“Live Free or Die” — Official motto of the US state of New Hampshire
If India had got wise political leadership that understood the true path to prosperity, we would not have had the perpetually planned poverty that has become so commonplace that we cannot even imagine what the palaces of prosperity would look like. We lost our past and are now losing the future. Unfortunately, India’s election-winning, power-hungry leaders and their divide-and-rule political parties have no clue of how to build a free and rich India that can actually match China.
This is what I wrote in January 2018 shortly after I had launched Nayi Disha:
All around us corrupt, greedy, power-hungry politicians are taking away more of our freedoms and wealth. They are playing one segment of society against another to tighten their hold on power. Their policies are denying us jobs and a better future. Government after government in India has perpetuated poverty and prevented us from becoming prosperous. Power has become increasingly concentrated at the top, leaving citizens and civic organisations even more helpless.
Farmers are in distress because of decades of myriad controls on agriculture. Youth have been made unemployable because of decades of controls on education. Small and medium businesses have been stunted because of decades of controls via poorly formulated regulations. Crony businessmen have looted the banks with government as a willing accomplice. Cities are poorly governed because of the refusal of chief ministers to decentralise power.
Corruption continues to be endemic because of the increasing power and demands of politicians and bureaucrats; their vice-like grip on investigative and judicial processes ensures that their ilk go scot-free irrespective of the magnitude of the crime. Headlines are managed by a media fed on government whims and ads. Privacy is being threatened with a universal ID number that is set to rule over us all. Freedoms across the board are being trampled upon by fringe groups who have been given a free reign by governments that turn a blind eye.
It does not matter which of them is in power. Every government has continued the bad policies of the previous government and introduced new ones which constrain freedoms and ease of doing business. Every government has consistently reduced freedom, taxed away more of our income and wealth, and taken us further away from prosperity. Every government has become bigger with every failure.
This continuation of control by the elite and enrichment of the few at the cost of many must end. We must unite to break the nexus between politicians of all parties who use power to enslave us. We must together push back the government to the limited things it should do and must do them well. We have to rise against this Raj, the British Raj 2.0. We need to be free so each of us can make our own prosperous future.
Few of us understand what real freedom feels like. Because the politicians know that for most of us, freedom does not matter. For a fistful of freebies, we will offer our unquestioned obedience (and vote). We did not rise against the British, so why should we rise against our own? All the British had to do was to control a few of our leaders who controlled the masses. The few voices that called for a fight for our freedom were silenced. And so it was that a few thousand Britishers ruled hundreds of millions of Indians. Now, a few people at the top with their allies in media, courts and the Opposition rule over a billion Indians. What has changed? Nothing!
Tomorrow: Part 14