Thoughts on economics and liberty

We haven’t had our first freedom movement yet

I've noticed some organisations and institutions in India talk about India's second freedom movement (e.g. Lok Satta, Centre for Civil Society). While this phraseology is commendable (to draw attention to the concept of freedom), it is a misnomer.

India NEVER had its FIRST FREEDOM MOVEMENT. So how can it have a second movement?

What we achieved in 1947 was bare-bones independence from British rule (Note that our kings had asked for British rule in the first place. A number of Indian kings and nobles actively involved the British traders in the political affairs of their petty kingdoms, and finally made the British so strong that they became rulers of India by default).

Independence is not freedom

Independence is NOT freedom. It is barely a pause in the journey of a nation, a moment to take breath. 

True, bare-bones freedom was assured to India through its 1950 Constitution but that freedom was soon taken away by Nehru and, in particular, by Indira Gandhi. 

Only in 1991, when the country almost went bankrupt because of India's socialists, that a semblance of freedom was FORCED UPON India by the IMF. That is all we have so far: something that IMF forced on us. Very few know why we have it. Most don't seem to want it. Most of us want slavery to someone or someone else's ideas. Most of us want to worship someone. We have no self-respect (notice people trying to touch Baba Ramdev's feet).

While people like Vivekananda, Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore spoke about freedom, only Rajaji and Masani articulated what it really means, but they were very old and the country wasn't ready for them. Swatantra party floundered after Rajaji died.

For two decades, Sharad Joshi has spoken about freedom in the political sphere, but who knows him? Almost no one. Who has joined him? Almost no one. He has now retired from the Rajya Sabha, with none of his suggestions implemented. India remains socialist. 

Lok Satta talks of the second freedom movement but at the same time it advocates at least a few policies that destroy freedom. Its way is not the way to freedom. Yes, it is an improvement to what we have, but the key message – of freedom – is missing.

The FIRST Freedom Movement in India has yet to begin

The time has come to demand freedom, to  organise the first freedom movement in India. The Freedom Team of India has assembled to provide leadership for this movement. Should you believe you have the capability to lead India to freedom, please join FTI. This is an urgent task. India's future depends on whether its people want freedom or slavery. I invite you to stand up and lead.

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4 thoughts on “We haven’t had our first freedom movement yet
  1. Shanthala Damle

    Dear Sanjeev,
    I find your writing and way of thinking intriguing. Often, they may me think about a topic/issue from different angles, although I don't always come to your expressed opinion.
    I am writing today primarily to criticize you though. You have no fear of expression while critiquing others. I hope that you will be equally open for such direct feedback/criticism as well. 
    In all your blogs, the book Breaking Free of Nehru and your responses to comments on your blog, I find that you have completely overlooked the way human psychology works. I do not believe you can scare people into action of leadership by writing blogs on a daily basis. Of course, I am not a psychologist – just a general reader who wants to understand leadership and a big fan of Malcolm Gladwell and Chip Brothers of "Made to Stick" and "Switch" fame.
    I do completely understand you and FTI cannot tolerate BJP, Congress and other major parties. However, if you can't tolerate an effort something like Lok Satta, I don't believe you can ever inspire leadership from 1500 leaders – and inspire rest of the nation to be diligent followers. I would say FTI should go beyond simply "tolerating" the likes of Lok Satta. It should consider developing coalitions.  
    When I first came to know about FTI, I was very interested in exploring joining FTI. And the more I read your writings, the more it scared me and pushed me away.  Frankly, I won't be surprised if you single-handedly have worn the other FTI members out – rather than inspiring them. Not sure if you have noticed, but FTI seem to have gained very few new members this year. I saw only 112 names on the FTI website – listed as members – and the number of posts by 3 or 4 individuals comprise approximately 60% of all posts. And 20% by only you – who is not even an Indian citizen.
    Well, then, you could simply dismiss this feedback and say that I am not the kind of leader you are looking for. That may very well be. In any case, even if you do get 1500 leaders you are looking for, I don't believe with 1500 can work together without a proper structure and strong senior-level experienced leadership team.
    You don't have to post my comment – but I would really appreciate an email response. Having said all the above, I don't have a need to be "right". I will be extremely happy if  FTI indeed get to 1000 members by end of this year. All I really care about is that Indian citizens should be the winners, whether via Lok Satta or FTI or by grassroots movement or even by change of heart of current administrators and legislative representatives.

  2. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Shanthanla

    I am comfortable with being misunderstood. That’s unavoidable. For instance:

    RE: “I do completely understand you and FTI cannot tolerate BJP, Congress and other major parties. However, if you can’t tolerate an effort something like Lok Satta, I don’t believe you can ever inspire leadership from 1500 leaders – and inspire rest of the nation to be diligent followers. I would say FTI should go beyond simply “tolerating” the likes of Lok Satta. It should consider developing coalitions.”

    Please note
    a) I’m ONE member of FTI. I don’t tolerate BJP or Congress or other major parties – for reasons that they have LOOTED and DESTROYED India (I’ve explained at length in a number of places). FTI has never expressed any views on these matters. The Team is obliged to issue policy statements after voting and agreement. It doesn’t waste time criticising others. It offers a positive way out. So let’s please not mix up my views with FTI’s views.

    b) Building coalitions!: Please note that I not only do ‘tolerate’ (!) Lok Satta, but encourage FTI members to join it (along with Jago and Bharat Uday Mission). I expect some senior FTI members to join LS soon. Some FTI members raised funds for it, as well. Coalition building is not the right word for this, though. Joining LS doesn’t mean anything. A drop in the ocean.

    As you are aware, FTI is NOT a political party, simply a group of leaders (who can join any political party so long as it is not corrupt or spreads hatred). FTI is designed as a coalition of leaders. Lok Satta is designed as a political party. Two radically different things.

    For instance, people from Jago party can join FTI but they can’t join Lok Satta (and vice versa). FTI is the common platform for those who SERIOUSLY want to offer policies of freedom and good governance to India. Those who want to work their own way are likely to fail (WILL fail). That’s their choice.

    Note that in my first e-mail about FTI in Dec. 2007 I invited my good friend JP of LS to join this effort. He chose not to. I later, in 2009, spoken over phone with him explaining this idea. He committed (that’s my understanding) that he’d ‘depute’ someone to FTI, but that has not so far happened. FTI members then made it a point to meet him in Mumbai and explain the FTI concept. That didn’t help. Their impression of JP has declined over the years, not risen. Why does he want to work alone, now with others? I can’t force ‘coalitions’, can I? [PS. Similar thing applies to Jago party, but Bharat Uday Mission is fully engaged on FTI].

    Note that I’m not dismissing your feedback, but I find it doesn’t, unfortunately, change anything I’m doing.

    In this blog post I’m suggesting that India is a land of slaves. People don’t want freedom, don’t want good governance, don’t want to be free of corruption.

    A GENUINE movement for governance reform has been now initiated by Baba Ramdev, but he doesn’t want to give Indians freedom. He wants to impose his ideas on others. So that won’t help either.

    In brief, India has not had its first freedom movement. If India’s desire for freedom is so feeble that it can be ‘worn down’ by my writings! – so be it! Such a desire is not a desire for freedom but a menial desire to be led by me (i.e. if I don’t do what you expect of me, you’ll “give up”! Sure! Do so, but don’t blame me for your feeble desire for reform.). I don’t lead anyone. I ask people to stand up and lead themselves. Self-leadership. Citizenship. If you, like most Indians, don’t understand the concept of freedom (i.e. it creates no obligations on anyone) I can’t expect you to lead.

    My self-appointed (!) job is to wake up people. If they won’t wake up and demand freedom, that’s not my problem, but theirs.

    Mind you, a country gets the government it deserves. There is NO exception to this rule. What India gets today is what it WANTS.


  3. Shanthala Damle

    Thank you for response, Sanjeev. Your first paragraph made me realise people may mistake that I am from Lok Satta – so, I would like to clarify. Please post this follow up.
    I just wanted to make one thing clear to the future readers of this page. I am NOT from Lok Satta. At least not as of Oct 4th 2010. My response to this article of Sanjeev is just my personal opinion. Last thing I want to do is to bring unnecessary negative attention to someone like JP – who I find inspiring. (Thus have posted about him on my blog.)

  4. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Shanthala

    I have deep respect for JP's work, and except for a few policy differences, I know he is on the right lines. I disagree with his strategy and believe he can achieve MUCH more if he agrees to collaborate with others, and only enters politics after full preparation. 

    I have been encouraging people to join LS, and you should too (if you haven't). Please stand up and be counted.




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