The Indian Economy Blog

December 18, 2005

Lee Kuan Yew on India – Part 1

Filed under: Basic Questions,Miscellaneous — Atanu Dey @ 10:54 pm

Lee Kuan Yew was invited to deliver the 37th Jawaharlal Memorial Lecture on 21st Nov 2005 in New Delhi. He called it “India in an Asian Renaissance.” I am an unabashed admirer of Lee Kuan Yew and I should also add that I am a very severe critic of Jawaharlal Nehru. So I decided to read Yew’s lecture and also read between the lines and make a few comments

I am going to pretty much quote the whole lecture in this post, interleaved with my comments. So if you wish to read Lee Kuan Yew without interruptions, you may wish to click this link.

He starts off with quoting from Nehru’s famous “tryst with destiny” speech of 14th Aug 1947 which he heard as a young student at Cambridge. I suppose it is de rigueur to quote those lines about “Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance.”

I must hand it to Nehru—he did make pretty speeches. The problem was not lack of flowery language; it was all about lack of substance behind the form. All talk about stepping out of the old into the new is meaningless if the same structure of bureaucratic control and a meddlesome government is imposed with a vengeance that even the British could not match.

LKY said

The destiny Nehru envisaged was of a modern, industrialised, democratic and secular India that would take its place in the larger historic flows of the second half of the 20th Century.

Nehru never doubted India’s place in the world.

Certainly not. There is little point in doubting the greatness of the country that you feel is your birthright to rule.


…Nehru’s speeches resonated with me. I shared intellectual and emotional roots with Nehru because I had also experienced discrimination and subjugation under the British Raj and admired Nehru for his vision of a secular multiracial India, a country that does not discriminate between citizens because of their race, language, religion or culture.

Again, Nehru’s vision of a secular country not discriminating among its citizens based on religion conflicts with the reality that he imposed on the country. It was he who set the country on a path where the laws that apply to a person are based on a person’s professed religion, where the privileges you enjoy depends on what your religion is. Want admission in an educational institution? Well, depending on what religion you are, you may or may not get in. If this is non-discrimination, then we are using Orwellian-speech from his novel 1984.

I know that LKY is not ignorant of the real state of discrimination in India. I conclude that he was making a point by highlighting the blatant discrimination in India.

As prime minister, LKY met Nehru twice in India – in 1962 and in 1964. He must have regarded Nehru’s attempt at “scaling the commanding heights of the economy” with bemused contempt. Of course, in his speech he put it rather diplomatically, thus:

Like Nehru, I had been influenced by the ideas of the British Fabian society. But I soon realised that before distributing the pie I had first to bake it. So I departed from welfarism because it sapped a people’s self-reliance and their desire to excel and succeed. I also abandoned the model of industrialisation through import substitution. When most of the Third World was deeply suspicious of exploitation by western MNCs (multinational corporations), Singapore invited them in. They helped us grow, brought in technology and know-how, and raised productivity levels faster than any alternative strategy could.

Import substitution industrialization was stupid and even in those times it was known to be an impractical idea. Many people defend Nehru’s blunder by making the trite observation that he was product of his times and therefore cannot be held accountable for his mistakes. I don’t see what that defense has to do with the price of tea in China. Well, LKY was also a product of his time; he did not give in to the insanity of ISI. I have a theory about why Nehru blundered the way he did, which I have outlined before elsewhere (reference given later.)

LKY then goes on to sugar-coat the pill he administered. He admits that Nehru was all pretty speeches and no substance.

Nehru had a great vision for India and for Asia and his elegant style of writing and speech captivated many young minds in the British empire. He had insights into the causes of India’s problems, but, burdened by too many issues, he left the implementation of his ideas and policies to his ministers and secretaries. Sadly they did not achieve the results India deserved.

Nehru’s ideal of democratic socialism was bureaucratised by Indian officials who were influenced by the Soviet model of central planning . That eventually led to the “Licence Raj”, corruption and slow growth.

Then LKY notes that change was forced on India and that the Congress was dragged kicking and screaming from the clutches of Nehruvian socialism. As a guest, he did his diplomatic best in noting that the first term of Rajiv Gandhi accomplished little.

The end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union undercut the strategic premises of India’s external and economic policies. By 1991, with the country on the verge of bankruptcy, India had no choice but to change. Some Indians believe that, had Rajiv Gandhi lived to serve a second term as India’s Prime Minister, he would have pushed for major reform. But he was cut down before he was able to.

Ah, if only Rajiv had another term, surely he would have transformed India. LKY is devastating with faint praise. I bow deep in recognition of the maestro’s skill.

LKY then proceed to list the numerous postponement of India’s “tryst with destiny.”

… In January 1996, I visited New Delhi and spoke to civil servants and businessmen on the changes that Prime Minister Rao and his team were putting into place. I said that India’s ’tryst with destiny’ had been repeatedly postponed.

And the reason for the delay is not hard to figure out. The bureaucrats and the politicians had a wonderful time with the “license control permit quota” raj. With the machinery that Nehru had engineered, they could continue to rob the country with impunity. The racket they had going was –and it still continues to be– too lucrative to give up.


When I published the second volume of my Memoirs in 2000, I wrote “India is a nation of unfulfilled greatness. Its potential has lain fallow, under-used.”

I am happy to now revise my view. Nehru’s view of India’s place in the world and of India as a global player is within India’s grasp.

Yes, it is. But the dead hand of Nehru’s socialism has still not released its grip on the economy.

To put the best spin on the numbers about India, LKY as the gracious guest, presents aggregate figures for India and China, not India’s figures alone. For instance he says

… The rise of India and China is changing the global balance. Together they account for about 40 percent of the world’s working age population and 19 percent of the global economy in PPP (purchasing power parity) terms. On present trends, in 20 years, their collective share of the global economy will match their percentage of the global population, which is roughly where they were in the 18th Century, before European colonialism engulfed them.

Reading between the lines, it is clear that India’s figures alone would be too dismal to mention. Then with a caveat, he adds:

… If there are no mishaps by 2050 the US, China, India and Japan will be economic heavyweights , as will Russia if it converts its revenue from oil and gas into long term value in infrastructure and non-oil industries.

India is an intrinsic part of this unfolding new world order. India can no longer be dismissed as a “wounded civilisation”, in the hurtful phrase of a westernised non-resident Indian author (V.S. Naipal). Instead, the western media, market analysts, and the International Financial Institutions now show-case India as a success story and the next big opportunity.

This is a comforting development for the US and the West, that a multi-party India is able to take off and keep pace with single-party China.

I am sure it is comforting the US and the West because India can be a useful counterbalance to China. Being used as an instrument is a relief only in comparison to the alternative of being an inconsequential bit-player in the greater global drama. Again, LKY puts the brightest spin he could manage quoting media reports:

Forbes Asia recently reported that US venture firms will raise US$1 billion for India by the end of this year. India has emerged as a power in IT sector. It is the largest call-centre in the world. Almost half of the largest global corporates now do at least some of their back office work in India. Indian R&D centers of American technology firms are reported to file more patents than Bell Labs. This year, India announced more than 1,300 applications for drug patents, second only to the US and 25 percent more than Germany, way ahead of the UK and Japan.

The US is now courting a nuclear India as a strategic partner. The EU has also launched a strategic partnership with India, and Japan wants a global partnership with India. These are indices of India’s growing weight in the world. Many countries, including Singapore, supported India’s bid to be a Permanent Member of the UN Security Council. Nehru’s vision is within grasp and India’s leaders must realise it in the next few decades.

Sweet vision that Nehru had. I cannot pass on this one without mentioning that India would not have had to grovel and be repeatedly humiliated in trying to become a permanent member of the UNSC if way back when Nehru had not in his infinite wisdom turned down the offer when India was asked to join in the first place.

Back to the speech. He compares China and India:

I have always taken a keen interest in both China and India. Like all democratic socialists of the 1950s, I tried to forecast which giant would make the higher grade. I had rather hoped it would be a democratic India. By the 1980s, however, I accepted that each had its strengths and weaknesses and that the final outcome would depend on their economic policies, the execution of those policies, the responsiveness of the government is to the needs of the people, and most of all the nature of the culture of the two civilisations.

… At independence in 1947, two years before the Chinese Communist Party liberated China, India was ahead in many sectors. Both lost steam by adopting the planned economy. But because of its “great leap forward” and “Cultural Revolution”, China suffered more. However Deng Xiaoping was able to acknowledge China’s mistakes and China’s course dramatically change when he returned to power in 1978.

Subtext: China’s leaders learnt from their mistakes and took corrective action. India is still hung up on Nehruvian socialism to make real progress. One should read LKY’s statements very very slowly. They are the words of a person who is not only immensely bright but amazingly perceptive of the nature of the world. Of course I am sure, to the illiterate bunch of corrupt politicians and bureaucrats listening to the man in person, the words carry no meaning. I should mention that the ruling dynasty of India does not have a single university degree among the whole lot of them, starting with the celebrated Nehru whose name graces scores of universities and colleges around the country.

But let’s get on with the China/India comparisons. I read the comparison and wish he would sugar-coat it a bit more; it hurts to be reminded how poorly my country fares compared to China – and recall that China was poorer than India in 1980.

India has a superior private sector companies. China has the more efficient and decisive administrative system.

China has invested heavily in infrastructure. India’s underinvested infrastructure is woefully inadequate. India has a stronger banking system and capital markets than China. India has stronger institutions, in particular, a well developed legal system which should provide a better environment for the creation and protection of Intellectual Property. But a judicial backlog of an estimated 26 million cases drags down the system. One former Indian Chief Justice of India’s Supreme Court has given a legal opinion in a foreign court that India’s judicial system was practically non-functional in settling commercial disputes.

There you have it. Straight from the master’s mouth. A non-functioning judicial system is worthless. It is one of the major reasons for India’s pathetic economy. Economic production and growth depends on the ability to establish and enforce contracts. If contracts cannot be enforced, the cost of trades goes up, welfare losses accumulate, and finally in about 50 years, you have a country with about 300 million people at the edge or below starvation levels.

A poor economy then leads a hand to mouth existence and cannot invest in education. About 400 million Indians cannot even read; about half of Indian children drop out before completing primary school. Here is the comparison:

Both India and China have excellent universities, at the peak of their systems. India’s institutes of technology and management are world class. China is determined to upgrade its top 10 universities to world class status. Overall China’s education system is more comprehensive. China’s illiteracy rate is below 10%, India’s about 40%. India’s narrower band of educated people will be a weakness in the longer term. And although top quality Indian manpower is in high demand, large numbers of engineers and graduates lack the skills required in a changing economy and remain unemployed. However India has a larger English speaking elite than China. But only over half of each Indian cohort completes primary school, a big loss.

After liberalisation, China and India have followed different models of development, maximising their respective strengths. China adopted the standard East Asian model, emphasising export-oriented manufacturing. China has been immensely more successful in attracting FDI. India has focused on IT and knowledge-based services. Job creation is much slower in India and will continue to remain so until India’s infrastructure is brought up to date to attract the many manufacturers who will come to use India’s low cost workers and efficient services.

India’s “low cost workers” is a euphemism for very low average productivity in India. Wage levels reflect average productivity because aggregate wages and aggregate production must approximately balance. Average income therefore reflects average production levels. I shudder every time I hear India’s “low cost workers” trotted out as a badge of honor.

Well it’s time to do the numbers:

China’s GDP for manufacturing is 52%, India’s 27%; in agriculture China’s is 15%, India’s 22%; for services China’s 33%, India’s 51%. Over the last decade, in the service sector India has averaged 7.6% annual growth, China 8.8%, in manufacturing India’s growth is 5.7%, China’s 12.8%.

I see that I have only about half way through the lecture. I think I will stop here and put the rest in a follow up post.


  1. Lee Kuan Yew on India

    Recently, Nov 21, 2005, Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew was in New Delhi to give an invited speech. The Indian Economy Blog’s blogger Atanu Dey has posted about it and commented about it in his blog post. The original speech, with Atanu’s c…

    Trackback by Corelations — December 19, 2005 @ 12:34 am

  2. “About 400 million Indians cannot even read; about half of Indian children drop out before completing primary school.”

    Can you till me how a purely capitalistic system would have done better in our Indian ecosystem? Without scientific data to prove your point to support how a capitalistic economy would have done in the Indian scenario, your arguments are nothing but a bull…. talk. The illiteracy in 1951 was 83% and in 2005 was 38.9%. Show me scientific data to prove that capitalism would have done better. I don’t want data from US between 1951 to 2005. Remember US got independence in 1776 and US population is very minimal compared to India (social inequalities are smaller too). Show me data to suit a country like India (after independence) and prove that if India had adapted to capitalism, it would have done better. As long as it is not done, this kinda criticism is just meaningless criticism against the policies of Indian rulers after independence. We saw the effects of Kathrina in US with the African American population. Show me scientific date which will prove that such a disaster would not have happened in India if we have adopted capitalism after independence. Please remember that the social inequality in India is several orders of magnitude more compared to what is present in US. As long as you don’t ERADICATE the social inequality (don’t give me an argument that 50 years of reservations have taken care of it. I can give a scientific counter argument to prove this is not a case), you cannot aspire to be a fully capitalistic country. It is easy for people like you and me to talk against the “inefficiency” of under priviledged classes. But reality is different my friend. If you ignore 60+% of the population (lower middle class and poor) and try to implement something which suits the top 25%, then you are inviting trouble. If the 60+% turn into terrorists, the remaining will get wiped away just like that. A better approach is to take everyone along in your liberalization path. If you ignore even a small segment of the society, it is trouble. If you ignore a big segemnt of the society, it is dangerous. We need an approach which includes all the segments of the society while we go on the path of econimic liberalization.

    I can bet your knowledge about these issues are minimal compared to Nehru. Not every person born in the priviledged section of the society understands the issues associated with the under priviledged people. Also a big chunk of Indians CANNOT think in a scientific way. This also rules out any possibility that self proclaimed libertarians like you can ever understand the ground reality of India.

    Disclaimer: I am not a commi (I believe it is a failed concept). I am for liberalization. So any attempts to paint me as a commi or anti-reforms guy will not serve the real purpose.

    Comment by Krish — December 19, 2005 @ 5:26 am

  3. Mr. Krish,
    Actually the burden of proof is on you. Can YOU tell me how a purely capitalistic system would NOT have done better in our Indian ecosystem?

    I’m also very uncomfortable with words like “implement something without taking everybody along”. Capitalism does not involve much implementing, it mostly involves GETTING OUT OF THE WAY & letting the people/markets take charge. It is central planning where every bereaucrat sits around implementing something.

    Also, there is no obligation to take everybody along. If a businessman makes a profit running a factory to import autoparts, it is not his obligation to convince the kapaas ki kheti karne wala farmer to stop swallowing pesticide because he can’t efficiently farm kapaas. If you can’t farm kapaas, get your butt into the factory & slog away on autoparts. There is no obligation on part of GoI or anybody else to turn your kapaas ki kheti profitable.

    Comment by kya yaar tu bhi — December 19, 2005 @ 5:51 am

  4. Krish,
    If you read LKY’s speech he states facts regarding literacy as they are known today.
    (I dont know if chinas literacy numbers are correct…i dont know if any of
    their numbers are correct b/c of the nature of their government But i know that in all likelyhood they are ahead of indias).
    No one can argue that current indian infrastructure be it education, electricity, toilets, is functioning.
    The increase we have in ‘literacy’ is despite all that not b/c congress,(or any political party so far) had any idea what they were doing(or not doing).
    If india had capitalistic society. It would be FAR RICHER than it is today, and with that even if india had to impliment a socialistic education system (like the US, where majority of people go to public schools(public school in US means paid by taxpayer, unlike india))
    BTW i learned of another big f[](k-up that happened in 1969 National Semiconductor wanted to setup a factory to manufacture Transistors and ICs in India(their first choice, b/c of the large(relatively) number of EEs when compared to SEAsia) and the beurucrats denied them by arguing all the time.The reason was as per the planning commision india was on target to make all the transistors it needed in that 5 year plan. Needless to say the national team after 2 weeks in india gave up on it, and then they went to its 2nd choices thailand and Malaysia. The timing is very important. It was 1969 right around after National setup its operations in hongkong.
    And now India is struggling and asking 3rd and 4th rate vendors to setup plants in india and even they complain that india does not have the kind of infrastructure needed to setup a decent VLSI fab.
    If india would have kept up with the times in the 70′s the infrastructue improvements would have been gradual and they would have been better off.
    Now what india needs is NOT gradual but super heavy lifting to invite these companies.
    A champion body builder does not build muscle overnight but almost for a decade consistently same goes for the infrastructure for a country.
    IMHNO Nehru’s vision was like a kid who wants to be a champion body builder, but apart from placing posters of arnold in his room he doesnt do any thing else. He does not eat right or bother getting a gym membership but just tells his family that he wants to be a body builder. A decade or so later he realizes even those who did not have his large frame are more muscular b/c they were busy exercising rather than dreaming about it.
    Ideas are worth nothing in the world, Implimentation and Results are everything.

    Comment by Guru Gulab Khatri — December 19, 2005 @ 6:34 am

  5. Literacy has nothing to do with Capitalism or Communism. Most capitalist countries in the west have 100% literacy rates, and most former Soviet countries have 100% literacy rates. Example is Central Asia, which houses some of the poorest countries in the world, yet they are 100% literate.

    It’s just about investment and accountability. In a capitalist democracy, if you are an inept teacher, you are normally fired. In a communist dictatorship, if you don’t prove your competence you are shot. Like or love it there is incentive to show some results. On top of that, there is of course how much money the government puts into education. India’s spending on education until recently (and its still pretty bad) has been deplorable, with universities getting a disproportionate amount of funding at the expense of primary education. Of course we get some of the best engineers in the world, but we also get the 400 million illiterates.

    Unfortunately, India was lead by a bunch of elitist socialists, who cared little for education, and since they could not either be shot or fired, things just went on as before.

    Comment by AK — December 19, 2005 @ 7:25 am

  6. You say: Mr. Krish,
    Actually the burden of proof is on you. Can YOU tell me how a purely capitalistic system would NOT have done better in our Indian ecosystem?

    Really– you’re the one making sweeping generalizations and the burden of proof is on people who questions you?!

    Comment by Manish Khettry — December 19, 2005 @ 11:40 am

  7. [...] he Indian Economy Blog on Lee Kuan Yew and the Jawaharlal Memorial Lecture in New Delhi on India, Asia and the phenomenon that was Nehru. Neha Viswanathan [...]

    Pingback by Global Voices Online » Blog Archive » India: India and Nehru — December 19, 2005 @ 8:31 pm

  8. [...]

    Lee Kuan Yew on India – Part 2
    December 19th, 2005 by Atanu Dey

    {The first part of this series is here.} Reading Lee Kuan Yew’s lecture is ed [...]

    Pingback by The Indian Economy Blog » Blog Archive » Lee Kuan Yew on India - Part 2 — December 19, 2005 @ 10:10 pm

  9. Manish, you are right. The burden of proof is on people who make sweeping statements like something that exists is wrong and something else is right. I agree with AK. The literacy level has nothing to do with capitalism or socialism. Even within India, Kerala is the most literate state. It elects communist parties in every other election. If the literacy is bad in India, it is due to poor implementation.

    Kya yaar to bhi

    “Also, there is no obligation to take everybody along. If a businessman makes a profit running a factory to import autoparts, it is not his obligation to convince the kapaas ki kheti karne wala farmer to stop swallowing pesticide because he can’t efficiently farm kapaas. If you can’t farm kapaas, get your butt into the factory & slog away on autoparts.”

    This is the kinda argument I am opposing. If you have this kinda attitude with 60+% of the population not in a position to take advantage of capitalism, then they will be driven towards terrorism (what do you think is the starting point of naxalite movement). A capitalist country cannot face the terrorism of 60+% of the population. You will be royally screwed. It is a good thing that the world is not just driven by economical considerations. If it is, then it is a surefire recipe for disaster.

    Guru Gulab Khatri, I do agree that there is widespread corruption etc in our country. I wouldn’t put the blame on Nehru’s vision for it. I would blame the ineptitude of Indian politicians and bureaucrats for it. Nehru’s idea at that time was to protect Indian economy taking into account many issues which many of you here cannot even visualize. It is a pity that Indian blogospehere is full of people from priviledged layers of the society (me included). It is difficult for such people to understand the reality on the other side and take steps to take them along when you move forward as a country.

    Comment by Krish — December 19, 2005 @ 11:43 pm

  10. Krish says
    “This is the kinda argument I am opposing. If you have this kinda attitude with 60+% of the population not in a position to take advantage of capitalism, then they will be driven towards terrorism (what do you think is the starting point of naxalite movement). A capitalist country cannot face the terrorism of 60+% of the population. You will be royally screwed. It is a good thing that the world is not just driven by economical considerations. If it is, then it is a surefire recipe for disaster.”

    Really, Mr. Krish, you’ve morphed into Mister Friedman there. He was suggesting nonsense along the lines of – ‘Because of outsourcing, Indians are turning to BPOs for a productive living. Otherwise they’ll become terrorists & fly jets into our skyscrapers’

    It is such a nonsensical argument, I was wondering whoever hired this joker for NYT must get his ass whipped. Fortunately, entire media, both left & right, took Friedman to task for such garbage masking as op-ed.

    To get back to your point, I stand by what I said -

    1. There is really, NO OBLIGATION, on the part of you or I or GoI or NGOs or whoever, to ensure that every Indian has a sustainable profitable livelihood. If the artisans are loosing marketshare because junta prefer durable Indolium vessels to earthernware, I would ask the artisans to literally get their heads out of the mud & go blog somewhere to make a living. I cannot help the cotton farmer. Trust me, you cannot either. If you think you will click some button on the web & donate $100 to AID & that will save one kapaas ka farmer, you are insane. The farmer has to realise that what he’s doing ie. growing cotton on 1 acre plot, is insane, high risk & unprofitable & do something else. If he doesn’t realise that, he will be forced to literally swallow his pride by swallowing pesticide.
    When Dr. Vandana Shiva shouted yesterday from the WTO protest group at Hong Kong “India must be ashamed, 40,000 farmers commit suicide” I really wanted to punch her in the face. India has upwards of a billion people. There are umpteen unexplored markets. Even if you are completely illiterate, you can make 100 rupees per day selling rubberbands on Mumbai traffic corners – bunch of mid-day journos demonstrated this. You can sell flowers, chai, pirated VCD, pirated Harry Potter, whatever…NOBODY is putting a gun to your head & asking you to farm kapaas. You then drink pesticide like a coward & you want India to feel ashamed ?! WTF ? Why are you putting down a billion hardworking people for the sake of stupid suicidal farmers who can’t give up their high-risk adventures ?

    2. You also say – “It is a good thing that the world is not just driven by economical considerations.”
    I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Mr. Krish, forget the “big bad MNC”, even our idiotic Indian politician is driven by economic consideration – he won’t pass stupid reservation bills unless aap uski jeb nahi garam karte. I guess you haven’t seen enough Operation Chakravyuh’s & Duryodhanas.

    3. Finaly, the burden of proof is not on Atanu, It is on you. India has had 50 years of socialism, we’ve all seen the results, or rather, the lack thereof. It is logical to assume that 50 years of capitalism might have led to a different result. If you don’t think so, tell us why.

    Comment by Kya yaar tu bhi — December 20, 2005 @ 12:19 am

  11. Kya yaar to bhi,

    Dude, if you propose something, the burden of proof is always on you. It is the basics of human understanding. If a scientist/economist proposes a new theory, he needs to show that it is a successful theory. If he says the burden of proof is on others to show he is wrong, then he will be treated as an insane guy and he will be ignored. The same logic applies here.

    Also, I don’t care what Vandhana Shiva does. I am for economic liberalization but my argument is to ensure that every section of the society benefits from the liberalization. Thousands of years of “slavery” by the priviledged sections of Indian society has created a social inequality which will only get widened if we adopt capatilism overnight. It is the responsibility of the policy makers to take into account all the sections of the society, not just you and me. The corruption cannot be used as a reason to talk against the existing and past Indian policies. Capitalism is no different when it comes to corruption. In my opinion, capitalism helps just rich to be corrupt while socialism (as the name stands) makes everyone corrupt. So using corruption as an argument against socialistic principles. For every MP of operation Duryodhana, I can quote many Tom Delays, Bill Frists, Enron, etc. I don’t buy your argument that the corruption is due to socialism. It is due to the inherent insincerity and greed of the human being rather than socialism or capitalism. Read a little bit about Naxal movement. You will know that the neglect of their economy is the reason for the movement. Though their violence is to be severely condemned, it is a nasty by product of society’s negligence. If your idea of economy is to be taken, India will have 60+% of its population taking arms to protect themselves and the remaining 30+% will get wiped away in no time. So when you are in the position of making policy for the country, you take a path which is all inclusive rather than excluding a bigger portion of the society.

    Comment by Krish — December 20, 2005 @ 12:35 am

  12. Well, Atanu. The problem I have with your entire LKW reasoning is that it is too simplistic. You let your dislike (or hatred) of Nehru to get ahead of you.

    First, you blame all of our ills on one person: Nehru.
    Second its not about merely about x’ism vs y’ism. Take South Korea, an Asian Tiger which achieved dramatic growth. It made the transition to being a democratic state relatively recently after much unrest. China may have to go through a wrenching transition too. Shouldn’t you give Nehru credit for keeping India democratic? after all there are not too many instances of countries achieving freedom from imperial powers and staying relatively free and open, or are they?
    Third, you are an unabashed admirer of an autocratic politican! Are you a devotee of Deng too? What can I say?!

    Comment by Manish Khettry — December 20, 2005 @ 12:46 am

  13. Manish, I agree with you. This article is more of an anti-nehru tirade than a discussion of any substance. Just shows the ignorance of the author.

    Comment by Krish — December 20, 2005 @ 3:03 am

  14. Mr Krish, You say, in a sly aside and a propos of absolutely nothing,”We saw the effects of Kathrina in US with the African American population.” What effects are you referring to? Katrina, obviously, being a Category 5 hurricane, was devastating to all in its path. It hit down in Mississippi, not Louisiana.

    New Orleans only got the fringe of it; nowhere near the full force. It devastated New Orleans because all the levees burst. Why did the levees burst? A reason you will be familiar with. Louisiana is the most corrupt state in the United States. The sub-standard work of safeguarding the city of New Orleans and its entire population – black and white, Mr Krish – was the result of payoffs and cronyism.

    I don’t understand your reference to African Americans in particular, unless you’d been getting your information from the commie BBC, which never showed any white people in distress. But now that all the bodies are recovered and the damage totted up, more white people than black people died in New Orleans from Katrina. And more white people lost their homes. Although it was only the fringes of this powerful hurricane, it didn’t tiptoe through some neighbourhoods and devastate others. It took all before it, black and white. The damage and deaths came from the surging flooding, not the wind which, so far from the centre, was only around tropical storm force.

    Coming up with phony examples like this weakens your argument considerably.

    Comment by Verity — December 22, 2005 @ 3:28 am

  15. [...] ivate sector uses capital very efficiently. Lee Kuan Yew points it out in his lecture (see part 1 here and part 2 here of my commentary): A factor worth noting: India get [...]

    Pingback by The Indian Economy Blog » Blog Archive » Lee Kuan Yew on India - Part 3 — December 22, 2005 @ 4:35 pm

  16. [...] analysis of India’s economy incisively accurate. I annotated his speech in parts (parts one, two, and three) and this one is the concluding summary of what I gather fr [...]

    Pingback by The Indian Economy Blog » Blog Archive » Lee Kuan Yew on India - Part 4 — January 13, 2006 @ 12:06 pm

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