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Socialism is Casteism

At a time when casteism is equated with Mandalism or Mayawati’s version of dalit liberation, readers may wonder at the title of this article, and its timing. The answer is that I am writing this on the birth anniversary of India’s greatest socialist, Jawaharlal Nehru. I believe his socialism was a sort of secular Brahminism. More >

The Curse of too-many Sons

The Bombay Club is not flatly protectionist. Most of its businessmen-members agree that India must open up, globalise, and get competitive. But they plead, “We need temporary protection for 10 years more. For 50 years, the license-permit Raj prevented us from becoming big enough to take on multinationals, so give us 10 years more.” There More >

Who’s afraid of free Labour Movement?

Rich countries are hypocrites that demand free movement of goods and capital but do not want free movement of labour, and this inequity must end. So said developing countries at the G-15 meeting in Kuala Lumpur this week, after having said the same thing at the Commonwealth summit last week. Similar criticism has been made More >

Indians are not Inferior

Of all the false notions deeply embedded in current debates, none is more entrenched than the idea that Indian companies are incapable of standing up to competition from multinationals. Parle has sold out to Coca-Cola, Kwality ice-cream has been bought by Hindustan Liver, the Doshis have given up control to Fiat. And so both the More >

Don’t Lie for our Country

Demonising your foes achieves little except to cloud your own judgement. Gandhiji recognised this, many in the Indian media do not. When Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh visited the martyr’s memorial at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar, they were escorted by trustees of the memorial. The couple saw a signboard at the Bagh saying More >

Can we Sustain 7 Per Cent Growth?

Can India keep it up? For the last three years, it has averaged GDP growth of 7 per cent, not far short of the 8 per cent achieved by East Asian miracle economies. But this year, the economy is decelerating. Jeremiahs say the recent fast growth was a temporary surge that cannot be sustained. I More >

Learn from the whole World

Ten years ago, I asked Dr Inderjit Singh, an economist in the World Bank what he found was the main difference between dealing with China and with India. He replied, “The Chinese are anxious to learn, the Indians think they know everything already.” The late Prof Raj Krishna put it more succintly. “We are knowledge-proof,” More >

US Corporations, our new Foreign Policy Allies

When India started wooing foreign investors in 1991, critics warned that this would lead to the return of the East India Company. Business is never divorced from politics, they said, and letting in American investors will mean letting the US dominate us in foreign policy too. The very opposite has turned out to be true. More >

The misreported Battle of Haldighati

India wins glorious battle over wicked Americans trying to patent haldi (turmeric) and steal our traditional knowledge. David slays Goliath. Third World beats First World. These were the messages implicit in newspaper and TV headlines last week after India contested and got quashed the award of a patent to the Mississippi Medical Centre in 1995 More >

Faulty Colonial Theory, Faulty Remedy

Last week, I called for a new look at the version of colonial exploitation espoused by leaders of our Independence movement. That version was misconceived, and so led to misconceived remedies after Independence. India, a great power before the British came, was poor and relatively backward when they left. Nehru blamed this on the British More >

New Dawn for new Don

50 Years of Lost Morality IN 1947, we believed that India had been impoverished by the British, and that when the British departed, poverty would go too. We believed the export-orientation and capitalism fostered by the Raj were disastrous, and so switched to socialism. We jeered at supposed neo-colonial puppets (Korea, Singapore, Taiwan) that followed More >

Wanted: A new Theory of Colonialism

During the Independence movement, our leaders castigated colonial exploitation fore impoverishing India India. Before the British came, India was one of the greatest industrial and trading powers in the world. When the British left, India was poor and relatively backward. Indians blamed this on the British, and were certain India would become rich with the More >

Books are not for Burning

In the Middle Ages, the Roman church burned books that dared present an opposing viewpoint. Authors who failed to heed this warning risked being burned at the stake. We are not in the Middle Ages today. But anyone interested in liberty must be disturbed by the burning of Arun Shourie’s book, Worshipping False Gods by More >

The World Bank discovers Corruption

For over 50 years, the World Bank has ignored corruption in its analyses and prescriptions. Billions of dollars of aid have been hijacked by corrupt rulers, yet the Bank has ascribed development failures to faulty policies or bad projects rather than plain theft. Third World members of the Bank have never wanted any discussion of More >

Spend more, Save more

I have never ceased to be astonished at the moaning of groaning of Left intellectuals over the boom in consumer durables. India’s consumption of such durables is pathetically small by even Third World standards. Brazil (population 160 million) produces thrice as many cars as India (population 950 million). A single world-size TV plant has a More >