Thinks 306

Bain Technology Report 2021: “It’s increasingly clear that technology extends beyond being an industry unto itself; it’s the primary force of disruption in every industry across the globe.

Ruchir Sharma: “The IMF tracks 195 economies and counts just 39 as “advanced.” Only 18 nations have graduated into the advanced class since the end of the second world war, and they tend to appear in regional clusters. First came southern Europe, including Greece and Portugal, then east Asia, led by South Korea and Taiwan. Now, the hotspot is eastern Europe. Of the last ten nations to reach the advanced class, four are micro states or territories such as Puerto Rico and San Marino. The rest are ex-communist countries of eastern Europe: the Czech and Slovak Republics, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Slovenia. The last large economy (world top 25 by GDP) to reach advanced status was South Korea in 1997, and the next one is likely to come from eastern Europe. Though the IMF definition of “advanced” includes the quality of institutions and other subjective factors, these nations share a per capita income above $17,000. Among the few nearing that threshold, the only large nation is Poland, with a per capita income above $15,000. Hungary is a step ahead, near $16,000, and Romania is a few places back at $13,000. The secret to development is consistently strong growth.”

Ashwin Sanghi: “Strictly speaking, secularism means separation in entirety of church and state. India fails entirely if that is indeed the definition. How could a government have codified and modified Hindu personal law in the 1950s if it was secular? How could India recognise sharia-based Muslim personal law? How could central and state governments take over the management of Hindu temples? How could successive governments extend subsidies under the Haj Committee Act of 1959 if they were secular?…As opposed to any ideology that attempts to impose a singular truth on a plural world, dharmic philosophy is plural. A thousand flowers can bloom in the very same garden, each one adding its own unique fragrance and beauty to the bouquet, but the gardener must treat all of them equally. That is the very essence of the Upanishadic ideal of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’. The world is one family. If we want true secularism, let’s walk the dharmic path.”

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.

2 thoughts on “Thinks 306”

  1. Secularism is an alien concept to India. Though the constitution pays lip service to the term by including it in the preamble, India is best described as ‘syncretic,’ not secular.

    Political commentaries also often describe BJP as a party taking the country away from its secular foundations( as laid out by Gandhi and Nehru). But Gandhi and Nehru were syncretic by inclination, not secular. The Indian “independence movement” was also syncretic in nature. IMO, this point needs to be stressed – It is not about going back to the foundations laid by Nehru and Gandhi in 1947; we need to realize that we took a wrong turn then, moved in the wrong direction, and this course correction needs to happen ASAP. In fact, syncretism currently has a constitutional mandate in India. And constitutionally mandated syncretism is just a step away from a theocracy; I find this morally repugnant.

    Secularism( the dictionary definition of the word) is a concept that needs to be introduced into this country, meaning a clause of non-discrimination in the constitution that will prevent the govt from interfering in religion and religion from interfering in govt. Currently, no political party of any consequence supports this principle; this is understandable because such a manifesto item will not be an election-winner.

    So far as ‘dharma’ goes, it is such a vague term, and its definitions are so varied that as far constitutionalism or constitutional principles go, it is best we eschew from using the term.

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