Thoughts on economics and liberty

Author: Sanjeev Sabhlok

The problem of groupthink and the madness of crowds

A placeholder post. Some recent tweets:

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The 2006 email that changed India (or, rather, will change India in the coming years)

In 2005 I had completely ended my India political project. Just finishing up a book, later to be called BFN.

But then Anil Sharma comes out of the blue – wanting to establish a liberal political party in India.  Meghnad Desai connected him to Gurcharan Das and Gurcharan connected him to me on  7 February 2006. In seven years time, Swarna Bharat Party was born. Without Anil’s determination and persistence, there would be no liberal party in India today.

Given his insistence on having a liberal party and my experience that the greatest shortage is of leaders to kickstart the work, I resumed India-related (Freedom Team of India) to support Anil and find others like him.

We were able to find some superb leaders – like Dipinder Sekhon, Rahul Pandit and Kamal Sharma (and Ram Atri, who has, however, quit political work subsequently), as a result of which SBP was formed through a rather circuitous route that went via Baba Ramdev.

There were others who were initially part of the FTI journey but who fell by the wayside for their personal (e.g. health) reasons, like Supratim Basu, or who decided that short-term methods (like joining AAP, which a few like Somnath Bharti and Shantanu Bhagwat tried; others like LK Kandpal went on to support BJP) can work.

But by now, SBP is firmly established and is not going anywhere. And after its establishment, many outstanding leaders like Sanjay Sonawani, Sanjay Garg and Pankaj Das have joined. And superb young leaders like Rabi Kant Bharti and Mahesh Maurya have come up. There are tens of others, as well – all over the country, supporting this work in some way or other (you’ll excuse me if I don’t name all of them in this brief post).

The party is now on a roll. It is going nowhere. It is here to change India.


I let the Liberal Party website lapse (can’t keep paying for so many websites). The page in 2005 looked like this:




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Minutes of my first attempt to form a liberal party in India – January 2000

Found this finally in my old emails – the preliminary minutes that I had drafted of a meeting held on 27 January 2000 at Centre for Civil Society in which the idea of a liberal political party for India was discussed.  I had convened this meeeting which Parth Shah had kindly helped organise. I now recall that the idea was not rejected but further work was to be done. Sauvik was particularly enthusiastic and I even went to his house later to meet him and discuss. But in the end nothing came out of it.


>Pre-preliminary meeting on the Indian Liberal Congress, 2000
>Held on 27.1.2000 at CCS from 5-6:15 pm
>Members present:
>Sauvik Chakraverti
>Subodh Kumar
>Parth Shah
>Madhu Kishwar
>Sanjeev Sabhlok
>Decisions arrived at:
>(1) NAME: Name should not be ‘loaded’ with connotations which are found in the Indian society. No one understands “Classical Liberalism.” Name will need to be thought a little more carefully. Suggestions so far:
> * Forum for Liberal Democracy
> * Indian Liberal Congress
> * Something Sanskrit – Forum
>(2) PEOPLE: We need to propose names of people who will be involved at the intermediate preparatory stage.
>(3) AGENDA:
>a) Short term: Issues which interest both the middle class and farmers need to be identified and consumer movements across the country mobilized. e.g., power outages, ROP 29A amendment, Constitutional Review, etc.
>b) Medium term: An annual organization of this forum will help in the launch of the long-term stage. A ritual meeting of like minds is essential to help brainstorm and review strategy at each step.
>c) Long term: Political mobilization when a broad consensus is reached. Economic reform should form the core of the common ground.
>(4) ORGANIZATION: IPI and CCS will work together on this.


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