Friday, January 02, 2015

The Kettle calls the Tandoor Black!

If the superstition that whatever we do on the first day of the New Year will continue through the rest of the 365 days is true, then I guess I'm in for a whole year of dissension and outrage :(
There's an article I found on Forbes, by a 'noted' economist Tim Worstall, and you can take a couple of minutes to read it first.

To sum up that article, the writer's point of view is that even if India grows on to become the world's Third Largest economy as studies predict - over the next decade, it should be considered a failure, as the standard of life in India will be much lower than that of several countries which are way behind  us on that list.

Pray tell me, Mr Worstall (and everyone else who agree with him), what do you mean by 'Standard of Life'?

If having three cars in a remote controlled internally accessible garage, kids studying in prep schools, Golf club memberships, and a well-stocked wine cellar are what you mean by a great standard of life, then I just pity you!

Lets leave Mr Worstall for a while. There is a deluge of material from the West (and sadly, from our own inbred 'intellectuals'), about how India can't really be a world power unless they are this or that. But the fact is that we've always been a key power in the world. We just don't stand on the rooftops and scream out our lungs. Neither do we ever run branding campaigns or plant carefully orchestrated newspieces to keep ourselves in the right light for the world to perceive. We've always been an inwardly focussed people, and I mean it in the most divine way possible. The true magic of India has been our people and our comfort level with being ourselves. Not man-made objects, not false pretences, and not a cultivated image. It is what has attracted the leading civilisations of each time to come and set up shop here in India. And it is a fact that they've all gone back enriched.

When a critic talks about a Standard of Life, they usually mean it externally. What we've lost vision of, over years of studying 'Advanced Economics' and plotting 'Demand-Supply' graphs for everything, is that my life is firmly mine! I don't need to showcase it to the world, and while it is easier said than done, comparison is not a fundamental duty! Our scriptures teach us only that one thing - that it is the 'I' that matters, and not the 'me' I showcase to the world. Everything is unlocked if I realize that one thing, no?

Coming back to Mr Worstall and his league of over-qualified gentlemen, how will the world learn that the stat that matters isn't that of the biggest ecomony? When will it learn that when people have absolute freedom (that's a deep term, think about it - and there's a blogpost coming up on that shortly), that is when a nation or the society can truly reach its potential. Being the largest economy doesn't count for nuts if its people can't walk on the street without worrying about their safety. If a parent goes paranoid if his child doesn't check in every hour, we're not an advanced society. We're in deep shit!

Sadly, we're halfway there too. Dysfunctional Utopia is what they call it, and we're picking it up big time! Yes, every society has to struggle with it themselves and find their own balance, but if someone who's farther removed from reality comes out and points fingers at us, we shouldn't take it lying idle! How much ever 'development' comes our way, I have great hope that deep inside, people still have that grain of happiness. The deeper down we push it, the more generations it'll take to discover it back again. Its gone deep enough already, and I believe this generation will catch it on its way up. So Mr Worstall, whether we are the world's Third largest, The largest, or the most inconsequential economy, it doesn't really matter. What matters is that we, as a people, are renowned to have a really high quality of life (and no - don't get into objects possessed again). As long as we are able to retain and build upon that, we're incredibly successful. It could be on a scale that's different from yours, but its my scale, and its what counts!

May this New Year bring about a renewed sense of pride in ourselves. When we find ourselves interesting, we'll delve in and try to become friends with that guy inside. That is the first step to a truly awesome standard of life - its the only thing that matters.

PS - Mr Worstall was magnanimous enough to respond to my criticism on Twitter, and though we didn't agree with each other, it was still great of him to have that conversation. Next time, I'll write a post about why his country Portugal's economy is absolutely of no consequence to Indians ;)

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