The illusion of freedom and the reason why we are poor

Atanu’s writing have been always very insightful. He is repetitive for someone who has been reading him for a long time but most of the points he make are worth repeating.

In the April issue of Pragati he write about our illusion of freedom.

It is worth noting that Indians do quite well outside India. In the US and other developed countries, they are extraordinarily successful. Their ability to prosper outside India is in sharp contradistinction to the inability of their counterparts within India to prosper. Could that imply that it is not nature but rather something in the Indian environment which accounts for Indians not prospering in India? Since it is the government which largely creates and controls the environment, could it be that India’s greatest handicap is the quality and nature of its government? [Source]

Transforming India into a developed country within one generation by 2040, is possible if, among other things, Indians gain comprehensive freedom. For that to happen, a new set of politicians and policymakers have to enter government and in effect change the government objective. Given India’s democratic setup and the Indian preference for non-violence, change will have to be brought about at the polling booth. This means that the voters have to elect a different set of people to office, people who are honest, committed and visionary.

Change of awareness precedes change in behaviour. Therefore for the citizens to vote differently there has to be a change in their understanding of reality. Most Indians would reject the idea that they are not really free and that the government may not have their best interests at heart. As Ram Dass pointed out, “If you think you’re free, there’s no escape possible.” The illusion of freedom is as good a prison as ever constructed. For India’s transformation, the challenge therefore is to make people aware that they lack freedom and that they have to struggle to get them. [Source] [Emphasis added by me]

We lack in economic freedom. To do any economic activity you have to take a zillion permissions which are entirely at the discretion of the people in power. May it be Sarpanch or the Minister. You are completely at his mercy. It is that power that helps them gain money through illicit means and probably is at the root cause of corruption. Unfortunately the recently discovered “Civil Society” is supporting more government control instead of freedom in the name of fight against corruption and the middle class who is the beneficiary of any little freedom we have is actively supporting it.

Many people claim that the early leaders had no idea about the kind of corruption their polices might lead to. Well, there is a negative evidence. Read what Rajaji had to say about Nehru’s policies.

Centralization and Over-government was growing in such a manner that even the Panchayati raj, Rajagopalachari charged had turned out to be a fraud to get the Conrgess Party’s work done at the state expense.

How many frauds has this party caused since then and we still continue to hail its leader as visionaries and name our toilets to ariports after them.


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