Why Balakot Counter Terror Strike Is A Milestone

On February 26, 2019, India made a point before the world – that now the nation is no longer willing to accept jihadi terrorism passively. The Balakot air strike on Jaish-e-Mohammad’s terror training camp marks an important shift in the Indian policy towards the cross border terrorism that has been going on since 1989 – as part of Pakistan’s state policy to “bleed India by a thousand cuts.” The message from Balakot is loud and clear: Stop nurturing jihadi terrorism, else Indian forces would do it their way. China’s unrelenting support and the fast growing arsenal of Pakistani nukes would no longer deter Indian forces from crossing the LoC and target terror factories.

Who Wants Proof of Balakot Air Strike

Pak terror industry CEOsWhile Modi haters of the Congress-led opposition and Pakistani ruling elites join hands in demanding proof of success and body-count of the jihadi terrorists, far-sighted Indians take delight in the fact that the Balakot counter terror air-strike is an important milestone, like the Doklam stand-off, in India’s resolve to defend itself against external enemies. Gone is the era of vote bank politics of Muslim appeasement; gone is the age of irrational tolerance of Islamic Jihad — coming from the rogue Islamic neighbor since 1989.

Pak Jihadis are a threat to humanityThe 2008 Mumbai Jihad plotted by Pakistani Maulana Hafiz Saeed had left Indians seething in anger while the dummy Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, remote controlled by a power hungry Italian Indian lady, took it as “yet-another-Islamic-jihad-as-usual” like the Kargil and parliament terror attacks followed by so many bombings in different Indian cities. What puppet Manmohan Singh could not even dream after Mumbai terror attack, Narendra Modi did it after Pulwama.  In 2008 people knew that the Indian government-led by a spineless Sikh would do nothing beyond making routine noise; in 2019 they were convinced that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi would respect their feelings. That’s the difference between serving a (self declared) Royal Family and serving the Nation like a patriot!

Why Balakot Counter Terror Strike is a Game Changer

Pakistan is a terror exporting countryThe whole debate about body count and extent of damage is useless. It misses the real point. The February 26, 2019 is not about how many terrorists were killed or what type of Indian fighter jets were used to drop 1000 Kg bombs on the campus of the terror university. It is about making the statement that India is now willing to break protocols and cross the LoC. It is about telling the dons of Pakistani terror gangs that they are no longer safe in their bedrooms — their ISI lords would not be able to defend them any longer. It is about telling the Islamic neighbor that it must stop the proxy war through jihadi terrorists and that its nukes are no deterrence for Indian military to target jihadi camps on its soil. It is clearly about making a loud statement that Indian response to its favorite policy of “bleed India by a thousand cuts” is now going to come back and hurt it badly.

The Balakot strike is summed up succinctly by international strategist Brahma Chellaney in a tweet (March 5) – “That India penetrated Pakistani air defenses and bombed a far-off target with impunity sent a chilling message to Pakistan’s generals about their vulnerability. Extent of damage or death toll is immaterial.”

After 1971 it was the first time that Indian air force crossed the LoC. So startled and paranoid was Pakistani military that it sent a fleet of F16s to target Indian military installations – but sure, it was foiled too and one Pakistani F16 was shot down. These state of the art killing machines were not supposed to be used against any country, as per the end-use agreement. But deceit (Takkiya) is a vital component of the foreign policy of the Islamic nation — which has unfortunately emerged as the Middle East of South Asia. However, exposure of the deceit tightened the US noose on the already cornered Islamic nation, while it was begging to be rescued from an eminent financial collapse. Indian action was whole-heartedly supported by the world. Of course, the prime critics were inside India — the irresponsible opposition politicians led by the juvenile brained Rahul Gandhi and terrorist lovers like Digvijay Singh and Mamta Banerjee.

Islamic Nations Snubbed Pakistan

OIC snubbed Pakistan and welcomes Indian foreign ministerThe Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) over-ruled Pakistani objection to its invitation to Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj as a “Guest of Honour.” Snubbed Pakistan did not send its representative to the Islamic meet. In her speech Swaraj cited verses from Quran and Rig Veda to stress that the menace of terrorism is caused by “distortion of religion” and “misguided belief”. She said, “Just as Islam literally means peace, none of the 99 names of Allah mean violence, similarly every religion in the world stands for peace, compassion and brotherhood.”

It is clear that Pakistan doesn’t follow Prophet’s spiritual teachings, but instead twists them to create suicidal murderers. It is a shame that a non-Muslim has to tell, as a guest of honor,  what the Quran says to the Islamic world.

Swaraj urged the need to build pressure on the countries that support terrorism to dismantle terror infrastructure on their soil and stop funding such outfits.

Here is the video of a globally wanted terrorist and mastermind of 2008 Mumbai Jihadi slaughter of 166 innocent people threatening all non-Muslims of the planet. He is also a close associate of Pak Pm Imran Khan.

China Saves Masood Azhar for the Fourth Time!

China’s Love for Pak Terrorist!

Imran Khan - A Jihadi or sportsman?As the US, UK and France took the diplomatic offensive to the UNSC to put Azhar Masood on the 1267 (Al-Qaeda affiliated) terror list, it was an important diplomatic victory for India.

Even if China vetoed it for the fourth time in 10 years it exposed itself as a “terrorist ally” for the fourth time! But what is Chinese calculation?

It is investing heavily in the CPEC projects and can’t afford to antagonize Jaish terrorists who have huge influence in the region. Moreover, by acting against Masood Azhar it would have invited wrath of jihadi lords of Pakistan and they could start meddling in the Chinese Muslim communities.

It would be interesting to see how India responds to China’s repeated support to the terror king. Can India put some of the Chinese projects on “technical hold” while the dragon economy is losing steam? How about sheltering Baloch and Pashtun freedom fighters in India? Perhaps India should start giving more prominence to Tibetan refugee leaders too and make an issue of human rights violation of the Uighur Muslim community by Chinese State authorities.

Pakistan – The Most Dangerous Country FOR the World!

Former Pakistan ambassador to the US and author of the book Pakistan between Mosque and Military Hussain Haqqani has written

“Of all the countries in the world where terror breeds, Pakistan is the only state that actively sponsors it as a long-term state policy instrument, and as a matter of strategic choice. It is also the only state that uses the threat of nuclear weapon as a deterrent to support its terror activities”.

Pakistan may not be the most dangerous country in the world, but it certainly is the most dangerous country for the world! Looking at the way the paranoid Pakistani leadership behaves any strategy of containment or disengagement is only likely to make thing worse.  This is the conclusion of a former CIA spy who knows Pakistan well.

A former acting CIA director describes Pakistan as the most dangerous country in the world – if not this year, not next year, but certainly down the road!!

Pakistan is the most dangerous country in the worldWith dysfunctional governance, sinking economy, rampant corruption, high and growing rate of unemployment, world’s 6th largest population with rather high birthrate, shrinking numbers of non-Muslim minorities (Blasphemy Law), highly radicalized society, obsession to use terrorism as undeclared state policy, and fastest growing nuclear arsenal in the world – Pakistan is certainly of grave concern for the world. Add to that a paranoid military that behaves as if war (with India, its Allah ordained eternal enemy!) would break out at any moment! So, Pakistanis remain in perpetual war hysteria, confusion and poverty but military generals are never short of weapons or luxuries!!

The ideological roots of Pak’s love for Islamic violence is described by Pervez Hoodbhoy in Saudi-isation of Pakistan:

“Pakistan’s self-inflicted suffering comes from the radicalization of the education system that, like Saudi Arabia’s system, provides an ideological foundation for violence for future jihadists. It demands that Islam be understood as a complete code of life, and creates in the mind of a school going child a sense of siege and embattlement by stressing that Islam is under threat everywhere…. If left unchallenged, this education will produce a generation incapable of co-existing with anyone except strictly their own kind. The mindset it creates may eventually lead to Pakistan’s demise as a nation state.”

In 2009, Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman stated:

“Pakistan is nuclear and unstable and Afghanistan is faced with a potential Taliban takeover, and the combination forms a contiguous area of radicalism ruled in the spirit of Osama bin Laden.”

No one in Pak media questions military purchases of drones, helicopters and luxury vehicles (to fight what?) when someone talks of austerity. Pak journalists are smart; they know very well what happens if they try exposing the military ‘establishment’ in any way!! Disappearance of inconvenient people is the unwritten law of the land!

One thing is clear: whether Pakistan survives in the current form or fragments into different ethnic entities or becomes a Chinese colony in one piece, it would remain a headache for the international community that doesn’t understand Pakistan’s obsession to think like people of the 7th century Arab desert in the modern world of 21st century!

Ways to Tame Pakistan without War!

Why Pakistan Can’t Drop Nuclear Bomb on India

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Why The World Must Rediscover Mahatma Gandhi!

Gandhian ideology of non-violence, democracy and development appear all the more relevant today in a world of falling moral values, religions turning into political divides, distorted democracies, capitalistic exploitation, increasing violence and global environmental degradation.

Humanity Under Threat

Humanity is under severe threatThe world today is in a serious crisis despite so much technological advances and material progress.  There is a pervasive climate of isolationism, restlessness and insecurity. The ever growing cult of market worship has diluted State’s role as promoter of level playing field and protector of those stuck at the bottom of the power hierarchy. Too much emphasis on market efficiency has created a climate of amoral politics. Consequently, politics has turned into as a self-perpetuating means to control power rather than as a creative instrument of social justice and equity.

After the collapse of Soviet Union and its socialistic ideology the capitalistic democracy emerged as the best form of governance. But it has created another issue: “Can capitalism nurture a sustainable world order?” Another problem with the current capitalism is that it has lost connections with moral considerations. As more and more wealth concentrates in fewer and fewer hands and as humanity helplessly watches the ever increasing threat of climate change, there is a growing need for alternate models of development, democracy and economy.

Govt capture by money or mob is very badTherefore, at this hour of crisis what India needs, and what in fact the world needs, is a creative synthesis of Gandhi’s humanistic vision with universally accepted global worldview. There is an urgent need for dialogue among civilizations and the human-oriented approach of Gandhi. In a world of deepening crisis in the poor societies and social malaise in the affluent societies it seems likely that Gandhian ideas might show the right direction. Around the world, Gandhi is seen as an icon of struggle for peace, harmony and social justice and his humanist philosophy has always found ready acceptance in every society.

Since Mahatma Gandhi was clearly the tallest humanitarian face of the 20th century, the Gandhian model of governance and development is seeing renewed interest in the global community. The Gandhian methods of Swadeshi (self-reliance), non-violent Satyagraha, women’s empowerment and gram swaraj (grass root democracy) to ensure both social democracy and political democracy appear the right tools to prevent the chaos and disruption the world is heading towards.

Gandhian Approach to Democracy and Development

Village is the basic unit in Gandhian DemocracyThe Gandhian model of democracy evolved from several thousand years’ democratic ethos of India. For Gandhiji true democracy meant local self-governance – or ‘Swaraj’ (local self-rule). In the Gandhian worldview village is the smallest unit for self governance by the village panchayat (village parliament). Thus, he used the term ‘Gram Swaraj’. He envisaged each village as a tiny self-sufficient republic governed by a Panchayat with full control on local resources. The panchayat authority on local resources is vital for success of the gram swaraj model of democracy. In Gandhi’s view, only such autonomous and self-reliant communities offer people the best opportunities for participation. Thus, a society can be built as a federation of such tiny village republics, leading to a decentralized system with maximum decision making power to the grass root people. It would also counter the centralizing and alienating forces of the modem state.

An ideal village has peace and harmony among peopleSuch grass root empowerment nurtures robust democracy and naturally leads to a bottom up system of governance. In this scenario, the growth would not be a pyramid with the apex sustained by the bottom. It would also automatically develop the right type of capitalism with responsibility towards people and society. Such a governance system can make the world a union of peace loving local governments. The need of the hour is to globalize such an ideology, rather than the markets.

Mahatma Gandhi considered people as the ‘real wealth’ of a nation, not its production and consumption of goods. He was not opposed to technology as long as it works to empower people in their local surrounding. In contrast, today economy and technology get priority over people – who are seen as mere “human resource” for the purpose of economic and technological growth. Like Adam Smith, he also considered labor as the primary source of economic gain. His opposition to Western capitalism was largely due to its exploitation of labor force to make the rich richer.

Rational Development – Pursue Needs, Not Greed

Gandhi wants to restrict human desiresMahatma Gandhi considered the Western economic development model – which rests on what is called “multiplication of wants” – both unsustainable and devastating to the human spirit. His economic ideology stressed on human well being – both material and non-material – while steering clear of the unbridled greed and temptation. He rejected the underlying assumption behind the classical Western model of development – where people are only supposed to seek maximum material gratification. In his view, voluntary rationalization of personal desires – rather than trying to satisfy endless craving – is also an indication of ‘real development’ of people and a sign of personal growth. Thus, development of mental restrain to overcome greed is ‘true development’ worth aiming for. Therefore, Gandhi’s economic ideology puts a special emphasis on ‘rational living’ after cutting down undesired and wasteful human wants through self-restrain. In essence, supreme consideration should be given to man’s mental development rather than the obsession for money or commodities or power and control.

Morality Must Prevail

Morality should be an integral part of human conductWhat distinguishes Gandhi’s ideas and ideology for reconstruction of society and politics and upliftment of people is the strong emphasis on morality and ethics. Moral considerations always weighed heavily with Gandhiji in everything he did. For him no human action can be devoid of morality. This also makes the task of Western commentators somewhat challenging, as they are generally more comfortable dwelling in the material realm – regardless of ways and means. Quite naturally, whenever they comment on Gandhi’s moral considerations, they look for the scant moralistic references in the works of Western philosophers, ignoring the real source of Gandhi’s knowledge – the ancient Hindu scriptures.

Barack Obama inspired by Mahatma GandhiWhile Gandhi was a well read person and had studied the works of Western philosophers also, but ultimately his ideas and ideologies were shaped by the ancient spiritual and holistic philosophies of life of his native land. His stress on truthfulness and non-violence clearly came from the teachings of Buddha and Mahavira and the real understanding of ‘Dharma’ from ancient scriptures – Vedas, Upnishads and Bhagwat Gita. In fact, Gandhi’s thinking reflected his profound understanding of the spiritual culture that defines Hindus. After Vivekananda, for the first time the world saw the power of “inner strength” of an ordinary looking man. Gandhiji showed how to harness the power of truthfulness and non-violence in solving social and political problems. He repeatedly demonstrated how to take on the world’s mightiest Empire only through internal personal conviction without raising even a fist!  Clearly the gun-wielding British never really understood how a fragile ‘brown’ man stood firm where the mightiest would shiver!!

However, the universal nature of Gandhian ideology transcends all national and language barriers and touches people at their heart.

Further Reading:

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Pulwama Terror Attack: Imran Khan’s Worst Blunder!

Post updated on March 6, 2019

The Pulwama terror attack and then the attempted air strike on Indian military installations (that were foiled) are the most Pakistani blunders. Mr Imran Khan forgot that today he is dealing with a resurgent India. Besides, he lacks the comfort of spineless government of family owned Congress Party. The Balakot counter-terror strike by Indian air force points to that reality. Now let’s see how his nukes and terrorist gangs protect his country from more eminent Indian retaliation supported by the global community. Mr Khan must understand that in the 21st modern century world there is no place for the stone age barbarism by creatures called jihadi or fidayeen.

Former Pakistan ambassador to the US and author of the book Pakistan between Mosque and Military Hussain Haqqani has written

“Of all the countries in the world where terror breeds, Pakistan is the only state that actively sponsors it as a long-term state policy instrument, and as a matter of strategic choice. It is also the only state that uses the threat of nuclear weapon as a deterrent to support its terror activities”.

Imran Khan: A Big Zero

Can Imran Khan come out of Army's shadow?

In a short time, Imran Khan has proven himself to be just another silly boy occupying Prime Minister’s chair. He is totally unfit to lead a country rolling in instability and inching towards bankruptcy. But in Pakistan people don’t choose leaders; the army does. However, this former cricketer  has demonstrated brilliant skill in making U-turns and arrange international doles! Five bailouts in less than six month is something truly remarkable – it certainly must be a world record too!!. But he should also gets full credit for justifying his epithet of “Taliban Khan”!

Pulwama Terror attack must be a laurel more prestigious and certainly ‘holier’ than whatever awards he earned as a cricketer. Khans brilliant performance in Pulwama reminds people of the recent 2008 Mumbai Jihad and of the 16th century invader, Jahiruddin Babur, who proudly gloated in Baburnama:

“For the sake of Islam I became a wanderer, I battled infidels and Hindus, I am determined to become a martyr. Thank God I became a Killer of Non-Muslims!”

Imran_Khan

Super Jihadi

Like most of his countrymen, Khan must be thanking his terror partner Masood Azhar and Allah for the opportunity to kill kafirs on the Hindu-soil. Mr Khan must have also ensured that the suicidal humanoid got rewarded with 72 virgins for uninterrupted eternal sex in the paradise. He should also disclose how many more terrorists are born from the honeymoon of this lunatic with the 6 dozen ladies. The world would also like to know who supplies so many virgins to Allah!  Just a day earlier, another identical attack happened in Iran that killed 27 soldiers. It was also plotted on Imran Khan’s Terror Land. Two terror attacks in two days in two neighboring countries speaks clearly for what this deceptive cricketer stands for — terror in the name of religion. He champions stone age barbarism in the 21st century modern world.

Imran Khan’s “Takiyya”!

In Pakistan, Generals enjoy but poor people sufferImran is a superb example to teach the non-Muslim world the meaning of an Arabic word, ‘takiyya’, that points to the craft of deception. If Pakistanis elected him as Imran Khan, he came out as ‘Taliban Khan’ in the true spirit. If people saw him as a 21st century modern man with sportsman spirit, he proved that he can only think like a half brained stone age Arab tribal man. This ‘modern’ sportsman loves the stone-age ‘blasphemy’ law and could not provide safety to Asia Bibi’s lawyer who had to flee the ‘global paradise of terrorists’!

If people thought he would usher them into a “New Pakistan” fit for the modern 21st century world, he is only leading them into a dark future filled with death and violence. By plotting the Pulwama attack Mr Taliban Khan has committed a very serious mistake. Let’s see how much protection his nukes and terrorist gangs provide from the ensuing attack from the Indian military.

Democracy lovers were expecting him to establish the supremacy of people’s voice, but he turned out to be an impotent army puppet. He talked about never begging, but has already successfully begged five bailouts in less than six months, as a proud cocky beggar! If Pakistanis thought that the bailouts are meant for the ordinary people, they are again wrong because the doles are meant for Jihadis gangs, military weapons and luxury of the army generals.

He came to power cursing Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but started copying him and picked up broom and his slogans. But copy-cats remains what they are – just copy-cats! Here also he failed to perform, like India’s ‘Pappu’.

But even in his ignorance, he taught the world at least one Arabic word – Takiyya. This quality certainly unites him with rest of the 220 million fellow countrymen. However, people around the world would still remain confused: whether Mr Whatever Khan living next door is a follower of the religion of peace or a frozen brained humanoid who would suddenly attack them one day.

In fact, Mr ‘Whatever’ Khan would also live in confusion – he would never know when the Army would dump him after using, just as it did to Nawaz Sharif.  But that’s exactly the beauty of Takiyya – deception!!

Trump and Pakistani Takiyya!

Trump exposes Pakistan Lies and deceits

Once an army protege, over the years Nawaz Sharif realized that he can do no good for his countrymen partnering the army. But he paid for learning the right lesson. Learning the right lesson is the wrong thing in Pakistan! He underestimated so many agenda-driven protests and demonstrations during last few years – including those of Imran and cleric Tahirul Qadri in 2014 – and did not realize that they were part of the scheme aimed at his political murder.

Then he committed yet another ‘Harakiri’ – admitted the truth that the 2008 Mumbai terror attack was designed on Pak soil. Let’s see how soon he is hanged for speaking truthfully and how soon his family’s political career is finished.

No wonder, Trump became furious about Pakistan’s habitual “Lies and deceits!!” But Trump has to blame himself for not knowing Takiyya! He must immediately join Urdu or Arabic classes run by some Pakistani if he wants to be effective in the Middle East or with the Islamic State of Pakistan!! 

Pakistan’s Economic Crisis – Yet Another Takiyya!

Can you imagine any country that’s heading towards bankruptcy and yet can’t give up its childish craze for weapons, terrorism and war? Pakistan stands out yet again as odd man out! It might achieve the unique feat very soon:

A nuclear State with fastest growing nuclear program going bankrupt!!

Pakistan watchers are highly worried about its sinking economy and falling into FATF black list. But Pakistan proves them all wrong!  The ground realities of Pakistan are different.

These things matter for the people, but people don’t matter in Pakistan! 

Such things don’t matter for Pak army, fundamentalists and terrorists – there is no shortage of funds for their ventures, luxuries and privileges.

Just watch any TV debate, Pakistanis appears to be in hallucination that as long as they have the growing pile of nukes, mushrooming terror camps and blessings of Dragon Uncle no harm can come to them – and they can live happily continue exporting terrorists to wherever they want!

In Pakistan, only the old fashioned people worry about rotting economy, corruption, rule of law and democracy. For a typical juvenile Pakistani brain, just as a jihadi instantly gets 72 virgins the moment he dies, the CPEC would also instantly open the gateway to heavenly bliss. He doesn’t care if the CPEC is only pushing his country into a much deeper economic mess. China is the satisfied nation today as the past American puppet has automatically fallen in its lap. If Pakistan sees terrorists as its strategic assets, China sees Pakistan as its own strategic asset just like the North Korea! It is more than delighted to ‘help’ Mr ‘U-Turn’ Khan and his notorious country that is totally isolated on the global platform. 

Pakistan has already leased the Gwadar port to Chinese for 40 years and a “Chinese only colony” is planned for half-a-million Chinese in the Gwadar city. It is not hard to anticipate that it would be followed by deployment of Chinese troops to protect its colony…further Chinese influence on Pakistan…and so on.  Within few years Pakistanis would be speaking Mandarin! I am not sure ‘Takiyya’ has any equivalent word in Mandarin.

hambantota portIn fact, the Chinese debt trap diplomacy, using its Belt and Road initiative, is already looming over several other nations: Djibouti, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, the Maldives, Mongolia, Montenegro and Tajikistan. Cambodian Prime Minister has described China as Cambodia’s “most trustworthy friend.” Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port is a lesson for wise people – it leaves Pakistanis out! Sri Lankan government is now leasing a nearby airport to India.

Pakistan’s Hate towards India has become Insanity

Some years ago, during a long flight a friend asked a Pakistan minister what his greatest wish was. The minister stretched both his hands with palms facing skywards and said, “If Allah were to grant me a wish I would ask him to place a nuclear bomb each on my palms. One I would drop one on Bombay, the other on Delhi”.

In a recent TV debate, Pakistanis’ favorite topic of comparison with India came up and an expert was describing how India is fast emerging as a global economy and Pakistan is no where in comparison in any field including military strength. The stupid anchor interjected: But we have more nuclear bombs than India!!

(Of course, she must be also proud that Pakistan is the world capital of terrorism!)

Here in the video the globally notorious Pakistani holy warrior of Islam, Hafiz Saeed, is threatening Hindus, Jews and Christians with nuclear Jihad!!

Ever since Pakistan tested nuclear bomb its war-monger leaders have been threatening India – its mother nation and eternal foe  – with nuclear attack. In fact, many Pakistanis proudly call their dirty bomb ‘Islamic Nuclear Bomb’ implying that all non-Muslims — particularly Hindus, Jews and Christians — must be afraid of Pakistan! After all, they are ‘infidels’ and hence as the stone-age Book says ‘wajabul-qatl’ (worth killing)! That task is outsourced to Jihadi groups.

This stone-age anti-humanity wisdom has a lot of adherents in the “New Pakistan” of Mr ‘Taliban Khan.’  It is a country where kids grow up learning a fictional history that convinces them that the only aim of their life is to destroy India — the land of Hindu Kafirs — and be ever ready for ‘martyrdom’ and that Pakistan was created just for this “holy purpose”! Radicals inject the spice of Gazwa-e-Hind (conquer and Islamize India) – and turn non-Muslim hate into jihadi hysteria with the shouts of Allahu Akbar.

India’s Counter Options

The Modi government took away the ‘most favored nation‘ status from the rogue nation. Although trade with the jihadi nation was meager 2.6 billion, but is enough to rattle it and prevents jihadi coming to India through the trade route. Pak puppets in India are also on radar of the agencies. Other steps the Indian government can initiate are:

1.  Declare Pakistan a Terror Sponsoring Nation: India has been waiting for the US to do so. Of course, that would have been more effective. Right now India has the ideal opportunity to call a session of Parliament and pass a resolution declaring the rogue nation a Terroristan and openly declare the “right” to attack terror camps and pursue terrorists wherever they are. Further, make it illegal to possess Pak flag or slogans in favor or Pakistan.

2.  Downgrade Pak Embassy to a mere Consulate: Pakistan embassy is actually a headquarter of ISI and is the nucleus of anti-India activities. Most of the employees are ISI agents and work overtime to radicalize Indian Muslims and create terror and spy cells. Reduce the number to bare minimum and cut off of relations until it learns manners of modern 21st century world.

3.  Make the border permanently HOT: India should exploit its military superiority.  Pak is a sinking ship; it economy is in decay and governance weak. Pak military has to also defend Afghan border area and fight uprising in Balochistan .  India should deliberately ‘heat up’ the border area with frequent attacks on Pak bunkers and troops, maximizing damage and casualties. It would also hurt the CPEC progress and make the Chinese erthink its love affair with Pakistan.

Let’s see how long the jihadi nation can take the beating. The ideal solution is to provoke the luxury loving Pak generals into launching a nuke on India. It would give India the ideal opportunity to nuke Pakistan to finish! Brahmos, Agni and other missiles would also get a chance for some real life fun.

4.  Absorb J&K into national mainstream: Take away the special status (nullify article 370) and abolish dual citizenship. It would allow people from other parts of India to come and settle and set up businesses and industries.  Pakistan has been using it to sponsor anti-India activities and radicalization of Kashmiri Muslims. 

5.  Suspend all Treaties: It would certainly include the Indus water treaty. This would send Mr Khan into sleepless nights and increase Pakistan’s inherent “paranoia” and “hysteria” as the rogue nation is already heading towards water emergency. It is the right time to stop being generous. If it needs water it could always come and beg.

It would serve another useful purpose. Pakistanis would also look towards China for water and fall further in Chinese lap. Pakistan becoming a Chinese colony has more positives for India than negatives. Of course, China would then use Pak military and terrorists against India in a more concerted manner. But is is better than Pakistan’s fragmentation that would flood India with refugees, like in 1971.

6.  Adopt “First Nuclear Strike” policy: The rogue nation has declared “First Nuclear Strike” policy, despite the Indian stance of “No First Strike.” It no longer sees its nukes as conventional deterrent — instead it sees them as deterrent against Indian retaliation against terror attacks by its jihadis. Modi should reverse the nuke policy. It would have some sobering effect on the war monger nation. 

7.  Focus on IMF, World Bank and EU: Today India has enough international clout and good relations all over the world, except perhaps China. Let there be no more dollar to the rogue nation from the IMF, World Bank and the European Union. Doles from the Islamic nations would not be enough for Pak survival. It would again fall upon China for bailout. As Pakistan becomes Chinese colony, the chances are high that the trained jihadis would turn against China, rather than India and the world.

8.  Target Hafiz Saeed, Masood, Dawood etc through commando attack: Rather than complaining or sending dossiers it is a good idea to create ability to launch direct commando attacks inside Karachi, Lahore and other hideouts of wanted terrorists. Israel has demonstrated this capability many times and is the most reliable friend of India. Taking out these nuisance characters directly would strike terror in terrorists hearts. Today, they are emboldened by India’s traditional meek response.

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Impact Of The 1857 Uprising – India’s First War Of Independence

The 1857 uprising marked an important turning point in the history the colonial British India – it ushered in the “British Raj.” It can be easily called the first war of India’s  independence, triggered by the revolt of Indian soldiers in Meerut which soon spread to several parts of India. It permanently changed the relationship between the colonial masters and their subjects. The British now felt threatened by even the slightest display of Hindu-Muslim unity.

Uprising of 1857 Shook the Foundation of British Empire

Mangal Pandey, Spark of the 1857 RevoltThe 1857 revolt was easily the most remarkable single event in the history the colonial British India. What added to its importance was the participation of people from almost all sections of the society and the Hindu-Muslim unity. It also marked a new phase of struggle for freedom that continued for next 90 years. The 1857 Uprising was triggered by the revolt of Indian soldiers in Meerut which soon spread to several parts of India. Such was the force of the pent-up anger against the exploitation by the East India Company that by the time the British could bring back ‘normalcy’ in 1858 with the help of regiments from Madras and Bombay and loss of over 100,000 lives, they were severely jolted.

The summer of 1857 saw violence and brutality, perpetrated both by the Indians and the Britons, on an unprecedented scale. Never before in the history of British rule in India was there violence at such ghastly level. [The Forgotten Brutality of 1857 Revolt]

The “Corporate Rule” Over India was “Highly Unusual”

Robert Clive 1The conditions which gave the British East India Company (BEIC) political power in India were highly bizarre. The Company had just a handful of “permanent staff”, was terribly mismanaged even as a corporate, had to be bailed out by the British banks, and it needed political support back home to even get this bail out. The ‘Corporate Rule’ of the BEIC over the vast Indian empire of countless people was the worst form of governance, far worse than what we imagine today from the concepts of dictatorship, theocracy, monarchy, autocracy or even anarchic democracy. The BEIC officials were accountable only to the company’s board of directors and share-holders; they had no accountability towards the people even in slightest manner. In the capital market language, BEIC officials were only interested in ‘Maximizing the Profits for their Shareholders!’ By 1857, the corrupt Company had moved away from earning through trading to open plunder and savage exploitation of Indians living under their territorial control, and ended up making too many enemies in Britain.

After the 1857 revolt, the Crown rule (‘British Raj’) started. Now India was governed in the name of the Crown. It was still as exploitative and as racist as ever, but now it had to put-on the mask of being a ‘responsible government‘ and was directly answerable to the British Parliament through a special Secretary of State dedicated to Indian affairs. It was certainly not the kind of ‘absolute unaccountable tyranny’ under the despotic Company rule. Now Indians had the scope to negotiate laws in favor of Indians, although the concessions were always too late and too little.

Commenting on the BEIC rule an observer wrote: “Of all human conditions, perhaps the most brilliant and at the same time the most anomalous, is that of the Governor General of British India. A private English gentleman, and the servant of a joint-stock company, during the brief period of his government he is the deputed sovereign of the greatest empire in the world; the ruler of a hundred million men; while dependent kings and princes bow down to him with a deferential awe and submission. There is nothing in history analogous to this position …”

How the 1857 Rebellion Reshaped Governance in the ‘British Raj’

British rajThe atrocities committed by both sides in Revolt of 1857 greatly widen the gulf between the rulers and the ruled. The measures they took in the aftermath of the rebellion left them badly alienated and isolated from the Indians, both ruling princes as well as from the common masses.  The British now began to openly display racial arrogance and assert racial supremacy. If the delusion of “Islamic Superiority” was the distinguishing feature of the 800 years of Islamic rule that oppressed the indigenous Hindus, the hallucination of “Racial Superiority” (master race) was the tyranny of the colonial rule – this time both for the Hindus and the ex-Hindus (Muslims). The colonial violence was on and off targeting specific groups and was political, but the racial humiliation was constant towards all Indians. Even the ‘brown British’ products of Macaulay education were derided as unworthy ‘babus’.

The uprising of 1857 hardened the British attitude and they even gave-up the deceptive narrative of bringing modernity and civility in this land of backward and worthless people.  Now they were overly concerned about preventing revolt in the Indian army and uprising of the public. It forced them to indulge more viciously in the philosophy of “divide and rule”.  It ushered in a new phase of hardened colonialism that lasted another 90 years, but the spark of rebellion and desire for autonomy only became stronger with time. The Queen promised many things to her ‘Indian subjects’ such as making the government jobs based on merit, irrespective of cast and religion – of course, they were no more than politically correct empty words. However, on a different note, the various Government of India Acts enforced during the Crown rule laid the legal foundation for India’s governance after independence.

The deep impact of the 1857 Revolt can be seen from the following observations:

1) End of Company Rule: It led to fall of the Company rule. By a new act of the British parliament (the Government of India Act 1858) the British government took charge of the Indian Territory from the Company. The authority over India was now passed to the Secretary of State for India aided by a Council. The Secretary of State, being a member of British Cabinet, was responsible to the Parliament. The Governor General of India since 1833 under the Company rule now became the Viceroy and Governor-General of India after 1858. As the Governor General he headed the central government of British India which administered the provinces – Bengal, Punjab, Bombay, Madras, United Province, etc. As Viceroy, he represented the Crown and exercised his authority over the hundreds of Princely States, which did not come under the British government.

As the Secretary of State became the controlling authority of the Indian administration, the Viceroy was steadily reduced to a subordinate and figurehead status in his relation with the British government. Thus, the ultimate controlling authority came to reside in London, thousands of miles away from India. In such a situation, the opinion of Indians almost lost impact on the policy making than before. At the same time, the voices of British businessmen, bankers and industrialists and politicians became much influential. Thus, the colonial administration became even more reactionary than it was before 1858 shedding even the pretense of liberalism.

2) Arousal of Nationalistic feeling among Indians: This was the biggest achievement of the 1857 revolt. It created a kind of spontaneous “national oneness” among Indians against a common enemy. It was symbolized in the choice of Mughal king Bahadur Shah Zafar (although just a namesake Mughal King) as the leader of the revolting Indians. The Azamgarh Proclamation of 1857 gave a call to people of all classes to unite against the British tyranny. It appealed to both “Hindoos and Mussalmans” to unite by addressing them as the “people of Hindustan”. It also taught them that collectively they can take on the mighty British Empire. Widespread involvement of the peasantry (from where most Indian soldiers came) was unique; it highlighted the feeling of exploitation of the poorest class of Indians.

3) Change in the Administrative Mindset: The British attitude changed for the worse after the 1857 revolt. While earlier they talked of educating Indians (of course, only to create clerks for the administration) and modernizing India, but now they became apprehensive and began following reactionary policies. In terms of historian Percival Spear, “the Indian Government’s honeymoon with progress was over!”  Earlier they at least they tried to create a perception that the British were ‘training’ and ‘preparing’ Indians for self-governance and power would be eventually transferred to them. But now they became openly derogatory – that there are inherent social and cultural ‘defects’ in the Indians and thus they can never rule themselves. Therefore, the British rule must continue forever. Many policies reflected this mindset.

4) Increase in Hostility towards Educated Indians: Under the Company rule, spread of European education among Indians was encouraged after 1833 so that they could act as interpreters between the British and Indian public. It was Macaulay’s educational ideology that aimed to create Indians (cut off from their cultural roots) who would be Indian in blood and color, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals, and in intellect’. Universities were set up in Calcutta, Madras and Bombay in the 1850s and higher education spread rapidly. Many British officials praised educated Indians who refused to participate in the 1857 revolt. But after 1857, they started to see them with suspicion because many of them had started to see the double standard of the British and how the foreigners were exploiting them. They also began to demand participation in the administration but the policies were not encouraging.

In frustration, more and more educated Indians began to join nationalistic movement. It was the beginning of “organized nationalism” in India. Dada Bhai Naraoji started the East India Association in 1866 in London with the aim of informing the British parliament about needs of Indian people. Satendra Nath Banerjee and Anand Mohan Bose started the Indian Association in Bengal in 1876 to highlight misrule of the British Government. Entry into Civil Services was another issue for the educated Indians due to the discriminating government policies.

In 1885, the Indian National Congress was founded, on the initiative of few Britishers with the aim of gathering educated Indians on a loyal platform from where they would advocate government policies. However, after initial honeymoon, it turned into a platform of nationalistic voices. The rulers could not tolerate Indians talking of freedom, justice and equality. Such sentiments were a serious threat to their colonial imperialistic goals.

5) Restrictions on the Press: The British had introduced the printing press, initiating a modernizing step in India. During the Company rule in 1835, the Indian Press was freed of restrictions and it was welcomed enthusiastically by educated Indians. It was one of the reasons why they had, for some time, supported the British rule in India. They had recognized that the Press was a wonderful medium of ideas exchange and also to arouse nationalistic consciousness among the people and that it can play a great role in shaping public opinion and influencing government policies. The press gradually became a major weapon of the nationalist movement.

Thus, the British brought the Vernacular Press Act in 1878 to curb the freedom of the Indian press. This Act put serious restrictions on the freedom of the Indian language newspapers. But widespread protests forced them to repeal the Act in 1882. Then for nearly 25 years the Indian press enjoyed considerable freedom. But again the colonial authorities brought laws to restrict press freedom in 1908 and 1910 to curb the Swadeshi and Boycott movements.

The policy of "Divide and rule" was the basic British Imperial weapon6) Renewed focus on ‘Divide and Rule’ policy: Threatened by the display of unity during the revolt, the British now more actively indulged in the policy of divide and rule. They would not miss any opportunity to pit province against province, caste against caste, group against group, but most viciously they provoked Hindus and Muslims against each other. After the 1857 revolt they went after the Muslims (perhaps due to Zafar becoming rebel’s leader) and suppressed them, took away their properties and lands. But after 1870, they changed tactics and tried to pamper Muslims and turn them against the nationalist movement. Partition of Bengal in 1905 (though reversed in 1911) was the worst form of dividing Indians on religious basis. They also discouraged Muslims from joining the Congress by calling it a ‘Hindu party’ and promoted creation of the Muslim League in 1906 with entirely communal agenda. [Ultimately, this filthy gimmick led to communal partition of India in 1947.]

An immediate fall out was the punitive division of Delhi State for its role in the revolt. The Western part (Haryana) was made part of Punjab and the Eastern part (Western UP) was added to the United Province.

7) Changes in the Army: The Indian army went through a careful reorganization, largely to prevent another revolt. Charles Wood, the Secretary of State for India, wrote to the Viceroy Canning in 1861: “I never wish to see again a great army, very much the same in its feelings and prejudices and connections, confident in its strength, and so disposed to rise in rebellion together. If one regiment mutinies, I should like to have the next regiment so alien that it would be ready to fire into it. Thus the Indian army remained a purely mercenary force.”

The ratio of Europeans to Indians in the army was raised. The European troops were kept in key geographical and military positions. The crucial branches of artillery, tanks and armored corps were put exclusively in European hands. The Indians were strictly excluded from the higher posts. In fact, till 1914, no Indian could rise above the rank of a subedar.

The Indian section of the army was organized along the policy of ‘divide and rule’ so as to prevent any potential united uprising against the British. In the recruitment, discrimination on the basis of caste, region and religion was widely practiced. An arbitrary division of Indians into categories of ‘martial’ and ‘non-martial’ was created. Thus, soldiers from Awadh, Bihar, central India, and south India, who had initially helped the British conquer India but later took part in the Revolt of 1857, were declared ‘non-martial’!! Their numbers were consciously reduced in the army.

On the other hand, Punjabis, Gurkhas, and Pathans who had assisted the British suppress the Revolt, were declared ‘martial’ and were preferentially recruited in large numbers. By 1875, half of the British Indian army was recruited from Punjab. In addition, Indian regiments were consciously created with a mix of various castes and groups so that soldiers don’t bond together easily. The narrow loyalties of caste, tribe, region and religion were encouraged among the soldiers in order to prevent rise of nationalistic sentiment. Thus, caste and communal companies were introduced in most regiments. Every effort was made to isolated soldiers from the normal social life by preventing access to newspapers, books, nationalistic literature etc.

However, over time as their oversea ventures multiplied the Indian army became a costly affair. In 1904, it consumed around 52% of the Indian revenue. Of course, this burden was shouldered by the subject Indians.

Approximately 1.3 million Indian soldiers served in World War One, and over 74,000 of them lost their lives. They served the very British Empire that was oppressing their own people back home. These forgotten heroes fought “the War to end all wars” against enemies they did not know. They believed in the British promise to deliver progressive self-rule at the end of the War, not knowing that British would break their word. However, the British did constructed a triumphal arch known as India gate in 1931 to commemorate the War. Today, hundreds visit it daily without knowing that it salutes the Indian soldiers who died in the WW1. [Explore Why the Indian Soldiers of WW1 were forgotten]

About 2.3 million Indian soldiers participated in the WW2 and around 89,000 died serving. We can’t ignore the fact that up to 3 million Bengalis died of famine in the same period, as the British government gave preference to feed its war machinery.

8) Changed Relation with Princely States and Zamindars: After reversing the Doctrine of Lapse, the British decided to use the Princely States as pillars of the colonial rule. In 1876, Queen Victoria assumed the title of the Empress of India and Lord Curzon made it clear that the Princes ruled their States merely as agents of the British Crown. The Princes accepted the proposal and willingly became junior partners of the empire because they were assured of their privileged status and existence. But as paramount power, the British actively interfered in the day-to-day functioning of the States through the Resident under the pretext of modernizing the administration. Their prime motive was to use the rulers to suppress the nationalistic movements.

Likewise, they decided to use the Zamindars and landlords as shields to protect from popular uprisings and nationalistic movement. They were hailed as the traditional and ‘natural’ leaders of the Indian people. As their interests were protected they also became firm supporters of the British Empire.

9) Boost to communication and transport: It started an expansion spree of railway and road networks in India. Although done for quick movement of troops and faster transport to further colonial interests, it also gave Indians the opportunity to come together.

10) Foreign policy: As India came under the British government rule in 1858, a new dimension of foreign policy came into picture. It brought into picture neighboring countries. It would be wrong to call it a new dimension because the Company officials were doing the same thing. Of course, the cost was borne by India;  Indian soldiers had to shed their blood and the ‘subject taxpayers’ had to pick up the price tag.

Abundance of Indian soldiers in the colonial India of too many people and scope for enormous economic exploitation made India their most lucrative venture  in the Imperial colonialism.

Indian Freedom Struggle: From 1857 To 1947

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India Is No Longer World’s “Poverty Capital”

India is no longer the global poverty capital! Nigeria has overtaken India and the Democratic Republic of the Congo would soon displace India from the number two spot also!! In India, about 44 people are coming out of extreme poverty every minute. In contrast, Nigeria is pushing 6 people into extreme poverty every minute.

Nigeria Displaced India from No 1 Position in May 2018

Start of New Poverty Narrative!

Nigeria already displaced India as Global poverty Capital.

For decades, widespread poverty has been the main identification of India. Its struggle against extreme poverty is coming to an end. India is no longer home to the largest number of poor people in the world. India has been displaced from the top spot by Nigeria in May 2018 and very soon the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) would again knock off India from its newly acquired 2nd position too!!

This is the finding of a US based think tank, Brookings Institution. It estimated that at the end of May 2018, Nigeria had about 87 million (44% population) people living in extreme poverty, compared with India’s 73 million (about 5% population). What’s more, the gap is widening. Extreme poverty has been defined by the World Bank as living on less than $1.90 a day. Although it’s a very coarse indicator of poverty, it does have some indicative value.

It marks a profound shift in the global poverty landscape.

Another heartening fact is that India is now among countries where extreme poverty is falling; Nigeria is in the opposite category. In India, around 44 people escape poverty every minute, while average 6 people are pushed into extreme poverty in Nigeria. Since Nigerian population is growing at a high pace, it should become World’s third largest country by 2050 after China and India.  Nigerians need to both reduce their population growth and make the economy grow faster.

Brookings also suggests that the current extreme poverty rate of around 5.3% could go below 3% by 2022 and eliminate it altogether by 2030. A recent report India is Middle Income Now also pointed out that the Brookings study used the NSSO 2011/12 data. With the latest NSSO 2017/18 data that are likely to be released in the coming months, India’s ground performance is likely to show a much better picture, implying that 44 per minute could be actually more that 70 per minute!!

World Poverty Clock

Most poor people now live in NigeriaThe findings are based on the World Poverty Clock which is updated each April and October, to accommodate newest household surveys. Globally, about 725 million people lived in extreme poverty at the beginning of 2016; it reduced to 647 million by September 1, 2017. The study estimated that in order to meet the SDG goal by 2030, around 92 people must come out of extreme poverty every minute. The current rate of poverty reduction is about 70 per minute.

Poverty is rising in African continent.The poverty-change map on the left gives the current scenario. In 18 countries poverty is rising; of which 14 are in Africa. Thus, Africa may be on the way to become world’s future poverty hub. It already accounts for over two-third global extreme poverty. If current rates persist, 90% of the World’s poorest will be living on the African continent by 2030.

According to the World Bank, in 1990 around 1.85 billion people were living in extreme poverty. It represented 35% of the then global population of 5.3 billion. Much of this reduction happened in Asia, first in places such as China, Indonesia and Vietnam. In recent years, this trend has picked up in India. It means now Africa would be on focus in all poverty debates. Today, 640 million extreme poor in 2017 represent less than 10% of current global population of around 7.6 billion. It is a significant improvement, but now the bulk of the global poverty is concentrated in African countries.

Need for Cautious Optimism

Despite the optimistic picture presented by the study, it must be remembered that poverty is an issue of human suffering that can’t be condensed into money terms. Moreover, poverty is a multidimensional phenomenon. Therefore, a more realistic picture of the situation should be gathered from a more comprehensive poverty measure such as the multidimensional poverty index 2017. The latest MPI calculations estimated a much higher number of global poor – about 1.45 billion. Newer NSSO data may also bring this number down – that could be closer to the true picture.

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8 Good Reasons Why So Much Poverty in India

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Development “Beyond GDP”

The gross domestic product (GDP) is a misleading indicator of development which should actually focus on improving human well being which depends upon many factors that are non-economic. Irrationally high stress of GDP growth as development indicator has not only created long term climatic and environmental issues but has also reduced people to the status of mere goods-producers and goods-consumers.

GDP is a Deceptive Indicator of Development

The GDP is just like a speedometerGDP is often compared with a speedometer: all it can tell is the speed, whether your economy is going faster or slower. The speedometer of your car doesn’t tell you everything – it can’t tell you about overheating or how much fuel is in the tank. Most important: the speedometer can’t tell you whether you’re going in the right direction.

Imagine if the speedometer could talk and respond, and you ask: Are we heading in the right direction? It responds: Let’s go faster! That’s a pretty dumb answer. Again you ask: Can we turn left? It responds: Let’s go faster! Again, the same stupid answer. True. Yet, just look around; everyone seems concerned only about speed of the economy. No one asks the question, “Are we going in the right direction?”

The basic problem is that the GDP is just an economic number – total market value of products and services bought and sold. It is blind to all things that can’t be sold though they increase people’s well-being – housework, raising children, volunteering, etc. Likewise, it doesn’t count peace of mind and social harmony, community relations, status of health and education, leisure or sustainability and environmental issues. However, the biggest deception of GDP comes from the fact that it gets boosted by harmful things like natural disasters, polluting activities, diseases, and crimes and wars. In fact, the more you senselessly spend or waste or destroy the more it grows. Therefore, rising GDP is no guarantee of development going in the right direction.

In reality, it is entirely possible for an economy to go faster and faster without getting anywhere closer to the desired goals. So, what is the right direction of the economy? This is a rather easy question to answer: just ask people and they pretty much say the same things. An economy goes in the good direction when all people benefit equally and everyone feels healthier, happier and more satisfied. Right direction also means it doesn’t create potential sources of trouble for the future, such as extreme inequality, social tensions and environmental disasters.

The Fetish for Economic Growth

The fetish for GDP has created long term environmental and social issuesWhen Adam Smith laid the foundation of modern economics through his epic, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776), he would have never imagined that ‘economics’ would rule the future generations ‘colonizing’ all other disciplines of human inquiry. Today the whole Western world follows the ‘faith’ called economics and considers economic growth as the only ‘holy’ measure of national progress, and the rest of the world drags along in the absence of alternatives. So, now we have a global culture where people religiously think that ‘GDP growth is the only highway’ that takes people to the paradise of eternal happiness.

Gone are the days when talks of culture, art, history, morality, religion or spirituality symbolized the progress of societies and their people. Now per capita consumption alone decides how developed you are. The more you consume the more developed you are supposed to be! So Americans are the biggest consumers walking on the planet. Of course, they also create the biggest amount of garbage. And, they live in the hallucination to be most developed of all!

If along the way, nature feels tired of replenishing ever increasing demand for its resources or glaciers are melting with ever increasing pace or if societies are stunting with ‘hyper individualism’ or if arms and weapons are penetrating even in the peaceful societies – they must be seen as an unavoidable ‘collateral damage’ of the battle of economic growth! These ugly issues should be left to the creatures called environmentalists and social scientists; after all it is their job and that’s what they are paid for!

If Human Well-being is Multidimensional, Why not Development

Human well being is multidimensional, so should be developmentThe GDP is the fixation of economists and statisticians who have the nasty habit seeing even complicated things in terms of simple numbers. And, here they want us to equate people’s well-being with GDP. In fact, they have successfully fooled the world into believing that there is nothing in human life beyond producing goods and consuming them.

But now more and more people are coming out dissatisfied, all around the world. They are increasingly realizing that the GDP doesn’t measure any of the important things like health, happiness, welfare, human or social progress, or environmental sustainability. It is not even remotely connected with any of them.

Economists’ mono-dimensional concept of development has increasingly come under scrutiny in the recent decades. If you are a multifaceted and thoughtful person you must also be feeling uncomfortable with the too narrow concept of progress given by the economists. You must be wondering: if human life is multidimensional why not development? Have things like family and community relations, cultural traditions, spiritual practices, moral values, living in nature, leisure time, good health, and freedom from stress become unimportant in people’s lives? Is development merely multiplication of wants or continual transformation of wants into needs?

Is the Love Affair with GDP coming to an End?

So, is our love affair with GDP coming to an end? This is what one would conclude looking at the noises coming from recent World Economic Forum discussions and other international debates. As the business landscape changes, inequalities rise, climate change worsens, technology chops jobs, demographics shift and the world clamors for a new order, the GDP is fast losing its sheen. All goods have an expiry date, after which it is not wise to them. So, why are we still using a tool that was devised for a totally different purpose in the war torn world of 1930s and 1940s?

New Emerging Paradigms

Companionship and social relationships are also important factors of people's well beingWith the availability of much better survey data which allow for new types of economic and social measurement, more and more experts are looking for well-being indicators to gauge progress. The issue of sustainability is gaining momentum as climate change worsens. For instance; Andrew Simms, director of the New Economic Foundation, says, “Economic Growth has failed on its own terms. You cannot have infinite Economic growth in a world of finite resources. Redistribution of the existing wealth is a far better way to go. It is now a case of paradigm shift or bust”.

Nobel winner economist Joseph Stiglitz points out that development is meaningless in the long run unless it is sustainable, equitable and participatory. He emphasizes that it is not just income that matters but overall standards of living which means giving importance to economic as well as social, cultural and environmental dimensions.

According to Amartya Sen, the real objective of development is to enlarge people’s choices in all fields—economic, political and cultural. It means people’s well-being should be the focus of development, not economy. This notion of human development is closely intertwined with issues of human freedom and human rights.

Perhaps the time has come to reopen the post WW2 debate about how we should define the economy, and ensure that we come up right measures of human, social and environmental well-being to guide economic growth.

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Amartya Sen’s Capability Perspective of Development and Well-being

The capability approach of Amartya Sen puts people at the focus of development; not economy. Since it revolves around expanding people’s capabilities, it recognizes all factors – personal, psychological, social, political, environmental etc – that can possibly affect people’s capability to function effectively. It recognizes economic development as an important factor, but only as a tool to expand people’s capabilities, not as an end.

Overview

Well-being of people depends upon a variety of factors other than economic.Currently popular economics correlates a people’s well-being with the level of their consumption of goods and services. However, this approach is always criticized by experts for taking a too narrow view of human well-being and for the obsession with material goods. If all people were identical, an index of goods consumption would be correlated with people’s well-being. But in reality, no two persons are same and there is considerable diversity among people. It means that they need different amounts and different kinds of goods to achieve the same level of well-being. Moreover, human well-being doesn’t depend upon consumption of commodities only; it also depends upon non-material things. Therefore, measures like per capita GDP are highly imperfect measure of people’s well-being or quality of life. [Amartya Sen – Development Beyond GDP]

Nobel winner economist and philosopher Amartya Sen came up with a drastically new approach, the capability approach that put people at the center of development. The capability theory of development is wholly centered on people as human beings – what people are “capable of doing with what they have” is the central point of his capability perspective of development. In fact, the capability approach encompasses a lot of fields other than economics. Just like the attempt of Einstein to find a unified field theory behind all forces of physics, Amartya Sen’s capability theory can also be seen as unifying various areas that study human well-being.

The capability approach is enriching many ares of developmentThe capability approach encroaches upon several different areas – development thinking, welfare economics, political philosophy, sociology, and so on. Therefore, it is not surprising if Sen’s ideas have attracted a wide spectrum of people – scholars, activists, policy makers, social workers and government agencies. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has developed a range of alternative indicators of human development, based on the capability approach. They not only supplement the fashionable GDP model of development but also underline its serious shortcomings in using it as a sole measure of progress. The capability approach is equally applicable to study the developmental problems of the so-called developed as well as of the developing or poor societies.

The main reason why the capability approach is so versatile is that it is primarily a framework of thought, a mode of thinking about issues. Loosely speaking, it’s a paradigm. It focuses on the information that is needed to make judgments about people’s well-being. Unlike the traditional approaches which are restricted to monetary or material terms, the capability perspective goes into the wide gamut of non-material factors that also affect human well-being.

The most crucial aspect of Amartya Sen’s capability approach is that it introduced the ‘human element’ into the development debate. Sen does so by putting the focus on people’s capabilities, their ability to do and to be. The traditional approaches concentrate on income, expenditure, consumption or basic need fulfillment or on people’s desire or happiness fulfillment. Putting the focus on people’s capabilities, leads to entirely different policies as compared with the traditional approaches.  Sen stresses that in social evaluations and policy design, the focus should be always on what people are able to do and be, on their freedom to do so, and on removing the constraints that bind them in their lives. This would allow them to live the kind of life they value.

Development means Increasing People’s Capabilities

Purpose of development is to increase people's capabilities by increasing their real freedoms.Everything in Sen’s capability approach revolves around people’s capabilities to function, ie on their effective opportunities to undertake actions and activities that they want to engage in, and be who they want to be. These beings and doings, which Sen calls achieved functionings, together constitute what make life valuable. Functionings include working, resting, being literate, being healthy, being part of a community, being respected, and so on.

But Sen goes beyond achieving functionings, to developing capabilities deals with options, choices, opportunities (also called advantages) based on having ‘real’ freedom.  What is ultimately important is that people have the freedoms (capabilities) to lead the kind of lives they want to lead, to do what they want to do and be the person they want to be. What is important is that they should have the opportunity to function in a way that is in line with their own ideas of life. For example, every person should have the opportunity to be part of a community and to practice a religion, but if someone prefers to be a recluse or an atheist, he should also have this option (or freedom).

Sen’s capability approach rests on two things: functionings and capabilities. Let’s explore each carefully so that the distinction between the two is not lost.

Functionings

functioning of bicycle ridingIn order to keep things simple, let’s explore how a functioning is connected with availability of ‘commodity’ (goods and services) which is the traditional way to judge people’s well-being.

A commodity can enable a functioning but is distinct from it. A functioning is what a person manages to do or to be. For example, a bicycle is a commodity that helps transportation, but being able to transport using the bicycle is a functioning. If two persons own bicycles, we can’t say that they would be able to achieve the same functioning. If, for instance, one of them is handicapped, he would not be able to use the bike for moving around, while the normal person can. This also points to the crucial difference between the traditional resource based approaches that stop at providing the bicycle and the capability approach that explores if it resulted in functioning.

The commodity focused thinking is only concerned about a person having certain commodities; it is not concerned about the individual. But the capability approach focuses on the individual in order to know what functionings he can achieve with what he has. Therefore, in the capability approach, possession of commodities is important only for the purpose that they enable people to acquire functionings.

The conversion of commodity into functioning – doings and beings – is influenced by three types of conversion factors. First, personal factors (eg, health condition, sex, level of intelligence etc) influence how a person converts the available commodity into functioning. Disabilities drastically hinder this conversion. Second, social factors (social norms, gender bias, discriminations, etc) and environmental factors (climate, infrastructure, institutions, public services, etc) also play a role in conversion of the availability of commodity into individual functionings. Therefore, knowing that a person owns a commodity is not enough to know if the functioning is achieved. We need to know both about the person and the circumstances in which he lives.

More importantly, the capability approach does not consider the functionings that a person has achieved as the ultimate measure of success. It is concerned with his real freedom or opportunity that enables him to implement the functioning.

Capabilities

The functionings achieved  by a person may not be sufficient in determining a person’s overall quality of life or well-being. For this we need to know, the person’s “capability,” the functionings that the person could achieve. Hence, the concept of capability is closely related to the idea of opportunity, freedom, or advantage.

For instance, consider this statement – Harry did not go to Chicago and instead remained in Singapore. In the capability perspective, what we need to know is this: whether he got the visa and could have gone to Chicago but chose not to, or he did not have the money to go to Chicago, or if he was denied a visa to get to the United States. Therefore, extra insights emerge the moment we put on the goggles of the capability approach. Therefore, availability of options and choices are embedded in the idea of capability, that’s why capability goes hand in hand with the idea of opportunity and freedom.

Finally, it is important to note that in real life, two people with identical capability sets are likely to end up with different types and levels of achieved functionings, as they would make different choices from their available options. In philosophical terms, we could say that they have different ideas of good life – different desires and wishes on what kind of life they want to lead. The capability approach respects people’s own ideas of the good life, and this is why capability, and not achieved functioning is the appropriate goal. However, it is also clear that in real life, our ideas of the good life are profoundly moulded by our family, tribal, religious, community or cultural background.

Difference between Functioning and Capability

Let’s once again try to highlight the difference between functioning and capability.

Sen explains this by focusing on the difference between fasting and starvation. Consider a person who is a victim of famine in Ethiopia, and another who is sitting on hunger strike to protest against the US invasion of Iraq. Although both persons lack the functioning of being well-nourished, but what distinguishes them is the ‘freedom.’  The protester on hunger strike has the capability to eat – achieve this functioning – which the Ethiopian person lacks. Remember the concept of capability: the functionings that a person could achieve.

Impact of the Capability Approach

Capability theory provided the foundation for human development indexUnder the lens of the capability approach, policies are evaluated according to their impact on people’s capabilities. For instance, it asks whether people are being healthy, and whether the resources necessary for this capability – such as clean water, access to medical doctors, protection from infections and diseases, and basic knowledge on health issues – are present. It asks whether people are well-nourished, and whether the enabling requirements for this capability – such as sufficient food supplies and food entitlements – are met. It asks whether people have access to a high quality education, to real political participation, to community activities which support them to cope with daily struggles of life, to spiritual activities like Yoga that give them peace of mind. Such questioning never comes up in the commodity or consumption approaches.

For some of these capabilities, the main input will be financial and material goods, but for others people may have to count on social or cultural practices, religion or political participation, public facilities, social institutions, social structures, political practices that guarantee and protect the freedom of expression and so on.  The capability approach thus covers all probable factors that may have bearing on human wellbeing. Therefore, in the capability approach much attention is paid not only to the links between the economic, social, political and cultural dimensions of life but it also considers the dimensions of mental, spiritual and social well-being.

The capabilities approach has been used in the contexts of poverty measurement, gender issues, political freedom, and standard of living assessment. The most important attempt to make the approach operational was the creation of the Human Development Reports by the United Nations and the construction of the Human Development Index (HDI). The way countries rank in terms of development when measured by the HDI tends to differ, in some cases widely so, from those rankings based solely on income per capita.

Top Quotes of Amartya Sen in the video

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