Everything Gets Worse  (Part XII) –  Pakistan vs. India

After 70 years of so-called independence, one has to be a professional victim not to look within oneself for the reasons for starvation, unnatural deaths, utter backwardness, drudgery, disease, and misery in India.

Intellectual capital accumulated in the West over the last 2,500 years — available for free in real-time via the internet — can be downloaded by a passionate learner. In the age of modern technology, another mostly free gift from the West which has significantly leveled the playing field, societies that wanted economic convergence with the West, such as Japan, Korea, Singapore, HK, China, etc., have either achieved it rapidly, or have strongly trended toward it.

 

More than 28,000 children less than six years of age have died in just one province, Madhya Pradesh, over the past year. Because these deaths were due to diseases resulting from malnourishment, the government attributed every single death to disease rather than malnourishment.

Photo credit: Hemender Sharma, India Today

 

Given that Indian prime minister Narendra Modi has been at the helm for only three years, it is hard to blame him in general for any of the above mentioned monstrosities marring daily life in India. The best the head of the executive of an extremely diverse and complicated country can achieve is to nudge the Titanic in the right direction.

The problem is that Modi has actively sped the Titanic toward collision with an iceberg, from which he himself will not emerge unharmed. He must be blamed for his naiveté, his upside-down understanding of economics and a complete lack of awareness of the realities of life, his narcissism and obsession of making a hero out of himself, and an utter lack of self-respect that drives him to seek solace in Hindu fanaticism. He and his party have been a catalyst fanning the flames of nationalism and fanaticism among Indians.

 

Farmers demonstrating in Delhi to point out their plight. More than 12,600 farmers and agricultural laborers committed suicide in 2015 in what is one of the world’s poorest countries. On average, life is worse for Indians than it is for Africans.

Photo credit: Reuters

 

However, sociopaths exist in every society. If you get rid of one, another one enters the scene. In the end, it is Indians who deserve to be blamed for elevating Modi and his BJP to their positions. In the end, it is Indians who deserve to be blamed for hollowing out and destroying institutions the British left behind over the past 70 years.

In the irrational and tribal society of India, Modi perfectly symbolizes and unconsciously exploits the thinking process of the common man, who tends to deal with problems by doing even more of what created the problems in the first place.

A rational person (particularly one whose perception is otherwise skewed by political correctness) faces a huge uphill task and high levels of frustration, when trying to comprehend the actions of irrational people and societies. He won’t be able to understand that the irrationality of some people is so pronounced it can keep them from connecting two simple dots right in front of them.

 

Some 3,000 children die every day from illnesses related to poor diets. Of those who survive, 44% of the children under the age of 5 are stunted. 72% of infants and 52% of married women have anemia. With respect to this India is ranked on the same level as North Korea and Sudan.

Photo credit: Reuters

 

It is difficult or me to judge whether Pakistan is better or worse off by comparison, but I received many complaints in response to an earlier article in this series (in which I had presumed Pakistan to be somewhat worse off than India), mostly based on tribalism. But let’s try to bring some balance to the issue anyway.

On the World Happiness Report, India is ranked in 122nd position. Pakistan is ranked much higher, in 80th  position. Pakistan’s  per capita GDP is US$1,550,  India’s is US$1,719. The difference is very small. Moreover, Pakistan has to spend a fortune to cater to refugees, to defend itself against problems from Afghanistan, as well as a much bigger foe, namely India. Pakistan also suffers from instability spilling over from Afghanistan and Iran.

As a result Pakistan is spending a much higher proportion of its government revenue on the military than India. If the external conditions of the two countries were similar, Pakistan would presumably be richer than India.

I also received several introspective messages from Pakistanis, who averred that Pakistan was descending into chaos, and similar statements were made by Indians as well. Most Pakistanis asked me to keep their names confidential, as speaking out against the Pakistani army or Islam could easily lead to unwelcome consequences such as beheading. A small minority in India is less concerned about speaking out, but this is changing quite rapidly.

 

A silly, well-orchestrated routine that is conducted every day at Indo-Pak border. Ironically, both Indian and Pakistani forces work and practice this routine together, to keep it well-synchronized. The bravado and bravery is all superficial theater.

 

Demonetization Pain Continues Unabated

When Narendra Modi announced on 8th November 2016 that he was demonetizing 86% of the monetary value of all currency in circulation, he gave three major reasons for doing so: to end corruption, to end terrorism and to eliminate counterfeit currency. Ironically, all three are now in far worse condition than they were previously, and even worse than the predictions I made in this series of essays (Part XI is linked here).

Many ATMs in India still dispense no cash. The economy is in shatters. This had to happen, as any new cash is rapidly moving under the carpets of the financial powerful that hoard currency. Small businesses are traumatized by the lack of access to cash – many are closing for good. People continue to avoid making non-essential purchases. Even food demand has failed to recover. Poor people very likely are still forced to go to bed half-hungry.

No-one knows whether there are famines in parts of India, as none of the  mainstream media are covering the issue. Not unlike North Koreans or the Chinese during the times of Mao, Indians today, particularly members of the so-called educated class, simply cannot see what Modi or their nationalistic paradigm does not want them to see.

Indian banks and other financial institutions are extremely unethical. Since privatization was implemented in the 1990s, they have charged fees and commissions for accounts that were never agreed upon. Indians never fight, so this continues. After the demonetization exercise, these mysterious charges have started to appear more often.

Then they deduct certain services and financial taxes, and most people don’t make the effort to try to understand them. Indians are getting very tired of the banks – not for moral, but simply for financial reasons. Bank websites are extremely unwieldy. They require a sequence of passwords and OTPs (one time pad codes), which have an automatic expiry date.

Getting the whole sequence right to make an online payment without having these websites freeze during the procedure leaves one with a sense of accomplishment. Most people prefer to walk down to their banks to get bank officials to perform such online transactions. India is simply not ready for the digital age. This experiment in going cashless will end in a disaster.

Similar to every tyrant, Modi likes to think that tax collection should be at the heart of society. He imagines a society in which subjects dance around the state. The problem is, one can perfect the tax system or minimize corruption, but with a per capita GDP  of $1,718, India simply does not have the required productivity.

Bank charges, rapacious tax authorities and massive amounts of time lost in dealing with the lack of cash have hurt whatever little productivity the Indian economy may have had. And by forcing digitalization, Modi has merely shifted liquidity from the informal to the formal sector.

Even in the western world, most big corporations are in bed with governments. In India, romping in bed with the State is all they ever do. For the moment, these corporations are huge beneficiaries of shift of resources to the banking system.

But without the spine that is the informal sector, the formal sector cannot benefit for very long. Eventually even the formal economy will succumb and take a massive hit.

 

Bank credit growth in India plummets to 60 year lows.

 

Corruption is bigger today, with most people complaining that they have to pay almost twice as much as usual in bribes, as bureaucrats and politicians try to make up for any real or assumed loses they faced as a result of the demonetization process. Counterfeiting of banknotes is a bigger problem today than it likely ever was.

 

Kashmir – Where India’s Disintegration Is Set to Begin

The last professed reason for Modi’s demonetization decree was to end terrorism and to solve the problems in Kashmir. The situation in Kashmir has deteriorated rapidly, while the law and order situation is generally worsening around the country, as vigilantes are given free reign.

 

An African student in India being thrashed merely for being African. Racism against Africans is rampant in India, and the hostility is growing.

 

Sacred cow enforcement squad: Cow vigilantes have become a regular feature of the Indian landscape, with Muslims and lower-caste people being killed and thrashed on a regular basis (one of the five men beaten up in this video later died). The Muslim community is increasingly isolated. This cannot end well in a country with the world’s second biggest Muslim population.

 

Hindu Yuva Vahini, a group of fanatics, founded by none other than the current Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, roaming freely, with swords drawn (UP is India’s most populous state with nearly 200 million inhabitants). Once the genie of lawlessness is out of the bottle in this irrational society, it will be centuries before it can be put back in again. This is a disaster waiting to happen.

Photo credit: Reuters

 

 

Immediately after his appointment, Yogi Adityanath created “Anti-Romeo” squads, whose job is to harass any couples deemed to be unmarried. In spite of the fact that the police has no such constitutional authority, the courts have been silent spectators. Vigilante Hindu fanatics have even dragged couples from private properties to the police station. Instead of police charging these fanatics, they end up interrogating the couples dragged to the station. As I have said repeatedly, only hollowed out structures remain of the institutions the British left behind.

 

There has been an unprecedented increase in human rights violations by the Indian army in recent days in Kashmir

 

Another short video showing the Indian army in action in Kashmir

 

The Indian army recently used a man as a human shield in Kashmir. Not only celebrities and journalists voiced their approval, India’s Attorney General, one of the main guardians of the law, justified it by saying: “peculiar situations require peculiar measures”.

 

One must reflect on what it means if the country’s Attorney General has no clue what the rule of the law actually means. Voting was almost non-existent in recent elections. The army is stressed out and desperate. Those not in Kashmir and with no skin in the game happily pass judgment from their couches.

There is no political mechanism in place for Kashmir to secede. Secession through violence – which looks increasingly inevitable, particularly in view of Modi’s heavy-handedness  – will be extremely chaotic. Its reverberations will be heard across the world, and might start the fragmentation of India as a political entity.

 

Jayant Bhandari grew up in India. He advises institutional investors on investing in the junior mining industry. He
writes on political, economic and cultural issues for several publications. He is a contributing editor of the Liberty magazine. He runs a yearly seminar in Vancouver titled Capitalism & Morality.

 

 
 

 
 

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16 Responses to “India – Is Kashmir Gone?”

  • legendx:

    A lot of these problems could be solved if we had accountability on the part of our legislatures, and I think that is what Modi is trying to do. For all the problems that modi has, he is far better than what we had under the congress government.

  • legendx:

    Nice article but I think you seem to point one side of the problem… Most of the issues you had stated is the problem with the states and the misallocation of funds. Modi is trying to solve some of the problems of the waste and fraud by bringing in cashless electronic payment and accountability, but it is not going that great. I see how you are creating a false equivalency between a terrorist state and a democracy. Religious fanaticism is bad and is to be called for, but you seem to forget the same on the side of muslims. As far as the human shields go, it is the same tactic used by the ISIS and the other extremists elements within islam. It is absolutely wrong, but sometimes you have to fight fire with fire. You also seem to miss about reporting on the stone-pelting by the terrorists in Kashmir. The problem of the farmers is a state issue and must be dealt with state cooperation. Also we have had a congress for a long time and I believe they were also a cause of the misallocation of resources in the state level.

  • Hans:

    “The Indian economy advanced 7 percent year-on-year in the last three months of 2016, slowing from an upwardly revised 7.4 percent rise in the previous quarter but beating expectations of a 6.4 percent growth. The expansion was mainly driven by a surge public spending and agriculture. The GDP is expected to grow 7.1 percent in the fiscal year ending in March 2017. “

    • martelhabermann:

      Their government and their central bank have no integrity, as evidenced by the default on their promissory notes issued to their public. The world is dealing with a set of inveterate liars here.

      • anub:

        Cannot argue with someone who cannot seem to understand the difference between “replacement” and “default” . It was a currency replacement exercise and unlike gloom n doom painted here , India did just fine Growth has already rebounded post it, with added benefits of so many new members joining the formal banking system. So you naysayers have to wait longer :) India is way stronger than a simple currency exercise to break its economy which continued to grow even in 2008-09 at around 4%.

        • sufganiyah:

          This is too funny.

        • martelhabermann:

          On Dec 30, 2016 the Indian government passed an ordinance making it a penal offence for Indians to possess the debt that it had issued earlier. This ordinance, titled “Ordinance No 10 of 2016, Specified Bank Notes (Cessation of Liabilities)”, was made effective the very next day, catching many of India’s residents by surprise (search for the title of this ordinance to find it).

          Subsequently, the Indian press has carried a number of reports of Indian citizens being turned away, and in some cases even jailed, when they approached their government to honor the debt printed on its currency (search: “india rbi scrapped notes”).

          As many of India’s residents discovered, the promises of their government to “pay the bearer” the value printed on its issued debt meant nothing.

          This clearly a government that will renege on its promises. The word of this government means nothing.

          As for the claim of “replacement”, according to the reports published by the Indian central bank, the currency with their public as of Apr 14, 2017 was Rupees 13.289 trillion. On the other hand, according to the same central bank, the currency in circulation on Nov 4, 2016 just before demonetisation had been Rupees 17.974 trillion. Search for “RBI money supply data”.

          That would be a 4.685 trillion rupee shortage, a 26% reduction in the cash supply of a predominantly cash based economy. Thus the Indian government’s claims of 7% (or 70%) “growth” are simply not credible.

  • Hans:

    Anub, like so many of his country men does like to
    heard the truth. He still blame the British for all of
    his nation’s problems, rather than thank them for the
    institutions they left for India.

    I was expecting many good things from the currant PM but
    sadly he has failed to deliver. I was also excepting
    India to have a Red China moment but once again it
    has failed to deliver.

    Both the continuation of the Castle system and India’s
    socialist ways, continues to hamper the great potential
    of the Indian nation.

    Anub, if you get a chance, could you clean up all of the corpse
    flowing down the Ganges river?

    • anub:

      The rivers will get cleaned and in time, the problem with British apologists and critics and analysts like you and Jayant is that you are unable to appreciate the scale of India. It takes time before things and improvements actually become visible. Caste system is illegal by law, try it on the street and watch the fun of a non bailable warrant. I wonder if you have ever lived in India. For the British, yes they did impoverish the country proceeding on one of the largest wealth transfers and genocides, but India is on its way to progress. It will grow inspite of people like you and Jayant. PS: I pay taxes( sizable) which enable people to clean not only Ganges but also armchair losers in time as they get weeded out.

      • Hans:

        Anub, this summer your country will celebrate it’s
        70th year of independence, yet like America’s Harry Potters
        whom on every occasion cry “white racists” you gleefully accuse
        everyone with the rejoinder of being a “British apologists.”

        You fail to remember that both of our nations (America)
        fought the English to secure our independence.

        “you are unable to appreciate the scale of India. It takes time before
        things and improvements actually become visible.”

        Now that statement sounds very much like an apologist after seventy years
        of self governance. Time for you to lose your biases and seek the truth, if
        it is possible.

        “For the British, yes they did impoverish the country proceeding on one of the largest wealth transfers and genocides”

        Complete poppycock, Anub, as your nation has been impoverished for
        for centuries! It was your fellow countrymen whom choose the path to
        Socialism, for so many decades, leading to of course a general decline
        in the health and welfare of India.

        And let’s not forget India’s role as the leader of the Non-Aligned Movement,
        which did not serve it well.

        https://swarajyamag.com/world/was-the-non-aligned-movement-ever-relevant-for-india

        “It will grow inspite of people like you and Jayant.”

        I suspect Jayant and I both wish your country well.
        Nothing would please me more to see India rise and prosper to become a
        powerful economic nation; providing a bulwark against the menace of both
        Red China and Islamy Pakistan.

        The challenges are great, as you have mentioned, but so are the institutions
        and the minds of your countrymen, many whom are world class leaders in
        their chosen profession.

        I prayer for India’s success.

        BTW, I was recently seen by Dr Subha Giri, perhaps one of the best
        doctors whom has ever treated me!! I have the highest esteem for her!

  • anub:

    Jayant your articles seem unusually biased , India has problems but things are on way to getting better. India still continues to grow at 7% with current account deficit in control, high savings rate, financial inclusion, improved governance and debt /GDP ratios much better than advanced economies on a borrowing spree. Infact I am glad that armchair critics like you are out the country. No matter how much you try to suck up to your colonial masters you will always be their pet dog. All the best with the life as a street dog! Colonial apologists like you are the worst scum we deal with and when your tribe is extinct , we will truly progress.

    • Solon:

      Jayant, can you ask for better proof of the irrational, violent, tribal nature of India than anub’s post? If the majority of Hindus approach discourse with insult and threats, like anub, they truly are doomed.

      • anub:

        Pleasure carry on with your stereotypes , India will continue to harvest its immense potential and no one cares. World continues to invest in the INDIA growth story.

        For the record , We are Indians first and Hindus later. BJP got an absolute mandate on inclusive growth platform. for a country of india’s scale there will always be issues as the world is not an utopia. Clearly your tribal mind is not in sync with the ground realities in India and takes pleasure in selectively presenting facts. Kindly carry on with your delusional existence in your parallel universe.

      • martelhabermann:

        This is fairly typical Indian upper caste behavior.

        They control their poor and their lower castes using violence.

        On the Internet, faced with criticism that they cannot counter, they are reduced to threat and bluster.

        • anub:

          Fairly typical western “I know it all” snowflake behavior backed with sweeping generalizations which at best explain your hubris and at worst your ignorance. you are exactly the personification of the so called upper class that you seem to oppose. Like everywhere else in the world india does have an upper class and it is defined by money, which is the new caste.

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