12th January 2011
Addendum: New York Times published this: Holding Your Breath in India on 29 May 2015. In response a First Post writer said “Delhi is literally a shithole; but so is all of India“.
===Back to my original January 2011 writeup===
There seems to be an exaggerated sense of pride – bordering on delusion – among at least some of India’s educated “elite”. Some of them claim that India – a Third World nation by ALL objective standards – is already a world super-power! If only wishes were horses.
Note that, as I wrote in the past on this blog, India is “Third World, even though most of its people are first rate.” The fact of the matter is that it is not the people but their leaders – and it is not what they do but the systems they create – that matter. India has a deeply problematic governance system that leads to the worst possible outcome for its millions of people. Instead of being ENORMOUSLY WEALTHY and HONEST as a nation, they have been converted into the garbage bin of the world. A more filthy part of the world can’t be imagined – physically and (at least as far is governance is concerned) morally. [See pics here]
True, at one time I too used to be annoyed with this term, “Third World”. But then I discovered that there is a huge difference between a developing country and a Third World country. A developing country genuinely aspires to develop. Singapore, Taiwan, S. Korea – 50 years ago – were developing countries. They sought to apply world-best policies and create HONEST societies. Hong Kong and Singapore are more honest than even the well known Western societies. But India was a Third World country from day one, or at least after Sardar Patels’ death. Third World countries are genuinely third rate in virtually every way. They are arrogant and refuse to learn. They boast about tiny worthless “victories”. They delude themselves at every step. Their deplorable performance in virtually everything tells the true story about them. 40 years after Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong rose to wealth from virtually nothing, India remains a miserable mess. And struts about on the world stage imagining itself to be a peacock!
If anyone thinks that India is not a third rate country today – then please read on!
I cite (as one of many such examples) the recent comments made by Ravi – a highly educated, active and otherwise highly perceptive commentator on this blog. In the past some of Ravi’s comments have been very perceptive, such as this one: “Very useful article Sanjeev. Really enjoyed it. Its true that critical thinking is lacking in even educated people nowadays.” Clearly, Ravi appreciates the need for greater objective critical thinking. (Or at least that is what this comment implies). So far so good.
But then Ravi posted four comments (on four different blog posts on the same issue – that India is apparently not a Third World nation) that made me pause. I decided to publish all his comments separately. They are published below, along with my analysis.
In my view, denying that India is a Third World country – as Ravi desperately seeks to do –doesn’t hide the truth about India. Satyameva jayate. The Truth Always Triumphs. You can’t hide the truth.
Anyone without coloured glasses can see the obvious reality of India – daily, along any railway line: rows of people defecating. 55% of Indians defecate in the open even today. Ravi, you may have a rich family that can afford a toilet. More than HALF of the Indians can’t afford a toilet. (Also hear what Narayanan Krishna of Madurai saw – an old man eating human feces). OPEN YOUR EYES, RAVI! Or at least your nose.
Note: This post is not written only to debate withRavi, but to highlight to all those who are educated and deluded, the need to become aware of the TRUTH. “Education” is of no use unless our young people learn to observe the truth and speak the truth. Moral standards a crucial. Accepting world-leading corruption as part of daily life or brushing it under the carpet (as Ravi tries to do do in his comments – see green highlight) reeks of deplorable moral standards that are the shame of humanity.
True, India COULD become a great nation, and MAY even become one, but NOT the way it has been going about it for 60 years. The far-reaching governance reforms India needs are so daunting and so distant from its current reality that India is GUARANTEED to remain a Third World nation under its current dispensation.
That is why I write. That is why FTI exists. – to change this deplorable situation. If, however, you feel this is PERFECT, then God save India.
Addendum: Reflections On India by Sean Paul Kelley
Below is not a developed country but the worst Third World nation: North Korea. I suppose India is now the Fourth World.
RAVI’S FOUR COMMENTS, COMBINED TOGETHER
“I am just going to comment on the use of the word “third world” in your post. I have often heard and read people in the west use this term in a derogatory manner. I hope you haven’t used this term in that way, or have you been referred to a third world citizen constantly in Australia, that you have started believing that you are a third world citizen in a derogatory manner. Have some self respect for god’s sake. Being critical is something, but you sound pathetic with words like that. India may suck in many ways, but not from where I see it.
I feel Australia sucks with its sick social order, unemployable youth, violence, racism both institutional and otherwise etc. For people like you any english speaking white country is a godzone. Give me a break for gods sake.
People like you are the ones who give too much importance to countries like Australia, than they really deserve. I have hope for India and am proud of India for whatever little it has achieved unlike you. I get hurt when people use “third world” to refer to India cause this term has been just invented by the academics in the west to most probably misuse it, like you have just done.
I have been living in so called OECD developed “first world” for last 8 years and I know parts of India are far better than the country I am in and parts of “first world” are far worse than India. India is on its way to become at least a mid level power by 2025. Your ranting like a desparado is not going to stop it.
First, India’s emergence as a superpower will show that itis possible to lift millions of people out of poverty within one generationwhile embracing pluralism, a free press and a vibrant multiparty democracy. Most analysts predict that, over the next two decades, India’s GDP will grow at a faster pace than China’s. As the world’s fastest-growing large economy on a sustained basis, India’s rise will put to rest the idea that a command-and-control political system is the only viable route to rapid economic growth and that democracy is somehow antithetical to rapid economic growth.
Second, India has the potential to serve as a leading example of how to combine rapid economic growth with fairness towards and inclusion of those at the bottom rungs of the ladder. In a democratic system such as India’s where even the poorest people exercise their political rights actively, fairness and inclusion will be even more critical for social stability than in China. As it becomes a great power, these values will likely become an enduring part of the country’s DNA.
Third, the prospects are high that, by 2025, India will likely emerge as one of the world’s least corrupt developing economies.While widespread corruption is a reality in almost all developing economies (as well as some of the developed ones), India is one of the very few developing economies with a free press that continues to be vigilant and merciless in exposing the corruption. It is very likely that a vigilant and free press will ensure that the likelihood of getting away with corruption will decline rapidly – with salutary deterrent effects.
Fourth, India will likely emergeas one of the world’s leaders in leveraging information technology (IT) to boost the effectiveness and efficiency of its institutions – the corporations, the government and as well as civil society organisations. As 3G and 4G wireless connectivity becomes widespread over the next five years, it is a near-certainty that we’ll see a rapid diffusion of low-cost tablet computers along with free or near-free applications aimed at self-learning, mobile banking as well as commercial productivity. India in 2025 could well emerge as one of the world’s most connected and IT-savvy societies.
Fifth, India will almost certainly become a leading example of efficient resource utilisation, especially in energy. India relies on imports for a bigger proportion of its oil & gas needs than any other large emerging economy. The situation is likely to get worse, with sustained growth.
you said “In many third world nations like India, these artefacts will likely be stolen and/or melted/ sold in the black market”
So you have proof that many artefacts in museams in India are duplicate etc. They are not properly managed. I think small nations like Australia can only dream of having big (both the size of the building and the value of the artefacts) like the ones in Calcutta Museam etc. As far as I have heard they are well looked after and safe in India. So may be in third world countries its not looked after, but India is not a third world country in whatever way you define “third world”, so its is well looked after.
Your arguments are sounding just as silly as your 80’s education with the terms you have been using. Look at what happens when people in position calls India “third world”. http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/hayden-angers-bcci-with-third-world-remark/386088/ Hayden angers BCCI with ‘Third World’ remark. Now the same Australian cricketers are dying to play in this “third world” for mega bucks. What a paradigm shift.
Dont you think you are still stuck in your 80’s paradigm by using this term. A developing country would be a far better term, you could have used.
I just came across an article where China is mentioned as “third world” as well. Haha if China can be classified as “Third world” in 2010 than I forgive you for your use of the word for India….:) China, a country that is buying up debts of many starved European countries, is still called a third world, than I can only assume the term have multi-faceted meaning..:).
As they say let the dogs (Western academics) bark. The poor world has changed fundamentally. Others are barely coming to grips with the implications Rethinking the “third world “EARLIER this year, Bob Zoellick, the president of the World Bank, grandly declared that “2009 saw the end of what was known as the third world”—that is, the end of a distinct, separate section of humanity that is poor, aid-dependent and does not matter very much. Is he right?” Your use of the term “third world” for India is out of date. Sorry.”
INDIA – THE REALITY OF ITS BEING A THIRD WORLD COUNTRY
I agree at least with one statement (in blue highlight) that Ravi has made. But his main thesis is wrong. 100% wrong. Ravi (and thousands of ‘educated’ Indians brainwashed by “India shining” slogans) needs to open their eyes to the facts (apart from their nose – as I pointed out above)
The facts never lie. Never look at a single case. A statement like “parts of India are far better than the country I am in and parts of “first world” are far worse than India” – is TOTALLY MEANINGLESS. We must use data and statistics to understand reality. Not a few random observations from inside one’s air-conditioned car.
b) India is the world leader in poverty. 80% of India’s population lives on less than $2 a day. More than HALF of the world’s poor are found in India. The number of poor in India is greater than the number of poor in the entire African continent. Yes, you may be rich, Ravi, but if education has failed to show you India’s poverty, then please go back to the school of life. Get down from your air-conditioned car and walk the streets of India. Travel the interior of India. Look around yourself.
c) Nearly half of India’s small children are malnourished: one of the highest rates of underweight children in the world, higher than most countries in sub-Saharan Africa. (see this)
d) India is the world leader in lack of freedom. (see this) This includes a NOT-SO-FREE press. It is not only bought out by the corrupt businessmen and politicians (see this), but also takes money from foreign spies to work against India’s interests (this).
I won’t go into other details – e.g. India’s pathetic performance in academics, research, sports (except cricket), rotten infrastructure, etc. etc. etc. Every corner, every incident in India reminds us of its Third World status. Even its cricket is contaminated by deep corruption and racketeering. Fourth rate performance on the moral front.
The FEW things that work are working because of the breakdown of governance (see my blog post on India as the world’s largest free market laboratory).
EVEN ANIMALS IN THE WEST (INCLUDING FAR EAST SUCH AS JAPAN AND HONG KONG) USUALLY LIVE FAR BETTER LIVES THAN HUMANS IN INDIA. If this is the final goal of your aspiration for India, Ravi, then God save India. I shudder to imagine what kind of education India imparts to its children that this disgusting mess is the highest that Indians aspire to.
We need to call a spade a spade. The truth must not be hidden away because it is unpleasant. You can’t hide India’s stink by shooting the messenger. So don’t attack me personally. That is really silly. Attack my arguments WITH FACTS, if you can. I’m happy to listen to facts. Don’t bull-doze me with strong words. I don’t get swayed by falsehoods no matter how forcefully spoken.
Note that I am not only a messenger (unlike the academics you cite). I am a REFORMER. I offer a SOLUTION to India’s woes. I am here to lead India, not merely to criticise its bad governance. I don’t write in vain. I write to change things for the better.
Our educated people like you, Ravi, must wake up and use critical thinking. That means they must: (a) RECOGNISE the truth, (b) FIND OUT the solutions, and (c) LEAD India. Let’s not rest content with this level of shoddy performance. (At least that’s not my plan – regardless of what your goals are for India.)
IF YOU HAVE THE CALIBRE TO ACTUALLY CHANGE THINGS THEN STEP FORWARD AND JOIN FTI. Else please keep your delusions to yourself. [Once again, I speak not just to Ravi, who has conveniently offered me an example of the delusions typical of many ‘educated’ Indians. I speak to ALL EDUCATED INDIANS]
5 Feb 2015. I’ve added that India is a slave nation – slave to its governments. The people of India are happy to be bullied and bulldozed by their government. They are a slave nation.
13 February 2015. The filthiest nation.
Further comment about India on 21 March 2015.