Ideas for New India
Indians need freedom at all levels. The challenge arises because most of us think we are already free. But the freedom we have today is an illusion. In reality, the government controls almost every aspect of our life. We have never experienced real freedom and we only hear horror stories about the licence-permit-quota-raj of pre-1991 India, so we are thankful for the small mercies of semi-free markets of today. While we can argue about the extent of our freedom, what is indisputable is the outcome – a per capita income that is a fraction of the richest nations or even some of our Asian neighbours. We try and console ourselves that our journey is only now beginning – not realising that it is just a false start. If only we read our own history, we will realise that this is how our parents and grandparents would have thought in the 1960s and 1970s. Poverty programs, import tariffs, discretionary and retrospective policies, high taxes on the rich, increasing deficits, single leader worshipped as God, price controls, loan melas, political interference in the judiciary, sectoral interventions, random export bans – they are all back with a vengeance.
A few of us need to genuinely put our minds together to create an India that at least for a short time is freed from its politicians and parties so a new Republic based on the principles of liberty, non-discrimination, non-interference, limited government and decentralisation can be created. This Nayi Disha can forever constrain the growth of government via Dhan Vapasi. The agenda itself is not complicated – legislation to be passed in the Lok Sabha to dismantle the anti-prosperity machine and at the same time taking care that no Indian is left behind. All it needs is for a one-term Lok Sabha of Independents to birth this New India. That is what UVI aims to do – not as yet another power-hungry political party, but as a people’s platform with a clear agenda, rules and a software layer that enables P2P collaboration. Think of UVI as a construct of contract, constitution and code for the collective.
Many tell me that in present day India, it is better to mute oneself than take on the high and mighty. That has also guided my thinking about the solution. If there is one person who tries to rise, that person can be pressurised, silenced, indicted, incarcerated or eliminated. But what if there is no single person? What if it is a platform with tens of millions as participants? Exactly like Bitcoin. With anonymity guaranteed. No one needs to reveal themselves except the candidates who wish to contest. If that stage is indeed reached where candidates are encouraged to stand, then the power of the platform will ensure they cannot be subdued. A few can be individually targeted one by one, but that is impossible when there are hundreds supported by tens of millions.
I know the odds of this happening are infinitesimally small. And yet, hope springs eternal. I have had hundreds of ideas in my life as an entrepreneur. Some die in the mind, some fail when they meet the reality of customers and the market, but a few pass all the tests and succeed big. Failure has never been a barrier for me either in thought or action. I do not start wanting to fail but I recognise that only through experimentation can ideas be made better. If UVI fails, maybe it can encourage others to create better versions in future. The important thing is to get started, and that is what this intellectual exercise is about.