Atanu Dey On India's Development

May Shri Modi Live Long and Prosper

| 22 Comments

An impartial observer, a Vulcan perhaps with some contextual background information on India, would surely note one striking fact about the Indian political scene from what gets generally reported in the main stream media. That fact is the near universal fear and loathing that one man evokes in a particular group of people. Upon closer inspection, the Vulcan will further notice that although the said group is heterogeneous in many respects, they all have one thing in common. Reflecting further on an easily observable set of other facts, the Vulcan will be forced to a conclusion which forms the subject of this brief piece.

Let me begin with the set of facts. First, India is an extremely poor country. This is common knowledge since not only does everyone know it but also that everyone knows everyone knows it. The visiting Vulcan will also see for himself. The evidence is all around and I will not waste any time in repeating them here.

Second, India has – and always had – the potential to become a prosperous and developed nation. India is not destined to be poor for the lack of any of the principal ingredients necessary for prosperity such as resource endowments, human capital, domestic peace, and the absence of external invasion.

Third, the necessary processes for the prosperity of a nation are well-understood. Economies are complex entities which do not lend themselves to laboratory experiments for us to figure out how they work and under which conditions they fail. Fortunately for us, for well over a century, natural experiments have been conducted in different parts of the world on scores of countries which reveal the nature and causes of the wealth and poverty of nations.

Let’s use a cooking analogy. The second fact tells us that the necessary ingredients are there, and the third fact tells us that good recipes are known. But if, analogous to the first fact (that India is an extremely poor country), it happens that the outcome is an unpalatable dish, then we have some explaining to do. There could be two reasons for the disastrous outcome. It could be that the cooks are thoroughly incompetent. Or it could be that the cooks are somehow not interested in cooking something edible. Perhaps the cooks are in the kitchen to steal the ingredients and cooking well is not what they are primarily interested in.

It can be argued that India is not just poor but is an impoverished country. India’s poverty is not an accidental outcome of unfortunate circumstances but is the result of conscious human design and decades of effort. It arises not from benign neglect or unconscious omission but a well-orchestrated set of actions which flow from the malign objectives of those who have been in positions of power and control. India is therefore not just poor but has been impoverished.

The impoverishment of India is the consequence of the actions of a set of people in control. The set comprises primarily of those who are in political control of the country such as the leaders of the political parties (in and out of power) but it is not limited to them. It includes the entrenched bureaucracy and the opinion makers in the media such as television and print. The government exercises near-total control of not just the economy but also control of those that influence public opinion. The media are effectively controlled by the government because the government has the power to shut down any channel that is recalcitrant and disobedient. The media therefore has to serve its master, the government, or else they cannot survive.

So now back to the impartial observer. He notes that the government is nearly all-powerful and that the people in government are in it to enrich themselves and their helpers. Anything or anyone which threatens this system would be as welcome as the police in a drunken fraternity party. The most important task would be to discredit the interloper and get him evicted so that the party can continue.

The ties that bind the partiers in our case are the shared interest in raping the country to enrich them. Although the goal may not be to impoverish the country, the general welfare of the people is something they are quite willing to sacrifice for their own narrow interests.

The group of people who want this system of exploitation and extraction, as has been noted before, is heterogeneous. What they have in common is their desire to enrich themselves at the expense of the larger interests of the nation. So they share their opposition to the one person who has the passion and the ability to upset the fun party that they are having. They all share a common fear and loathing of the one man – Shri Narendra Modi – who can put an end to the exploitation of India and make India prosperous.

Shri Narendra Modi is a unique individual. He does not care for personal enrichment for a variety of reasons that we need not go into here. No one is really selfless. We all have objectives. What distinguishes one from another is the objective, not the fact that we have objectives. Shri Modi’s objective is, to put it succinctly, the prosperity of the nation. He’s a nationalist whose passion is general welfare, and it is evident from what he has been working for – and achieved – in his home state of Gujarat.

To any dispassionate observer, he has what India needs in terms of leadership. But to the entrenched interests, to those for whom the status quo is just wonderful, to them he is their worst nightmare. He inspires the type of fear and loathing that unhinges reason among the group that is currently at the top enjoying the fruits of being in control of the whole corrupt system. The corrupt system imposes misery on hundreds of millions but that is of no consequence to them. They want their billions of dollars neatly salted away in off-shore banks even if it means that hundreds of millions waste away in unimaginably miserable poverty.

The conclusion is inescapable for the impartial observer: that the reason that Shri Narendra Modi inspires fear and loathing is not because of any objective reason but because he threatens the game that those currently in power are playing so profitably for themselves. In their desperation to avoid the fate that awaits them (jail), they huddle and figure that attack is the best form of defence. They impose a discipline of making sure that everyone is focused on attacking Shri Modi. Anyone stepping out of line is severely and instantly punished. Go read the news reports to see how devastating the response is to any politician even slightly praising Shri Modi. The consequences are certain and swift – generally ending the person’s political career. In most cases, those who step out of the party line are quick to retract their statements and bend over for the ritual flogging.

The media honchos are not that tactless. They are consistent in their expressed loathing of Shri Modi. After all, they are trained in following scripts when speaking and don’t shoot their mouths off like average people do. They know how to flatter those in power. They didn’t get there by accident – they earned their badges for brown-nosing and you better believe it.

The bottom line is this: Shri Modi is bad for those who are India’s enemies and consequently he is good for India. Even if you know nothing about him, you can deduce this fact logically. The reason they hound him is that he can upset the nice little game they have, the game that has impoverished India. Anyone can be forgiven for any sins but upsetting this extractive game is entirely unforgivable.

I hope Shri Modi continues to inspire fear and loathing among those who are currently in power. As the Vulcan observer may put it, “May You Live Long and Prosper.”

  • http://www.desigyan.org/ Kabir Gandhi Khan

    I strongly disagree that there is any evidence that India has the potential to become a prosperous society without substantial equilibrium changing paradigm shifts in its societal structure.

    India was a rich country 200 years ago when it had figured over thousands of years of evolution that they needed the caste system to bring prosperity to the majority. With this caste system breakdown everything has basically all fallen apart. The Congress is simply the outcome of such a disastrously organized society not its cause.

    A Narendra Modi could work in Gujarat because that has always been a more entrepreneurial society. Narendra Modi in India will make it more prosperous than it is today but widespread prosperity is simply not possible unless it drastically changes its current structure and adopts a simpler system of merit. Basically without a certain level of a Just Deserts society being attained India cannot be really prosperous.

    India with its current level of intellectual talent, lack of respect for merit and level of cowardice simply does not deserve prosperity and that is why it wont get it.

    With or without Narendra Modi.

  • og

    @Kabir — spot on. Atanu says: “India is not destined to be poor for the lack [...] human capital” — this is completely wrong. India has an astronomical deficit of human capital. If Indian humans form “human capital”, then soil on which you can grow cotton is money. The dwindling fraction of people who can do anything nice with their minds and hands also leads to political biases: skills and competence are spurned, mediocrity, incompetence and protectionism encouraged, enterprise and leadership are suppressed.

  • Muthu

    Excellent write-up! It is blindingly obvious to any neutral third party! But still everyone in any position of influence chooses to ignore~! A chief minister presides over 100,000 farmer suicides (Vilasrao Deshmukh) and he is rewarded with Rural Development ministry! (If ever there was an irony, this was it!) And he is not a Persona Non Grata! But NaMo was a CM when a riot took place that killed 1200.. and he is hounded for more than a decade!

    For such a great column, the comments are disappointing – from Kabir and OG – completely missing the point! How long can we find such quaint excuses such as caste to deny India its rightful place in the comity of nations?!

  • jp

    Kabir and OG seem to have agreed implicitly that Modi is held to different standards than UPA. But their observations are also valid and not off-topic. Even Modi cannot save India given the population is so lame with regard to education and skills.

  • https://adityaathalye.wordpress.com/ Aditya Athalye

    Narendra Modi is fabulously successful in his state. Arguably, his success is in spite of the hostile (to him) central government and crippling international stigma. This is a model for individual states, not the whole country. Even if he does get the country’s top job, he will have to prove himself anew. Governing well at such a mind-numbing scale is a totally different ballgame.

    But back to the matter of our states for the moment. Every state can be fabulously successful in its own way. There are strong, driven, and capable people in all states today, as we speak, this very moment; who can drive this success. Why do they not stick when they come forward? For lack of peoples’ popular support for such caliber of leadership and character. Popular support comes from popular belief. And popular belief comes from popular role-models. All states have their popular role-models at the top. And our behaviour is influenced/reinforced by the leaderships’ value system. In short, it’s either a virtuous cycle, or a vicious circle. Something has to break a downward spiral – either people change and then the right leadership emerges, or the other way round.

    That said, perhaps one of the best things NM could do (if he ever gets the top spot), is to draw out similar leadership material for other states. Come to think of it, Narendra Modi could even do it now.

    Has anyone given him the idea?

  • https://adityaathalye.wordpress.com/ Aditya Athalye

    P.S. @Atanu
    Totally buy your point about natural economic experiments.

    I also think, the complex socio-econo-political systems we have evolved cannot be managed by models, they must be managed by experiment. Since we are able to read and write, experiments in one place can inform evolution in another. So, well-informed people need not repeat identical experiments. They must, however experiment in perpetuity (and will have to whether anyone likes it or not – the variables are too many and interactions too convoluted).

    Population-wise, our individual states are more akin to entire countries where such natural economic experiments have occurred. If anything, NM of Gujarat, has shown how to run one such experiment at a foreign-country-sized state level. It is up to similarly focused individuals in other states to read stuff, think and try their own experiments.

  • http://www.desigyan.org/ Kabir Gandhi Khan

    @Muthu

    You have completely misunderstood me. Who said caste is responsible for the mess we are in? That is a stupid average western world view that is almost abhorrent in its complete lack of any knowledge about what India really is. In the 1700s when India was in a comparative calculation, 25% of World GDP, the caste system was in full flow and mostly untouched by anyone. There are tomes written by new Englishmen to India comparing Murshidabad with London in its richness. So It is overwhelmingly clear that the caste system is not negative to the Indian economy as such. It simply is not a moral system that suits our sensibilities in this age of western control. In fact What I am saying is that the impact of the breakdown of the caste system has left behind no fair system that rewards merit or excellence. That is a dramatically bad society to live in and not a society that has any chance of long term prosperity regardless of the quality of its leaders. Unless the Leader is so great as to change this fundamental problem.

    What I am saying then is that unless a dramatic change happens in the structure of our society (leave aside the low average IQ etc as out of this debate) which begins to acknowledge that to prosper everyone needs to get their Just Deserts prosperity is possible only to a marginally better extent.

    And I did mention NaMo would bring more prosperity than mostly anyone else but not really game changing prosperity because that requires dramatic changes to our society.

    I may write something about this on my blog later but for now if any you is interested you could look into my analysis of excellence from the Sachin Tendulkar perspective. http://www.desigyan.org/why-sachin-tendulkar-deserves-the-bharat-ratna/

  • Aaren

    Question – would you include State Chief Ministers like Prithviraj Chavan or Nitish Kumar or Jayalalitha or Raman Singh in the list of people ‘ to the entrenched interests, to those for whom the status quo is just wonderful, to them he is their worst nightmare. He inspires the type of fear and loathing that unhinges reason among the group that is currently at the top enjoying the fruits of being in control of the whole corrupt system’?

  • Shashank

    One or more of Narendra modis can’t cure the stupidity that lies at the heart of an average Indian. What can he possibly do to get us rid of our mediocrity in all spheres of life, for instance.

  • https://adityaathalye.wordpress.com/ Aditya Athalye

    @Shashank incentives drive behaviour. The job of a leader is to create incentives. NM has succeeded so far in creating incentives for economic prosperity. This works well for a state that traditionally values such prosperity a lot. They don’t seem to be mediocre any more (at least compared to the rest of the country).

    To examine by contrast: _Suppose_ there were an Adivasi state[1], then a good tribal leader would create incentives for natural prosperity. This would work well for a people who believe “we belong to the land”, unlike us who believe “we own our land”.
    —-
    [1] There could be – we have about 60 million Adivasis in India.

  • Gopal

    India can change only when the current screwed up system is changed and the first step to change it is end the concept of permanent Politian. I think it would be a master stroke if Shri Narendra Modi declares that and lives by it by making it a law. Every elected post should have a term limit.

  • Pranav

    The country where the wealth creating citizens are governed by the citizens who does nothing is bound to be doomed.This is a fitting quote for India.

  • One

    Modi ka chamcha.

  • One

    Shri Narendra Modi inspires fake encounters.
    List of fake projects
    1. Sabarmati Riverfront – More 10 years passed since project announced. Finsihed 1st phase. 1 year takes to complete less than 1km of the project.
    2. Mahatma Gandhi Mandir – I went there and found fake loan, fake entrance gate. Still they claim phase 1 is complete.
    3. Statue of Unity – Sardar Patel
    More than 2 years passed since the announcement. What is the current status?
    4. GIFT city
    More than 5 years passed since the announcement. What is the current status? Just started building one tower this year because election is coming up in the state
    5. Dholera

    Lets assume Shri Narendra Modi is will bring prosperity to the nation. with out his team AMIT SHAH and his frnds

    I request Atanu, to post this msg as one of his blog post as well.

    • http://www.deeshaa.org Atanu Dey

      Dear Miss “One”:

      I suppose the irony of “one” writing anonymously and complaining about fake is lost on you. Reading your comments, may skeptical readers may believe that I myself posted them to show how retarded Modi’s detractors are. I am taking that risk in allowing your comments. Please be careful as to not try my patience.

      • http://www.deeshaa.org Atanu Dey

        Dear Miss “One”:

        Just so that you know, on most blogs the commenting system captures the IP address of the writer. I notice that you posted from a neighboring location — Intel Corp in Santa Clara. Glad to make your acquaintance. I wish you had the balls to post under your own name and join the discussion.

      • http://www.deeshaa.org Atanu Dey

        And one more things, Miss “One.” I do understand your need to hide considering that in any discussion with me, you are like a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest. In all likelihood, you were not even born when I was already an old hand on the internet. My posts to the usenet go back nearly three decades — I have been flaming asshats like you that long. You probably don’t even know what “usenet” means. You have been flamed, you clueless retard.

  • RC

    M R Venkatesh notes in a rediff article about election freebies the following:

    The Congress Party — the opposition in Gujarat — proposed to provide freebies to the electorate in Gujarat too so as to woo the electorate there, in light of the successful experiment in Tamil Nadu.

    The response to this by Modi is telling and explains why he remains a potent political force even in distant Tamil Nadu. When questioned by scribes as to what he proposes to give as freebies if elected, Modi retorted that he would slap notices on all tax defaulters!

    This is the reason why Modi is the ONLY hope India has.

  • Anonymous

    To One
    1. Sabarmati Riverfront – More 10 years passed since project announced. Finsihed 1st phase. 1 year takes to complete less than 1km of the project.

    >>>The project only started in 2007 and not in 2001. Progress –check this link of yourself and for all.

    http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=1107117&page=34

    (consider this>>> all the slums in river bed are relocated with dignity and short time)

    Compared to this Yamuna project(just even cleaning) is SHAME on Dixit government after spending 3000 Crore.

    As per Mahatma mandir…its an exhibition Venue, and the purpose is to nothing but to steal Mahatma Gandhi from Congress. Look how successfully Modi has brought Sardar Patel in to BJP…

    I can answer rest of four, frankly I dont have that much time to argue with biased ONE.

  • Karan Makhija

    To All,

    Urban India is fast moving away from a You Get Your Just Desserts attitude, to answer Kabir. People are responsive to changing environments. It is folly to think that people are idiots and cannot see their own good.

    To others who think that Indians have low IQ and are deficit in human capital, has Gujarat faced that problem? Or did the opportunities provided by Modi take care of a lot of that?

    Timely opportunity is all that it takes for a person to go from sitting on his behind to riding towards success. Sure, infrastructure, education and social justice play very important parts, but give an average man an opportunity and a chance that he will truly benefit from his own hard work, and I assure you that he willnot disappoint you.What we have in India is a squeezing of all normal opportunity into narrow channels controlled by the leaders.

    Gujarat serves as a beacon. (among a host of other initiatives, 600 MW of power through solar energy is simply amazing!)

    So what’s your wishlist for politicians in India who should be part of the top team?

    Narendra Modi?
    Nitish Kumar?
    Subramanian Swamy?

    Please add at will and let’s see what comes up.

    P.s. cheers to Atanu Dey for this excellent blog

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003406523636 Neso

    Narendra modi is a hope for India to transform it into a deeploevd nation. Im a from AP but I am always proud of gujaratis for their achievements. From Mahatma to Sardar Patel, from Dhirubhai ambani to Narendra modi, most of the architects of India are from Gujarat. Modi has a deeploevd a model of governance and development which will become a model of development for whole of India. Jai Modiji Jai HindVA:F [1.9.9_1125]please wait…VA:F [1.9.9_1125](from 0 votes)

  • One

    - Let’s correct the facts. This is what I found from official website (http://www.sabarmatiriverfront.com/1/about-us) –
    “In 1997, the Sabarmati Riverfront Development Corporation Ltd. (SRFDCL) was formed byt the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation and construction began in 2004.”
    i do not understand why did you choose some forum to proove your point. What ever the reason is…
    Construction began in 2004 NOT in 2007. So far completed 7km of walkway and that means less than 1 km in 1 year.

    - Mahatma Gandhiji is not a property of anyone. NO need to “STEAL”.

    - I like to be anonymous. I don’t see anything wrong with it. I hope you don’t mind with that. I can answer rest of all, frankly I dont have that much time to argue. Discard this post if you don’t like it.