The page of Gurcharan Das
In search of a conservative Indian: We are drowned today by the shrill noises from Hindu nationalists and left secularists
The precipitous decline of Congress worries many Indians who believe that choice and a responsible opposition are important. Democracies elsewhere offer a choice between liberals and conservatives through a two-party system. Liberals prefer modernity while conservatives favour tradition and continuity; liberals want rapid change, conservatives prefer it to be gradual. Conservatives tend to be more nationalistic, religious and market oriented; liberals are more secular and oriented to social welfare. It isn’t easy to transpose these terms to India but it can serve a useful purpose.
Is Milton Friedman dead? Not quite. Individual social responsibility, not corporate social responsibility, must be the mantra
Capitalism has been on the defensive ever since the global financial crisis of 2007-08. Young people in the West have been turning away from the market system because of widening inequality, revulsion against high CEO salaries, and deepening distrust of business. By 2016, half of America between 18 and 29 years of age rejected capitalism in a Harvard study (with one-third supporting socialism.) Two years later, a Gallup poll in 2018 confirmed these findings when only 45% in the same age group expressed a positive opinion of capitalism. The election of President Donald Trump and the Brexit vote echoed this trend.
Contra Hindutva, Kashmiriyat: How consent works in a world of invented nations and fictional nationalisms
The recent change in the political status of Kashmir has deeply wounded the Kashmiris. There is anger, fear, alienation and loss of self-respect. Many have addressed the hurt to Kashmiriyat from a legal or historical perspective. But what is needed is a deeper appreciation of the fact that national and regional identities are imagined creations. Both Hindutva and Kashmiriyat are invented. The only real ‘consent of the people’ is the desire of a person to live in a country. This means that India must become a desirable place to live, not only for Kashmiris, but for all Indians.
Bold vision of Modi 2.0: Moving from ‘garibi hatao’ to ‘amiri lao’ depends on embedding audacious new mindsets
On Sunday night the anchor of a TV show sneeringly and repeatedly referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s $5 trillion GDP target. The show was on the poor state of our cities and the well-meaning anchor didn’t mean to demonise economic growth even though it came out sounding that way. When this was pointed out to her, she replied in her defence that India should grow but with responsibility to the environment. No one could disagree with that but the viewer was left unsure about the virtues of growth.
Strong state, strong society: The reforms India needs Prime Minister Narendra Modi to courageously undertake
With the re-election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, fears are again being expressed of creeping authoritarianism in India. But i worry about the opposite problem. I do not fear a strong state but a weak and ineffective one. A weak state has frail institutions, especially a feeble rule of law that takes a dozen years to give justice and has 3.3 crore cases pending in the courts. A weak state does not protect the weak against the strong. A weak state creates uncertainty rather than predictability in peoples’ minds and allows policemen, ministers and judges to be bought. It also prevents quick action by the executive and slows reforms to a snail’s pace because of warped incentives within the bureaucracy.
The Modi Mirage
Why I Fell Out of Love With India's Reformist Prime Minister.
Voter in the middle: With acche din nowhere in sight, who does a moderate vote for this election?
I lost my friends on the Left when i voted for Narendra Modi in 2014. I lost my friends on the Right when i criticised Modi for demonetisation, majoritarian politics and weakened institutions. With the election approaching, i am disillusioned. Acche din have not come but nationalism has, and the India that i love is changing. I am surrounded by Modi bhakts and Modi haters, both of whom i find mildly distasteful.
Who are we Indians? Genetics is bringing bad news for the politics of identity: We are all migrants
Many pundits predict that the approaching 2019 election is likely to focus on identity politics primarily because of economic discontent, making BJP turn to identity and other non-economic issues. Before we are engulfed in election rhetoric this may be a good time to pause, sit back and ask – who after all, are we Indians? What are our origins? What should be a straightforward matter of factual evidence has grown into a contentious debate in recent years.
Key to China’s miracle: Nurturing talent and shunning quotas can bring prosperity and transform India
On the same day, ironically, the Rajya Sabha passed the constitutional amendment enabling the whacky 10% quota for the ‘poor’ in higher education and government jobs, an email arrived in my mailbox about an ongoing research project at Harvard comparing meritocracy in India and China. The Harvard project is based on the belief that the two largest and oldest societies in the world can learn from each other in managing talent despite their different political systems.
How to rescue democracy: Liberal education will teach us to do the right thing, at the right time, for the right reason
Another series of elections has come and gone. Like an imminent surgery, an election has a way of crowding out all thoughts from the mind and turning the focus of politicians to populism and free giveaways, forgetting the difficult job of economic and governance reform. The results of the latest state elections have reminded us that Indians are by nature sceptical and not shy to change their leaders. The grand certainties of 2014 have suddenly become the grand doubts of 2019.