My 200 words on India’s Naxal guerrilla rebels that a “leading business magazine” invited but then found too hot to handle

“Public finances in India, state and Union, show appalling accounting and lack of transparency. Vast amounts of waste, fraud and malfeasance get hidden as a result. The Congress, BJP, official communists, socialists et al are all culpable for this situation having developed – over decades. So if you ask me, “Is the Indian state and polity in a healthy condition?” I would say no, it is pretty rotten. Well-informed, moneyed, mostly city-based special interest groups (especially including organised capital and organised labour) dominate government agendas at the cost of ill-informed, diffused masses of anonymous individual citizens ~ peasants, forest-dwellers, small businessmen, non-unionized workers, the destitute, etc. Demarcations of private, community and public property rights frequently remain fuzzy. Inflation causes non-paper assets to rise in value, encouraging land-grabs. And the fetish over purported growth-rates continues despite measurements being faulty, not reaching UN SNA standards, probably hiding increasing inequalities. India’s polity and economy are in poor shape for many millions of ordinary people. Armed rebellion, however, does not follow from this. Killing poor policemen and starting class-wars were failed Naxal tactics in the 1970s and remain so today. Naxals should put down their weapons and use Excel sheets and government accounting data instead.

Dr Subroto Roy, economist and adviser to Rajiv Gandhi 1990-1991.”

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And then there was Alexander Dubček in the Prague Spring of 1968

From Facebook:

Subroto Roy recalls that long before Gorbachev and Walesa, there was in the Prague Spring a man named Dubček…. this is a photograph published in his “Hope Dies Last”
ManandtankWenceslas

My Ten Articles on China, Tibet, Xinjiang, Taiwan in relation to India

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I have had a close interest in China ever  since the “Peking Spring” more than thirty years ago (if not from when I gave all my saved pocket money to Nehru in 1962 to fight the Chinese aggression) but I had not published anything relating to China until 2007-2008 when I published the ten articles listed below:

“Understanding China”, The Statesman Oct 22 2007

“India-US interests: Elements of a serious Indian foreign policy”, The Statesman Oct 30 2007

“China’s India Aggression”, The Statesman, Nov 5 2007,

“Surrender or Fight? War is not a cricket match or Bollywood movie. Can India fight China if it must? “ The Statesman, Dec 4 2007

“China’s Commonwealth: Freedom is the Road to Resolving Taiwan, Tibet, Sinkiang” The Statesman, December 17, 2007

“Nixon & Mao vs India: How American foreign policy did a U-turn about Communist China’s India aggression”. The Statesman, January 7 2008.

“Lessons from the 1962 War: there are distinct Tibetan, Chinese and Indian points of view that need to be mutually comprehended,” The Statesman, January 15, 2008

“China’s India Example: Tibet, Xinjiang May Not Be Assimilated Like Inner Mongolia, Manchuria”, The Statesman, March 25, 2008

“China’s force and diplomacy: The need for realism in India”, The Statesman, May 31, 2008

“Transparency and history” (with Claude Arpi), Business Standard, Dec 31 2008

With new tensions on the Tibet-India border apparently being caused by the Chinese military, these may be helpful for India to determine a Plan B, or even a Plan A, in its dealings with Communist China.

See also https://independentindian.com/1990/09/18/my-meeting-jawaharlal-nehru-2/

https://independentindian.com/2009/11/25/on-the-zenith-and-nadir-of-us-india-relations/

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From being a critic to becoming a fan of the Clintons

I got to Washington in the summer of 1992, just before the Clintons arrived, and lived there through all of 1993 and a bit of 1994.   It is fair to say I have been continually critical — right until Mrs Clinton’s brilliant speech at the Democratic convention last year.  Now I may have become a bit of a fan.  Could the successful North Korea visit be Bill Clinton’s most dignified and single most poignant political deed? And Hillary appears to have finally found her calling as Secretary of State.  She was an excellent diplomatist on her recent India-visit — and certainly put our rather dull political class into the shade.  President Obama gets some credit here for good managerial decisions behind the scenes.

Subroto Roy

Time for heads to roll in the BJP/RSS and CPI(M)!

On the day of the big Ludhiana rally by the BJP and friends last Sunday, I asked here if Messrs Advani, Rajnath Singh and Modi would ride into the sunset if the BJP came to be trounced.    I also predicted  then a large defeat for the BJP because by my assessment they had made nothing like the effort needed to maintain let aside increase their 86 million votes of 2004.

Three days later, two hours before polls closed, I predicted a “big victory” for Congress and sent my early congratulations to their leadership because by my assessment Congress had done enough not just to maintain but to increase their 103 million raw votes from 2004.

Once the data are out, I am sure that, after adjusting for population growth, the difference between Congress and the BJP in the raw vote will be much greater than the 17 million of 2004.   It may even be double that.

The BJP has come to be trounced and it is time for Messrs Advani, Rajnath Singh and Modi to ride into the sunset.

So has the CPI(M) been trounced.  It is time for heads to roll there too — especially those of the elitist JNU coterie that have dominated it ideologically for 30 years.   Had this been the USSR or PRC, there would have been some serious purges in that Politburo!  Time for some kangaroo courts, weeping confessions and then to march out those firing squads gentlemen!

Figuratively speaking of course…. 😀

Subroto Roy, Kolkata

Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee must dissolve the West Bengal Assembly if he is an honest democrat: Please try to follow Gerard Schröder’s example even slightly!

In my January 9 2007 article “Hypocrisy of the CPI-M” in The Statesman, I urged that West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee should dissolve the West Bengal Assembly and go to the people.   I said then:

“All of 37% of those voting in the 2006 Assembly Elections voted for the CPI-M. By contrast, 41.2% voted for Trinamul and Congress together. Add also the 11.4% of those who voted for the Forward Bloc, RSP and CPI all of whom though part of the Left Front have been opposing the CPI-M on this cardinal issue. That constitutes prima facie evidence that a majority of 52.6% vs. 37% of voters may oppose the CPI-M’s present course of action. Mr Bhattacharjee heads a Government that is supposed to act not merely in the interest of members or groups of his own party or those who have flattered or financed it, but everyone in West Bengal including those who voted against the CPI-M as well as those who did not vote at all.

Gerhard Schröder dissolved the German Bundestag in 2005 though his own party held a majority there. He did so merely because his party lost a provincial election and he felt that indicated loss of confidence in it at the federal level also. Such is how genuine modern democracies work. In India to the contrary, we have had notorious misuse of the Constitution when State Governments were dissolved merely because they were ruled by parties opposed to that which had won a Union-level General Election. Even so, India remains a Parliamentary democracy at Union and State levels, and the Government of the day may advise the Head of State to dissolve the House and call for new elections to be held. It may do so even when there is no legal necessity to do so, i.e., even when it is secure with a majority of seats. It may do so because a political necessity has arisen for doing so.  If Mr Bhattacharjee is a genuine democrat, as he wishes to convey an impression of being, he should advise the Governor to dissolve the Assembly because the CPI-M wishes to go to the people to seek a mandate for its plans for the State’s industrialisation and forced acquisition of farm lands towards that end. The Trinamul, Congress, SUCI, Maoists and others including perhaps the CPI, FB, RSP and others will state their opposition, while he, Mr Nirupam Sen and their party will be able to articulate for West Bengal’s voters exactly what they propose to do and why. The CPI-M is adamant its cause is right while the Opposition have been agitating in the streets for months, and miniature civil war conditions now prevail in parts of rural Bengal; worse may be yet to come. There is only one way in a supposedly democratic society like ours to discover what should be done, and that is to dissolve the Assembly and call an election. Both sides will have a chance to articulate their positions to the public, and a vote will be held. There the matter would end. It is the one constructive way forward for the State, and indeed for the nation as a whole…”

With the results of the 15th General Elections to the Lok Sabha now proving  the general unpopularity of  the CPI(M) to be true, Mr Bhattacharjee has no moral alternative but to dissolve the  Assembly and seek new State elections.   Anything else would  permanently brand him and his party as less than honest in their commitment to democracy.  Gerard Schröeder dissolved a national parliament because of a  provincial result — the least that Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee can do is dissolve the State-legislature because of a national result.

Subroto Roy

Of related interest: “Once upon a time, not very long ago, there was something called “Brand Buddha”…See Anarchy in Bengal

Mapping of Votes into Assembly Segments Won into Parliamentary Seats Won in the 2004 India Election

We in India shall soon be hearing the talking-heads on TV, mostly in New Delhi,  jabbering away about “swings” and “anti-incumbency” and “mandates” and “fractured mandates” etc.  Most of it will be waffle without any basis in hard facts because nobody wants to actually do any of the work necessary to acquire a serious opinion.

Just as you cannot win at cricket unless you bowl out the other side and you cannot win at soccer unless you score more goals than the other side, you are not going to win a General Election in India unless you win more Assembly Segments of Parliamentary Constituencies than your competitors.

It is not logically impossible but it is factually unlikely that you can lose, say, five out of six Assembly Segments and still win the Parliamentary Constituency by winning the sixth with a sufficiently large margin.  Raw votes generally translate into winning Assembly Segments and winning Assembly Segments generally translate into winning Lok Sabha seats.

In 2004, the top five winners were as follows, where the first number is raw votes won, the second the number of Assembly Segments won, and the third the number of Lok Sabha seats won:

INC    103,118,475    1,157    145
BJP    86,181,116    1,076    138
CPM    22,065,283    322    43
BSP    21,037,968    107    17
SP    16,822,902    167    39

Notice the BSP won some 4 million more raw votes than the SP but fewer Assembly Segments and fewer Lok Sabha Seats.  And the CPM won barely a million more raw votes than did the BSP but 215 more Assembly Segments and 26 more Lok Sabha seats.  Clearly Uttar Pradesh voting patterns need a lot more detailed analysis — my ex ante hypothesis would be that the BSP’s results are affected by the policy of some  constituencies being “reserved”.

More significantly, at the head of the race, notice that the BJP lost the raw vote to the Indian National Congress by a margin of almost 17 million votes which translated into winning 81 Assembly Segments fewer than the INC which translated into winning 7 fewer Lok Sabha seats — and hence ended up sitting in the Opposition in the Lok Sabha for five years.

A central question is whether the BJP has or has not done enough over the last five years to get in its favour a net change in the raw vote — and that too by a sufficient amount to change the number of Assembly Segments won in its favour.

Putting it differently, has the INC done enough to at least maintain its share of the raw-vote and its leading position, and hence  be likely to win the largest number of Assembly Segments and Lok Sabha seats again?

Here is the overall picture:

book1_17442_image001And yes, of course, there have been demographic changes over five years so those changed parameters shall have affected the  new outcome too (notice the INC’s emphasis on the “youth vote”).

This is original research which could come to be published in a scientific journal if I find the time to send it, so please try not to steal and instead acknowledge its source properly if you want to discuss it elsewhere.

Subroto Roy