Was Nehru a Dictator? — Part 2

I had arrived at the hypothesis that Nehru was a dictator not from a careful reading of history but rather a careful observation of contemporary reality. First, I saw that Nehru was clearly considered one of the greatest leaders of India — so much so that his descendants were considered by a very large segment of Indians to be natural born leaders. Second, Nehru’s name graced too many institutions for my comfort. It reeked of idol worship. Third, he appeared to be a person of very limited intelligence and even more limited wisdom. The development path of India was perhaps set back a couple of generations at least and at the horrible human cost of hundreds of millions of lives lived in abject misery.
Continue reading “Was Nehru a Dictator? — Part 2”

Was Nehru a Dictator?

There’s an interesting discussion going on at The Acorn which got started following an article by Vir Sanghvi in the Hindustan Times. The Acorn says:

Just as it is wrong to blame the United States for Pakistan’s failure, it is wrong to credit Nehru with India’s relative success. Assessing Nehru’s role in India’s development requires the space of several books. But one would think it reasonable to credit several hundred million ordinary people of India for doing little things right that contributed to their country being where it is. It is also reasonable to blame a small number of people for doing big things wrong that left India much behind what it could have been.

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Lee Kuan Yew on “India’s Peaceful Rise”

Lee Kuan Yew begins an article in Forbes.com with:

Even though the [Indian] economy’s annual growth rate has been 8% to 9% for the last five years, India’s peaceful rise hasn’t led to unease over the country’s future. Instead, Americans, Japanese and western Europeans are keen to invest in India, ride on its growth and help develop another heavyweight country.

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India Been Liberal Had

Yoda editor must have been of the column Ashok Desai by Telegraph in of Aug 15th.

Sayeth Desai:

If instead of the Hindu rate of growth of 3.5 per cent, India had achieved 6 per cent in 1950-80, we would have been twice as rich as we are today. But we have lost even more in terms of distribution of growth than of growth itself. We would have been even richer in terms of consumer goods. We would have worn better and cheaper clothes, and owned more white goods that take the daily toil out of people’s lives. Our villages would have received cheaper and more widely available electricity; with that electricity and their labour, they would have produced consumer goods at a fraction of the present cost. There would have been far more non-agricultural employment in rural areas. Instead of 5 per cent, we would have generated 25 per cent of world trade; all the nations of the Indian Ocean would have been closely tied to us by trade and investment. All we have to boast about today is our democracy; if we had been liberal for sixty years, we would have been a world model for lifestyle.

Quite a fine piece of analysis. Marred by the idiotic characterization of India’s dismal growth rate of 3.5 percent per year as the “Hindu rate of growth.” It was Nehru, Chacha Nehru and his band of clueless retards, that imposed socialistic state planning that doomed India to its retarded growth rate. Neither Nehru nor his bunch of moronic cabinet drew their inspiration from Hindu scriptures or Hindu ideology. The rate of growth of India during the Congress rule was not enforced by Hindu thought or Hindu philosophy. Hinduism is not an economic school of thought and it does not speak to state planning nor does it advocate socialism. The “Nehru rate of growth” has nothing to do with Hinduism or any other religion for that matter other than the religion of socialism.

Piece I have said my.

Learning a bit of History from Lt Gen Thapan

It is important to know what happened and why, and how we got to where we are today before we have a good shot at understanding where we should be going and how we could get there. If we are lost in any sense today, it could be because we are ignorant of our past and cannot quite figure out where we ought to be heading, leave alone knowing how to get there. We don’t know our history. Chalk that one up as yet another failing of our dismal educational system.

Reading someone who has lived through events that define our past is a learning experience. Lieutenant General M L Thapan, Param Veer Seva Medal, has just added an important bit to my very limited understanding of India’s recent history. He’s seen most of the last hundred years, being 89 years old. Long before most of us were born, he was fighting wars. Ramanand Sengupta spoke with him, Rediff.com reports:

He fought in two major campaigns in World War II.

After Independence, his division was ‘two-and-a-half km from Sialkot when the ceasefire whistle blew in (the second India-Pakistan war) 1965.’ And in 1971, he faced enemy fire again when he was asked to clear one of the three sectors into which East Pakistan had been marked out by India’s Eastern Command.

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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 &#151 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.

{To be continued.}