Wednesday, October 21, 2009


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    • Something has to be done about the sloth and the lack of purpose and pride that afflicts every government department. Something has to be done to put a sense of time and urgency into decision-making and enforce accountability. Something has to be done to end the colonial disconnect between arms of the government and the people, and involve the latter more meaningfully in governance.
    • Many living Chinese nationals have seen their country change three times almost completely. A feudal and backward nation of opium eaters became a communist state in 1949. That change turned the society on its head and lead to millions of deaths as Mao Zedong tried to put communism into practice at every level. That also resulted in a famine that saw around 35 million Chinese die. Such disasters made it evident that there was an unbridgeable and unacceptable gap between the theory and application of communism. Rapid economic growth required to catch up with West and usher all round prosperity was simply not possible with that ideology. That is why after Mao, Deng Xiaoping wisely dumped communism before if could throw the country into chaos again, and evolved a new brand of capitalism with a one-party rule. China also did not allow dynastic politics to take root, as was attempted by the Gang of Four led by Mao's widow.
    • In contrast, what have many living Indians seen? As far as governance is concerned, no one can tell when colonial rule ended and free India began; the only visible change that Independence ushered in was that the leaders elected by the people stopped reporting to the Governor General and the British Crown. Thanks to a couple of visits to the the Soviet Union that impressed him, Nehru tried to marry socialism with a colonial government structure, only to gave birth to the licence permit raj, unbridled corruption and many other ills that almost choked India to death. It was only after India had to pawn 47 tons of gold in the early nineties to stay afloat that some regulatory chains were loosened. That one step, forced by extreme circumstance mind you, is what saved India and allowed it to register faster economic growth. But when seen in the light of what China has achieved, our many failures easily swamp our few achievements.
    • Thus, if there is one nation from which India can learn the lessons it needs to about the whole business of governance and economic upliftment, it is China. The copied model that we have stuck to without daring to change some things laid down around 150 years back, has done nothing at all to give the taste of freedom and economic empowerment to nearly 80% of India's citizens even after 63 years. China, on the other hand, has continuously experimented heavily, from the individual upwards, to evolve a system that works like no other, and become a super power.