Atanu Dey On India's Development

Nehru — Recycled

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Scary title added out of plain mischief. Nehru was bad enough; recycled Nehru would be unimaginably bad. So fear not, dear reader. I mean to just quote from on old post on Nehru. Only the post from January 2005 is recycled, not Nehru, god forbid.

From Nehru and the Indian Economy (. . . Why is India Poor?)

The last posting, Why is India Poor?, has drawn sufficient attention that there needs to be a follow-up addressing some of the points raised in the comments.

It is interesting to note that the arguments against my view of Nehru and his failed economic policies are generic. I will repeat them and my counter-arguments here.

My argument. Economic policies matter. If you have sound economic policies, you get commensurate economic performance. India’s economic performance sucks. It performs dismally in any sort of ranking of human development and economic performance tests. Half the illiterates of the world call India their home. A third of all global poverty is in India. All things considered, India has been a colossal failure so far.

Why has India been a failure? Are Indians collectively stupid? Unlikely.

Did GOD decree it? I asked him and he categorically denied it.

Did nations around the world gang up and rape India for the last 60 years? Not that I know of.

I am left with the hypothesis that perhaps India’s economic policies sucked chrome off a bumper of a pickup truck parked at 400 yards.

Who makes economic policies? You? I? No, economic policy is made by the so-called leaders and visionaries of this sainted land. Who were the most powerful leaders of this land since its independence from Britain? Nehru and his descendants. He dictated policy—economic, foreign, domestic, you name it. The most charitable way of putting the matter is to say that Nehru was clueless.

He wasn’t just clueless about this or that. His cluelessness was all encompassing. He was clueless about foreign policy, military strategy, domestic development — you name it and he is the greatest screw-up that India has ever produced.

Then come the rebuttals which often start with the admission that Nehru was clueless but . . .

. . . but during his time, many others–including a few people one cannot dismiss as being clueless thought that Central planning was beneficial for countries like India. These included Nobel winner Gunnar Myrdal (Asian Drama, an Inquiry into the Poverty of Nations) and Mahalanobis.

The argument above says that it wasn’t the man, it was the circumstances. By that logic, everything is justifiable. Every crime can be explained away as the result of compelling circumstances and hence there can be no accountability.

Take, for instance, the WorldCom and Enron cases where executives committed theft on unprecedented and unimaginable scale. One could point to the fact that other companies were also doing shady accounting, that the internet boom was going strong, that the economy was very strong, that the GAAP was being followed. All those explanations would also paper over the fact that the crime arose out of the greed of the perpetrator. Given all the circumstances but absent the greed of the executives, the grand theft would not have taken place.

Now back to Nehru: even if one were to grant all the circumstances that you cite above (but only for the sake of argument), the fact remains that central planning was personally very convenient for the Cha-cha.

The children of Imperialism are not weaned on the milk of humility; they are brought up on heady diet of hubris. Nehru was an imperialist who believed that his destiny was to rule the brown masses and he continually rejected sane advice. Look deeply into any problem that India faces and you will see Nehru’s finger-prints all over it.

Take Kashmir. Who was it who let the matter get out of hand? Nehru with his idiotic insistence that the UN be called to mediate the dispute. Talking of the UN, who was it who rejected the proposal that India take a seat in the permanent security council? Nehru. There is not enough space here to go into all the horrendous mistakes.

Then there is the argument that says, “Don’t blame Nehru for the screw-up that India is. We, Indians, are to blame.” That line is similar to the one Niket made in the comments in the last post.

Yes, in fact, we are to blame. Indians are basically collectively a bunch of clueless retards. They collectively elect leaders who are clueless retards and these clueless retards choose policies that keep the country of hundreds of millions of people in abject poverty. No argument there. A country deserves the leaders it gets, especially so in a so-called democracy. I agree that Bihar deserves and gets Rabri Devi and Laloo Prasad Yadav.

So if the collective is to blame, why is Nehru elevated to the position of a demi-god? Not just that, anyone associated with his family is elevated as well. With very rare exceptions, everything in India which has a personal name associated with it is named after the Nehru-Gandhi family. The Borivali National Park close to my abode is named “Sanjay Gandhi National Park”. All sorts of educational institutions are named after the members of a family that collectively have fewer educational achievements than yours truly.

Allow me to repeat that: The entire Nehru-Gandhi family — Cha-chaji, Indira, Rajiv, Sonia, Sanjay, Rahul, Prianka – collectively haver fewer educational qualifications than I (an average person) do. If I am not mistaken, they don’t have one solitary single college degree among the whole lot of them.

I later learned that I was wrong about the educational qualifications of the Nehru-Gandhi clan. It appears that Nehru did graduate. So they do have one educational certificate from a genuine institution.

In conclusion, the time is ripe when people started getting to know about Nehru the Nabob of Cluelessness. In the age of the internets, it will not be long before it all comes out. Sometimes it appears as if the truth will never come out — but eventually it does.

The wheel of dharma turns very slowly but it turns very surely. Or as has been noted before, karma is a bitch.

Pick up the newspaper any day of the week and you will see some revelation or the other related to the Nehru-Gandhi clan’s mis-governance.

Today the papers are reporting how Rajiv Gandhi allowed the Union Carbide chief to escape from India 25 years ago. Those who aid and abet criminals must be called criminals as well.

I approve of @barbarindian ‘s tweet:

I hereby propose renaming the Bhopal disaster as Rajiv Gandhi Gas Leak Yojna

  • http://ketanpanchal.blogspot.com/ Ketan

    LOL @ “Rajiv Gandhi Gas Leak Yojana”!

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  • surya

    Nehru was just good enough to be a chela of Gandhi, whereas Patel had individuality and was a original thinker. The oldman never liked it. To this day congress wants loyal slaves, who will be rewarded in course of time. The slaves accumulate around the family drooling over the prospect of future reward, oneday, someday.Nehru had a great vision to disintegrate the nation, Patel strived to integrate it. Still the blunders committed by Nehru continue to grow as cancers everywhere in the land.
    Many fools think in 2010 that the dynasty is the only way for reaching paradise..they dont know the paradise is a delusion…LOL..

  • larissa

    Perhpas several generations of semi-literates is what liberalism results in–just take a look at the decline of Nehru’s family (reflected nationally in the low educational levels in India in general)–at least he was capable of writing a book–although a superficial one–

  • TK Bakshi

    Practical every problem causing concern to India today has it’s genesis in the decisions of Nehru and his progeny – be it Kashmir, Tibet,Economy, Nuclear policy/development, Education, development of a healthy polity, population etc.
    However what saddens one is that in-spite of things being clearly discernible people are still not ready to see the truth. Even K Subramniam of Kargil comission fame in one of his articles while trying not to say the obvious used the words to the effect that after the Independence Nehru had to deal with the hardest boiled politicians in the world.
    Today these selfish politicians are their in the congress family and defend family’s honour tenaciously. Arjuns taking on the responsibility for Anderson’s release is the latest example of the same.

  • kautilya

    Mughals, Brits, Gandhis… the curse continues for centuries..

    Mughals laid the ground, the Brits ensured they squeezed every ounce of what was left, and I think Gandhis would make sure, the annihilation is complete and absolute. They’ll bring the continued destruction to it’s logical end.

  • K

    Mostly I find your thinking and writing interesting enough to follow your blog regularly. But I have been observing that due to a few incorrect assumptions you might have developed some errors in your thought process. Or you could just be writing for some attention.

    Assumption 1:

    Quality of genes in a country do not matter in its long term success.

    Assumption 2:

    Indian genes overall are of good enough quality.

    Assumption 3:

    If another bunch of people or political party could have ruled India they would loot/destroy/weaken it less than the Congress/NehruGandhiduds

    My personal experience in both Congress and BJP governed parts of India, rural parts of India and all four urban corners of India leads me to the most obvious conclusion.There are good reasons as to why we were fucked/raped/plundered for a gazillion years and they have very little to do with Nehru/Gandhi/Congress. Similarly we are poor more because of our general incompetence than just political leadership though they too take a good part of the blame.

    Not to say that with capitalist and/or Darwinian policies for the last 63 years India wouldnt have been better off… But the amount of money in swiss accounts would be the same, only the account holders would be different. And the only way (and this is without any doubt whatsoever) India can be a great country is if ,in the long term, it finds a way to make sure the fittest genes survive and the incompetent genes find their natural end atleast most of the time. Again NehruGandhi or no NehruGandhi.

    Though the possibility of that seems impossible for now. I love Black Swans.

  • larissa

    Sorry to digress but….
    Hey Atanu please write about this. How come the Indian media is silent on the magnitude this tragedy? They only emphasize Modi’s comments to the Congress on this but not the extent of the tragedy. I read this in an Arab paper! It is extremely disturbing!

    http://arabnews.com/opinion/columns/article65088.ece?comments=all#comments

  • http://sheopory.blogspot.com Abhishek

    Its just sad how we Indians have accepted the Nehru family’s “rule” for decades. And its no surprise when you have dynasty politics, its hard to make those rulers accountable. They can and do just run away committing blunders. This “mai baap” attiotude towards the government needs to go, and hopefully liberalization (whatever little is happening) may hold the key.

    I agree with almost everything in this article. The only thing I’m not sure of is if its clear that Nehru’s economic policies were really a “blunder”.

    In that era (when the debate of capitalism vs socialism was at its peak with no clear winner), and India comprised of many princely provinces (which would want to break away if control wasn’t central), its probably not that clear how going for a “mixed economy” with centre controlling the country is such a blunder. I think thats being a bit too harsh.

  • Anonymous
  • Parijat

    Atanu,

    I agree with significant parts of your post but the last part about Rajiv Gandhi letting off Anderson etc, IMO is hitting below the belt. That for one was the right thing to do. Especially when Anderson had come into India on a condition of safe passage.

    In fact, all this nonsense about drawing in Dow Chemical into the fight is also stupid and sets a dangerous precedent. Dow purchased UCC in the late 90s – Dow itself cannot and should not be held criminally liable for the leak that took place 15 years earlier. Such arbitrariness on the part of the judiciary and the administration can only scare off future inflow of foreign capital.

  • Tathagata Chatterjee

    I not only totally agree with the author’s view that the Nehrus and Gandhis were a total failure, but also think that the entire generation as a whole that was born around the 40s, 50s and early 60s (I was born in the 70s), failed the future generations utterly; not only resulting in a wasted half century in which India could have been………

    but also, creating a sufficiently large handicap, that the country might never overcome, and certainly not overcome during my lifetime.

    But in my opinion, the father of all disasters was the father of the nation himself. Civil disobedience is an evil that has been burned into the Indian psyche thanks to Mr. Ghandi ( Deliberately miss-spelt).

    I try and wish to be “proud to be Indian”…. but I keep clawing at straws!

    GOODLUCK to me and others who share my sentiments…