The irony of India

Published: January 27, 2011
The writer is editor of business and economic policy for Express News and 24/7

The writer is editor of business and economic policy for Express News and 24/7

“India has no interest in destabilising any of her neighbours, or even in seeing any of them in difficulty,” said the silver-haired gentleman in a thin-striped suit and with piercing eyes. It was a small talk, before a small gathering of Pakistani journalists here in Delhi, at the invitation of the Indian government. But the message was large.

It went something like this. India is nurturing its economy to sustain growth rates in the 9-10 per cent per annum range. At this rate, the size of India’s economy doubles in less than a decade, not bad for an economy which clocked in a GDP of a little more than four trillion dollars in 2010, placing it as the world’s fifth largest economy and still rising.

India has set for itself the target of becoming a middle-income country by the year 2025. That means it cannot afford to run volatile cycles of boom and bust, nor can it afford to fall behind in the race to innovate. Even as the silver-haired gentlemen was gently laying out the facts for us, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) was preparing to present its third quarterly review of monetary policy, an announcement that lays out the state of the economy as seen by the central bank.

“[G]rowth has moved close to its pre-crisis trajectory even in the face of an uncertain global recovery,” noted the RBI. The “pre-crisis trajectory” the RBI is referring to is a growth rate of 8.5 per cent. That puts India in close competition with China, the world’s fastest growing economy. Note the last words of the observation above: “even in the face of an uncertain global recovery.” Meaning, as the economies of the US and the EU battle the prospect of a second recession, and a possible sovereign credit crisis, the economy of India is part of a growing set of economies in Asia, led by China.

In order to nurture and sustain these growth rates, India needs to overcome all instability in its neighborhood. The distinguished gentleman, as well as others we have met here thus far, have all been clear to point out that there is a great deal of concern with internal stability in India. “But at least in the case of the Naxals, for instance” quipped one senior journalist, “I’m glad the instability is borne of hunger and not religion. You see, you can feed a hungry human who has picked up arms against you, but what do you do with those who pick up arms in the name of religion?”

But religion has crept into the Indian political vocabulary and landscape. And curiously enough, it has entered through the back door of the secular, democratic nationalism that has been the hallmark of Indian politics ever since the Nehru years. Just a few days earlier, for instance, a train carrying BJP student activists to Srinagar had been surreptitiously turned around and taken back to the station from whence it had originated. And on January 24, senior leaders of the BJP were arrested trying to enter Srinagar with the intention of raising the Indian flag there on Republic Day.

This is irony at its best. Here is a country that values its economic rivalry with China over everything else. A country that treasures and takes supreme pride in its six-decade long experiment with democracy. A country that is deeply religious, yet sees its own salvation in making sure the state is aligned with no particular faith. And in this very country, a political party that seeks to hold the highest elected offices of state, runs in the name of the supremacy of one religion over others, and which seeks to plant the flag of the secular republic in Srinagar, is physically prevented from doing so by the government of the day.

If India’s growth rates can persist in spite of the “uncertain global recovery,” if India’s democracy can thrive in spite of the BJP’s attempts to transform it into an illiberal republic, then we in Pakistan need to understand how irrelevant we are becoming in the 21st century world. And perhaps we need to see the irony in that: irrelevant in spite of being the epicentre of a superpower’s destiny.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 27th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (56)

  • Sankalp
    Jan 27, 2011 - 12:33AM

    Insightful! Recommend

  • Speak your mind
    Jan 27, 2011 - 1:04AM

    Very interesting observations about India and its economy. I did not see any irony you mention in the heading of the article.

    The growth in the economy does not just happen because the government desires. It happens because every family desires to give the best (education, values, environment, facilities) to their children. This turns the wheels of the economy big time and aided by the government’s progressive outlook the wheels of economy are well in motion for more than 15 years now.

    Invariable all authors bring up the word “religion” anywhere and everywhere. That is the problem in the mindset of most pakistanis. What has religion got to do with economy or the earthquake. That needs to change. A burning desire to become a better society, better human being, a civil human must be brought about for the upliftment of Pakistan. Religion can stay on the holiest room in the house or the temple. Thats it. No need for religion to say what to wear, what not to wear, where to study, what to study, interest or no interest, etc.

    That needs to come from every individual including the government. The good news with Pakistan is it has only one way to go and when it starts moving it will be good for India as well. Recommend

  • Arindom
    Jan 27, 2011 - 1:41AM

    An article that truly reflects the current Indian citizen’s thinking.

    India needs to develop rapidly and get rid of it’s poverty and everybody has jobs- that’s the goal of everyone. 9% growth over next 20 years will ensure that.
    A tougher goal would be to remove all corruption – but this can be achieved by some bold changes in current anti-corruption laws and institutions.

    Finally India would like to be technologically advanced and with secure borders.

    And where do her neighbours fit in? If they are ready to share in this vision they are most welcome to take part in this drive for prosperity and peace.

    Or, if any one of her neghbours wants to sink into religious hatred and travel backwards – that is fine too! Only donot bother us!!!

    Finally, the author needs to know that Indians will support the BJP so long as they remain in-line with the above goals and act as a true watch-dog on the Government. They’ll never find any political space if they donot respect the foundations of the nation – democracy and secularism. Recommend

  • Raja
    Jan 27, 2011 - 2:14AM

    The problem of paks and the central flaw in this article is the delusional thinking of Paks that BJP is the equivalent of Taliban. Comparing apples and oranges.

    BJP and it supporters are rooted in the welfare and growth of India. BJP ruled states muslims are also enjoying economic dividends as equal citizens. Sure there are societal and regional disparities that need to be alleviated.

    Look at your “secular” parties. You fight with each other on who is more Islamic!! In India, if some one appears on TV and says India is a hindu country he is an extremist. If some one appears in Pakistani TV and says Pakistan is Islamic country, he is “secular”.

    Don’t flatter yourself!Recommend

  • Avi
    Jan 27, 2011 - 5:16AM

    Thanks for presenting a fairly positive view of India. India a highly imperfect country, however its goals are fairly clear – economic growth together with reduced income disparities. For that to happen, all Indians for the past 60-years have worked hard to develop a highly hands-on superior Judiciary while developing its human capital- technical and management skills. Thus despite a dysfunctional and corrupt political system India is still making progress.

    Similarly, Pakistan has to develop an internal consensus to focus on economic development by freeing the private sector to innovate for profit. The leadership has to find way to minimize importance of religion and making it again a private contract between and man and his maker. Ignoring differences with India over Kashmir will also help.

    Best of luck.Recommend

  • Nice
    Jan 27, 2011 - 6:47AM

    Very well written….it is time for Pakistan to introspect the reason why it has plunged to this state. Recommend

  • akash
    Jan 27, 2011 - 7:47AM

    So you think BJP will make India a Hindu country or is capable of doing it… you are completley out of touch. we indians wont let that happen (although i am a BJP supporter) pakistan’s view of India on anything is be it politics.. way of life.. movies.. is just not correct. Recommend

  • vasan
    Jan 27, 2011 - 9:45AM

    Why should any one conclude whether Pakistan has become irrelevant or not only by comparing with India. That is not correct. Except for the facts that both countries got independence together, were under British rule and share common origin like food culture etc, everything else do not point to such comparisons After independence, both these countries took to different ideologies and acted differently in economic policies, political values, leadership qualities, neighbourhood policies, cold war alignment, emphasis on education, Industrial policies and role of military & religion in the govt etc. Too many things happened differently for India and Pakistan post 1947. Pakistan is irrelevent in the comity of nations today but for terrorism is another matter.Recommend

  • Friend
    Jan 27, 2011 - 9:50AM

    Its time for my pakistani brothers to wake-up and see the reality. India and China are going to continue to focus on their growth and the rest of the world wants to piggyback on them to drive their own growth. pakistan can accept this reality and try to get their act together or perish. choice it theirs and only theirs to make…Recommend

  • Sankalp
    Jan 27, 2011 - 10:05AM


  • R S
    Jan 27, 2011 - 10:35AM

    Thanks for an objective picture of contemporary India with its all shades of grey.. Luckily, these divergent shades of grey don’t create confusions. These ironies remind the people of India the need of an unshakable faith in positive ideologies of democracy, inclusive nationalism & secularism (Even if the implementation is just satisfactory with all the imperfections). Recommend

  • chinchun
    Jan 27, 2011 - 10:48AM

    Please tell us what are you smoking :PRecommend

  • Hamid Kasur
    Jan 27, 2011 - 10:54AM

    I don’t agree with you. The whole problem is that every think tank, Media outlet makes conclusions on the basis of economic data, but nobody understands the real stuff. India can never be a Great Power because the State faces deeper contradictions that will bring her downfall. I can say with conviction that few districts of Kashmir valley will restructure the political landscape of South Asia. It is not a question of Will it ? Rather When ?Recommend

  • abhinav
    Jan 27, 2011 - 11:10AM

    I really can’t see the point of this article. I think writer has taken cue from Khaled Ahmed
    , putting in India in the heading means this article will be in most popular list for coming days.Recommend

  • M J Akbar
    Jan 27, 2011 - 11:17AM

    Mr Author…

    Please try to teach these things to ur leaders.They have blocked India's exports to Afghanistan as they think that indian settlements in Af will destabilize pak.But you know what we want.We really don't bother about Afghanistan,but we want our trade with Af.

  • Arsalan J. Sheikh
    Jan 27, 2011 - 11:55AM

    Excellent point. Mirrors what I’ve been feeling for some time. Either we get our act together, and compete as a nation, or we can spend our national energies in the squabbling between provinces, while we sink into irrelevance.

    We should be playing the role of Japan to China, rather than the role of Latvia in Europe.Recommend

  • R S
    Jan 27, 2011 - 12:03PM

    @Raja in your hate filled comment, you sound no different than any run-of-the-mill hate-monger in Pakistan or anywhere else in the world.. Pakisan’s understanding of BJP may be imperfect but if you think from their point of view, it’s not entirely baseless. If you want outsiders to have better understanding of yours, you can begin with being patient listener and keep doing right things until your detractors are proved wrong. You only make your case worse with futile emotional aggression!Recommend

  • Satish
    Jan 27, 2011 - 12:12PM

    @Hamid Kasur:
    Keep on dreaming Mr Kasur ..

    @ Author – Your article succinctly brings out the current state of Indian union and where its headedRecommend

  • vasan
    Jan 27, 2011 - 12:14PM

    Hamid Kasur
    “I don’t agree with you. The whole problem is that every think tank, Media outlet makes conclusions on the basis of economic data, but nobody understands the real stuff. India can never be a Great Power because the State faces deeper contradictions that will bring her downfall. I can say with conviction that few districts of Kashmir valley will restructure the political landscape of South Asia. It is not a question of Will it ? Rather When ?”

    Since you are the only person who understands the real stuff, please tell me
    1. how do countries become super powers?? on the basis of economics or religion. Equality comes only after riches are earned. Otherwise everybody will be equally poor.
    2. “It is the economy,Stupid”, havent u heard the cliche
    3. Tell me one country in the world which does not face contradictions on some reason or the other. What matters is how to manage them and take everyone along. We dont support terrorists and kill people who oppose our view or make them disappear or sell them to US. In our schools, we are taught that India is sub continent because of “Unity in diversity”. I dont know what is taught in Pakistan
    4. “Few districts in Kashmir will restructure political landscape of South Asia” . This statement can only be considered as a joke unless this refers to the POK. Even then, we do not wish to change the political landscape on the reason of Kashmir whether in your side or in our side. We can manage this. Pl go ahead and check whether Pakistan can. Otherwise you are living in a mirageRecommend

  • Golden Horde
    Jan 27, 2011 - 12:20PM

    Pakistan had lead india in economic growth rates for more years then it has lagged behind india. The recent instability is the main cause of this. If pakistan can move away from extremism and violence, there is no reason it wont grow faster then india once again.

    For that to happen, we need to ensure that the children are taught more about peace and less about destruction of the fellow human being. The gun culture needs to be eliminated. The question is, who can do that??Recommend

  • Manoj
    Jan 27, 2011 - 1:10PM

    BJP or any other political party in India swear by constitution of India which is secular, socialist and democratic, which guarntees the funadamental rights of all it’s citizen irrespective of cast, creed and religion.

    The day BJP or any political party’s belief or principle changes to the contrary to the constitution, it will be de recognised as a political party.

    Supreme court of India has recognized the secularism as the basic srtucture of the constitution, which can not be changed or amended even by all the member of parliament agreeing to it.

    Hence, enough safegurd is given in the constitution and reinforced by court to protect the basic structure of the country.

    Writer or any person in Pakistan and else where need not worry about India. People of India by nature is secular hence from time immeorial it has accepted so many religion, culture and race, amalgated all the new entrants and reinvented again and again it self to give the world one of the finest civilasation.
    People of Pakistan has forgot their civilization, because they though with the change in thier method of worship their culture and race also changed. they started to link themselves with Arab Nation instead of taking examples from Indonesia and Malaysia which is muslim majority nation but protect their largely south asian or branch of Indus velly Civilization. This is the reason these countries are very much moderate and religion, culture, democracy and economic growth goes hand in hand in these countries. This the concept of total inclusive growth.Recommend

  • Hamid Kasur
    Jan 27, 2011 - 1:59PM

    You can never ever be a Super Power ! Recommend

  • amoghavarsha.ii
    Jan 27, 2011 - 4:56PM

    I keep hearing that

    Pakistan had lead india in economic growth rates for more years then it has lagged behind India.
    Pakistan has Lesser poverty
    And that
    Instability/extremism has been recent?

    I don’t know how true it is, but either one of them have to be false for the present situation of Pakistan.Recommend

  • amoghavarsha.ii
    Jan 27, 2011 - 4:58PM

    Also this is good article, the author has consistently shown his mettle in writing.Recommend

  • binwakeel
    Jan 27, 2011 - 5:33PM

    Re. M J Akbar. Sorry, you cannot eat your cake and have it too. If India persists in its protectionist trade policies (hidden tariff barriers et al), is it at all fair to expect Pakistan to facilitate India’s economic ambitions? Give it a thought.Recommend

  • amlendu
    Jan 27, 2011 - 5:56PM

    Pakistan did lead India in economic growth during 50s and 60s but the reason for the better growth was not some internal economic strength. It was not caused by having pro growth policies. The biggest factor for the growth was significant economic assistance from US and west because Pakistan aligned itself with capitalist block against communist block from very beginning. That growth was not inclusive nor sustainable as it was not caused by far sighted and consistent government policies. It resulted in few families acquiring huge wealth at the expense of working class, peasants and nation as a whole. That was the reason why the economy went into tailspin when the US assistance dried up after fall of communism and never recovered. The Ayub years are supposed to be best time from economic perspective but if you dig deeper you’ll find that just 22 families benefited from that growth and most of the nation was left in the lurch. Also the growth at that time was used to personal gain of few rather than on building an industrial and institutional base for future growth (As was done by South Korea and Taiwan).Recommend

  • Ali
    Jan 27, 2011 - 6:00PM

    We in Pak should take advantage of our borders with India and China – not many countries are lucky to have a border with the two biggest growing economis in the world!!!

    When we open our country to trade with India are population will be exposed to greater growth and will be able to see the advantages of being secular. They will also see the benefits of being development focussed as opposed to being ideoligcally driven.

    Right now only the elites can see this by going to India – Not every Pakistani can go to India to see this first hand, the only way to bring India to Pakistan is through trade and from our side at least having a more liberal visa regime so they at least can come, even if we can’t so that normal people can have a dialogue, and learn from each other.

    If only the internet users of Pakistan can see India’s success then thats really not going to change much, EVERY Pakistani should be able to tangibly see Indias success and realise the reasons behind it!

    My do annas!Recommend

  • Sandy
    Jan 27, 2011 - 6:04PM

    Trade not aid is master key of growth weather it is China or India but of course not for PakRecommend

  • Neeraj, India
    Jan 27, 2011 - 7:05PM

    Author, You have been consistent in writing good articles. But it seems, your understanding of Indian polity is little flawed. The BJP cannot be dubbed as an extremist Hindu party. It is a conservative party, which not only advocates small government, market driven economy, small states etc., but also stresses on the respect for the cultural values(hindu) of India. This kind of a party in not unique to India, but, in fact almost all the democratic countries in the world have their own kind of conservative parties.
    Take for example the Republican party of the US. The BJP, in many ways reminiscent of the Republican party. The US republicans are all for the christian values, they oppose abortion and are less tolerant of gays. In Europe, we find even more rabid conservatism. In France, the blatantly racist party the Front National came so close to power that, in 2002, it’s leader Jean Marie Le Pen finished second in presidential elections. Less said about Netherlands is better, because here society is badly divided between Catholics and Protestants and parties openly represent either of the two faiths. Worst, in recent elections ultra-rightist and anti-muslim politician Geert Wilders’ party won large number of parliamentary seats and became a key to the formation of the new government.
    Same can be said about Denmark and other Scandinavian countries. Therefore, measuring the success of Indian democracy purely on the basis of rise and fall of the BJP, is utterly misleading. The truth is, the BJP’s existence as a strong opposition party is very much vital for the Indian democracy, as it keeps the ruling party on tenterhooks and prevents them from becoming power drunk. Recommend

  • Ashmit
    Jan 27, 2011 - 7:20PM

    @Hamid Kasur: dont think negative dear…be positive…good for you indeedRecommend

  • Raja
    Jan 27, 2011 - 7:58PM

    @binwakeel “is it at all fair to expect Pakistan to facilitate India’s economic ambitions? Give it a thought”

    ha ha ha.

    Sorry. You have very exaggerated view of what pakistan can or cannot do for or against India. Such thinking is the major reason for your country’s current plight. When we pont this out paks like R S here indulge in emotional aggression camouflaging it under they have “imperfect” understanding of India.

    The story of Pakistan for 63 years has been trying everything in its almighty power to undermine India by all means. Robust jihadi terrorism in the last 2 decades sponsored by pakistan inside India correlates with best period of Indian economic growth.

    For 63 years India’s story has been to focus on the welfare of the people living within its current borders and build instituitions and nationhood. For 63 years pakistan’s focus has been pursuit of various sundry goals like glory of pure Islam, who is true muslim, global ummah conflicts, punching above its size to play geostrategic games as a warrior state available rent.

    It is ok to do have disputes, but your problem has been you are just an ideology…not a traditional nation tate…this is the sad story.

  • Srinath
    Jan 27, 2011 - 9:19PM

    @Golden Horde:

    Hit the nail. That’s the way to go. Yes, Given its history, India, despite its contradictions, disparities of all kinds, and its ‘anarchic’ democracy (compared to the European nations), is headed in a direction which can over a few decades, if not years, can pull a substantial part of its population above the poverty line. The striking aspect of this process is that it has never wavered from its democratic path and has overcome many a crisis. There is no need for Indians to be sport a chip on their shoulders.But, its for Pakistanis who should shape their destiny.Recommend

  • SKChadha
    Jan 27, 2011 - 9:22PM

    @ Hamid Kasur: Bro, I remember one beautiful Punjabi saying “Jisde Ghar wich dane, osde kamle ve sayane”. Please collect the ‘Dane’ and let us talk afterwords, who and when became superpower.Recommend

  • G Sundar
    Jan 27, 2011 - 9:34PM

    @ speak your mind
    agreed 100%

    @vasan,satish, ashmit
    If I were you guys, I won’t be wasting my time trying to play music to persons like Hamid Kasur. Recommend

  • vasan
    Jan 27, 2011 - 9:51PM

    I dont know where this stmt “India can become a super power” come from. India, by its own admission wants to become a middle income country by 2025. That is a good 15 years away, Things wont remain static till then. Why do Pakistani friends assume that India is / is becoming a super power and start throwing current statistics and poverty figures to disprove the “super power” statement which is only a media/bloggers creation. I think we are wasting time over this “Big Super power” syndrome. India is growing/has grown at a good tick over the past 7 or 8 years and will continue to grow at that rate, god willing., That is the only truth and nothing else. Our projection of this continued growth is based on solid factors like demography, continued spending on education, infrastructure development, increase in disposable income etc all pointing to domestic consumption story to a large extend. But on the same token it also depends on a conducive external environment, financial.political and amicable settlement of disputes. SO my pakistani friends need not lose their sleep on India becoming a super power in the next 10/20 years.Recommend

  • John
    Jan 27, 2011 - 10:07PM

    Truthfully the article should be written as ” Irony of Pakistan”. Although the Pak press is free, their writings are always biased when it comes to India. The success of India is its large investment in education and its culture heritage. I was always amazed how the Indians cherish their cultural heritage during Mughal rule, despite skirmishes on religious extremists. Protecting minority rights is a sacred duty of majority and in which Pak miserably failed. Return from investments in schools take two generations and now that is what India and Pak is facing today. I was shocked to see how poor the school curricula are with full of distortions of history and culture. Here I am not talking about the elite schools, the regular schools in which every day Pak students go. Very poor depictions and distorted view of history on culture is being presented about Pak own people of Sindh, Punjab, Baloch let alone Pak cultural and historical heritage with India and present day Bangladesh.
    I am happy to see serious progress being made in schools, but again it will take two generations to reap the benefit. Teach Pak is a good initiative and hope it progresses well. Recommend

  • Arindom
    Jan 28, 2011 - 12:59AM

    I may support the BJP and vote for it as a strong political alternative.

    But I will also be the first to kick it if it tried to make India a Hindu country…..

    BTW, I commend the great economic progress made by some BJP ruled states….I just might vote for it next elections :-) Recommend

  • Ani
    Jan 28, 2011 - 1:13AM

    The author poses significant questions towards the end for his own country. If Pakistan can build a consensus of peace and secularism (which includes its minorities), and embrace the behaviors of responsible states, it has much to gain from two growing economies in its neighborhood – China and India. In addition, it has historical ties with the USA – the current superpower, and deep relations with the biggest producers of oil – Saudi Arabia and Iran. Iran’s influence is growing all over the mid-east. What an advantageous position to be! But can people (not leaders) of Pakistan do that? Recommend

  • AnIndian
    Jan 28, 2011 - 7:58AM

    I am excited to see some really positive people on both sides of the border making pertinent statements, raising legitimate concerns, and leading the direction of the debate in the right way.

    Economic Poverty: According to UN Development report 2009 (people living in less than 1.24$ ppp per day): ~42% people in India are poor, while ~23% of Pakistanis are poor.

    Multidimensional poverty is defined as the number of people effectively deprived of more than one basic requirements of a quality life – schooling, nutrition, sanitation, etc. As per 2010 UN HDP – 55% of Indians and 51% of Pakistanis are Multidimensionally poor.

    And I am sure some of you know this – The incredibly useful and indispensable tool of UN Human Development report was first launched in 1990 by the world renowned Pakistani Economist Mahbub ul Haq and Indian Nobel laureate Amartya Sen. I am proud of such Indians and Pakistanis.

    As someone rightly pointed out, India and Pakistan Bilateral Trade is the need of the hour – I think it is most beneficial to both countries – economically and also in building mutual trust.

    I think if there is one thing India should do immediately – eliminating Corruption.

    I think if there is one thing Pakistan should do immediately – Land Reforms. I cannot stress that enough – Land Reforms, Land Reforms, Land Reforms.

    Superpower: It is very puerile to suggest that anyone country “will not be a superpower. Any country, India, Pakistan or any other might become one.

    I will only say this: India “doesn’t have to” become a superpower. If poverty is eliminated, if people can peacefully co-exist, if “unreasonable & unjust” aspects of all religions are done away with, if disparity is starkly diminished, and, if opportunity is provided to every one in a non-discriminatory way, that is All what is needed.

    Obviously we have a long long way to go. But also, brothers and sisters, we have come a long way.Recommend

  • samar
    Jan 28, 2011 - 10:36AM

    pakistan will be a super power within a decade. don’t worry.Recommend

  • Tony Singh
    Jan 28, 2011 - 12:54PM

    We are more interested in our economic growth than being a Super power. If we can sustain this growth and make it inclusive, we will become one by defaultRecommend

  • Jan 28, 2011 - 1:54PM

    well said…..Recommend

  • amoghavarsha.ii
    Jan 28, 2011 - 2:53PM

    Dear Amlendu, Thank you for the update.

    @AnIndian, was saying 2009 economic poverty of India 43%of people and 23% of pakistan.
    Most parts of west, NW pakistan is not controlled by government or military and access to data outsiders is limited. How does this statistics be relevant.

    if pakistan had only 23% of people below poverty line in 2009, just 2years back, it is now way u can see them in such dire economic straits in just 2 years 2010.

    There is something really wrong in that data.Recommend

  • harkol
    Jan 28, 2011 - 5:36PM

    I soooo wish this author was right, but he isn’t.

    Majority of Indians do have a concept of growth, but they don’t have clarity. They keep voting for Corrupt and Criminal politicians. They vote on narrow lines of caste.

    The growth that’s happening is due to Crony Capitalism and exploitation of natural resources. This is unsustainable, unless our leaders change the governance pattern in India. Public servants should be held accountable for every delay or mistake they commit. Police should be punished for every investigation they botch up. We are a country where in a high profile case, bullets were switched in the forensic lab, and no one till date has been punished for that. In fact, Police haven’t even figured who could’ve switched the bullets! No Accountability!!

    India is already showing signs of overheating, and if MMS doesn’t do a Reforms-2 (after 20 years of his Reforms-1), there is every chance of Indian dropping down to 5-6% growth levels.Recommend

  • harkol
    Jan 28, 2011 - 5:40PM

    To add to my previous post. China earns from exports and has huge trade surplus – A real income.

    India grows on domestic consumption – another way of saying we exploit our natural resources, keep blowing up our real-estate prices and invite people to invest in India for Indian consumption. In other words, discredited US model of borrow-and-consume.

    Indain Govt. has to further liberalize manufacturing, retail and labor, Has to revitalize Judiciary and law enforcement, for us to reach 10% + sustainable growth and export led trade surplus.Recommend

  • AnIndian
    Jan 28, 2011 - 8:03PM

    @amoghavarsha.ii – there is no mistake in quoting the data. It’s taken directly from the UN Human Development report 2009. About your argument about Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly NWFP): KP, FATA, and Balochistan together hold only about ~20% of Pakistan’s population.

    @harkol – Without denying many of your statements, I say you are wrong in your understanding about domestic consumption. If only your were to do some more serious reading you will realize this. “They vote on narrow lines of caste.” I agree and will also add that other narrow lines of creed, dynasty, religion, region, language do influence voting. But, I do not believe that pattern is static. Especially after seeing the voting patterns in the last decade, and more so, the recent Bihar elections – I see a promising trend – development seems to be the deciding factor. And, as I said, we have a long long way to go, But, we have come a long way too.Recommend

  • Mithun
    Jan 28, 2011 - 9:22PM

    If India’s growth was based only on FDI and borrow-and-consume mode, then how do you account for India’s GDP growth of 7-8% during peak recession of 2008-2009? India might be lagging behind china in Exports, but Domestic manufacturing sector has seen a good growth in last decade.Recommend

  • F. Alam
    Jan 29, 2011 - 2:36AM

    Like every Pakistani, I experience different feelings for India. I hate India for many things and admire India for a lot of reasons.

    There is something about India and Pakistan. We have strong emotions/feelings for each other. Opposite of Love is not Hate, it is indifference.

    We are not indifferent to each other. So we must be in love with each other (our obsession with each other shows!!). Sooner or later, we will have to work together (that doesn’t mean becoming one country!) like good neighbours. The time has to come!!Recommend

  • G.Din
    Jan 29, 2011 - 2:50AM

    “pakistan will be a super power within a decade. don’t worry.”
    There, straight from the horse’s mouth!
    Another horse comment:”If wishes were horses, everyone would ride them!”
    Then: “You can bring a horse to water; you cannot make it drink!”
    Wake up from your reverie, my friend. The train has already left the station!Recommend

  • Raqib Ali
    Jan 29, 2011 - 3:15AM

    Author raises valid questions… we need to find answers!Recommend

  • harkol
    Jan 29, 2011 - 8:08PM


    If India’s growth was based only on FDI and borrow-and-consume mode, then how do you account for India’s GDP growth of 7-8% during peak recession

    Sez who?

    In 2008 Indian GDP dipped to 5.1%. Check this data-

    India got record FDI in 2009/10. Largely hot money. About $29billion in 2010 alone! (portion of which is fleeing at the moment).

    Besides, Indian govt. also ran up debts. Our deficit has grown and touched a record 10% (one of the highest in the world). See this Chart –

    Deficit = Borrow from future.Recommend

  • harkol
    Jan 29, 2011 - 8:24PM


    It gives me no pleasure to point out the big deficits in governance and troubles ahead for us. Bihar is an exception rather than rule.

    Majority of our states still driven by caste/linguistic and narrow politics. In my own state, BJP refused to chuck a patently corrupt Yeddyurappa, because he belongs to strong Lingayat community. The last good govt. Karnataka had was back in SM Krishna days. But, still people vote fractiously.

    Look at Tamilnadu. Most corrupt state in South. But, the voters keep voting between DMK/AIDMK, both corrupt, but narrow minded tamil parties.

    And this is the state of affairs in south, supposedly more forward than north.

    I am not saying India is in mortal danger. But, our growth is unreal and unsustainable unless we change our governance, police, judiciary & Education.Recommend

  • harkol
    Jan 29, 2011 - 9:29PM
  • AnIndian
    Jan 29, 2011 - 11:10PM

    @ harkol:

    You are wrong in saying Bihar is an exception. I am sure if you look at the electoral history of 2000-10 you will agree with me.

    Central Government: The congress government without doubt performed way better than BJP, specifically with respect to “socialistic policies”. Right to information act, Right to Education, Farmer loan-waivers, Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme – in other words “Inclusive Development”.

    State Governments: I have a admiration for the likes of SM Krishna and Chandrababu Naidu. But, they did their terrible wrongs – their developments hit the cities of Bangalore and Hyderabad, and, the upper/middle classes than the society at large. So capable though they were, got voted out because they did not bring an inclusive development involving farmers, worker sections, oppressed communities.

    Rajasekhar Reddy, the ex-CM of Andhra with his programs like electric power subsidies to farmers, land-ownership for landless, health insurance for aged and needy, etc did inclusive development. He was given a chance in 2004 and re-elected in 2009. Same is true with the “sensible” pro-incumbency voting in Delhi (3 terms), Madhya Pradesh (2 terms), Chhattisgarh (2 terms). That is not to deny a lot of states are caught up in inaction: Tamil Nadu in the “quagmire of Dravidian parties” and Maharasthra between the blood-thirsty, blaggard Bal Thackeray and corrupt leaderless state Congress. About Karnataka, I think BJP was voted to bring stability and development, but their corruption is disappointing and unacceptable – they should go.

    All I am saying is: without the caste and religion based politics not yet sent to the Trash can, there is an emerging trend of “sensible voting” which if continued and strengthened is salutary to India.

    Again, if you are saying India has a long long way to go, I fully agree with you. Me, you and everyone need to be cautious not to be carried away with “Shining India”. We have to identify problems and (importantly) think of solutions.Recommend

  • harkol
    Jan 31, 2011 - 8:04PM

    Here is more data point to what I was trying to say. Our RBI governor says most of India’s forex is borrowed! China’s is earned.

    Effectively India is living beyond its means right now, and can only balance this if it can truly invest in its infrastructure and people. And that’s not happening.


  • ProudPakinstani
    Feb 20, 2011 - 8:16PM

    Pakistanis will eat grass but won’t stop our nuclear program against india. We have been eating grass for 2 decades and we’ll do it for 5 more decades before we start eating dust.Recommend

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