Are ‘low-calibre men’ India’s destiny?
Columns, Over A Cup of Evening Tea

Are ‘low-calibre men’ India’s destiny?

March 8, 2022

By T.J.S. George

Winston Churchill hated India.  Which was natural because his mind was mutilated by imperialism, so he couldn’t understand why the stupid Indians agitated for independence.

Rudyard Kipling had no such problem.  Being a poet, he took a philosophical view of the world and agreed that “East is east and West is west and never the twain shall meet.”  If that reality had been accepted by both East and West, a great deal of the world’s problems could have been avoided.  The pretension that East and West are the same has been the root of all evil in the world.

Inherent in the East-West dichotomy is the assumption that the East is poor and miserable while the West is rich and splendid.  Such a notion held good for generations because the West conquered the East and took away all its riches. People of the East were left in poverty, and as vassals of the West.

Then something unexpected happened: Prosperity broke out in the East.  Despite all the oppression of the people of the East, their innate abilities and the blessings of Nature eventually got the upper hand.

When the economy opened up in the 1990s, many failed initially to comprehend its implications. The wise had always known about the potential of India. “I am  a short-term pessimist and long-term optimist,” J.R.D. Tata had said.

In 2005, private spending in India reached about $ 372 billion, accounting for more than 60 percent of the GDP. Average household incomes were estimated to triple in the next two decades making India the world’s fifth largest consumer economy by 2025.  An astonished world paused to acknowledge a new India.

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While the real growth story began with liberalisation, entrepreneurs had started pushing their way through earlier.  Dhirubhai Ambani, a true rag-to-riches legend, created an equity cult in the Indian capital market that was unimaginable before.

He ended up heading the country’s largest private sector company. Along the way, he devised ways to manipulate the system of controls that prevailed then.  In other words, he defied the law. Many of his activities were downright illegal, but he won praise for what he did.

“New blood” also began to make a difference.  Ambani and Mittal — and Tata and Birla, Mahindra and Godrej, Ruia and Dhoot — at least had business genes in them, hailing as they did from what were known as traditional business communities.

Towards the 1980s, a new kind of kid entered the block.  Suddenly, things like Information Technology industry, biochemicals, pharmaceutical research and low-cost airlines became game-changers in India and names like N. R. Narayana Murthy, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Anji Reddy and G.R. Gopinath acquired the glow of business magic. (Recalling his early days in Infosys, Narayana Murthy put things graphically. “Of the 21 years of my CEOship, about 11 years were lost in darkness. I used to make 50 visits to Delhi for small things. We did not have current account convertibility; we could not open offices. To import even a small thing, it required huge efforts”).

It was the single-mindedness of the entrepreneurs and the professionals that gave new dimensions to India’s economic thrust. Once that thrust gathered momentum, politicians, parties and bureaucrats vied with one another to claim credit. Seven wealthy towns contend for Homer dead/Through which the living Homer begged his bread.

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The Dalai Lama once said: “In Chinese Parliament there is too much silence and in the Indian Parliament there is too much noise.”  He meant it as a compliment when he referred to accusations and counter-accusations filling the political space and Parliament grinding to a noisy halt on each of one session’s 23 working days.  With the instrumentalities of Parliament becoming ineffective, democracy did begin to look rather over-ambitious for India — the exact opposite of the confidence that led to the erudite debates and the Constitution in 1950. The learned men who shaped those debates had set their sights high for India and India had risen to their expectations in the early phase of its journey. In a few years we lost that India.

That would not have surprised Winston Churchill. When the Indian Independence Act was debated in the Houses of Commons in June 1947, Britain’s ranking imperialist used wounding words to put a curse upon India: “Power will go to the hands of rascals, rogues, freebooters; all Indian leaders will be of low calibre and men of straw. They will have sweet tongues and silly hearts. They will fight among themselves for power and India will be lost in political squabbles.” Is that imperial curse working now?  Are low-calibre men burying India in ego-led political squabbles?

5 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Are ‘low-calibre men’ India’s destiny?”

  1. boregowda says:

    Your admiration for Churchill, the architect behind genocide in Bengal is blatantly displayed. You belong and live in that era. You should be mothballed and shun from publishing your garbage

  2. Prakash.R says:

    “Power will go to the hands of rascals, rogues, freebooters; all Indian leaders will be of low calibre and men of straw. They will have sweet tongues and silly hearts. They will fight among themselves for power and India will be lost in political squabbles.”
    Isn’t that happened since we got in independence due to dynasties? Isn’t what that illegitimate romance with British and China causing all the today’s problems? Don’t we see it in Article 370 and Kashmir genocide due to Bromace with the Abdullah?

  3. Sandeep singh says:

    @Boregowda . Actually I see the truth in what was said”Power will go to the hands of rascals, rogues, freebooters; all Indian leaders will be of low calibre and men of straw. They will have sweet tongues and silly hearts. They will fight among themselves for power and India will be lost in political squabbles.”. Whomever said this not tslkiabout today but the time when got independence. Seewhat happened. Nehru became the PM instead of Patel, nehru was sweet talking . We all know how dynasty did to this nation.

  4. Jhunjhunwalla says:

    @Prakash
    “Isn’t that happened since we got in independence due to dynasties? Isn’t what that illegitimate romance with British and China causing all the today’s problems? Don’t we see it in Article 370 and Kashmir genocide due to Bromace with the Abdullah?”
    It is silly and wicked to blame the British. They united India which before their arrivals was divided squabbling with each other
    India was ungovernable before British arrived. Muslim rulers, Hindu war lords , palegars etc.. each had carved up their own kingdoms. India was a primitive country with no proper rule of law. In the 20th century, railroads and electricity were brought in, and education systems with the merit at its core was created.
    China was also under Japanese and British rule in various forms over the centuries. Look at where China is now-a superpower economically, politically and militarily.
    Just within 10 years after independence, Kengal started constructing Vidhan Sowdha, claiming that the new Mysore state needed a grand assembly building, and awarding the contracts to his friends swindled corer to himself. Established an eyewash enquiry , again headed by his friend, which cleared him.
    India has become corrupt, over then years, and the corruption now encompasses, politics, institutions, people as well as the society. Casteism is rampant .places in medical colleges and jobs are reserved for so called backward castes. All communities want to be backward! It was Narayana Murthy, who said(sic): ,only in India every community want to be backward!
    CM in Karnatak are elected not becuase the person is best of the lot, but because, that person must belong to one community-Langayats. See the news to day that there is a woman politician, mate of Yedi, the RSS cheddi is touted as the CM.
    PM Modi who boasts that India is an advanced country that sends 2 satellites up in one go, cannot evacuater Indian students from Ukraine cities-there are over 5000 of them left to die either by starvation or getting hit by misslies.
    What has British to do with the negligence of Oxygen supplies last year’s pandemic, when thousands of Indian died with Oxygen, and where Oxygen was available,, it was taken out of the poor patients, left them to die, because it was given to VIP patients. We saw this despicable saga here in the Western TV reports?
    Thousands of Indian students, educated Indians etc,.. want to escape India. , even to the tiny country of New Zealand. The biggest queues for entry visas in any Western country , before this Ukrainian situation, were by Indians desperate to get out of India.
    @Prakash blame you country’s politicians, leaders and yourselves.
    Read the article by Gowrri Satya, which appears about the missionaries , and how they were able to give hope to orphans neglected by your rich culture! You speak of ancient culture, and let sewage to flow into your holy Ganga.
    You all should be ashamed of your country, the low moral level, it has sunk into. Do not blame any one, but you.
    China does not blame any one, but progressed by hard work and initiatives.

  5. Mann Ki Baat! says:

    @Singh
    Patel created IAS cadre based on the ICS model, against Nehru advice of independent cadre, and look how these IAS officers are treated!
    Patel did not survive for long, just 3 years after independence. I saw him in my primary school year, in 1949, when he visited Mysuru. He could barely walk or talk, died in 1950. He was promoted because, he was a Gujarati, the same as Gandhi. Gandhi wanted Jinnah to be the PM of undivided India! He then wanted Nehru after india was divided.
    Who made Indra Gandhi the PM-the old Congress cabal headed by Kamaraj, the then Tamil Nadu CM, the King Maker. This cabal which also consisted of Nijalingappa, then the CM of Mysore ( Karnataka), wanted Indira Gandhi as the PM, because, they thought, being a woman they could control her!
    Dynasty? If Modi has a son/daughter ,he/she would have been promoted as the next PM. Shamefully, Modi married and deserted the woman he married!
    Want to know other dynasties; Bommai, ( Karnataka) BJP,, and MK Stalin ( Tamil Nadu) DMK, their fathers were CMs and hence they were preferred!
    Indian mythologies and history always preferred dynasties. Look at the Maharajas, who ruled until 1947.
    I find Indians basically dishonest and corrupt, even why they settle in Western countries where there is clean administration.
    You may not like Churchill, how true these words of him are: “Power will go to the hands of rascals, rogues, freebooters; all Indian leaders will be of low calibre and men of straw. They will have sweet tongues and silly hearts. They will fight among themselves for power and India will be lost in political squabbles.”
    Keep chanting Jai Hind, and demand USDs as bribes!!

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