The puppeteer and the puppets

By Justice Markandey Katju

(Justice Markandey Katju is a former Judge, Supreme Court of India, and former Chairman, Press Council of India. The views expressed are his own)

The national aim of India ( and by India I mean India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, since I regard them one country, only temporarily separated ) must be to abolish poverty, hunger, unemployment, lack of proper healthcare and good education for our masses, etc, and make our country highly industrialized and highly prosperous, with our people enjoying a high standard of living and decent lives.

To achieve that goal has 3 prerequisites (1) a huge pool of technical talent (2) natural resources, and (3) a government consisting of patriotic, modern-minded leaders who are determined to rapidly industrialize and modernize the country.

We have the first two but lack the third. Let me explain.

As regards technical talent, we have thousands of excellent engineers, scientists, technicians, etc. In fact Silicon Valley in California is largely manned by Indians, and Indians are Professors in several  American Universities in the departments of mathematics, sciences, engineering, medicine, etc.

As regards natural resources, it must be remembered that India is not a small country like UK, France or Germany. It is a subcontinent, with huge natural wealth.

But the third prerequisite for becoming an industrial giant, like China, is missing. We must therefore examine why this is so, and this will entail going into the matter in some depth.

This world is really two worlds, not one, i.e. (1) the world of the developed countries like North America, Europe, Japan, Australia, Russia and China (2) the world of the underdeveloped countries ( which include India ), like the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America.

The aim of underdeveloped countries must be to transform themselves into developed countries, as China has done. However, the developed countries strongly oppose this transformation, and that is why a country like India, which by now, 75 years after Independence, should have become an industrial giant with its people enjoying a high standard of living, is still poor and underdeveloped. Let me explain.

Cost of labor is a big chunk of the total cost of production, and if the cost of labor is less, the cost of production will be less, and consequently one will be able to sell his goods at a cheaper price. There is competition in the market, and one businessman eliminates another not by guns or bombs but by underselling him.

The same happens on the national and international scale. Take, for example, the case of China, which was a very poor country before its Revolution in 1949. After the revolution, the leaders who came to power built up a massive industrial base, and that coupled with the cheap labor available in China enabled the Chinese to undersell the whole world in consumer and many other goods. The Western supermarkets are packed with Chinese goods, because these are often sold at half the price of goods made by Western manufacturers ( because Western labor is expensive ).Thus countries which have cheap labor have a distinct advantage over countries having expensive labor, provided the former set up a massive industrial base.

Indian labor is even cheaper than Chinese labor, so if we set up a massive industrial base ( for which we have two of the three prerequisites, as explained above ), we will undersell the whole developed world, and the industries of the latter will have to close down, as they will not be able to face our competition, as we will sell our goods at less than half their prices. China is already a headache for Western countries. Will they permit the emergence of another China? No, they will not.

The developed countries will fight ( and are fighting ) tooth and nail to prevent this. And how do they do this ? They do it by supporting leaders ( who are really their puppets ) who keep Indians divided and fighting each other on the basis of religion, caste, language, race, region, etc, thus wasting their energies and resources, and diverting attention from real issues which are socio-economic to non-issues like building a Ram temple in Ayodhya, or cow protection.

This explains the rise of religious intolerance in our subcontinent. I submit that the political and religious/caste parties and entities in the Indian subcontinent, and their leaders, who spread religious/caste hatred, and polarise society on caste and religious lines, are really small fries. They are like puppets in a puppet show which are seen moving around as if on their own volition but are really controlled by a puppeteer who is hidden behind a screen.

I submit that the puppeteer, which is not seen, are the developed countries, which are terrified by the idea of India becoming an industrial giant. But people see only the puppets, not the puppeteer.

Until the third prerequisite mentioned above is fulfilled, and the present political leaders in our subcontinent ( who are really puppets of the developed countries, as explained above ) are replaced by genuinely patriotic and modern-minded leaders determined to set the country on the path of rapid industrialization, India will remain poor with massive hunger, unemployment, lack of healthcare, etc


Related posts