Whoever Fights Monsters …

I was one of Narendra Modi’s biggest fans.

I supported his candidature as the prime minister of India years before he became the phenomenon during the 2014 general elections in India. I can honestly claim that to the extent that I could I even worked indirectly for the Modi campaign.

Sadly, I am no longer a supporter. My support was based on the promises that Modi had made about the policy changes he would make if he were to become the PM. Professionally as a development economist — right from the very inception of the discipline of economics my tribe seeks to understand the nature and causes of the wealth of nations — I am interested in India’s economic development. Not just professionally, personally I am moved by the pity I feel for the poor and impoverished of the world and naturally India, my native land. My support for Modi was contingent and instrumental. I believed Modi would do what was needed to transform India into a developed nation. I wrote a damn book on “Transforming India” in 2011.

The fact is that Modi had made many promises, most of which were pleasing to classical liberals like me. We believed those promises because they were consistent with our beliefs and ideologies — limited government, prohibiting the  government from running commercial enterprises, non-discrimination, secularism, etc. Continue reading “Whoever Fights Monsters …”

Sardar Patel, Power, Persuasion and Statue

The Sardar Patel statue, also called “The Statue of Unity” which is to be unveiled tomorrow Oct 31st, is the biggest statue in the world at 182 meters tall. Built at the cost of Rs 3000 crores, it must be impressive to behold because of its sheer size. It is supposed to represent unity of the nation and to be a tribute to a great man who united India.

Maybe that’s so. But to me, it represents the power that those in government use to force people to do their bidding. Certainly, it’s not the worst form of naked tyranny like marching people off to the gulags to be worked until they die but it is something that reasonable leaders of a free people should never do. It is a shameful display of a gigantic ego and the misuse of power. Continue reading “Sardar Patel, Power, Persuasion and Statue”

Nepotism and Modi

The word nepotism and the name Narendra Modi do not belong in the same sentence. Just read this piece The Other Modis (Dec 29, 2017 2016) in the IndiaToday magazine.

While the story is very interesting and it does show up as a shining exception to the pervasive nepotism of politicians, I am not too touched by the neglect of one’s family. Family and friends matter because they are our support and our inspiration. Certainly, nepotism is bad but not caring deeply about one’s flesh and blood is not a virtue.
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Half Truths and Nehru

{My first blog was “Life is a Random Draw” which I started writing sometime in 2000 or so. Before blogs, we used to waste spend time on the usenet. Anyway, I hauled this bit from my Berkeley blog.}

Half truths. That’s what interests me today.

And when half truths are dished out by half-wits for the consumption of the totally witless, the result is curiously fascinating. That is of course a general statement and one would like a ‘fer instance’ at this point. And I am about to illustrate that general statement.
Continue reading “Half Truths and Nehru”

PM Modi in Silicon Valley

Oh what a circus, oh what a show. Silicon Valley NRIs have gone to town. Over the visit of the Indian PM Narendra Modi.

Thousands have gathered in the SAP Center in San Jose, CA, to hear the great man speak. A lot of self-congratulatory speeches will be made, and the successes of NRIs in the US recounted. There is only one truth that will not be mentioned: that all these NRIs are in the US because they voted with their feet. They voted with their feet and came to the US because of what India is. This fact should actually shame Indians and its leaders. But instead they are oblivious to its implications. And it will be a cold day in hell when Indian leaders will ask themselves, these questions: “Why is it that so many hundreds of thousands of Indians vote with their feet? Why do they create wealth for themselves and for those foreign lands instead of creating wealth in India? Could it be because in India the government of India has put massive barriers to the creation of wealth?”

Dear PM Modi, when the circus is over, when the performers have done their song and dance, when the photos have been taken, when the NRIs have all patted themselves on a great event they made possible, do ponder the simple question of why are there so many NRIs? Because there is another phrase that describes these NRIs — economic refugees and economic migrants. When will India be such a place that there will be very few NRIs to welcome Indian politicians in foreign countries?

I don’t mean to rain on the parade but those questions need some attention if not a response.

I remain an NRI supporter of yours,
Atanu

PM Modi’s Letter on Completion of 1 Month in Office

Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote “A few thoughts as we complete a month in office.” I came across it in QUARTZ. QZ requested annotations. Someone named Vincent Lee did a fine job of summarizing the letter. Here are the annotations:
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Narendrabhai Modi, the Man who will Transform India

MWSnap076 India’s Phase Transition

Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi’s administration can be considered to be a “phase transition” for India’s economy, to borrow a concept from thermodynamics. Phase transitions are abrupt, often discontinuous changes in systems that alter the degrees of freedom available to it. A familiar example of such a transition is the change from ice to water. Under Modi’s administration, India’s phase transition is likely to be from an economically bound state to an economically free state.
Continue reading “Narendrabhai Modi, the Man who will Transform India”