Rage: The emotion an Indian experiences on a visit to China

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by Singh, Jul 9, 2013.

  1. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    Musings on banks of the Huangpu


    An Indian, standing on the embankment of the Huangpu river, as he gazes at the impressive Shanghai skyline, is assailed by an assortment of unfamiliar emotions. The first is one of admiration for the Chinese; our Asian brethren who emerged from foreign invasion, a world war and sanguinary internecine conflict to attain nationhood, two years after India, to find themselves in thrall to harsh totalitarian rule. It was only after the passing of Chairman Mao that a pragmatic, new leadership adopted free market practices and opened up China to the world. The result, to all outward appearances, is a modern, prosperous nation, knocking impatiently on the doors of the first world.

    The second emotion is dismay that China succeeded in every aspect of socio-economic endeavour where India has either failed or is running in the same place. On a recent visit, I walked through residential areas in Shanghai, Wuxi and Suzhou, away from high-rise concrete, stainless steel and glass condominiums to observe the lifestyle of the common Chinese. The lower-middle classes reside in complexes and colonies much like our own: flats built cheek by jowl with hawkers vending vegetables on rickshaws and small neighbourhood shops dispensing tea and snacks.

    And yet there were significant differences which spoke of a quality of life alien to us. The smooth, unbroken and tree-lined pavements are used freely by pedestrians and cyclists. One saw neither open drains nor piles of garbage; nor did one encounter stray animals or need to navigate past their excreta while walking. One came, frequently, upon uniformed sanitary workers conscientiously picking up litter and depositing it in motorised rickshaws. Absence of construction debris, plentiful garbage bins, public toilets, fire-hydrants and enclosed electric transformers spoke of an omnipresent civic authority which not just functioned but also enforced civic rules and laws; something sadly absent in India.

    Traffic flowed freely on narrow but well-maintained roads, uncluttered by hawkers or parked vehicles, which are confined to designated areas. Low noise levels were attributable to all two and three-wheelers being battery-powered on legal mandate. My search for slums or pavement-dwellers was fruitless, either because they were absent or astutely camouflaged. Part of the explanation lay in the fact that every construction site — and there were hundreds — had a multistorey pre-fabricated accommodation complex for workers and families, with attached kitchens and crèches.

    Smaller cities like Suzhou have an ‘old quarter’ and people continue to live in tiny congested houses on cobbled streets lined with ancient canals. Once again, high standards of sanitation and hygiene have enabled the residents to not only live healthy lives but also earn a living by catering for tourists in sidewalk cafeterias by the canal-banks. No expense was spared to provide for the Chinese citizen aesthetically designed and well-maintained public amenities like parks, libraries, museums, theatres and opera houses in every city, something unheard of in independent India.

    One could go on in the same vein but this is not meant to be a paean to China. In fact, I would readily yield to the superior knowledge of China experts who know of the deep flaws in China’s social, political and economic systems, and who predict an impending implosion due to ethnic fault-lines and economic disparities.

    Instead, let me speak of the most overpowering emotion an Indian experiences on a visit to China; a silent rage against India’s rulers, for having failed the nation so badly. Not only do we lag decades behind China in most fields, but nothing that our political leaders say or do gives an iota of hope for the future. Sixty-six years after independence, India’s enduring slums, its growing urban decay and rural poverty, its dysfunctional public services and increasing indifference to mounting garbage and pollution problems speak volumes of the motivations, priorities and capabilities of its leadership, political and bureaucratic.

    Of the 51 government ministries that run our country, one looks after ‘Planning’ and another, ‘Programme Implementation’. We are painfully aware that most of the government’s plans and programmes either do not fructify or end up in corruption scandals. Conceding that the levels of political venality and corruption in China and India are equal, the Chinese have, at least, ensured that project planning and execution, as well as administrative functions proceed unhindered, and the people’s quality of life is continuously improving.

    If the farcical functioning of Parliament is a pointer, it becomes obvious that our leadership is so deeply preoccupied with the politics of survival that it has abdicated all responsibility for the functioning of ministries and departments; with the malaise infecting state administrations down to zilla and panchayat levels. The insecure politician clearly imagines he has found a panacea by handing over much of his responsibilities to the bureaucracy. In their turn, the all-India administrative and police services have not just failed to perform their tasks honestly and effectively, but having been entrusted with a vast spectrum of vital responsibilities extending from municipalities, to airlines, and industrial enterprises to intelligence services and national security, have consistently let the nation down.

    Notwithstanding its burgeoning population and GDP, India is steadily losing ground to China in every index of development and progress, largely due to poor governance. Anna Hazare, Kejriwal and Naxalites are all sending messages; is the politico-bureaucratic establishment listening?

    (The writer is a former Chief of the Naval Staff. Email: [email protected])
    Musings on banks of the Huangpu - The Hindu

    ==

    Speaking from experience, I was myself beset with rage, followed by resignation. If we work hard maybe in a few decades we can match upto China of 2013. You read that right.
     
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  3. The Messiah

    The Messiah Bow Before Me! Elite Member

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    Sure straight pavements lined with trees can also happen in India but what about the people who would protest when old colonies are bulldozed, should we shoot them or jail them and make them work as slave labour so as to reduce cost price ?

    This is the difference. Now choose which would you prefer.
     
  4. blank_quest

    blank_quest Senior Member Senior Member

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    its useless to be raged when stomachs are empty and as the Orwellian tyranny of Party-line goes.
    Orwell’s Big Brother: Merely Fiction? - Murray N. Rothbard - Mises Daily

    fairly that's all what Congress,as it seems,wants...
     
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  5. blank_quest

    blank_quest Senior Member Senior Member

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    Freedom is not free and the Rights are not eternally preserved,All rights comes with a price,some takes generations.
     
  6. t_co

    t_co Senior Member Senior Member

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    Actually, when old housing flats are bulldozed in China, the typical response is some form of compensation for the residents, not bullets or jailing. According to a NYU survey a few years ago, over 99% of all redevelopment projects in China had no state violence whatsoever. Of the remaining incidents, most of the "bullying" came from the aggrieved residents' neighbors, who could not be paid their share of the redevelopment compensation without the entire neighborhood packing their bags and moving together.

    Also, the idea that shooting people/being brutal = straight pavements lined with trees is a false assertion. Imposing totalitarianism for the sake of development gets you Pyongyang, not Shanghai or Seoul. The trick is not brutal governance but creating a well-balanced mix of incentives for local politicians to better their constituents' welfare, and then stepping back and empowering your local leaders to be creative.

    What Deng Xiaoping realized (from being a political commissar to a corps of peasant guerrillas and later being sent to the countryside during the Cultural Revolution) was that 95% of the time, the local authorities are the ones who deliver the "goods and services" a government ought to provide. Ergo, when he took power, that was the path he pushed China down - he turned the Organization Department into an engine of evaluating and promoting local officials that did well, the CDIC into an engine that persecuted local officials that did poorly, the various ministries into tools to help local officials accomplish their plans, and the Party Center/Military into a referee of the whole game, to make sure it was played fairly. The rest is history.

    What India ought to emulate from China is not one-party rule or a restriction of democracy; it is imposing clear risk/reward mechanisms to shape the behavior of local political leaders while simultaneously lifting restrictions on their behavior. This can be done in the context of a democracy; indeed, it should be nominally easier to accomplish this in a democracy that respects and values diversity rather than a Leninist party-state system that still has strong instincts to centralize power for itself.

    What I don't understand is why India, for the past 60 years, has fought all these centrifugal forces head-on, when instead, it ought to be using them to build itself up.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2013
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  7. Known_Unknown

    Known_Unknown Devil's Advocate Stars and Ambassadors

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    India should have had a few decades of communist or totalitarian dictatorship followed by democracy. Indians are undisciplined, relatively uncivilized in their day to day lives and live in a country where one has to take a big stick every time he gets out of the house. It's like a jungle where the law and order is absent and the one with the biggest stick makes the rules.

    As I've often said, India is a country which is too internally fragmented and divided to make any progress on the world stage. When every politician from the hundreds of political parties spends their time on scheming and conspiring against other parties, where is there time for administration and governance? Politicians either whip up communal passions for votes or buy them using exorbitant give-away programs from free TV's to free food. With all their time spent fighting against each other and with every party only representing the narrow parochial interests of its own voter base, the country will continue to be adrift, headed from one calamity to another.

    The Chinese have it right-first and foremost comes stability and internal unity, only then can one make progress. In India's case, "Unity in Diversity" is a mere motto.
     
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  8. blank_quest

    blank_quest Senior Member Senior Member

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    India needs a Statesmen, I don't know how many leaders-if we call them so- give time for thinking visionary thoughts for India as a country. All that we are chasing is a mirage of fake "The Great Indian Democracy". Even Democracy can turn into a tyranny. Papa Mummy party system must go or else we will see "freebies" with high "Human Capital Cost" in future.
     
  9. t_co

    t_co Senior Member Senior Member

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    Stop looking for a single man to fix India; instead, look to what you yourself can do.
     
  10. blank_quest

    blank_quest Senior Member Senior Member

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    All that was said was about being a visionary.
     
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  11. blank_quest

    blank_quest Senior Member Senior Member

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    in India politics is upside down.its not easy to rule the country without being supported by local Politicians. Politics in India has turned out to be too much local. And the Coalition Psychology has drifted the Pan India Vision away and the localism has instead taken over it. Even the ruling party needs the support of independent Politicians to rule. Say it representative Politics but that's another part of that parcel.
     
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  12. roma

    roma NRI in Europe Senior Member

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    the main difference is the quality of management where my personal observation is that china is far , far ahead of india ....also the money gets to where it is intended and leakages are minimised and the culprits are dealt with , even if (as in china) they were a former minister of railways ! whereas in india instead of being sentenced to death ( as in china ) , he might be held up by his colleages as a stunning success viz india's former railway chief Lalu P's relatives travelling for free !!
     
  13. Dovah

    Dovah Untermensch Senior Member

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    True that. However, illegal residential societies are a big issue, what would be the alternative to forced evacuation if thee people take up public land?
     
  14. civfanatic

    civfanatic Retired Moderator

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    Can you elaborate on this statement? What are these "centrifugal forces" and how can India use them to build itself up?
     
  15. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    [​IMG]
    Ai Weiwei standing in the rubble of his studio in Shanghai on Tuesday. He has come to see his conflict with government officials as performance art.
    With the article "Chinese Authorities Raze an Artist’s Studio", The New York Times



    [​IMG]


    On Tuesday, workers were demolishing the Shanghai studio of the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei.


    "Chinese Authorities Raze an Artist’s Studio". AI WEIWEI | METALOCUS
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2013
  16. t_co

    t_co Senior Member Senior Member

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    State-to-state competition; regional competition; secessionist tendencies etc.

    Why not tap those forces to force state CMs to compete with each other in terms of delivering economic performance and public goods/services?

    Instead, state CMs seem to compete with each other on seeing who can make the right noises regarding secularism/Hindutva or handing out free goodies to their vote banks.
     
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  17. sob

    sob Moderator Moderator

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    Let us not focus on the negatives of the Chinese progress. Even here in India the Government has the power to acquire land at a rate that they determine, and we have the seen the consequences and the public resentment.

    China indeed has gone a long way forward in terms of infrastructure and we as a nation need to learn the good ideas from them and to avoid the mistakes that they have made.

    We need a Government that works to get the economy running and focuses on infrastructure build up. Keeping 80% of the country on food dole is not the way to move forward.
     
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  18. TrueSpirit

    TrueSpirit Senior Member Senior Member

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    This very aspect is a sorely missed attribute of Indian governance. Unless a fair risk-reward system is institutionalized in our bureaucracy, only lopsided & piecemeal development could be expected.

    And, such lopsided progress fueled by greed alone could result in many undesirable outcomes: Uttarakhand catastrophe being a recent example.
     
  19. TrueSpirit

    TrueSpirit Senior Member Senior Member

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    Sir, leadership matters the most in all sorts of regimes. It was Deng who catapulted China to an envious position.
    Obviously, he alone couldn't have done it but would it have been distantly possible, if not for him & his prudent/sane policies (which were a desperately-needed welcome departure from the disastrous follies of "Cultural Revolution, Big Leap Forward & s on.... ).
     
  20. Ankit Purohit

    Ankit Purohit Senior Member Senior Member

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    Chinese Muslim ?????
     
  21. pankaj nema

    pankaj nema Senior Member Senior Member

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    Chinese progress is a Huge inspiration to India

    But please remember the differences between the two societies

    Indian society has many religions languages and castes

    We are NOT a Homogeneous society unlike the Chinese who are mostly Hans and
    have No religious or Language differences

    ONLY and ONLY In a Homogeneous society we can have A Communist regime and communist system
     

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