The Right Fight – Part 5

This Right Fight for Real Freedom is not an easy one. It requires us to trash our existing ideas of freedom, the role of government, development, and the idea of India. It requires us to re-educate ourselves. It doesn’t require all of us at this moment – only a sufficient number to start with who can slowly tip over the rest in the times to come. A few have to start this process of change.

This Fight is about Ideas. The idea that we must have personal and economic freedom. The idea that the government is an agent of the people, not its ruler. The idea that government needs to get out of the way for development to happen. The idea that poverty is not self-perpetuating and the best way to fight poverty is not through central planning and entitlements. The idea that corruption is an outcome of government control, monopoly and discretionary powers over large sectors of the economy. The idea that even in India, it is possible to have states like Gujarat which can drive development and stay free of corruption.

This is the fight for the soul of India’s future. So, we can raise incomes fast, so we can pull people out of poverty fast. So, we can get the best infrastructure around us. So, we can ensure quality education for our children. So, everyone has choices that they can make. It will be a new experience for many. Because for the most part, we know no better.

This is a fight that has to be won through deliberate and debate, through votes at the ballot box.

This fight is not over. It hasn’t even begun. Are we ready for the Right Fight?

7 thoughts on “The Right Fight – Part 5

  1. I have heard a lot of bullshit in my time, but this probably ranks among the worst.

    All governments, even autocratic ones are about give and take. Even the roots of government and rulership are the same.

    All governments are agents of their people, and are and have been overthrown when such is not the case. It is however true that in many cases, the tolerance level for bad governance has been high, very high.

    It is also true, as with Churchill’s assertion (that democracy is the worst form of government but that we have no better alternatives) that such overthrows are delayed simply because there are no credible alternatives.

    Look at Anna’s campaign.

    For many right thinking people, the surge of crowd power and the impending sense of lawlessness did give them shivers. If this was the way democracy was bringing change, will not the guillotine be just behind?

    Coming back to the point about Ideas. Since the fall or monarchy, why, from the beginning of time itself, there have been many ideas about governance and politics.

    It is knows that in many cases, like Fascism and Communism, the furtherance of a seductive looking idea brings untold grief to the general population.

    Millions have died because a few men have had brilliant sounding ideas and have worked on making them real. Ideas are only valid in the small space where they are relevant, extending them is dangerous.

    The two world wars were the result of the furtherance of one man’s idea, Bismark’s idea for a strong, unified Germanic nation.

    The wars of communism and capitalism are too numerous to elucidate. Not only their formal wars, but the informal ones also result in deaths of not less than a million.

    Take the case of capitalism, as espoused by the US Right. The damage it did to Latin American economies is a case in point. Even the East Asian tigers have stopped roaring. God knows when China will?

    In the licence raj, it was appropriate that we loosen controls, then once we loosen controls, we have the other edge, psuedo entreprenuers and their heritage.

    Just like the billionaires of Russia, the guys who have straddled the transition become too big for control. Then it is the season for scams as they try to retain control.

    Today’s 2G and other scams are merely the result of the big boys trying to keep control. Manishanker Iyer had it right, Anna should have campaigned on Dalal Street.

    Capitalism is one of the most original and important founts of corruption, and at these levels, it is not about being corrupt, it is about staying at the top. Raja was merely a victim who did know how to play with the big boys.

    Fine, we have disbanded the licence raj, what next? As you can see there is no abrupt transition to goodness, like a digital flip flop does, what really happens is a unruly tide that rushes to capture the shore.

    Real entreprenuership takes time to mature, and over time it is possible that they win. Even then the possibility of dirty tricks is very much present and under the surface. Wall Street has had more scandals than Dalal.

    In India’s case, right from the moment of Independence, the society as a whole has required guidance. As to whether the opposition could have done better is a moot point.

    Fine the NDA in its time did a good job, but there is no guarantee that it will do so another time. After all Bangalore’s bunglings are from the self same groups. and Yeddy could be the next PM. Who knows?

    As we can see, no one has a monopoly on good governance, or good ideas. Good ideas are what work, at any given moment in time, which is why they are called ideas, they represent a breakthrough out of a difficult situation.

    Rajesh tends to confuse ideas with idealism, which is the permanence of the seductiveness of an idea, much like our memory of Shammi Kapoor (PeaceBUH) and his yodelling, a far cry from the real fat guy who charmed people and will probably charm the Maker too, if he gets to Heaven.

    We need ideas, yes, not idealism. Rajesh’s real call is for the latter, and this is what makes his intentions suspect.

  2. You really think Gujarat is free of corruption? It is for the moneyed class that manages to avoid redtapeship but not the ordinary citizen.

    It is a land for rich, not the ordinary poor Indian citizens, who continue to face corruption and other issues…

  3. Communists or communism sympathizers like MockingBuddha, who fail to see the irony of getting salary from a company that would not exist if there was no capitalistic structure, cannot understand the real problem India faces.

    Those who dont see anything wrong with centralized planning essentially have agreed with a freedom-less existence.

  4. Dear Rajesh,

    After reading your 5 part series, I still fail to understand why do you feel Anna’s movement is wrong fight? And why do you feel that Jan Lokpal bill is not complementary to what you say is right fight?

    In my mind if Jan Lokpal bill puts the fear into the hearts of all politicians that would be sufficient. In fact this could be step1 of your fight.

    If you are questioning whether any change will really happen after Anna’s win in terms of effective lokpal, then it becomes a responsibility of all of us that we lend support to ensure that things happen in correct way.

    A week after the Anna’s win the politicians at center still don’t get it. They are still resisting change which actually is going to further worsen Cong’s positioning. Winning in elections is after all popularity contest!

    Anna’s platform can be used to jump create several Anna’s which are needed for a very long fight.

    Siddharth Chawla

  5. mockingbuddha,

    As I understand based on your analysis, you are suggesting that Rajesh should be a realist and not idealist.

    For the benefit of all readers, the practice of envisioning things in an ideal form is idealism. In simpler language, it means to aim for perfection. On the surface, it sounds nice, but all this ignores the basic human trait, the one shared across cultures, languages, and races: imperfection. To be human is to be errant. Thus, the dreams of idealists often get dashed and projects they attempt often end either in failure or at least “less than they could have been.”

    On the other hand, realism means the inclination towards literal truth and pragmatism. It also means to accept life the way it is, and favor the practical method of dealing with it. This too seems to be a good trait on the outside, but it has some flaws. To only aim for average cuts short the potential of humanity. Just because humanity isn’t perfect does not mean it cannot reach excellent every now and then.

    An idealist believes the short run doesn’t count. A realist believes the long run doesn’t matter. A realist believes that what is done or left undone in the short run determines the long run.

    A great leader is one who maintains creative tension between idealism and realism within his/her mind and acts realistically while strives for idealistic goals.

    Based on what I know about Rajesh he is definitely such a leader. He is clearly able to articulate his ideal goals for everybody to see and nobody can question his execution capability since he has been acting in real world successfully for several years now.

    On the other hand if you have issues with his ideal goals please state that publicly so that those can be debated.

    Siddharth Chawla

  6. hi guys,

    RC: i forego the comment about being communist, does it matter?

    The point is that if India had not had centralized planning in the initial period, the country might have gone to the dogs. For reasons many.

    I recognize though that central planning lingered for more than was necessary and that liberalization was due as early as the early eighties. I take issue with Rajesh because the following disclaimer is not there.

    That ideas have shelf lives. Plus the recognition that the ideas that he is espousing are decades old and have had systemic failures in implementation both in East and West.

    Rajesh is given to parroting ideas that are old and dead. I want to stop him from doing that, to rethink his assertions before they are put to pixels.

    Yogi: thanks for the compliment and ya, I don’t mind you trying to popularize your site. i would have done the same 🙂 I doubt if Rajesh would like it.

    Sidharth: Nice definitions. I was saying that the above ideas, seemingly written in a hurry, can do with more thought, foresight, and checking of the facts, the last being the most important.

    Not all of them would stand up to serious scrutiny! None of them, in fact!


    I have my own issues with Anna’s movement, but I see it as a good way to start.

    To bring the underground issue to the surface and to the boil. To sensitize people who had hitherto looked the other way. To trigger social responses in an India that seemingly couldn’t care less. and so on.

    It is a sorry state of affairs that we still need seventy year old men to take a stand, while forty somethings spew venomous verbiage and nothing else. Come on India, you can do better!

    I agree with Rajesh that there will be very little direct benefits from an Anna like campaign and the resulting Lokpal bill.

    Most of the bums who were part of the campaign would go back to bribing their electricity guy and the RTO, but this time they will suffer a twinge of conscience even as they do that.

    Which I say is good. The indirect benefits of Anna’s campaign have been many and will continue to flow.

    For the first time, the middle class, many of them themselves corrupt, both knowingly and unknowingly, and socially blind and stumbling, has found an icon it can identify with.

    An idea that it could go along with. A style that they can follow. They know that it is not for them to become angry young men and take up arms, but they know that change is in the air, and that their involvement can help it proceed.

    ( Which funnily is what Rajesh has been looking for, for quite some time. I wonder why he does not recognize it. Or is he trying to look down on the ordinary Indian, is he trying to play holier than thou?, like his foul mouthed cowboy usually does?)

    For the ordinary Indian, Anna’s way is much better. Gandhi understood this, so does Anna.

    Which is perhaps why no one talks about Baba Ramdev’s campaign now. The nation has no need of mad men, at least in the long term.

    Which is a good lesson, not only for the Baba, but for aspiring Babas too.

    Terrorism, even if civil, is simply non sustaining, and non sustainable in the Indian environment. Had Anna carried on for a few more days, he would have become a laughing stock.

    If Rajesh needs change, he needs to start doing something about it. In previous comments I had written that it is not that difficult.

    But well, if you want to sit in a room and holler for change, and do nothing about it, then real men will go out and get the job done.

    To ignore them while they do thing is fine, but to criticize them while doing nothing is to invite censure. Which is what most guys had done – in the preceding post’s comments.

    I rest my case.