Political, economic and social institutions decide the success and failures of nations.
By Vijay Sanghvi
India’s political, economic and social system is different in nature than many developed nations. India’s political institutions are despotic by nature, economic institutes were exclusive and social structures are segregated from their inceptions. The society has four layers. The elite hold the the controls and the vast majority are demoted to lower rungs with minimum human rights though expected to serve the elite. The structure of economic institutes also left out the vast majority under the ordained law. Even the concept of minimum wage was introduced only in 1973 and that too without the cover of social security. They could survive only on work and had nothing saved for old age when their bodies refused to respond.
The political institutions were despotic by nature for the king could command their services for military purpose and retire them without social security. Farmers had to pay land revenue as per the quantum specified by the king’s agent and not according to laid down rate. Moguls made them more stringent and land lords of the British origins exploited their influence with the Raj.
“To know your tomorrow today, you have to understand your yesterday,” Though I had read this axiom years ago, it still remains etched upon my mind as I move a step further towards the oblivion.
Yes, celebration of each birthday after certain age becomes a step forward to oblivion. But also brings to my memory the basics enlisted by Acemoglou and James Roberson in their book, Why Nations Fail. They said that nature of political, economic and social institutions decide the success and failures of nations. It is worthwhile to take a look at these institutions in India to say something about tomorrow where the Prime Minister Narendra Modi would be leading us.
Social institutions of India were a close circle for the elite from time society was constructed on the basis of laws given by Rishi Manu. The vast majority was denied any positive role as they were relegated to lower rungs of society. They were denied even right to literacy to ensure they did not acquire ego to become a constraint for upper rungs. Two different socio economic institutions walked together with lower rungs providing essential services but without entry in socio economic institutions. Even political institutions were closed to their entry as they tilled land in peace timems and drew chariots of kshatriyas in war times.