Sunday, June 10, 2012

A man’s journey of life is not all a bed of roses. It has its own bad patches. While things are normal a man meets with an irresistible temptation for money or power and one loses his balance of mind and discretion. The trap is ready for a downfall. Ramayana gives us a story. Sitadevi was tempted by the site of a golden deer and there arises a strong desire to posses it. The simple wisdom that such an animal does not exist in nature deserts her. The worst danger in life is at her door step and Sita and Rama suffer their destiny. We are seeing a spate of horrible destinies working in the lives of many men of prominence like raids, arrests, bail refusals, prosecutions. All these are the results of temptations in the minds of these men for making money of enormous proportion the easy way. A Chief Minister, members of his family, ministerial colleagues, senior most beaurocrats and the men of political prominence in the society all come together with many mega plans which they all thought were fool-proof. The State Government issues, dozens of G.Os, execute agreements of unprecedented dimensions and hands over thousands of acres of govt land to individuals. In a way it is not the action of few men but it is the govt of a State, thus become accused of many, many economic offences of a highly corrupt character. And then within a period of two years there is an outburst in the country and hundreds of men face most shameful and painful consequences publicly.
`        The mega size of this phenomenon of corruption actually indictes a total government but not a few individuals. The procedure followed is probably the most improper and inadequate. The offence is traceable to the highest political level. Entrusting such a phenomenon of crime to a police station is disproportionate treatment. The State Govt could have been replaced by President’s rule and all men of guilt summoned and confronted with the facts of offence and given a choice of an arrest or a confession. A preliminary enquiry of all the offences without a prosecutional standard would suffice for such confrontation with the guilty. Given a choice anyone could have been made to confess, surrender the sinful pelf, and voluntarily get out of their public positions. Faulty agreements, allotments and G.Os, could have been corrected or strucked off. After a preliminary investigation a suitable presidential interference would have remedied the national evil undoing the damage without so much pain and shame. The long and tortuous procedures involving the criminal courts without a certainty of final convictions could have been avoided. At this moment it is not possible to foresee any specific conclusions and results to the procedures that have started. It is wise to note that the police machinery cannot be entrusted with the eradication of the high level nation-wide corruption. The evil is at the level of political corruption, indulged in by the Govt itself. The appropriate power to deal with such a crime is presidential interference, suspension of a State Govt., establishing a special and suitable authority and then correcting the wrongs in public interest, undoing the damage to the public wealth, restoration of an order in public administration. All these cannot be substituted by criminal procedures leading to dozens of convictions which are not always a certainty. Such a civil and civilian procedure would have been smooth and certainly more successful and with much less time.
          The constitution and the State-Centre equations should be able to provide for such a remedy. This would ensure resumption of excess or wrong allotments of land without scrapping a mega project planned in public interest. The present chaos proves to the public investors Indian or Foreign, that a Govt. sanction is not after-all a finality. The credibility of a Govt action is always at stake.     

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Public Peace

Public Peace
Dr Sivananda Murty[i]

The term ‘Public Peace’ itself means that there is no living creature who does not need peace - not only the human being but also birds on the tree would like to have peace. They don’t like to be disturbed. They would like to live with their young ones in their humble nests in peace. Peace is the very need of every living creature. Peace, whether cultural or spiritual, is the very substratum and a basic need for progress. That is why; the ancient Rishis sought peace in the forest for spiritual advancement, which we call Tapas. The peace that they enjoyed has given us the fruits of their knowledge, the revelations, the Vedas and all the culture born out of that Vedic knowledge. This is the land in which that peace was enjoyed by every living being at one time. But, we have come a long way in the last, may be, a hundred centuries. This is not fiction, it is history. India has never believed in fiction except as a matter of change, for the fun of it, for the enjoyment of it. Consider the example of Puranas. In spite of the mythical stories, the Puranas are our Scriptures. They are the store house of our culture and our history. If India had won its independence from a foreign rule, did it really mean that we had gone to the roots of our culture? Did we win back our ancient land to ourselves? Even after the Partition which was a sacrifice on the part of the Hindu population, an unavoidable political happening and a painful separation of a part from our own Motherland, are we enjoying peace and prosperity? That is the basic question confronting us today.

Our travel in public whether it be by train, or by air, is fraught with fears and dangers. We are not sure that we are safe. Every respectable citizen is subjected to a thorough examination at the airports and is asked not to take offence for that. He is told that it is being done in his own interest. If I have to fly from Madras to Hyderabad, I have to go through so much of physical examination and all my belongings are opened for scrutiny. There could be a single terrorist out of one lakh passengers. But, he is able to command the conditions of one lakh passengers. But he is able to command the conditions of one lakh citizens. We are not able to help ourselves. Yes , if there is one scorpion , that has been seen and that has escaped our notice in the house the entire house has to be searched for that scorpion. We have no peace in the house till the scorpion is found or permanently not found for sure.

We are passing through times in which our own culture is threatened, criticized, insulted attacked intellectually, emotionally, culturally, politically and physically. This is a situation in which we have landed ourselves sixty years after Independence . If sixty years is supposed to be a mature time for anyone to become wise, whether India or Republic of India has attained the wisdom that is expected of it is doubtful.

Ours is an ancient Culture which has survived many onslaughts, both from within, and without, even long before the Christ was born and centuries after he was born. Now we are passing through the third millennium of Christianity. We have had a thousand years of subjection by a sort of superior physical force but not a superior spiritual force. That has been the misfortune of this Country. If there is a clash between good culture and a bad culture and if the latter survives and the former succumbs and if that has been a weakness and we have been subjected to this suffering on account of our Culture, then what should we do? Should we think of showing great values of spirituality and humanism? Should we put up a fight against it? Then, what happens to the cherished values of our morals and spirituality? These are all very important questions that are mind boggling, giving us no rest, putting us through sleepless nights. We are at cross roads today.

Having put up with a thousand years of violence, subjection, insult, destruction and exploitation, we hoped that we would have some peace and prosperity after the political independence. Peace is the basic condition in which some prosperity we can be hoped for. But, did we realize our hopes?

The political rulers tell us of all the progress we have made over their Five Year Plans, may be Ten or Fifteen; they go on with these plans. There is much, too much money in this country today. India did not have so much money at any time before, nor did it have so much poverty and problems at any time before. How come such a situation arises? What should we do about it?

I am not going to give a meticulous reply to all these questions, but, I share my feelings and views with you. We are all sharing the sorrows of the country without ever being responsible for anything. That is the situation in which all of us are placed today.

Now, very often we come across certain terms like violence, terrorism. Violence or lawlessness which have become the part of a Country’s life anywhere. So long as the violence can be tackled by the government in place, It is the responsibility of the Government. They have their Police; they have their Courts, prosecuting and investigating agencies and all the rest of them. But, if the violence exceeds its limits and becomes a problem too difficult to tackle for the government in place, we will call it Terrorism. Violence caused on account of the clashes between two sections of public for any other causes can always be tackled. But today, Violence rising to the level of Terrorism has come to stay. It appears that Terrorism is not confined to India alone. It is global today. Even if, all the governments all over the world come together, it is doubtful whether they can tackle this Terrorism. The most difficult part of this Terrorism is, it has a faith behind it. Terrorism and Violence have become a creed and not the subject of a few criminals. The terrorists are not criminals, they have a creed. They are not professional criminals. They have a faith behind their activity. That is exactly the problem of the mankind today, not merely of India .

India has been subjected to this kind of violence from the invaders which it has survived. Invaders came and settled down to rule this country. We have survived all those centuries. We are safe today. But physical safety without a sense of mental security is no life at all. They are not the kind of circumstances in which we can think of our Spirituality and Fine Arts. These are the subjects in which there can be progress only when we bring peace all over. If your private life is not threatened , if your culture is not threatened , if your nation is not threatened, there can be progress, because Hindu India has a lot more of subjects to pay their attention to, if there is peace. It is not just progress of industry or social welfare. It has a Spirituality, it has a rich Culture and a repertoire of Fine Arts in which we can find the solution to the sufferings of mankind. But do we have that peaceful atmosphere and peaceful times around to be able to pursue our valuable subjects? Yet it is surprising to know, we still have books being published on Advaita, Vaishnavism, Saiva Siddantha, Bhakthi Siddantha, Bhagawatha or new commentaries on Bhagawat Gita. These things go on. Why is it?

Is that our strength of survival or are we ignoring realities around confining ourselves to the subjects of our liking? Is the threat that the country is facing to be tolerated or worried about? These are the basic questions confronting us today. We cannot afford to ignore what is happening around? This is the time to wake up and think deeply of this kind of Terrorism that we are suffering from. The public peace is disturbed. Yes, enmity between two parties or two persons is understandable as it is part of life. Each would like to destroy the other and in the process either both perish or one survives. But the kind of Violence we face today has a philosophy behind it. Philosophies cannot be hanged by arguments. Violence can be met either with violence or only with tolerance by accepting it. But, we are facing intolerance. The basic question is should we tolerate intolerance? Should we just submit to it and go to the temple to pray for our security and safety? We are regularly praying to the gods in temples. We are going through the shanthi kriya, the Vedic rituals for peace and safety. Suppose, I don’t believe in God, don’t I have a place to go? If I am a nasthik am I not entitled to peace? So, ultimately, a stage has come where our peace or our security lies in the hands of God, not in the man. The ideal society is that in which security of a citizen is guaranteed by Government itself, by the society itself. That is not to be today. Anything can happen to anybody anywhere , be it an Airport, Marriage Hall, Railway Station or Public place or a Traffic junction. Now what is your attitude to this? In fact, all of us are very much disturbed by the kind of attitude shown to these crimes against humanity itself. The attitude is sometimes incomprehensible, un-justifiable, and un-supportable.

The Government has one attitude to that, the Hindu has another attitude, the Muslim has yet another attitude and the Christian has his own attitude. The philosopher has his own attitude. The intolerant section of any other religion has its own attitude, but we are not having a unified, unilateral and an all convincing all round acceptance in our attitude to this Crime. That is why if this violence is receiving different kinds of criticism -- acceptance, non acceptance, condemnation, or support. As long as this state of affairs continues, the criminal activity is secure. That goes on. A time has come now for every citizen, every section of public to come together to tackle this.

Hinduism starts with Humanism. Humanism can be defined in simple words. If I am a human being, I must find my own image in another human being. That is Humanism. The other man is just like me. In him, I can see my own image, my aspirations, my desire for security, my love to live in him. If I find my own image in another human being, it is impossible to hate him or attack him. I can criticize anybody when we do not agree on a issue, but there cannot be any hatred. That is the kind of Humanism that the Hinduism has taught us. For example, right from my childhood, my mother was my first guru, my father was second guru and then, there were many teachers. Though I was taught by many teachers, I had only one Guru who initiated me into something. But, all of them consistently taught me to be humanist first. My household is not an exclusive one. It is one among the millions of households in India. Any father or any guru or any teacher has to teach Humanism. If there is any argument against this Humanism, or human values, then such argument cannot be valid because it has already left out Humanism as a respectable concept. It has crossed the limits of tolerance of Humanism. In other words, Humanism is not tolerated. Absolute Humanism is put to criticism, attacked and that is taken as a sign of weakness.

Hinduism, to start with, believes in Humanism and then social welfare, one’s responsibility to the society, accountability to the Government and moral accountability to the inner voice within, which we call Conscience. Conscience is the voice of the Truth within. Even a criminal has Conscience. Remember, even a murderer has his Conscience, but his hatred has taken the better of his Conscience. It has over ruled it and he is indulging in a crime. This Conscience is the basic root of Humanism. Every human being has a right to live and every human being has to recognize the right of other human beings to live. This is the basic definition of true Conscience. Today it appears that this is pushed aside in favour of a religious fundamentalism or a political fundamentalism. Whatever it be, society is not safe. It is a problem of the entire humanity.

India has three forces that have come from outside --- the Muslims, the Christians and the Communists. Long ago, the Islam has come. It has not been absorbed into the society totally. The Muslims lived their own independent life with their own thought, religion and culture unaffected by the presence of majority of Hindus in India . In fact, they were allowed to rule and they ruled. I feel proud as a Hindu that Islam has been allowed to grow in the face of the virtue of my tolerance, and my acceptance . I feel proud about it. In fact, that way, morally speaking, I am the conqueror. I am not the conquered.

Similarly, the Christianity that has come from outside, has not only progressed but also tolerated and encouraged. We have no complaint about it. Today they are in a position to write articles and publish books insulting the Hindu faith. They are given so much of freedom. The question is, whether that freedom has been put to proper and respectable use in this country? Therefore, the problem. But who is to regulate and correct this? There should be an honest and responsible governance. What has been happening in this country after Independence is a biased and unprofessional governance. Government has the responsibility to give an equal treatment to all its citizens.

That is where the Constitution comes into the picture. It has come into existence with laudable views on human life. Even that Constitution has undergone many changes. It is no more the same Constitution that had come into existence in January 1950. That has been meddled with. If that secular Constitution had been in place today, I think, we would have been a little better than what we are today. It is not. It has drifted from its very basic and fundamental principles into a new slot always pleasing the stronger element or the violent element and trying to make friends with unfriendly elements --- who do not recognize this country as anything of some value, who have no respect for the traditions, religion and culture of this land, who claim to be a superior force and who would like to save us by conversion. With them, we are living in co-existence, not a peaceful co-existence, but an unhappy co-existence.

Way back, Lala Lajpat Rai had published a book, “Unhappy India” in reply to Lady Mayo’s “Mother India”. She went on insulting the Culture of this country , but there was a Lajpat Rai to give a reply to her. Do you have a Lajpat Rai today to give a proper reply to all the insults and the horrible ill treatment meted out to the majority community?. I think today is the time when Lajpat Rai should have been present here to give us another version of “Unhappy India”. There is a great need for it. He didn’t use any harsh words in his book. Another South Indian, Mr Ram Iyer (if my memory is correct) from Chennai, who was the Legislative Member at that time, gave a harsh reply in 1927 with his book “Father India”. He named his Book as “Father India ”. If you go through this kind of literature, we understand that our tolerance or acceptance of a foreign culture that has invaded this country has not yielded any good results. It has not rewarded us with any kind of a peaceful co-existence. It is a failure in public life. One might ask me what is it that you want us to do? Do you want us to be a violent race? I don’t want that.

Today, everybody is eager to condemn an incident in Malegoan. It is indeed a small incident in comparison with all other terrorist incidents. The press is spending millions of words on that incident, giving it great importance as though it is an event in the history of this country. Is it not the part and parcel of Terrorism that is taking place in this country? Compared to all the rest of violence, is it not a minor incident? Does it reflect the culture, heart and mind of majority community as such? As a citizen I have to condemn that. There is a charged atmosphere and regular provocation. But when the Government is tackling these problems, it is apparently ignoring the provocation, giving undue importance to the reply to the provocation. Godhra was a terrible incident. No Country can afford to forget about it. It happened in day light. Some 58 people were killed, because they were Hindus. The reaction was violent and unbound. The Government could not control it. Yes, if somebody is insulted on the face, or his father and mother or his religion is insulted on his face, the immediate reaction is not going to be intellectual, but violent only.

Anybody can be provoked to violence. If you examine and quantify the literature on Godhra incident and post-Godhra incidents, it is ten against one. We have a sort of political leadership in this country who would like to artificially create a report from a judicial officer and try to justify the original crime and divert our attention saying that, it was only an accident. What should be our reaction towards a particular leader who was born in Hindu society? Should we ask him what happened to his conscience? That is exactly where knowing the truth and behaving in a different manner as though he has no conscience can be observed. That is falsehood. That is a crime against God. It is unpardonable. Well, there are in this world, man-made laws and God-made laws also. Man-made laws can be violated and they can be punished by another man. God -made laws cannot be ignored or insulted or transgressed. I am sure, that punishment can be got without a trial and a court and a prosecutor. There can be no defence lawyer before God. It is bound to happen any day. God-made law is a permanent law. These forces also claim to believe in God. But, are they following the God-made laws or the man-made laws? That is the basic question. Even then , as a Hindu if I had to search my Conscience to give an opinion about my own behavior, I cannot think of Manusmrithi or other Codes. I have to think of my Conscience, the voice of God within my Conscience. It tells me and accuses me saying, “you are wrong”. What is most important in human being is his Conscience. Therefore, we have to appeal to the Conscience in the human society today.

What is the solution for the present malady? There can be no solution! We can go on fighting the Terrorism through the agencies of the Police and the Army here and there, but it continues. We are not able to prevent a crime nor detect and prosecute a criminal so far successfully. So the Terrorism is more successful and more powerful than all governments in place. No one is able to tackle the terrorists. A time has come , when only a dialogue is perhaps the last resort between the Government with what little honest secularism and what little honest humanism is left in it and the religious fundamentalist groups with whatever real human values are left in them. They all should participate in the dialogue. The suffering Hindu population is another party. These three parties have to meet on the same stage and take up a long dialogue honestly. Instead of accusing, arguing is better.

The third force that has come to India from outside, apart from Islam and Christianity, is Communism, the leftist thinking. The membership in the leftist group is all subscribed and contributed by the Hindu society. You don’t find a Muslim communist or Christian communist. All Communists are largely Hindus, although, all Hindus are not Communists. That is a very serious situation in this country. They don’t have any regard for tradition nor any respect for religion of this Country.

Can this religion be ever destroyed totally? Can there be a century in which there is no Hinduism at all? Can there be a century in future wherein, only Communism is left to rule? Is it possible? Absolutely not. Hinduism is a forever phenomenon. Nobody can destroy it. Nobody can amend it. It does not need any improvement. It is highly improved state of thinking. Nobody needs to be reformed also. Basically speaking , what has to be reformed is an internal social reform, whether it is untouchability and things like that. These can always be corrected internally. We don’t need critics from outside. We don’t need teachings from other religions to reform. Enough reform has already been taking place in Hinduism. It is a permanent feature. If Hinduism did not have the power of survival, it should have died some 2000 years ago. Hinduism should have been wiped out when Buddha was born. Any new concept within or from without, has a limited life. Buddhism has again been diluted and absorbed into Hinduism. It does not exist as a separate concept, unless it is taken up as a political issue or political subject to deal with the Hindu masses. There can be a political Buddhist within the Hindu society and has his own his own grievance against Hindu society. But there is nothing, because for the simple reason that Buddhism is just a minor part of Hinduism. It is not an exclusive concept. It is not something like a new element. Ahimsa, vairagya, gnana, seeking the path of moksha, are the ancient thought. Nothing is new about them. What has been dismissed as irrelevant is ritualism in Vedic system and the caste system. But they are all physical aspects of it. The Spirituality has no amends. It does not need any kind of reform at all.

The Leftist thinking takes a refuge in the anti-Hindu forces trying to support them. Although, they are against the very concept of religion, they direct their criticism only against the Hindu religion and not against the others. They exercise their choice carefully and cleverly. Communism or the Bolshevism has brought about a Great Revolution in 1917. They fought an election to start with. Communism got only 25% votes and Lenin said “it is my country, I will rule. Any opposition I will not tolerate”. He started eliminating his own colleagues in the Revolution, in the following decades. At the very start of it, it has an inherent intolerance. It did not have a sense of justice. It took about 6 or 7 decades for it to fall apart. It is not a living force in its own land of its birth, but it tries to survive in India, because India is tolerant. There is no serious opposition to it.

The strange thing is that Islam or Christianity or Communism, these three systems have a constitutionally accepted fa├žade or a face. At the same time, another face, a criminal wing, a violent agency to support it forms a two-tier system existing in these forces. Hinduism has no branch of Terrorism. Hinduism does not tolerate even internal violence. If a man is violent against someone else, Hinduism is there to condemn it, because it has roots in Humanism. We don’t have an outfit in Hinduism to fight anti- Hindu forces or non Hindu forces. What everyone is trying to find or locate is this kind of non-existing outfit of Hinduism that promotes Terrorism. It is not there. They are trying to create it and show it to the world that ‘Hindus are violent’. This is a great damage to the respectability of Hinduism. Repeated propaganda can make it believable at least among some sections of people.

The world is looking at us, listening to us, reading our press - Indian press. The way some outsiders understand India is only through our newspapers , our journals , our writers, our intellectuals. All of them are giving a distorted picture of Hindu tolerance. Majority of Hindus are busy with their religion. They have their deeksha , whether Sastha deeksha in Kerala, Devi Deeksha in Andhra or things like that. They are too busy about these deekhsas. They have no time to read even a newspaper. When some political leader comes and exhorts them to rise in revolt, there can be an instant reaction then and there for a while. But even when a despotic rule was opposed, there was no indiscriminate violence among citizens.

For that matter, the Communists would very much love to call Shivaji a terrorist. They want it. They tried their hands at it and burnt their fingers in Maharashtra . Shivaji revolted against a despotic rule, which did not recognize the culture of the land as valid. He rose against it. Even when the British had to be thrown out, Gandhiji tried the means of peaceful resistance, satyagraha (self sacrifice). He preferred for satyagraha to face the bullet and die if necessary, rather than to attack. Even during those days there are some very important books published in Lahore, Kanpur and Lucknow and as a result a few sections of intolerant people killed some of the British or French families in violence. In reaction to that, Gandhiji went on fast unto death, until the peace was restored. That is the kind of peace even our political leaders have believed in, let alone religious leaders. Gandhiji was not a religious leader, but a religious Hindu in political leadership. That was his reply to a British oppression, repression and violence against the Indian society.

We are yet to find a Hindu outfit dedicated to Terrorism. All of us have to condemn even a stray incident of violence, if it has taken place. That is our Hindu conscience. We cannot support it. I think, now, we have come to a stage when things cannot be allowed to go on like that, because our next generation, our children and grand children have to live in peace. There is no point giving them a million dollars’ estate and ask them to enjoy. They can’t enjoy it unless the society is living in peace and our Culture is left in peace and is allowed to live in peace and security. We have to ensure peace during our own life time.

Well, in Hinduism, can you show one particular Swamiji who has exhorted the society to rise and revolt against anything ? Is there any learned Vedic brahmin who has contributed to the thought of Terrorism? . Did you find a purohit or a brahmin who is conducting Hindu rituals for the household or temples ever talk of fundamentalism? “Don’t tolerate this Muslim. Rise against them and kill them” Did we hear these words anywhere? Is it not the other religious preachers that are giving the kind of learning in the schools where, in their most impressionable years, boys and girls, are taught not to tolerate our religion?

If a socio-political section of Hindu society has taken up the issue, they are being criticized by the bulk of the Hindu society itself. They are called fundamentalists. BJP is called fundamentalist. RSS is called fundamentalist. I have seen RSS. I know them. Thousands of them have gone to serve the poor people through Vanvasi Kalyan etc. Vishwa Hindu Parishat is only protesting. They did not attack anybody. Even a protest, is it in-tolerance? Should we tackle them on the same basis as you tackle the SIMI? What has the Government done? Several state assemblies have passed a resolution and framed a stringent law against Terrorism and sent it for President’s approval. Is it not gathering dust in Central Secretariat? What is the intention of Government of India, this Government or previous Government, or future Government? What is their intention in rejecting these laws? Is it not the opinion of the public? When assembly passes and frames a law, whose voice is it? Is it majoritarianism? Is it Hindu fundamentalism? Even to tackle Terrorism, the state governments are not given enough power under the Law when they know there is enough provocation.

They are trying to malign the Hindu society. These are the forces (Leftist and Minority) that are supporting the so called secular Government. Our governments depend upon these forces. They are more than happy to be supported by these other groups, leftist groups, or the minority groups. They are not concerned about the feelings of majority community. If so, can we call it peoples’ Government? Is the Government not just political? Are we protesting enough against unprofessional Governance? So, this kind of tolerance will not or cannot go on forever. It is high time that all thinking citizens come together and save honest secularism in Government. Let the minorities come forward. Let there be a dialogue. Let us ask the minority community, “If you don’t want me to call Terrorism as Islamic Terrorism what else is it? Kindly let me know how should I call it ? What is the name you want me to give it?”

There is a Communist hierarchy. They have a terrorist outfit, Maoists or Naxalites. In the open, the Communist party can be elected into power, They are ruling in two states but they are active supporters of this Maoism or Naxalism. They don’t condemn them. When a Naxalite or a Moist is killed, they talk of human rights. They don’t recognize the human rights of victims. It disturbs peace and tranquility of the society. So, we have to look at the kind of moral and physical violence not in a limited perspective. It is a wide canvas. We have to call the people to face them. We have to enter into a dialogue with all these forces. Let the Terrorists and the Islamic fundamentalists, the Muslim religious and political leaders, the Hindu religious and political leaders, the Christian missionaries and Christian leaders in politics, the representative of Pope and the journalists supporting these different interests meet on one platform. They should be compelled to speak. Commit them to a particular ultimate policy. That is Democracy. That is the spirit of our original Constitution. We have to build up public opinion on these issues.

I don’t find any other solution, except retaliation with violence. That does not lead us anywhere. The Hindu, the Muslim, the Christian, all of them are Indians. They have a right to live in this Country in peace, in progress, pursue any profession, build up their properties, estates and fight in the public for their rights. The law is not against them. The bulk of the society is not against them. Then what is their grievance? Let them spell out “This is where we are hurt”. Let the Muslims say, Let the Christian say, Let the Naxalite say. Naxalite thinks that entire religion has to be wiped out. What is their method? Bullet. Why is that the Government not able to tackle this? It lacks will power. They want friendship and partnership with them. The time has come to take up a serious dialogue with all these forces.

I am prepared to accept any condemnation of the Hindu fundamentalism with concrete evidence. I don’t believe that Hindus can afford to be fundamentalists and yet be Hindus. Hinduism is bound to tolerate any school of thought, which is why; this Country has allowed itself to be partitioned. If Hinduism was an intolerant religion, the bulk of society would have risen in revolt against the partition of this Country. Partition would not have taken place. Any amount of violence would have been met with violence. People tolerated it under the leadership of tolerant super human beings like Gandhi, Nehru. Great men! What happened to this Country after all the sacrifice? What is the limit? Politicians come to us once in 3 or 4 or 5 years to seek our vote. Can’t we, the public, put a question to their face? “What is your solution to the problem? Are you a minority? Are you a majority? Are you a Hindu or a Christian first? Are you a Congress leader? Are you a Hindu leader? What is your solution to the problem? Speak out. Commit yourself. If you want my vote, speak out. I want to know your mind. I want to know you.”

We can’t go on forever like this and leave our future generations to their fate. It is high time that an intellectual and cognizable dialogue should take place. One may think that by God’s grace he is safe and his family is safe. It is not ture. We have to assert ourselves because we are not promoters of violence. We have a right to condemn hatred against our heritage. We have to exercise our right.

I know, I have no ready solution. But I believe a time has come, with a powerful dialogue with all the concerned parties and schools of thought, there can emerge a kind of agreement. Even if there is an agreement to disagree, it is peace to some extent. We are in need of it. I pray the God in whom I believe, to give us wisdom, to be able to tackle this conflicting situation in this Country and ensure peace for future. Americans have done a laudable thing. They have voted for a change. An African-American was never hoping to get anywhere near the White House. Today, he is in it. It is a great thing. Change is part of life. Such a change ought to come, has to come to this Country also.

We have to live together. Neither the Christian, nor the Muslim, nor the Hindu can be wished away. We have to live together. That is inevitable. We have to live in peace. So I think, meaningful long drawn dialogue on more than one forum is the need of the hour. Subham

[i] Sadguru Sivanada Murty, ‘Anandavan’, Bheemunipatnam, Vishakha Dist, Andhra Pradesh, (531 163). INDIA
E-mail: ksivanandamurty@gmaiLcom, Blog : Satguru Sivananda Murtyji (
The present article on ‘Public Peace’ is an edited version of His keynote address delivered at a ‘Conference on Public Peace’ organized by the Sarvani Vignyana Vedika Trust at Infosys Hall, Chennai (400017) on 13-11-2008 .

Role of a Citizen

Role of Citizen towards the Nation
Dr Sivananda Murty

A citizen in a country is a member of his family as well as a member of the society. In the former capacity he plays the role of the son of his father and later in life the role of father of his sons. What he inherits as property from his father he may bequeath to his son. This varies in degrees increasing or decreasing. Other than this material transfer he has a cultural heritage including his religion, language, beliefs and customs to be transmitted to his progeny. He plays the role of a link in a long chain, but in this case this chain is a mere small family. A home is a unit of the nation and a family is a unit of the society. Thus, he is a link in the long chain of a perpetual society. Now a society can undergo changes as a nation in its religion through reforms or by foreign invasions. In all these matters citizen should realize that his lifetime is not a short time phenomenon or a matter of no consequence like the flow of current in a wire. A cut in it stops the transmission, similarly a citizen who did not realize his existence as a transmitting link in the long chain of a tradition or culture would commit the unpardonable mistake of breaking up of an age old valuable message of the past on to the next generation. A citizen has therefore a serious responsibility which should not be evaded in favour of a materialistic stupid existence which is of no consequence at all.

Coming to Hinduism, with its most valuable human values, social culture, spiritual beliefs and religious observances is too precious to be ignored. A Hindu citizen without adequate understanding and wisdom may commit the mistake of mistaking it and commit the sin of eschewing and discontinuing it much to the loss of his own progeny. Hinduism has a valid reply to any criticism and answer to any doubt about it. Today’s Hindu society has forgotten the value of tradition under the influence of half-baked criticism or under the influence of mushrooming new schools of thought many of which are not quite sound in their understanding of ancient religion. But it may be a different thing with the much needed reforms brought about by great men of wisdom who have not attempted to replace the same rather than cleansing it or updating it to suit the changing times. That it has been a golden rule in the Hindu India that one should not discontinue the tradition under any influence, but approach the wise and the learned in case of doubt.
What applies to religious traditions equally applies to the way of life, the culture, the language, the food, the dress etc., all of which belonging to the Hindu India have survived over many millennia. By the lack of understanding of these values a citizen loses his own identity both national and religious if he breaks the tradition and drifts into a different culture with no understanding about it. Keeping of traditions makes one a patriot faithful to his country. Patriotism is the highest value in human life. A Nation’s loss of a citizen may be small, but a citizen’s loss of a nationality is a loss of everything and is irretrievable.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Black Money- A Further Note

Further Note on the proposal about Black Money inside the Country

There has been some feed back on the note about Black Money circulated
among citizens.

It is said that the so called Black Money does not solidly exist in the hands of anybody in the country because such money is immediately converted to real estate, gold reserves, shares and undisclosed stock and trade by companies and traders, benami investments etc. Hence, lump sums of money cannot be expected to be deposited in the specialised banks.

This, of course, is a known fact. This is an ever increasing wealth of the corrupt persons. The high price of the real estate is in fact the evil result. This must somehow be checked to keep the prices within the reach of the middle class and force the wealth into the tax-net. This is possible by a nation-wide drive to investigate the holdings – wealth, acquired during the last ten or twelve years through the records of registration all over. This is a must for any government – a responsibility that cannot be evaded. Otherwise this evil will keep growing to dangerous proportions.

The Black Money that has gone into the real estate etc is obviously present in the country, if not in lump sums. This is bound to be present in smaller size among the upper classes. This would mean that the deposits if attracted into the special Banks, may be smaller ones. If not hundreds of crores, the deposits may be 1, 2, 5, 10 crores or millions. As the time progresses this is bound to accumulate very well. When proper check is introduced on heavy real estate transactions, the future deposits may gradually increase. Pressure applied at one end and relief at the other should work. Thus the money distributed in the country can be netted like small fish. If the offer of trouble-free deposits for a fixed time is available and not for all time, it is bound to work in this country. This will also gradually reduce the high price of the real estate besides eliminating fake currency, etc.

Recently in a TV interview with Dr Arun Shourie, the interviewer tried to convince that the money in Swiss and other Banks is not money from India but it is the deposits of NRIs. His sources of information are not known. But true, the Commissions from the foreign military hardware suppliers to the Indian agents or Indian politicians may have been directly deposited there without routing through India. Secondly, the names of the NRI depositors could have been benamis for the Indians. It is difficult to believe that NRIs earned so much money as to escape the foreign taxation and deposited the same in secret accounts. According to Swiss Bank reports of 2006, India’s deposits are 1456 Billion Dollars i.e. 72.8 Lakh crores of rupees. Even the direct foreign commissions, morally speaking, is Indian money.

In any case, the question is, is the government totally helpless to unearth the corruption money? Does it mean that the evil will go on perpetually and these political governments will turn a Nelson’s eye to this evil? At the cost of the crores of middle class people and the poverty-stricken people, does it not lead to a socio-economic unrest uncontrollable?

It is reasonable to believe that the foreign money would also flow into this country using the limited time facility.

These are the questions of an unqualified non-technical senior citizen who feels that these are issues seriously debatable among all knowledgeable citizens.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Black Money: A Painless Remedy

The full version of this document including the flowcharts is available at :

Black Money: A Painless Remedy
by Shri K Sivananda Murty

This scheme of dealing with the problem of black money was proposed in 2001 by me and presented to certain important persons but was not followed by any timely action. In these 8 years, the problem has at least doubled. In the recent G20 summit in April, Prime Minister Sri.Manmohan Singh urged the G20 leaders’ attention to bring tax havens and non-cooperating jurisdictions under close scrutiny as a part of implementing tighter global financial regulations. Surprisingly, there is no mention of the black money circulating in India. Strangely the attention to this serious problem surfaces in the last part of his tenure in office and not at the beginning. The original scheme of 2001 focused on the black money circulating within India. The Indian money secreted in foreign banks would automatically flow back to India, if the proposed scheme is implemented. The proposal will succeed by virtue of its incentive and not in its pain of disincentive. This is purely based on a citizen’s idea to deal with the phenomenon of black money.

Today, we have three economists in India at the helm of affairs. These men of eminence can certainly help in the matter. The original scheme of 2001 is updated to highlight few more substantive issues that can be effectively tackled. The scheme mentioned by me has been developed into a technical presentation by a highly qualified economist. It is painless incentive model scheme, with many benefits. Learned, qualified and capable persons may kindly examine this in the country’s interest.

Sivananda Murty

Black Money Proposal in the ligh of recent global financial meltdown:

The purpose of this article is to critically re- evaluate the visionary proposal submitted by Shri.K.Sivananda Murti in 2001 to unearth black money in India to deploy it for infrastructure development and thereby obviating the need for foreign borrowing. This proposal offers a novel alternative to the various schemes implemented by government of India in curbing the black money generation since last five decades that eventually proved unsuccessful in their objective. The focus of this article is not on tracing the genesis of black money generation in India or its measurement. The operational definition of black income and black economy considered for this essay is based on Arun Kumar (1999). The black economy is defined as the totality of economic activities in which black incomes are generated. Black incomes are defined as factor incomes, which should have been reported to income tax authorities but are not.

The innovative perspectives offered in black money proposal by Shri.K.Sivananda Murti (2001) is highly relevant even today, especially in the light of recent sub-prime crisis that originated in the mortgage sector in the US and spread like a contagion to the stock market through conduit of
securitization The contagion adversely impacted the US domestic real economy and spread across globe through integration of financial markets enabled by aggressive globalization. The economies that were otherwise functioning well were caught in this tsunami leading to an unprecedented destruction of value and wealth.

The claims of globalization that it can unlock the value of assets located worldwide exposed the vulnerabilities generated within complex system of interactions inherent in the functioning of global financial markets .The paradox inherent in the financial markets is insightfully articulated in the recent book “ A demon of our own design”- Richard Bookstaber:

“The structural risk in the financial markets is a direct result of our attempts to improve the state of the financial markets; its origins are in what we would generally chalk up as progress. The steps that we have taken to make the markets more attuned to our investment desires — the ability to trade quickly, the integration of the financial markets into a global whole, ubiquitous and timely market information, the array of options and other derivative instruments — have exaggerated the pace of activity and the complexity of financial instruments that makes crises inevitable.Complexity cloaks catastrophe. (Emphasis added) …The markets continue to develop new products to meet investors' needs. Regulation and oversight seek to ensure that these advances land on a level playing field, with broad and simultaneous dissemination of information and price transparency. But the innovations are somehow making our investments more risky. And more regulation, ironically, may be compounding that risk. It would seem there is a demon unleashed, haunting the market and casting our efforts awry: a demon of our own design.”
‒ ”A Demon of Our Own Design,” R. Bookstaber, 2007

The implication of these recent global events must trigger serious introspection in the minds of our national policy makers to seek self-reliant solutions through tapping vast pools of liquidity manifested as black money instead of being exposed to invisible financial tsunamis brewing that
will erode value and wealth.

Message delivered by Shri.K.Sivananda Murti on June 18th, 1987

It is fundamental instinct of all living creatures to procreate and wish their perpetuation in safety and plenty. A man in society thinks of his progeny and its welfare. To treat this as offence against any law is injustice natural. Such a law has an obvious infirmity in itself. If there is a law against a basic instinctive nature of man it is bound to fail by violation or perpetual amendments. Amendment or violation, therefore only prove the inherent infirmity in the law. There should be a law in conformity with man in his original nature of self-preservation and perpetuation. Our laws and their failures have to be studied and reviewed in this perspective.


Indian government deserves credit in boldly implementing the market-based reforms in 1990’s. This provided a much-needed boost to our stagnating economy. It also provided opportunities for private entrepreneurship in participating in economic growth and prosperity. The economy posted impressive growth measured in terms of GDP and other macro-economic indicators. The GDP of India is the fifth largest in the world close to a trillion dollars. Despite this economic success, the phenomenon of black money still persists. The post-liberalization phase minimized the need for black economy but provides opportunities to make easy money. According to Arun Kumar (1999), the size of the black economy was 40% by the end of 1995-96 and is estimated currently close to 50%. One of the manifestation of the black economy is the widespreadprevalent of cash-financed transactions. According to Dash (Dec 16 2008), “The cash economy is thriving. Evidence: currency holding by people, according to latest Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data, was up Rs 93,610 crore in a year to a whopping Rs 6,18,713 crore as on November 21, 2008. This is the highest ever year-on-year increase in cash holding by the public – over Rs 20,000 crore more than the rise seen in the preceding year”.

This is the magnitude of potential loss of direct tax revenue by the government resulting in widening of the fiscal deficit. In addition to the tax dimension, the black money is a serious issue judged from the following perspective. Substantial amount of black income is redirected towards directly unproductive profit-seeking activities. These are defined in Bhagwati (1982) as ways of making profit (i.e. income) by undertaking activities which are directly unproductive in the sense that that they produce pecuniary returns but do not produce goods or services. Typical examples include activities such as tariff-seeking lobbying, revenue-seeking lobbying, monopolyseeking lobbying, tariff-evasion, smuggling etc. These are evidently profitable activities but are wasteful, as they yield no output. This is a considerable wastage of human resources, as people could otherwise be doing something of higher productivity. Judging from all
these considerations, black economy is a serious drain of precious resources for any given country and therefore merits serious consideration in minimizing its generation. The negative consequences of black economy are illustrated using the flow chart developed by Chugh and Uppal (1986) on page 13.

Indian economy has benefited from globalization on account of its cost advantage. The quality of infrastructure manifests itself in two key dimensions among others notably; sustaining competitive advantage and the quality of basic living standards. Our inadequate and outdated infrastructure has hampered our ability to fully leverage cost advantage from cheap skilled labor. Infrastructure inadequacy and bottlenecks have escalated the cost and eroded our competitive advantage bestowed on us through skilled human capital. Investment in improved infrastructure is seriously lacking in the government policies. It occupies an important place in the official plan documents but with unsatisfactory execution. In a recent article, Jay Dubashi a noted Indian economist comments on the lack of sound long-term financial planning in government’s economic policies. Indian government in the recent times has frequently resorted to foreign borrowings to meet the fiscal deficit. The negative consequence of this policy is well argued by Dubashi (Nov 6, 2000).

“The reason why the budgets turn out to be such disasters is that the finance minister simply has no levers to control the economy. Everything in India now depends on outsiders. The stock market now depends on foreign institutional investors who bring in or send or take out their funds according to their own convenience, which has nothing to do with the state of affairs in India. The foreign exchange market also depends on outsiders, and how many dollars they bring or take. The current account deficit also depends on foreign investors and nobody knows how they do their calculations.” This strategy cannot be sustained for
long without plunging the economy into bankruptcy.

The quality of life, in terms of access to basic amenities (clean drinking water, sanitation, electricity) for the rural and urban poor continues to be deplorable. The lack of basic amenities manifests itself in mortality rates, rampant episodes of diseases and crime. The quality of life for this segment of the society can be ameliorated if the unaccounted money that is circulating can be diverted appropriately. There is widespread migration of rural poor to urban regions in search of employment has resulted in urban congestion and other social problems like crime.
Review of Policies to Curb Black Money: It is ironic that no Five Year Plan including the seventh Plan has ever mentioned the phenomenon of black economy and the impact it has on the various aspects of the Indian Economy. Indian government has taken few measures to curb the menace of black economy. The various measures and their effectiveness in controlling black income are summarized in the table below. An analysis of failure of the schemes implemented by the government with good intentions to control the menace of black income on the economy reveals the following. The black economic activity flourishes in an economy
characterized by excessive state intervention, lack of economic competition among firms, barriers to entry for private industry, high tax rates and inadequate penalties for tax evasion, frustrating black money curbing measures implemented by the government as knee jerk reaction to the phenomenon. In addition to simplification of tax laws, the government must demonstrate that the taxes collected are being used for productive purposes instilling confidence in the taxpayers that they would be a beneficiary from their contribution.
Susan Rose-Ackerman (1996) aptly argues that reducing the menace of black economy, corruption entails an integrated approach. This encompasses civil service reforms, increased transparency in public sector financial activities, campaign finance reform, less state intervention in economic activities and allowing economic competition among firms and simple and clear tax laws. Administrative reforms must target to reduce payoffs from corruption from abuse of monopoly power vested in government officials. This enhances the government’s chance of reducing the size and magnitude of black economy and provides opportunities for economic well being to its citizens.

Critical Evaluation of Anti-Black Money Schemes

Scheme Features Results

Voluntary Disclosure Scheme 1951 Individuals granted immunity from prosecution
if they disclose their black wealth.
Amount disclosed was small and marginal tax revenue collected. This scheme was a failure.

Voluntary Disclosure Scheme 1965 Version #1 It was also known as 60:40 Scheme. Flat rate of 60% would be collected on the disclosed amount, which had to be paid immediately or within six months subject to furnishing security. The amount disclosed was very small because the taxpayers perceived the scheme to be harsh. The taxpayers felt that government would persecute them in the future. It once again failed to meet its objectives.

Voluntary Disclosure Scheme 1965 Version # 2 It was also known as Block Scheme as taxes
would be collected at the rates prescribed under the Indian Finance Act of 1965. The governments repeated assurances of granting immunity made this scheme marginally successful compared to version # 1

Voluntary Disclosure Scheme 1997-98 To provide immunity under interest, penalty and
prosecution. Main objective to encourage payment of tax and avoid litigation. The amount collected is a tiny fraction of what exists in the black economy. These schemes have repeatedly failed in the past.

De-Monetization 1946, 1978 De-recognition of particular currency as legal tender and their replacement by newly issued and legally acceptable currency notes. The new legal tender will be exchanged for the old provided the owners of the currency have adequate and valid reasons. Limited in its scope and hence not effective. It is effective with respect to cash. Black wealth is held in various other forms besides cash. It also causes inconvenience to the owners of legal currency holders and lot of administrative cost of implementation.

Special Bearer Bonds 1981 These Bonds have a face value of 10,000 with a simple interest of 2%. The subscribers of these bonds were granted complete immunity from prosecution and no questions were asked about the source of funds. The interest income and capital gains were exempt from taxes. Despite its liberal provisions, this scheme was able to generate less than 1,000 crores. There was no clear plan to create a fund to use for any productive channels. Undervaluation of Real Estate 1975 The government has the power to acquire the property if the difference between the declared price of property and the fair market value is more than 15%. This policy had the following built-in infirmity. It is difficult to prove that the alleged undervaluation was deliberately done for tax evasion purposes. The burden of proving this lies with the Income-Tax department. Searches and Seizures To raid the premises to unearth evidence of black money. This policy is counterproductive as the people learn to dodge and also lose faith in the government.

Review of Shri.K.Sivananda Murti’s 2001 Proposal:

The key players in the economy viz, private sector, government and banks are linked in the following way. The first step involves establishing a group of banks either independently or as subsidiaries to the existing nationalized banks. These “specialized banks” would be granted the following powers by passing suitable laws or provisions. They would be the sole repositories for the black money and would grant complete confidentiality and immunity from prosecution to the individuals who deposit their black money with these specialized banks. These specialized banks would protect the confidentiality of its depositors even from the government. This may entail adding the necessary legal provisions in the bank charter. This feature is a powerful and a compelling incentive to drive black money secreted in tax havens for decades abroad to flow into the coffers of the specialized banks preempting the need todesign any specific policies or institutions in dealing with tax havens. The private sector (corporate and non-corporate) would deposit their holdings of black money with the specialized banks for a time horizon of 15 years. The funds deposited with the specialized banks earn a nominal rate of interest not more than 5%. At the end of 15 year period, the depositors would get back their deposit after paying 20%-25% of their total funds towards deferred taxation. The withdrawn deposit after the lock-in period is “legitimate funds” that will come under the purview of IT for future taxation and circulate within the official banking system. The deposited funds with the specialized banks are channeled to the government and its depositors provided the following conditions are met. The specialized banks would lend the money to the government at concessional rates for projects, which are socially productive. The specialized banks would thoroughly scrutinize the government’s proposal to ensure that the government does not fritter away this resource on wasteful avenues while monitoring the progress of the project closely. The specialized banks would deal with the government directly and have the final authority in disbursement of funds to the government ensuring optimal allocation and utilization of resources.

The specialized banks would route the funds through the nationalized banks to its depositors provided the following conditions are met. The nationalized banks guarantees to the extent of 80% of the outstanding balances from the specialized banks. The depositors can obtain a loan of 80% of their deposits at an interest rate of 15% provided the investment is made in the following sectors: Power, Telecommunication, Public Transportation, Housing, Sanitation, Food-Processing industries, Education etc and only 50% of their deposits if they were to invest in commercial sectors. The large scale infrastructure projects would guarantee employment to the unqualified poor and mitigate unwarranted urban migration in search of employment.

Commercial underwriting of loans by the banks would incorporate a break through idea suggested as a part of the proposal by Shri.K.Sivananda Murti to incorporate the profit margin in the industry as a parameter in underwriting. This will ensure that banks avoid excessive lending to ventures in a given industry that would eventually result in; driving down profit margins to all firms in the industry, market glut and bankruptcy. The blind spot in the current underwriting criterion which focuses exclusively on the repayment behavior to minimize default risk overlooking the profit margin of the industry which is eroded with increased competition. The depositors who obtain loan can treat the loan as deductible expenditure and the interest income on their deposits is exempt from taxes.

The serious issue of counterfeiting of currency that is prevalent today and exacerbated through economic terrorism can be innovatively
tackled when the private sector deposits their currency with the banks. This feature is embedded within the proposal itself and empowers banks in dealing with the menace without any extra investment in infrastructure in dealing with this issue.

Currently 80% of the government's revenue comes from taxes paid directly and indirectly by individuals and corporate sector. In the current tax regime in India, tax expert, Subhash Lakhotia asserts “The lower income households end up handing over nearly a fifth of their total income to various governments in the form of taxes, while the higher income earners give up a little over onethird of their income in the form of taxes" (Source: How much tax do you really pay? Rakesh Rai, Money Today Jan 7, 2009).

tax oppressive regime can be replaced with exemptions to the lower income households to allow them opportunities to save and a better economic well being. This possibility is enabled through the access to large pools of black money being harnessed for positive economic growth initiatives obviating the need to tax low income households to garner resources. This will offer a big relief to millions of hardworking, low income households who battle harsh economic realities of inflation, poor living conditions and uncertain job opportunities. The incentives/payoffs for all participants impacted by the proposal are summarized below.

Payoffs to the Private Sector (Corporate and Non-Corporate):

 The participants avoid the high taxes, tax penalties, searches, raids and the cost involved in hiding their black income.

 The costs to the participants in this scheme are: interest on loans borrowed and payment of 20-25% of their total funds as deferred taxation. The interest on deposits is exempt from taxes.

 The participants also are able to invest their funds, build up their assets and earn profits with the benefit of deducting the interest on loans as expenses.

 Encourage declaration of earnings. Payoffs to the Government:
 Prevents leakage of domestic capital abroad.
 Development of infrastructure.
 Recycle evaded taxes into productive channels
 Avoid tax raids, searches and seizures
 Enabling circulation of funds within the official banking system Payoffs to the Banks:
 Increased business opportunities
 Better financial monitoring of resources
 Retention of domestic capital
 Increased liquidity within the banking system Payoffs to the common citizen:
 Employment opportunities for unqualified working poor
 Exemption from income taxes for low income households
 Better infrastructure and better quality of life
 Obviate the need to migrate to cities in search of employment.


This scheme offers a novel alternative to all the schemes experiment by our government till date. It provides the incentives for better compliance from the private sector and ensures availability of funds to the government without relying on external sources. The private sector would find this scheme attractive to part with their resources for legitimization than face tax penalties and raids. The participants in the private sector feel assured that their resources are being closely monitored by the specialized banks before they are being lent to the government in socially productive channels.

This prevents wastage of resources by the government. The pre-requisite for success of this scheme entails serious commitment by our government in establishing the specialized banks with the features mentioned above. The government must make serious efforts in reforming civil service and bureaucracy, reduce state intervention, and create economic environment for private enterprise to flourish. If such an integrated approach were taken in conjunction with the scheme proposed, our country would achieve far greater economic success. The proposed scheme has the built-in incentive mechanism to achieve multiple objectives in this hour of need in our country.

Our government should avail this opportunity in implementing this brilliant scheme conceived by its distinguished citizen before it loses its battle against black economy, burden of external debt and unhealthy exposure to financial contagions. The proposed scheme demonstrates the features of a sound economic policy built on a deep and original understanding of human behavior and psyche with the right ingredients to deliver its promise and pave the way for economic self-reliance.

The current laws in place are capable of dealing with this evil if it’s confined to a limited size involving only a few people in the country. They are certainly inadequate to tackle the monstrous size of the phenomenon of black money however bonafide the intention to curb black money maybe and therefore not an effective financial solution to the problem. Constant feigning innocence or ignorance about the monstrous evil that lends its strength to the corrupt electoral system or subsequent governance must to come to end. The evil in short, brooks no further delay. A solution offered in 2001, therefore is very much relevant in 2009.

We call upon all genuine thinkers, experts, moralists and politicians alike to consider this proposal with sense of emergency to save our country economically, politically, morally, internally and externally. The indifference of policy makers to this serious economic issue will either lead to repeated exposure to invisible financial tsunamis or economic implosion under the weight of our domestic economic and social issues. The time to implement such breakthrough proposals is now!

Chugh, R.L. and Uppal, J.S. (1986): Black Economy in India, Tata-McGraw-Hill Publishing Company Limited, New Delhi.
Acharya N.S. (1986): Aspects of the Black Economy in India, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, New Delhi.
Monga, G.S. and Sanctis, V.J (1984): The Unsanctioned Economy in India, Himalaya Publishing House, Bombay
Chugh, R.L (1983): Black Money and the Indian Economy, India’s Economic Problems-An Analytical Approach, Tata McGraw-Hill
Publication, New Delhi
Bhagwati, J (1988): Directly unproductive profit-seeking (DUP) activities, The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics.
Rose-Ackerman, S. 1996: Redesigning the State to Fight Corruption, Public Policy for the Private Sector, World Bank Note: 75
Gupta, S.B (1992): Black Income in India, Sage Publications, New Delhi.
Thomas, J.J (1992): Informal Economic Activity, The University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, USA
Kumar, A (1999): The Black Economy in India, Penguin Publishers, New Delhi. accessed March 21, 2009 accessed April 14, 2009
Economic Consequences of Black Economy
Source: Chugh & Uppal

Violation of Economic regulations Black Income Tax Evasion
Loss of Tax Revenue
Bribery and graft
Greater burden on honest taxpayers
Bribery of regulatory agents
Bribery of Law enforcement agencies
consumption of domestic goods
Investment in gold and precious stones
Black Savings Deposits in foreign banks
Holding of currency
Inventory build-up
Creation of further income inequality
Demonstration Effect
Conspicuous consumption of foreign goods
Real Estate
Investment in business
Perpetuation and expansion of controls
Delays and inflexibility
Multiplicity of bureaucracy
Support of a socially less valuable pattern of production
Smuggling in of goods
Smuggling in of gold and precious stones
Immobilization of investible goods
Black Liquidity
Loss of confidence in government
Drain of scarce domestic resources to
foreign countries
Avenues for further earning of black income
Investment in these visible areas is normally done through under-valuation and under statement

The full version of this document including the flowcharts is available at :
The Election of a Government
The Indian Model

Sivananda Murty

We are on the threshold of the general election for the fifteenth Lok Sabha along with the elections for A.P.Assembly. The election manifestos in a healthy democracy in a civilized country must necessarily be the issues that the people have before them. In our country, this does not appear to be the case. The manifesto of any political party virtually promises of utopian boons to the suffering people which tantamount to temporary bribes. These promises are neither totally fulfilled nor possible to fulfil.

Among the election promises we find millions of houses to the poor, jobs to everyone, old age pensions to every one and two rupees for a kilo of rice and so on. If, atleast, three sucessive governments could fulfill these promises the country would have been different from what it is. Neither the countrywide slums holding a one third of the population have been cleared or replaced by apartments nor the millions of poor people got any pension. The stink of the slums increases steadily and provides material for making shameful but prize-winning movies to clever business men. The hospitals and schools run by the government being sub-standard, create excellent business opportunities to commercial enterprise in expensive hospitals and expensive education.

These institutions are of course unapproachable even to the lower middle class and the poor. Corruption in the country grows by leaps and bounds which results in creating more black money day by day. Black money in turn raises the cost of a dwelling, unapproachable to the wage-earning middle class. The black money rules the economy of the country unlike in any other country in the world. Selling or buying any property in real money transaction escapes all record. Thus, the unaffording lower middle class and the poor move farther and farther away from a hope to own a house.

Moneylenders including banks make brisk busienss by lending moneys to the tempted people who can never repay within their earnings. The economy is galloping fast in our country to suit only the corrupt blackmoney maker, thus widening the gap between the salaried middle class and the money-making politician or dubious business men. The poor are nowhere in the picture. Such an economy is bound to crash because the poor and the middle class have no part to play, have no say, and have no voice to be heard in the situation.

In fact, the budget of the government is entirely contributed by the wage-earning middle class who can not escape any taxation whether as a consumer or as an income tax payer. And yet, the politician never goes to the educated middle class to know their grievances nor suggestions. It appears that the politician has only a single minded objective of going to the poor masses for votes promising them all sops. The masses consisting of labour, organized or otherwise, the self-employed poor who eke out their living as a vegetable vendor, petty trader, or rickshaw-puller, porter etc. neither pays any tax to the government nor does he know what the politicial process in the country is. The promises made to them, in fact, spend the budget without all
the benefits reaching the poor.

Thus, the poor millions listen to the mouth-watering promises of the politicians, ever hoping to get a free house, a job, a pension, a school, a hospital etc. The billions that are shown as spent are from the earnings of the middle class, whether as an employee with recorded salaries or a struggling shop-owner. The tax that the latter pays is some times equalled by the bribes he pays to the harassing government servants. The middle class people are the very substance of the society.

To sum up the phenomenon, the voiceless tax payer pays for the expensive schemes ostensibly meant for the benefit of non tax-paying majority population. One loses and the other does not gain! The benefits go largely to the politicians, contractors and the ranks in government. The budgets grow in size year by year, election after election. The black-money in the country, it is said, has reached a whopping four million crores, not to speak of the unaccounted millions in the Swiss banks.

If this system continues unabated, the country will reach, if it has not already reached, to an irreversible failure of democracy which would lead to any disstrous consequences, like a violent revolution. There are revolutinary leftist forces with violence as their means, committed to whipping up the passions of the masses calling upon them to revolt against the system of governance in place, to destroy the rich and even the culture of the middle class called the bourgeois. These forces like the Naxalite, Maoist etc. are drawing thousands of youth into their fold and indulging in violent destruction of the men and machinery of the government in no small measure. This is a growing danger which the politician of any brand pretends to be ignorant about.

This is a potential danger to democracy ifself, more so due to the corrupt and failing democracy ( Nepal is an example). Political parties or the existing Laws in the country have evaded their responsibility in this matter. Neither there is a policy, nor an action-plan in the country today even after six decades of continued violence.

Election time is a mile stone in the political history of a country. When a government is formed, a vote by a citizen is inherently meant to be his judgment on the performance of the government thus far and a considered choice of the next government, in our country, this basic meaning of a vote is long lost. It is, in bulk a maneuvered extraction in numbers from the uneducated, gullible non tax-paying masses which are a numerical majority. This massive manipulation goes unabated without being an expression of any choice or judgment.

The visible boom in consumerism need not be considered as progress of our economy nor as success of our democracy. In fact, both are in peril. It is nothing but diversion of the middle classattention from a responsible citizenship to a debt trapped attraction towards a glamorous life style.

It is high time that the educated middle class are separately consulted without mixing them with the millions of purchased votes. A process has to be evolved wherein the educated, understanding the relevant opinion in the country is heard and allowed to play a role in the making of a government. The tax-paying citizen should be treated on a different plane from the bribed millions of voters, who can neither understand what is happening to the economy of the country, what is defective in the functioning of government, what justice is being done to them etc. An educated citizens vote by quality should count for much more than that a poor villager who does not vote with any opinion.

The educated man as a tax payer can certainly judge what is good for the poor, what ought to be done and what ought not to be done. His vote is a vote of discretion. He does not cast his vote for a bottle of liquor and Rs.200/-. These purchased votes with no opinion behind are like fake currency. The intrinsic value of vote therefore must be accepted as several times more than that of a cheaply purchased vote. This is in fact a real election. He can certainly think of security of the country and welfare of the poor. Is there a mechanism to recognize such a differential value of his vote? In the name a democracy and equality of all citizens, the system of election has benefited the cash-rich candidate to win the election bypassing the judgment of the people. Thus, the election is reduced to a farce!

In countries like France, for a long time all men and women did not have a right to vote because a few thinking men could decide what was good to all. We should, therefore, evolve a system in which there are discreet and considered votes in an election. The P.R.Act should be made to be truly representing the educated tax payer If the present system continues inevitably, the performance of the government after about two years should be judged by a separate opinion-poll from the eligible tax-payers and the educated citizens. Such a mid-term election should be a statutory judgment binding on the government.

After the maneuvered election there ought to be checks and balances on the performance of a governent involving the judgement of the people instead of a wholesale mandate to misrule. This aspect of a necessary reform should be considered by all including legal experts, honest politicians and responsible citizens to save our country from a future disaster. I am aware that the issue raised here is seeking a differential treatment between voter and a voter which under the Constitution in place is legally unacceptable but if the Constitution or a Law has not proved to be beneficial to the society by an experience of six decades, under the principle of natural justice such letter of Law needs to be reconsidered and revised in the interest of the people.

If such revision can be accompanied by disqualification of tainted politician in election and if it can effectively prevent violence between constesting political parties, the country can hope for real democracy with justice for all. It can also include a reform in the matter of reservations. Reservation and exclusive encouragement to the down-trodden to become more competent for selection would be far more beneficial to them rather than reservation of employment. It is high time our country had a re-look at our performance in the past six decades and thought of radical reform.

Sivananda Murthy

Date: 04-03-2009