Thoughts on economics and liberty

My comment on “Indian Democracy at 75: Who Are the Barbarians at the Gate?”

Someone shared this article and sought my comments: https://quadrant.org.au/opinion/qed/2022/08/indian-democracy-at-75-who-are-the-barbarians-at-the-gate/

My response might interest some people.
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Thanks, had a skim through the article. Very comprehensive, and raises some valid points.

Two basic facts. First, India’s political parties are entirely socialist. Second, India’s democracy has been flawed since its inception – and that has increasingly gotten worse. See my book, Breaking Free of Nehru for a detailed description of its shortcomings.

It is a well-established fact that hardcore criminals (murderers, etc.) or those who connive with criminals (such as former PM Manmohan Singh) are the only ones who’ve got a tolerable chance of survival in India’s “democracy”.

I’ve worked with senior politicians from all parties during my civil service career and all parties are entirely corrupted/ mostly criminal. With regard to BJP, most foreign observers don’t know its history – that it is the direct ideological offshoot of European fascism. In its case Muslims are the enemy, instead of the Jews. But the Babri Masjid demolition of 1992 happened with the direct support of Congress PM Narasimha Rao, which shows that the RSS (the mother organisation of BJP) has infiltrated all political parties.

To call BJP conservative (in the Tory tradition) would be equivalent to saying that the Nazis were conservative. Likewise, to celebrate India as a democracy is similar in many ways to stating that Germany was a democracy during the time of Hitler. No, let me add! – India is not Nazi Germany – yet. There is a strong group of (socialist) parties which theoretically abjure the interference of religion in politics. But the original democratic ambition of Nehru (which he himself did the most to destroy) has not yet been wiped out from the country.

Further, both major socialist parties – Congress and BJP – have been forced by circumstances to attempt liberal economic reforms (first in 1991 by Narasimha Rao, and a few sketchy post-2014 reforms by Modi) but India has no significant liberal party since Swatantra Party folded in 1973. Getting one established has been my mission since 1998.

My lifetime mission for reform of India’s governance has, though, been entirely diverted by recent events in Australia. Australia’s totalitarianism needs to be addressed first before we even think of other totalitarian nations. In many ways, Australia has been more totalitarian than India in recent years. Its border closures were comparable with those of North Korea. Beating up and imprisoning people for not wearing a mask or for protesting totalitarian policies was on par with India’s comparable extremes. In summary, the situation is dire for liberty and democracy across the entire world, not just in India.

Having said that, I would like Australia to continue to engage with India. India’s treatment of its citizens remains far superior to China’s – Indian politicians still fear the criticism of the West. But to overstate the democratic credentials of India is probably not why this engagement with India should continue. More importantly, Australia or any Australian is in no moral shape to judge India. Australia’s democratic and human rights credentials are in shambles – see my complaint to the ICC against the Australian PM. Heal thyself, as they say. Let’s start with Australia before worrying about the Third World, miserably poor and corrupt, socialist India.

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Sanjeev Sabhlok

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