The Indian Liberal Theory of “Instead of”…

We have often seen or heard Congress spokespersons, Indian armchair liberals or the extreme left viz CPIM, Jai Bheem guys with their rhetoric: “instead of”. Currently, a post floating around the internet speaking about the glorious deeds of Nehru while maintaining it was not a post for children’s day. It said what if there was a statue instead of IIT Kharagpur, or a temple instead of BHEL, would India have succeeded in standing up to the superpowers? Agreed, it was a post meant for adults but it provides us an insight into the minds of Indian left/liberals. They have a pre conceived notion of “My way or the highway” and believe government must act according to this notion which is completely wrong.

Seven new IIMs and six new IITs are created after 2014. Brahmaputra Valley Fertiliser Corporation was created under Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government, which also means that it does employ a lot of people in North East. Eleven non performing private companies are now under public sector as ruled by the Modi government. At the same time the government companies which were not performing were opened to the public in form of shares. Things go side by side. They don’t go with the logic of “instead of”. If we take temples and statues, there is also a temple of Sonia in Telangana, with infinitesmal revenue. Nehruvians and Gandhi followers had created far more statues which were insignificant and if you add them up, the amount might surpass 3000 crore in today’s money. These statues didn’t contribute to tourism anyway.

In a way, the statue of “one Iron Man” is enough to cement the Hindi adage “Sau sonaar ki. Ek lohaar ki” (One strike of the hammer of a blacksmith is equivalent to thousand strikes of a goldsmith). Business opportunities are expansive for the Narmada region of Gujarat with this statue and things have just started. But instead, they criticise it by all means saying “It’s only new and hence attracting many people”, or “It’s just the Diwali holidays” and so on.

So, at this point we must ask “Where does this ‘instead of’ logic comes from? Here, we deviate from the topic for a while before coming in and answering the question of the origins of “instead of” logic. We must see India during the time of Independence and India now. India at the time of independence and in its subsequent years was ravaged and what was Nehru’s contribution to the economy. In fact, The phrase “Nehruvian Socialist rate of growth” is used to refer to the low annual growth rate of the Indian economy before 1991. It remained around 3.5% from the 1950s to 1980s, compared to 8.2% last quarter in 2018. During the same period, South Korea grew by 10% and Taiwan by 12%. Even our neighbour Pakistan fared better than India at that point. The GDP growth rate of Pakistan on an average was 6.8% in the 1960s, 4.8% in the 1970s, and 6.5% in the 1980s. Indian National Congress, back then, did nothing to counter and encourage economic development. Spendings on IITs, IIMs did not seem to reap benefit and on the contrary, lead to increasing brain drain because the government did not provide impetus to industries and their research and development.

A greater economic development is significantly correlation to better bilateral relations. USA presidents, right from Harry Truman to Lyndon Johnson, and as late as even Ronald Reagan favoured Pakistan over India. So what would India do? Get pressurised by the US-Pak-China nexus or shake hands with the other superpower at the time (The Soviet Union)? There were no other alternative and hence, that happened. Little did Nehruvian bubble know about the perils it brought along.

If we wonder, why did such a sluggish economic ordeal survive for so long despite years and years of non performance, the answer was this: people were passive about politics. The usual outlook was that this field is meant for people who have limitless money, have backing of goons, are corrupted or maybe a combination of these three. The first budget of 1950 was one of the few examples of budgetary surplus which was again arrested by License Raj in the name of protecting small industries. It is this License Raj which didn’t allow large companies like Tata, Reliance, Aditya Birla etc to spread their wings and seek vertical integration. However, a large portion of the Indian poor were exempt from tax system while the BPL were close to 40% of the population. This sucked out the incentive from Indians to work hard. The status quo or elder generation began asking “What instead of having a secure job in the government?” The idea of creation of business or enterpreneurship was lacking. If we are wondering why is it so, thanks to the USSR who sought great opportunism in the process.

Under the influence of USSR which had the communist rule, the ideology of remote socialism was then embedded and enshrined in the constitution instead of an outright free-market. The foundation of independent India was in the hands of newfound socialism, which wasn’t an Indian ideologue at all. Even the Gandhian idea of village based economy was overruled by a motive of “cooperation through togetherness”. Joseph Stalin marked at that point of time that “Paperwork can wait, but hunger cannot” while India was suffering from famine. At that time, the liberals as well as the soft-core Congress sponsored nationalists held the view that “What instead of USSR?” Maybe, stand up on your own feet and exercise Pokhran instead of waiting till 1998 government of Vajpayee? India had nuclear facilities since 1942 and we could have easily done well before the Pokhran 1 which took place as late as in 1974. Also, maybe not raise taxes and adapt to a completely capitalist government giving wings to industrialists and enterpreneurs?

However, the destined friend came to be known as USSR and one thing which goes hand in hand with the USSR were the KGB and the Novosti. The Novosti was the official propaganda arm of the Soviet while the KGB was its intelligence. Just prior to this paragraph, I mentioned the words of Stalin. The idea of USSR wasn’t to befriend India as ours was a poor nation with sluggish economic growth and poor bilateral ties already but to exploit our resources. The BHEL was created with the support of USSR for Russian government to earn as well. The idea was to show military support and create a perception that USSR is a great friend of India.

By 1973, the KGB had 10 major Indian newspapers on its payroll plus a press agency. During 1975 the KGB planted 5,510 articles in Indian newspapers. 10 newspapers in the 1970s is a lot, considering there was no electronic or social media back then and print news dictated everything. Oleg Kalugin, the former KGB major-general (the youngest General officer in the KGB ever and one of the brightest KGB officers), said “It seemed like the entire country was for sale: the KGB and the CIA had deeply penetrated the Indian government”. Not only this, they worked in contact with Russian embassies in India to provide impetus to left leaning or liberal writers, journalists, publishers, artists, institutions, teachers and professors of colleges etc.

Yuri Bezmenov, another KGB spy lists actor Raj Kapoor as one of his targets in his book “Love Letter to America”. He also says “They pretended they are actually being guests, VIP intellectuals and awarded on merit on their intellectual abilities. To us, they were a bunch of political prostitutes to be taken advantage of various propaganda”. He mentions that the famous Indian poet Sumitra Nandan Pant was in their list of victims and provides evidence of him in Novosti, along with the then Novosti head, Boris Burkov. In fact, educational institutions today which boast of diminishing the importance of nationalist issues, were once heavily influenced by the KGB. While the Soviet Union is long dead, their brainwork of socialist values didn’t die. This also took a toll on Indian economy. While the budget showed a surplus in 1951, by 1991 it had a debt to the tune of 73.24% of GDP.

However, all bad things come to an end. The year 1991 marked two things: The Indian and global economy opened itself to the doors of privatisation, liberalisation and globalisation which means the end of License Raj. Also, the breaking up of Soviet Union which resulted in diminishing of propaganda and drastic fall in Naxalite insurgencies which was again pushed back to the deep forests due to shortage of funds.

Hence, we can deduce where the left/liberal psychology of “instead of” comes from. It’s not logic but years of indoctrination. This may sound rational, just like “worker rights” or “equality despite classes” but it isn’t. It is a socialist gene which has been passing on to us decades after decades.

India, at that time didn’t have the option of any other support hence they constantly asked “What instead of USSR?” to stand up against the duo of USA and Pakistan, They asked the common mass, “What instead of Nehruvian socialism to create a robust economy?” or the deeply embedded socialist outlook of “Why industrialists instead of common men?”, “Why temple instead of social institutions like schools and hospitals?”

All such questions gratify the immediate needs without thinking about the future which is destined to doom. Now, if we want to channelise the money in Indian economy and create a number of apartments (Check Adarsh Housing Scam), instead of tourist-bolstering statues, GDP would benefit, homeless would get homes but the question is, till how long? China follows the same policy and has created ghost towns with several skyscrapers, make-believe hospitals and schools to enhance its supremacy in global market. With the CCP in power, it surely has its industrialists do their piece of job but the ones living in there, live without neighbours. The doctors and school still remain pretty far off. If we create a statue, ten new business will be mushrooming beside it in the next ten years viz hotel industry, medical industry, roads and railways etc but this isn’t the case for schools and hospitals. We can build schools and hospitals overnight but can we build enough students and patients? Can we create such buildings as a going concern? On top of that, the issue of corruption in real estate is a rampant and pressing issue which these left leaning intellectuals and liberals completely forget.

The truth is, India is a vast economy growing at an average pace of 7% now after 2014, twice that of what Nehruvian socialism had offered. Nehruvian socialism not only set us back in time on the path of development but also gloriously indebted us to the USSR. The truth is the Indian government also has a greater budget, more than ten times that of the 1951 and the government can come up with budgets for statues (which it wasn’t but a state sponsored project carried by a trust which also looked into the welfare of the workers). The inability to understand such nuances is where the political opponents of BJP lose plot, lose logic and lose…votes because the worldview of such people cannot be applied.


  1. Comparison of India and Pakistan economy (1951-2015)
  2. Yuri Bezmenov: Deception was my Job (Video), Love Letter to America (Published, 1984)
  3. The Mitrokhin Archive II – Vasilev Mitrokhin

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SatyaVijayi.