An impartial observer, a Vulcan perhaps with some contextual background information on India, would surely note one striking fact about the Indian political scene from what gets generally reported in the main stream media. That fact is the near universal fear and loathing that one man evokes in a particular group of people. Upon closer inspection, the Vulcan will further notice that although the said group is heterogeneous in many respects, they all have one thing in common. Reflecting further on an easily observable set of other facts, the Vulcan will be forced to a conclusion which forms the subject of this brief piece.
Let me begin with the set of facts. First, India is an extremely poor country. This is common knowledge since not only does everyone know it but also that everyone knows everyone knows it. The visiting Vulcan will also see for himself. The evidence is all around and I will not waste any time in repeating them here.
Second, India has – and always had – the potential to become a prosperous and developed nation. India is not destined to be poor for the lack of any of the principal necessary ingredients necessary for prosperity such as resource endowments, human capital, domestic peace, and the absence of external invasion.
Third, the necessary processes for the prosperity of a nation are well-understood. Economies are complex entities which do not lend themselves to laboratory experiments for us to figure out how they work and under which conditions they fail. Fortunately for us, for well over a century, natural experiments have been conducted in different parts of the world on scores of countries which reveal the nature and causes of the wealth and poverty of nations.
It can be argued that India is not just poor...