One-stop shop to make India 20 times richer

Category: Liberty

My next podcast: Stop wasting time on economic reforms, first learn about the principles of governance

After writing this post I decided to explain it verbally.

My next podcast:

Various Indian “intellectuals” spout a lot of puerile nonsense regarding “economic reforms”. Yes, India needs economic reforms but most critical are governance reforms, without which India will remain a lame duck Third World country. We need to learn from Chanakya and we need to learn from Singapore, China, Australia, UK and other countries. The principles of accountability are totally missing in Indian governance. Without accountability we will remain a banana republic. 

 

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I’ve now got a podcast show on Whooshkaa – a major platform for global commentators

Whooshkaa has approved me for a podcast show on their website. Whooshkaa includes podcasts from Sky News, SBS, Fox, and many other big names.

My show is available at: https://player.whooshkaa.com/shows/india-s-success-the-way-forward

This is really good, and does not limit my talks (unlike Soundcloud).

Please listen to my first talk: https://player.whooshkaa.com/episode?id=135368

I don’t know yet how to embed it into this blog, but you can subscribe to the podcast’s RSS feed: https://rss.whooshkaa.com/rss/podcast/id/2031

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After nearly 20 years of work, an updated strategy for political liberalism in India: SBP MUST go on

In February 2018 I will complete 20 years of work to advance political liberalism in India. I won’t go through the details of my long journey; I just want to highlight a few key next steps.

A few observations first.

First of all – these 20 years did not go waste. We now have a liberal party (Swarna Bharat Party) with which I am personally and closely associated.

Second, this is the first time in a long time that there is a real prospect for liberalism taking root in India. People have experienced socialist parties like Congress, BJP and AAP, and found that these cannot deliver. I’m getting reports that people are willing to listen to an alternative. No, I’m not saying that things are easy. Communists and socialist activists still have the upper hand – there is no end to the amount of nonsense that most
“political” Indians continue to spout.

As you are aware, I had been very reluctant to form a liberal party without first having at least 1500 leaders on hand. But that never materialised. Now I think that forming SBP – and deciding to put real effort to make it grow – turned out to be a good decision.

The key point I’ve decided is that SBP must not stop. It remains the only ray of light in the darkness that surrounds India.

Goethe reportedly said: “Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”

And there is the well-known theory about learning by doing. Just the act of “doing” SBP has taught me a lot:

  • how to start and register a party
  • the entire logistics and paraphernalia – the huge amount of organisational work involved
  • the challenges of building the organisation
  • production of a high quality manifesto and (now underway) training material
  • production of videos; getting many others involved; identifying and being associated with brilliant people like Sanjay Sonawani

I know many people are despondent that SBP is still so small. One of our founder members left SBP yesterday. He was very pessimistic. I can understand his pessimism.

But human history shows us that social change takes time. SBP has a lot of work to do to communicate and promote the message of liberty.

RSS kept up its message for 75 years till it saw some electoral success through BJP. In Assam, BJP had no presence 20 years ago (just a handful of people); today it is the ruling party.

Political processes and change can take a long time – particularly when we are talking about fundamental changes to the system.

SBP must be remain in the game for the long haul, subject to the ability to ensure basic compliance with Election Commission laws.

In 2019, SBP should contest a few seats to show that it is a real party. In the coming decades, it should expand incrementally till – maybe by 2030 – it becomes a real force to reckon with in India.

This is going to be a long journey – a marathon. But that’s the nature of reality. We are fighting medieval communal forces (BJP) and ultra-socialist forces (including BJP but also all the other socialist parties). These are very big. They are well-funded – mostly funded illicitly.

Yes, the fight is huge and stacked against liberalism.

But now that the party is in place, it cannot be allowed to dissipate and shut down. It represents India’s last and only hope.

I’m in pretty bad shape physically, with severe side effects of prostate cancer surgery. I don’t know whether I’ll ever recover to even 50 per cent of me pre-surgery fitness.

But I’m now firmly of the view that SBP MUST GO ON.

I will do whatever I can to keep this effort going. That’s my firm commitment – to finish the job that I had started nearly 20 years ago.

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No Siddharth, there is NO PROVISION TO KILL INNOCENTS IN KASHMIR even when the “state is threatened”

Sharing correspondence with one Siddharth, to illustrate the basic principles of liberalism:

In response to an email I sent out to around 4000 people sharing SBP’s recent press release on Kashmir:

SIDDHARTH WROTE

It is disappointing to see you use terms like ‘rogue elements in armed forces’. If this is the attitude, you guys would need a thousand years even to reach a stage where this party is able to get even 1% share of popular support.

What is happening in Kashmir is not acceptable but from a different perspective. Indian state is not forcefully pursuing the option of changing the Muslim majority character of the state. Muslim majority character of the state is the root cause of the problem. The other objective must be to seek the dismemberment of Pakistan. These option are certain to face huge resistance from Islamists and hence there would be a need to neutralise large numbers of them.

Liberalism as a doctrine serves well only in economic domain not in diplomacy and statecraft where realism has proven itself to be the most apt approach.

MY RESPONSE

Either India believes in its Constitution – which protects life and liberty of its citizens – or it does not. It should make that clear.

I’ve worked in government for a very long time in India and there were MASSIVE number of seriously rogue elements in the paramilitary forces. These goons have killed thousands in independent India all over the country, not just in Kashmir.

I’m afraid India has no moral case to make if it deteriorates to the level of Pakistan in Kashmir.

Let honest, good citizens be protected. Let thousand guilty go free, but let not one innocent be killed.

SIDDHARTH’S FURTHER COMMENT

I am sure you know that constitutions are made to reconcile the interests of the state and of its citizens. However, every constitutional thinker, except the anarchists who were offshoots of Marxism, agrees that constitution is supposed to give primacy to the rights of the individual only as long as the existence of the state is not threatened. When such an eventuality arises, the same constitution declares the rights of the individual null and void.

So which constitutional doctrine are we talking about, let us be clear about that. And, how is the Indian state supposed to protect the rights of non-muslims in Kashmir? Can you resettle the pundits in valley through constitutionality alone? All shades of Kashmir public opinion have already indicated that they would oppose tooth and nail any attempt to resettle pundits and to resurrect their destroyed places of worship. How are you going to ensure that jammy which has larger population and larger economy gets its due in terms of distribution of resources in j&k? How do you answer constitutionally, the battle cry that Kashmir should be a part of Pakistan because of a common religion? And if that were to be the case, what would you do to the rest of museums in mainland India who too have a religious bond with pakistan? And if j&k were to secede, what would happen to the right of pundits to return to their land and what would happen to the Buddhist majority character of laddakh?

So, we have to recognise that constitution is a beautiful document but operative only if the state that underwrites it survives.

MY FURTHER RESPONSE

Your argument that rights disappear when the “state is threatened” is spurious. This is simply untenable.

Indeed, it is such views – quite common among the people of India – which are creating massive alienation.

The law has to distinguish between ordinary citizens and criminals. At all times. No exception.

Second thing you do is to conflate issues (re: Kashmiri Pandits). The law is the same in both cases. When people conflate issues and start killing innocents, then we are living in an illiberal murderous state, and that seems to be the case across the whole of India.

I’m afraid your views are illiberal and antithetical to the foundational principles of India.

I’ll stop sending you any further emails.

 

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