Jawaharlal Nehru - “It is not true that we covet Goa. That small bit of territory does not make any difference to this great country India. We do not desire to impose ourselves on the people of Goa against their wishes. It is definitely their responsibility to choose for themselves. We have assured Goans that it is for them to establish their own future and I further assure them on matters such as Religion, Languages and Customs”. - 21st August 1955.
Tuesday, June 14, 2016
CHINA VS INDIA By Jeff Fernandes
Culturally speaking, the Chinese are more industrious, more meritocratic, more egalitarian, more practical, more disciplined, and more secular. The Chinese articulate a vision, set goals, and then go about achieving them relentlessly. The Indians make idle boasts and delusional forecasts and then vegetate: no one seemed to have taught them that the cart shouldn’t come before the horse.
For China, the erstwhile Maoist system, while monstrously flawed, secured an economic foundation by vastly improving nutrition, numeracy, literacy, healthcare, and advancing women’s rights. Deng Xiaoping’s post-Mao reforms would not have succeeded without the aforementioned accomplishments serving as a steppingstone.
India, on the other hand, is just fucked up, OK? Just straight up FUBAR. It’s still plagued by the caste system and mired in sexism. After some 60 years of self-rule, India still hasn’t managed the basics: 58% of Indian children suffer from malnutrition; 20% of Indians go hungry everyday; functional literacy rate is around a pathetic 50%; 1/3 of the population have no access to electricity; 1/3 of the country is controlled by various insurgencies, etc.
With such atrocious fundamentals, all the Hindutva drivel about India Rising and India Shining will remain just that, drivel.
Whereas Chinese leaders are selected primarily based on merit and qualifications, Indian politics is largely a family affair (e.g. the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty) in which performance is irrelevant but blood ties all important.
Despite the much ballyhooed Indian “democracy”, the Chinese system is far more accountable and responsive. Case in point, when the emergency management system was deemed deficient during the recent flood in Beijing, the mayor was fired; when Bangalore experiences annual floods, the local honchos are re-elected, repeatedly, by promising handouts to largely poor and illiterate vote banks.
The Chinese know what they want: to get rich and to reclaim their former position as the hegemon. They are open to adopt whatever systems or methods that can propel them there: this is the essence of Deng’s motto that it doesn’t matter if a cat is black or white, so long it catches mice.
The Indians, by contrast, have never articulated a collective vision and are therefore content with a hodgepodge of caste-based feudalism, socialist license raj, and neoliberal excesses: a little something to appease every constituency and ideological group.
And just to miff the Hindutvas and PC banshees, let me close by pointing out that Chinese are generally more intelligent and have a much tougher mental constitution, which undoubtedly contribute to their superior performance vis-a-vis the Indians.
P.S. For those of you interested in enlightening cross-cultural comparisons between India and China, read Mr. Navneet Bakshi’s blog. Mr. Bakshi is an Indian who had lived and worked in China long-term. He endears with his brutal honesty and incisive observations.