Can Hindutva deliver vikas?

The state as mai baap has to recede if development is to take off
By Sagarika Ghose – As MIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi puts it, with ‘development’ as username and ‘hindutva’ as password logging in to massive mandates becomes automatic.

But can Hindutva deliver development in the long run?

Modi ran a ‘Hindutva plus development’ model in Gujarat for 12 years but as the Hardik Patel agitation shows the state still suffers endemic unemployment. Academic Pranab Bardhan writes Gujarat was a model of growth but not job creation, because Gujarat welcomed capital intensive petrochemical and pharma sectors which did not provide jobs for the uneducated and semi-skilled majority in the workforce.

The liberalization of 1991 showed that achieving high growth in the Indian context is not about asserting state power but rather about rolling back the powers of the state. A liberal economy generally doesn’t bear down on the individual with a plethora of rules, instead it aims to back off from areas where it ideally should not meddle. The summary closure of slaughterhouses is a triumphant example of brute state power and a strong man CM, but does such demonstration of executive authority create business confidence?

Hindutva with its rigid social hierarchies implies an assault on individual freedoms at different levels: the right to eat meat, the right to romance, the right to cultural interpretation or the right to a livelihood without fear of state action.

When social harmony and individual freedom hang in the balance, enterprise is stymied. Modi’s important promises of one crore jobs, or putting India in the first 50 in ease of doing business rankings (India still comes in at 130th) remain unfulfilled.

That’s because the Hindutva model of governance relies on state control of the citizen. The Hindutva state is in fact a massive socialist state with a religious hue. more>

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