From: email@example.com (M. Jagadesh Kumar)
Subject: Swadeshi: Call for a National Debate (2/5)
Organization: University of Waterloo
Date: Thu, 31 Mar 1994 19:49:26 GMT
from "The Illustrated Weekly of India" dated March 28, 1992
Swadeshi: Call for a National Debate (part 2/5)
By Shri. S. Gurumurthy
As the Indian nation became a republic, Nehru mesmerised the
country with the socialist theatre. The successor to Gandhi did not even
think of paying homage to Gandhiji by initiating the debate which his
mentor wanted during his lifetime.
Ironically, the first protest to the Nehruvian thought came from the
grandson himself. But that was not from the Gandhian or swadeshi
view. And again after no debate. He just found no opposition to him
after his mother's assassination and, therefore, became bold enough
to take a transparently pro-rich attitude. While Nehru said in 1928 that
the defect of industrialism in the West was capitalism, his grandson
said in 1985 that the defect of industrialism in India was socialism.
Now, the admitted collapse of the Nehruvian model in India and the
collapse of the communist ideology all over the world seem to have
offered an easy alternative in capitalism or free market as the only and
best alternative. The anglicised Indian elite has already defected to the
idea of globalisation as the only remedy for India's mulitidimensional
problems. The debate is simple: "If socialism fails capitalism must
But the multidimensional crisis that the nation has accumulated
over decades cannot be resolved by debating the relative merits of the
Marxian and free market ideas. A thorough inward looking excercise,
an audit of our four-decade experiment with the westen model, is
called for. A debate has to start - with no assumptions. The foreign
exchange crisis, IMF conditionalities and the coercive Dunkel formula
inevitably bring in the issue of political sovereignity of India in the
process of global economic integration. The debate that has been
postponed for six decades since Gandhiji first asked for it - the debate
on swadeshi versus the western model - has now become inevitable.
The facts that emerge are truly informative as to the relative role of
the traditional Indian economy which is approximately swadeshi and
the large-scale industrial economy, that is the western model.
The traditional economy has contributed 60 percent of our national
income, and 70 per cent of our exports against the rest by the western
model. The traditional economy, without accounting for agriculture,
employs more Indians (278 lakhs). While the western model engages
less (275 lakhs), and 80 per cent of the cloth produced is from the
traditional sector. While the western model accounts,for only 20 per
cent of the foreign exchange carnings, it uses up 60 percent of the total
earnings. The subsidy to the western model sector of the Indian
economy from the traditional sector by way of foreign exchange quota
is, for the year 1990-91 alone, Rs.6000 crore. Imagine what would
have been the total subsidy since Independence? It is undeniable that
it is the swadeshi or the traditional sector that has sustained the country
so far - and does so even today.
[To be concluded]
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