Thoughts on economics and liberty

You have to WREST liberty from the Indian government, not beg for it

During British rule, the Indian liberals were characterised by their politeness, by their petitions, pleas and entreaties to the British rulers of India. Bhadralok. Convent educated. No rough edges.

The British enjoyed this joke – of polite "brown Englishmen" who hoped to squeeze independence out of the oppressive British crown by begging for swaraj.

The task to remove the British from India was HUGE. Yet it was achieved.

But note that it was not achieved by polite entreaty. The liberals were IRRELEVANT to India. It was partly achieved by the non-violence movement. But it was the VIOLENT Quit India movement that finally sent shivers down the spines of the 300,000 Britishers living in India.

Yesterday I attended a panel discussion organised by Barun Mitra on freedom of expression. One of the best sessions I've attended. A brilliant panel, and a brilliant audience.

And yet the discussions were FEEBLE, WEAK, IMPOTENT.

Everyone in that room recognised that they DON'T COUNT. They said so, in so many words, five times, perhaps. The Indian government can bulldoze them, silence them without facing any political cost. The Indian government is shrewd enough not to arrest these polite convent-educated liberals for demanding liberty (unlike in China where such people would be behind bars long ago), but the Indian government has absolutely no intention of increasing freedom of speech in India – or ANY other liberty.

And these petite effeminate liberals can do ZILCH about it except prattle about it in their nice polite 'conferences' in India International Centre.

What a joke – these Indian "freedom fighters".

It was NOT by Gokhale's entreaties that the British finally left India. It needed SERIOUS ORGANISATION. ON A MASS SCALE.

Today India is oppressed by Indians on a scale last seen only during British rule. In many ways worse. More Indians are killed in India by the Indian government EACH YEAR than the British killed perhaps in a decade. Indians are surviving from moment to moment, unsure of what could happen to them next. One of the speakers rightly put it: Nothing is safe any more. And when the original fatwa against Rushdie is long dead and gone, the Congress government blocks the book and all discussion of the book (which I have not read and have no intention of reading), in 2012. Not 1912.

Indian liberals are effeminate and IMPOTENT (with no offence meant to the many women soldiers in world armies today). One thing they don't understand is that LIBERTY WAS NEVER GIVEN TO ANYONE ON A PLATTER. IT HAS ALWAYS HAD TO BE FOUGHT FOR, AND WRESTED OUT OF THE GOVERNMENT.

"Give me Liberty, or Give me Death!"

– This is one thing that Indian liberals simply don't understand. Why then do they prattle about liberty in nice cosy upper-crest gatherings which NO ONE FROM REAL INDIA is willing to join? There was no one from the streets, no rickshaw puller, no farmer.

I thought I'd raise this issue and so I challenged those assembled yesterday to STEP OUT INTO POLITICS and to WREST LIBERTY by taking over the parliament.  Do the hard yards of CHANGING THE LAWS OF INDIA to enshrine ABSOLUTE liberty of speech.

But my voice was immediately curbed, and the topic changed by Mohit Satyanand, chair of the session – and member of FTI's speakers' panel! I'm half inclined to disband the panel which has NO ENERGY AND NO CAPACITY FOR CHANGE. Mere hot air. I don't need 'wise heads' on FTI. I need PEOPLE WHO WILL FIGHT FOR LIBERTY. Let FTI evaluate and review this idea. Do we need such a panel, at all?

Today I'm told by people that the task I'm working on – to liberate India from Indians – is too big! But surely it is smaller than the task of making India an independent nation.

If we could boot out the British, surely we can boot out Congress and BJP, and wrest the freedom that is our birthright.

Sanjeev Sabhlok

View more posts from this author
12 thoughts on “You have to WREST liberty from the Indian government, not beg for it
  1. Harsh Vora

    Sorry that this has been disappointing so far. Agree with everything you said. What is the point if the common, not-so-educated person (rickshaw-wala, farmer, and kiranawala) does not attend such gatherings?

  2. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    On FB:

    Kenneth Allen Hopf: ‎”People who love soft methods and hate iniquity forget this; that reform consists in taking a bone from a dog. Philosophy will not do it.” — John Jay Chapman

  3. KK Verma

    Dear Sanjeev, You have very rightly expressed your views which you wrote after attending a panel discussion organized by Barun Mitra on freedom of expression. We are facing similar situation here in Delhi for last many years. Leaders from Government and its officials are always afraid of speaking truth and coming out with right solutions because of lack of leadership at top.

    Any futuristic views, corrective talk or discussions, talking against government is being curtailed not by Congressmen or BJP men from political class but our intellectual and professional class of people. This appears ridiculous but it is happening. This must go. Intellectuals must speak what is right not what is right for Government.

    Many of these things are happening because of the poor knowledge of ground reality. Media remains biggest culprit in keeping intellectuals ill informed.

    In this situation, when you ask for strong action, I fully support your views. No one is going to give us liberty to do best for this country, we have to snatch from them, we have to fight for our right, we have to get it.

    I hope that in FTI, members agreed to consolidate within and fight with those external forces to bring freedom to this country. Freedom for India from Congress kind of governance!!

  4. Supratim

    Thanks for this post, Sanjeev.

    Absolutely spot on.

    But, I see signs of the middle classes awakening from their deep slumber – to some extent, the Anna protests were indicative of this and the recent citizen candidates movement in Mumbai.

    To answer Harsh Vora’s query, to get the masses to awake – you need to explain the link between liberty and their endless and miserable quest for their daily bread, and how this lack of liberty actually enslaves them. The masses do not have the time to attend panel discussions – we have to reach out to them.


  5. Supratim

    This reminds me of the recent Woolf report on the ICC, where the report says that the board of the ICC should be more “fairly” constituted and not be controlled only by the top test playing nations.

    BCCI was quickly off the mark to say “go to hell”, though not in so many words!


  6. sachin kundu

    I think we liberals have been focusing on the logic of being liberal, that’s academic, snobbish and ego boosting. Makes one feel intelligent.

    Since movements are more emotion than logic, we have to start hitting emotional hot spots of people.

    The reason why we do not get any traction is because the general public just does not associate with us…because we don’t let them.

    Look at anna movement and ramdev, no substance only emotion and by the success we have been able to achieve they have been wildly successful.

    We really need to start getting emotional in our discourse, like this post of yours. Thats emotional and it works.

  7. Polevaulter Donkeyman


    Was any recording made of this panel discussion? I would very much like to see it via the web


    You say

    “Look at anna movement and ramdev, no substance only emotion and by the success we have been able to achieve they have been wildly successful.”

    Given that their success was based on personalities and emotions and not on substance how long do you think such success will last? Seems like Anna’s latest dharna in Bombay hasn’t been successful at all. Emotion is a very precious and scarce resource which does not replenish easily; it takes time. Substance it what nourishes emotion.

    And more importantly remember emotion devoid of substance can be easily turned to nefarious purposes. Demagogues such as Hitler and Mussolini should give you pause when you demand emotion without substance. Contemporary progressivism is also full of emotions (good intentions) without any idea of how to fulfill their emotions in a sustainable fashion. Take as an example — minimum wage. Emotion tells us that if the poor can make more money they will be better off and raising the minimum wage is the best way to do this. But what the minimum wage boosters forget is that when they raise the minimum wage, they drive up the unemployment rate among the low-skilled (by raising the cost of labour). The War on Drugs is predicated on an emotion that people should be protected from harmful substances. This emotion has led to a war in which tens of thousands have lost their lives and many more have been incarcerated, with nary an effect on drug use.

    Nobody is saying there should be no emotion. But it should never be devoid of substance.

  8. sachin kundu


    Sure I agree completely that only emotion is of no use. Credibility is important and rational provides that.

    However when selling an idea(or anything) emotions rule the roost….at first.

    I read some wisecrack, and it makes sense.

    “Emotions and beliefs are masters, reason their servant. Ignore emotion, and reason slumbers; trigger emotion, and reason comes rushing to help.”

    We really need to start hitting emotion and sell. When emotionally people are sold, rational is very important to close the sale

    Might sounds like a business deal but the laws of persuasion are the same everywhere


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *