Author Archives: kuldeepjha

India 1989-2014 and after — a paradigm shift

“Why China, why not India?” is a question debated in India without a credible answer.

By S Gurumurthy for The New Indian Express

Why China, why not India?” is a question debated in India without a credible answer. Asking an identical question, “Why China flew, India just grew?” Forbes magazine (2019) answered that it was because of the barrier-free autocracy in China and nightmare democracy in India. Forbes pointed out that in the 1980s India and China were on par, but by 2018, China’s per capita income grew to 3.5 times India’s. To drive home its point, Forbes compared how China constructed the Three Gorges Dam on Yangtze river with how India built the Narmada Dam.

Yangtze vs Narmada

The Three Gorges Dam flooded 13 cities, 140 towns, 1,350 villages and displaced 1.2 million people. Yet, China completed it in a decade. In contrast, the Narmada Dam flooded no city. Inundated no town. Impacted far less villages, just 178. And displaced less than 1/10 of the people the Chinese dam had. But how long did India take to complete the Narmada Dam? 48 years! Jawaharlal Nehru laid the foundation for it in 1961. The World Bank agreed to fund it in 1985, but went back after Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) began its agitation.

The NBA moved the Supreme Court, which stayed construction in 1995. In 1999, the Court lifted the stay, limited the dam height to 88 metres, but later over 19 years, raised the height in five painful instalments — in 2000 to 90 metres, in 2002 to 95 metres, in 2004 to 110 metres, in 2006 to 122 metres, and in 2019 to 139 metres, its full capacity. Democratic India’s Narmada Dam took five times longer to build compared to autocratic China’s. Why, then, wouldn’t China fly over just growing India, asked Forbes. But the magazine missed the wood for the trees. For 25 years (1989-2014) India had only rickety, compromising coalitions, which had debilitated the economy. This is what Forbes sadly missed. 
4 elections, 7 PMs in 10 years

In 10 years, 1989-1999, when globalisation was opening the lucrative Western markets to the rest, India saw four parliamentary polls and as many governments with seven prime ministers. V P Singh, 11 months. Chandrashekhar, 4 months. Narasimha Rao, 5 years. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, 13 days. Deve Gowda, 11 months. Inder Gujral, 11 months. And Vajpayee again, 13 months. Would the West look at India, the duration of whose governments were measured in months and days, instead of China, which was firmly under one man, Deng Xiaoping? Hoping to make the stable China a democracy rather than attempt to make the Indian democracy stable, the US began “positive engagement” with China in 1993.

Things did improve for India between 1999 and 2014 when India had multi-party coalition governments for full terms. Vajpayee, who had better control over his coalition, had earlier even boldly opted for the Pokhran II explosion. But according to Sanjaya Baru, Dr Manmohan Singh’s media advisor, Singh was just a proxy for Sonia Gandhi who exercised real power. How long would the 10 Indian governments that ruled between 1989 and 2104 last in office was always a question. Result, a whole generation of Indians had lost hope that India could ever have a stable government with absolute majority under a strong leader, like say Indira Gandhi. And so did the world. This swung the world to China.

Paradigm shift

In 2014, when Narendra Modi won an absolute majority after 30 years, the paradigm shifted  and stunned the world. Not just Modi, Indian democracy gained the world’s confidence to the extent that in 2019, US magazine Foreign Policy even said Indian democracy “is the silver lining, even golden lining of democracies” in the world. Had an elected Indian government with a majority of its own been in power in the 1990s, like in 2014, autocratic China would not have been the default choice of the West. When India changed hands from one PM to another seven times in 10 years, would the West need a better reason to turn to China? Result? The early bird China wrapped up 70 strategic partnerships by 2020. But including the US-India nuclear deal by Dr Singh in 2008 risking his government and Sonia’s wrath, the late entrant India could manage only 20. No nation would choose India — whose government could fall the next day — as a long-term partner. This is what changed in 2014. The result was instant. Modi soon emerged as a global leader.

According to the monthly survey of US-based Morning Consult, since January 2020 till now, Modi remains at the top among 13 leaders from the US to Australia in the global leadership approval ratings. Long used to be led by others, India is now playing the lead role in the multilateral fora. The latest G7-plus, G20 meetings and the COP26 conclave testify to India’s lead role. The world is now undoubtedly turning to India like it was turning to China in the 1990s. The UBS Evidence Lab CFO Study, Information Technology and Innovation Fund research, Bloomberg report and Qina Report point to the US and the West shifting away from China to India. Japan-Australia-India trade ministers held a virtual meeting in April 2021 to move away from China in 5G and semiconductor tech businesses. By the strategic Pokhran II, India shed its reservation about global power play. With the people of India giving him full majority, Modi has actually led India into the global power play. 

Plans, to develop

Backed by the absolute majority from the people, Modi set such long-term goals, planned on such scales as not imagined in India earlier. Result, in the seven years from 2014, he succeeded in executing massive schemes like opening bank accounts for 43.81 cr unbanked poor; installing 11.5 cr public and private toilets; achieving six lakh-plus open defecation-free villages; building 2.33 lakh-km long rural roads; constructing 2.13 crore houses for the poor; electrifying all villages; providing electric connections to 2.81 cr homes; fixing 37.8 LED bulbs to reduce power consumption; laying optical fibre to 1.69 lakh villages; giving free cooking gas connections to 8.7 cr homes; extending medical insurance to 25.6 cr people, life insurance to 11.16 cr, crop insurance to 11.6 cr farms; putting cash directly in 11.77 cr farmers’ bank accounts; issuing 22.81 cr soil health cards; lending to 33.8 cr micro businesses; bringing 3.42 cr people, plus 55 lakh self-employed under pension schemes; linking 1.71 cr farmers under e-market; connecting 1.85 cr students and youth with online courses for skilling; arranging 1.46 lakh post office payment banks in villages; issuing 129.5 cr Aadhaar identity cards to every Indian resident and 4.9 cr biometric identity certificates. The list goes on.

The speed with which he worked his plans is measured by just one fact. Till 2014 — in 64 years — the length of national highways built was 91,287 km; but in Modi’s seven years alone it was 46,338 km — 50% more. Modi’s development plans are intensely integrated. He could not have opened tens of crores of bank accounts for the unbanked without providing Aadhaar card to all, without connecting lakhs of villages by optical fibre, without lakhs of doorstep post office banks or without laying lakhs of kms of village roads. Nor without these could he have provided several tens of crores in medical insurance, crop insurance, life insurance, soil health cards, toilets, cooking gas connections, health cards or put cash in tens of crores of farmers’ bank accounts. One would not have been possible without the other or others.

Purgatives, to detoxify

He also administered unpopular purgatives to the economy like demonetisation (DM), GST, bankruptcy law, privatisation of PSUs to make his long-term development plans work. Many fault DM for failing to catch black money hoarders red handed while exposing people to hardship. But what was missed was that DM was a multidimensional venture. It brought the informal and black trade into registered accounts. But for DM, the taxpayer base of India which was 3.79 cr till 2016, would not have shot up to 6.84 cr in 2018 — a rise of 80%. The tax-GDP ratio, too, would not have gone up. Had the parallel black trade continued as before DM, GST mop-up could have failed miserably. That could have threatened states’ finances and the federal structure itself, even caused financial emergency. State Bank of India’s two latest Ecowrap research reports (Nov 1 & Nov 8) have brought out the truth about the unpopular DM. It says because of DM, the Jan Dhan bank accounts rose by 5.7 cr; digital transitions from 182 per 10K in 2014 to 13,615 in 2020 — by 135 times; ATM network growth, that indicated cash drawls, has flattened; the savings in the Jan Dhan accounts has risen to Rs 1.40 lakh cr.

It also says DM, GST and digital transactions have reduced the share of the informal economy from 54% in 2014 to 15-20% in 2020-21. The formalisation extended to 36 lakh jobs, says the Employee Provident Fund office, and to 5.7 cr unorganised workers — mostly in Bengal, Odisha, UP and Bihar in that order — as per government’s E-Shram portal. Cash use of Rs 1.2 lakh cr, agricultural credit of Rs 4.6 lakh cr, and petrol/diesel purchase of Rs 1 lakh cr have also been formalised through bank or digital transactions. The outcome of the formalisation is higher GST collections. For October 2021, GST collection is Rs 1.30 lakh cr. Ecowrap (8.11.2021) also brings out the social benefits of the rise in Jan Dhan accounts and says it has reduced alcohol & tobacco consumption, wasteful spending and crime rates! Truth always emerges, but late.

Forbes went wrong

Integrating development plans with purgatives to detoxify and formalise the Indian economy reflected the Modi government’s long term vision. But neither could have been possible without the other. And, both would have been impossible without bold leadership. Nothing would have been possible had Modi not won absolute majority for the second time. Forbes was wrong in faulting democracy. As the dynasty-led Congress declined, Indian democracy was in distress for a quarter century. Narration of what an absolute majority rule with bold leadership could do cannot be complete without saying how India handled the Covid challenge. 

Covid challenge

Modi’s greatest challenge came within months of winning the 2019 elections. The mysterious Covid-19 hit India. With no textbook model to counter it, Modi had to innovate, experiment with risky, unorthodox, unpopular ways to stop it, but failed. That disturbed the people, crashed the economy, inviting the Opposition to go ballistic. Seeing a golden chance to cow him down and India, China began spilling blood on the borders. Facing the worst challenge from within and outside, which was exploited every minute by the Opposition, he focussed on his Indradhanush Mission to produce Made in India vaccines for Indians.

How important it is can be measured by the fact that in the past, foreign made vaccines took as long as 17 to 60 years to reach India. Had India depended on foreign-made Covid vaccines, first it would have become bankrupt paying for it, and next, it could never ever think of relief from Covid. Millions would have died. As Modi doggedly rooted for Made in India vaccines, the Opposition even cast doubts on its efficacy, causing vaccine hesitancy. Finally, India, one of the earliest, now the largest, producers of Covid vaccines, has vaccinated the largest number of people fully and partially. India has well confronted Covid compared to the best of the world. If the Indian economy is looking up today, credit should go to the Made in India vaccine. 

This is where post-2014 India stands. Imagine a rickety, compromising coalition in its place with some proxy prime minister. Where would India have been with the Covid devastation from within and China firing at the border? This is the difference between India during 1989-2014 and after.

S Gurumurthy
Editor, Thuglak, and commentator on economic and political affairs

How Communists invented Hindu nationalists’ Hitler connection to hide their military alliance with Nazis

By: Abhishek Banerjee for Firstpost

The Communists led by the erstwhile Soviet Union collaborated with Hitler, and shared in his victories, until Hitler decided much later to betray them

For decades now, one of the most powerful tactics used by Left liberals has been their effort to connect the history of Hindu nationalism in India to Nazism in Europe. Left-wing thinkers have harped on this theme endlessly in their articles, books and speeches. With the BJP in power, the Left has been using this to shape public opinion around the world on what Hindu nationalism means in India. But this narrative deserves to be challenged seriously, by bringing out the facts of history.

Because this narrative is not just wrong. It is also ironic, considering who usually makes these charges. Instead of drawing spurious connections between Hindu nationalists and Nazis, we need to know that it is actually the Left, indeed the communists, who were military allies of Hitler. The communists collaborated with Hitler and shared in his victories until Hitler decided much later that he would betray them.

Two things are surprising here. First, the extent to which the collaboration between Nazis and communists has shaped our modern world. The second is how cleverly Leftist historians have kept us from talking about what is hidden in plain sight.

The most widely accepted date for the beginning of World War II is 1 September 1939, when German troops invaded the western frontier of Poland. It is not equally well known that this was part of an arrangement between Hitler’s Germany and the communists in the Soviet Union. On 17 September, the Red Army invaded the eastern frontier of Poland. Having destroyed Polish resistance in a coordinated two-front attack, the victors met up for celebrations and a Nazi-Soviet joint parade in the city of Brest-Litovsk. Western Poland was then annexed by Nazi Germany, while the Soviets took the east. In fact, the communist share was slightly bigger.

The pact between Nazis and communists

We need some background here. With both Nazis and communists looking to expand in Europe in 1939, the two sides decided to come to an understanding. The pact was signed by Hitler’s foreign minister Ribbentrop and Stalin’s foreign minister Molotov at a meeting in Moscow on 23 August. The protocols of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact split Europe into two spheres of influence. Now that his border with the Soviets in eastern and central Europe was secure, Hitler was free to expand the Nazi empire into the west.

In their turn, the Soviets would invade six countries: Poland, Romania, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Finland. The brutality of the Soviet occupations deserves mention, in particular the Katyn forest massacre, when 22,000 Polish citizens were executed by the Red Army and buried in mass graves.

This was in 1939-40, during which time the Nazis occupied most of Western Europe, including France and began to threaten Britain. In this period, the friendship between the Nazis and the Soviets was deepened by a number of agreements on economic cooperation. While the more industrialised Germany exported military technology and hardware to the Soviets, the largely agrarian USSR kept Nazi Germany supplied with food, oil and raw materials. When German tanks rolled into France, they were using fuel from the USSR. Their troops ate bread supplied by the Soviets.

Communists courted Adolf Hitler

The events in the run-up to the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact of August 1939 are quite revealing. By mid-1939, it became clear to Stalin that he would have to remove irritants that stood in the way of a deal with Hitler. One of these was the fact that the Soviet foreign minister Litvinov was Jewish and therefore vilified in the Nazi press. Then, in a sudden move on 3 May, Stalin’s police surrounded the foreign ministry in Moscow. Litvinov was expelled, to be replaced by Molotov. As Molotov recalled in later years, Stalin’s express order was to purge the ministry of Jews. The path was now clear for the Nazis and the communists to come together.

Communists worldwide mobilised to help Nazis

When war broke out, communist parties in Western Europe, especially in France and Britain, had to get creative. How could they justify to their own people that they should welcome an invading enemy? This was a war between imperialists, the communists said. And therefore, the working classes had to be “anti-war”. In other words, they would have to undermine the efforts of their own countries to resist the Nazi aggressor.

Accordingly, communist parties in France and Britain organised strikes in weapons factories and even sabotages. When the communist party in Britain appeared unhappy at being called on to betray their own people, Stalin promptly replaced its leaders. It should be noted that all communist parties at the time functioned under orders of the Communist International or Comintern, based in the USSR and headed by Stalin.

Of course, once a country was successfully occupied by the Nazis, the stance of the communist party promptly changed from “anti-war” to “neutral”. This was especially true in France. There, the communist party petitioned Nazi officials to allow publication of the communist party mouthpiece L’Humanité, which would adopt a neutral stance on the occupation and call on the French people not to resist Nazism.

Communists also signed up with Japan

If there is still doubt about which side the communists expected to be on in World War II, it was removed by Stalin’s actions in April 1941. At this time, the USSR signed a pact with Japan, which guaranteed no war between the nations for four years. This pact did for Imperial Japan what the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact of 1939 did for Nazi Germany. With their Asian side secure, the Japanese were free to turn to the Pacific and attack the United States at Pearl Harbour. The USSR was now firmly in the Axis camp, with Japan and Germany. It is indeed remarkable how steadfastly Stalin kept his word to Japan, even after Hitler attacked the Soviet Union. All the way till 1945, the Soviets would not fight Japan, nor give the appearance of helping anyone else who was fighting Japan.

Hitler broke the alliance, not the Communists

On 22 June 1941, Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa, or the invasion of the Soviet Union. The communists were taken by surprise. They had sent 5,000 tons of rubber to the Germans in just the preceding month. Now Nazi troops were rolling into the USSR on those tires. The Communists did not break the alliance, Hitler did.

Overnight, the communist party line on Nazism changed. The formerly “imperialist war” was now suddenly a “people’s war”. And communist parties across the world were supposed to help out. The communists rose up not for the sake of their own countries, but for the sake of the Soviet Union.

And that is how the Soviet Union came to be on the winning side in World War II. And no, the communists never returned eastern Poland which they had captured as part of their arrangement with the Nazis in 1939. They permanently annexed it to the Soviet Union. Poland was compensated for the loss of territory in the east by taking territory from Germany in the west. And then Stalin also imposed a communist dictatorship on the whole of new Poland. And on whatever remained of eastern Germany.

That is our modern world, at least until the end of the Cold War, shaped by the alliance between communism and Nazism.

What does all this have to do with Communists in India? It should be repeated that all Communists everywhere at the time answered only to Stalin’s Comintern and not to their respective countries. In fact, the Communist Party of India was also formed as a division of the Communist International at Tashkent in 1920.

All this should be to the eternal shame of Communists everywhere, including Indian communists. But for some reason, it never comes up. We should ask our Left-leaning historians why, as well as our media and our civil society.

DR CP MATHEW – AN OBITUARY

The elderly man on the left in this picture can be easily mistaken for a great priest !!! No!  He is Dr. C P. Mathew who was the Head of the Oncology Department at Kottayam Medical College and later principal. On the ‘right’ is Brahmashree Suryan Subramanian Bhattathiri. 

Dr Mathew was the first oncology professor in Kerala, Head of the Oncology Department at Kottayam Medical College and then the principal. Later when he retired he was a flying doctor and visiting professor of allopathic cancer treatment at universities in more than 50 countries. 

At the age of 60, he decided to unlearn everything he had learnt earlier and accepted a _Lada Vaidyan_ (a physician of traditional tribal medical system), whom he met on the street, as his guru. 

Then this great doctor saved tens of thousands of cancer patients from death using the neo-pagan Siddha medicine he learned from the late _lada_ guru. Patients he saved include many rejects from  the Mayo Clinic in America.  

He was an in-depth student on Indian cultural texts, including the Vedas and the Upanishads.  What’s more, he received the Upanayana from Suryakaladi Mana, famous for its “Tantric rituals” and spent the rest of his life as a Sanatana Dharma Acharya. 
Dr Mathew passed away on 20 Oct 2021 at the age of 92.  No leading media in Kerala  reported his death due to unknown reasons.  

By reducing Diwali to a mere ‘Riwaz’, Fabindia furthered Abrahamic religions’ denigrating agenda

Calling Diwali ‘Jashn-e-Riwaz’ is part of an old linguistic tactic that Abrahamics have been employing for ages to belittle us. To begin with, they added ‘ism’ to ‘Hindu’ but ‘ity’ to ‘Christian’, implying ours is dogma, theirs is faith. Islam stays Arabic, bearing no English language influence.

To say Diwali is a riwaz (custom) is to make the subtle point that the festival has no religious roots. Just as it is customary to greet people when we meet, we observe Diwali. No more serious than wishing ‘good morning’!

Have you noticed that chaste Urdu speakers never refer to the script for Hindi, Devanagari, as Devvanagari? They call it Nagari ― implying there is no godly aspect to it. This is another subtle show of disregard for our culture

When I was a teacher, I noticed Muslim students deliberately writing Hindu as “hindu”, with a lower-case h, in their exercise books. Note that the English language associates a certain degree of respect/recognition with proper nouns and certain adjectives. Even in French, Français (with capital F) and français (small f) have different values attached. My Muslim students who wrote “hindu” while never referring to the followers of their own religion as “muslim” were making a clear case of comparison, projecting M as greater than h

Referring to Krishna as “the blue god”, Hanuman as “the monkey god”, etc are linguistic ways of saying our religion is alien and amusing. If pop iconography determines these terms, why is Jesus Christ not “the crucified god”? Why is Allah not “the invisible god”?

While Allah cannot be depicted in paintings, films, sculpture, etc, the name flashes Arabic calligraphy before the eyes. So, shouldn’t Allah be “the Arab god”? He isn’t. Even the Buddha is not “the Nepali (born in Lumbini) god”. Adjectives for “god” are preserved only for us.

@FabindiaNews has merely furthered n old agenda of ME religions to degrade others w/ linguistic subtlety. Hindus should’ve objected to references like “the festival of colours” (Holi) & “festival of lights” (Diwali), but they hadn’t understood the game until now.

Surajit Dasgupta

Founder and editor-in-chief of @SirfNewsIndia, formerly with MyNation, Hindusthan Samachar, Swarajya, The Pioneer, The Statesman