more directions and more deeply into the socialist and conservative preserves, in comparison with the developed world. A sensitive and dynamic system with flexibility and capacity to respond quickly to changes in external and internal stimuli will have to be devised. Deregulation, particularly sun-set legislation, and state intervention, if properly used, would be very effective in maintaining the equilibrium.

Continue Reading

A great RSS leader’s scientific wisdom: “a plastic surgeon fixed an elephant’s head on Ganesha”

Modi, a "great" RSS leader comes from a school of thought that has repeatedly shown that it is completely removed from anything to do with reasoning. The superstitions, muddled ways of thinking and delusions of RSS/Hindutva folk just beats anything one can imagine. They should call themselves a theater or nautanki company.

Modi has taken up the task of FURTHER CONFUSING the already confused Indians (confused because of the most deplorable education system one can imagine).

He said this recently "a plastic surgeon who fixed an elephant's head on Ganesha". 

There is no doubt that India had fairly advanced knowledge of surgery in the past. Sushruta Samhita, written during India's golden age, even explained the basics of plastic surgery. That's fine.

But:

First, Modi, there is NO Ganesha. Even if, according to Advaita, there is a kind of "spirit", that spirit is formless. Ganesha is a figment of imagination. Like James Bond. [Addendum: Sanjeev: This comment raised a question.I've responded here.]

Second, there is simply no way the head of an elephant can be grafted on to a human body. Let that delusion not even be discussed. Cartoons with such "grafts" can be made, drawings can be made, even statues and idols. But a REAL GRAFT? Forget it. These are not even remotely close as species. This is TOTALLY IMPOSSIBLE from first principles. [Individual organs CAN potentially be transplanted from different species, but that requires a level of knowledge that was simply non-existent in ancient India]

Modi, kindly stop babbling nonsense. That will be much appreciated. Do also read the Constitution which talks about the scientific attitude. If you never learnt the basics of science, please don't show your COLLOSAL ignorance and mislead the already confused Indians further. 

ADDENDUM

My FB post:

This completely violates basics of the Vedas and Vedanta: the formlessness of God. According to this view, God can be brought down to the level of man, operated upon, and sent off on his way to become an idol for our use. I'm surprised genuine Hindus aren't alarmed at this claim – that their God is a mere human creation.

ADDENDUM

Link to the speech on PMO website

PM Modi takes leaf from Batra book: Mahabharat genetics, Lord Ganesha surgery

Continue Reading

Zakir Naik, the bigoted Muslim preacher from Mumbai. And Saudi Arabia’s bigotry: it doesn’t allow freedom to other religions.

I came across this most shameful and bigoted nonsense from Zakir Naik, an Islamic preacher.

In this video he supports the COERCIVE IMPOSITION OF RELIGION BY THE STATE. Apparently Islam is 100 per cent right so no other religion can be allowed to build any temple/church etc. in Saudi Arabia.

If this represents the Islamic worldview (I hope not) then the West (which is motivated by Lockean liberalism and tolerance) should insist on quid pro quo – that no mosque be built in the West unless Saudi Arabia allows construction of religious buildings of other religions. 

Muslims in the West can then continue to believe their ideas PRIVATELY inside their head (as Zakir Naik says non-Muslims can, in Saudi Arabia), but not have any rights to build mosques in the countries to which they are economic migrants or refugees.

His talk has focused my mind on this basic question: On what basis can Saudi Arabia not allow other religious structures? This is a fundamentally intolerant position. I condemn Saudi Arabia for its bigotry.

Let people be free. Let them believe in whatever they wish so long as they don't harm others. Let them build whatever buildings they like (some of these are quite beautiful) and let there be peace. 

Zakir Naik, I condemn your bigotry and challenge you to understand the concept of INDIVIDUAL LIBERTY.

[Note: I've not researched thoroughly but it appears that Zakir Naik runs what looks like a very powerful Islamic Research Foundation from 195 / 213, SVP Road, Dongri, Mumbai – 400 009. (India) http://www.irf.net/contactus.html

Continue Reading

For every Hindu killed in communal/ religious violence, THREE Muslims have been killed in independent India. (Statistics re: riots)

As I wrote some days ago it is impossible to discuss anything meaningful about India since every Indian seems to be obsessed with Hindu-Muslim issues. 

On FB one of the many Indian bigots has been busy smearing all Indian Muslims as wolves. I've challenged him to take that statement back. 

More problematically he denies the well known BASIC truth about communal killings in independent India: that an OVERWHELMING majority of Muslims have been killed in communal riots. 

For this analysis we need to exclude J&K where a significant political question is involved. Similarly we should exclude Panjab terrorism arising from the demand for Khalistan. 

On PURELY religious grounds, then, the data are clear: Hindus kill MANY MORE MUSLIMS in an average riot than Muslims. Most of the time, the Hindus are strongly supported in killings by the Police.

I'm not able to access the Varshney-Wilkinson Dataset on Hindu-Muslim Violence in India, 1950-1995, Version 2 (ICPSR 4342)  nor have time to study various studies on this issue. [Would appreciate if someone can email me the dataset]

I'll just put down two bits of information in this blog post, then I'll leave it to readers to provide further data.

1) First, this table from the Case Studies that are taught (or were taught in my time) at Lal Bahadur National Academy. I had taken a copy from NC Saxena and OCRd/ converted into text many years ago [Download here]. 


 

2) The following Wikipedia entry confirms the pattern, perhaps with even more severe consequences for Muslims.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_massacres_in_India

Since 1980 we see that major killings took place in Nellie (around 2000 Muslims killed), Bhagalpur (mostly Muslims out of 1000 people killed) and Gujarat 2002 (around 790 Muslims vs. 254 Hindus).

The overall ratio is approximately this: for every Hindu killed THREE Muslims have been killed in Independent India.

For those who call Muslims wolves, I'd like them to explain this to me: how is it that so many Muslims are killed in riots? And how come the massive ANCIENT building (Babri Masjid) was demolished by the Hindus?

As reports of Judicial Commissions clearly show, most riots are started by Hindu fanatic groups/ supporters of such groups.

No, I'm not saying that Muslims rioters are innocent. But please don't tell me that Muslims have been particularly violent in India. VIOLENCE IS A LARGELY A HINDU (MORE PRECISELY "HINDUTVA") PHENOMENON IN INDEPENDENT INDIA.

Continue Reading