Sweccha – Complete Series

Dear Friends,

This week was the last episode of my television show Sweccha on hmtv. In total, we have aired 13 episodes.

When India attained independence, our country had many liberal thinkers like Mahatma Gandhi and Balgangadhar Tilak. Unfortunately, under Nehru’s leadership, our country adopted socialism. After four decades of socialism, we were an economically failed nation. Things changed a little under the leadership of Late P.V. Narasimha Rao. Unfortunately, signs indicate that we are again going back to the failed policies of license raj and welfare raj.

I believe in a very simple principle. Our country should have a government that is as small as possible, and regulations that are as few as possible. This will lead to increasing individual freedom and economic prosperity. Towards that end, I used the show to make my case for a more free society.

Fight for liberty is a long drawn battle. Often, it is a lonely battle. Ours is a country addicted to government welfare and regulations. It therefore is not easy to make our people see the merits of individual freedom.

Here are links to the thirteen episodes of Sweccha with a brief description:

1)    Sweccha Sidhaantam rests on one fundamental tenet of non-violence! Other than for self-defense, one should not physically assault another individual. However, when under threat, state machinery can rarely protect an individual. In fact, there is a long historical record of state itself committing acts of violence on its subjects. Therefore, I advocated right to own guns in the first episode:



2)    Government regulation on free trade impedes our economic progress. Our government constantly regulates imports, controls exports, and actively manipulates the currency. This causes a great deal of harm to our economy. This episode was about allowing foreign direct investment into our country:



3)    In a free society there is minimal public property and maximum private property. In such a society people will not be burdened with limitations imposed by government on their fundamental rights. In this episode I defended Akbaruddin’s right to hate speech and showed how private property rights and freedom of speech are connected to each other:



4)    Despite our ancient philosophies and belief in dharmic lifestyle, our country is one of the most corrupt in the world. It is my view that big government is the root cause of corruption in our country:



5)    Millions in our country consume illegal alcohol every day. Our governments with taxation ranging from 300% to 400% made alcohol unaffordable to masses. This created a market for illicit liquor. Our governments’ twisted morality of looting the alcoholics to provide welfare schemes to the same alcoholics is a curse on our society:



6)    Fluctuation in commodity prices is a natural market phenomenon. High commodity prices indicate scarcity and induce farmers to grow more of that particular commodity. However, our government constantly interferes with natural prices and in fact exacerbates scarcity. Here’s an episode on why government should not regulate high onion prices:



7)    Our society has a bizarre notion that education should not be a for profit business. An industry that is most profitable indicates that people have a dire need of the services being provided. I other words, some say education sector and health sector are most profitable in India. It is an indication that our society badly needs those services. In any event, what is so holy about education that it should be free?



8)    I should have full rights on my body. Whether I want to donate or sell an organ in my body should be my business. Any law restricting what I do with my body is denying me my natural right to my life. Our society’s twisted morality is resulting in hundreds of thousands of patients dying for lack of kidneys. Legalize kidney sales and save lives!



9)    After 60 years of independence, our railways are a wreck. Going to a train station is like walking into a living hell. Our government uses railways as a vote getting enterprise. Our railways are a great example of the consequences of government imposed monopolies. Privatize railways:



10)    Government imposed Maximum Retail Price laws in reality do not protect consumers. They make consumers reckless as they no longer have to shop around for a lower price. Even worse, these laws result in poor paying more and rich paying less for products:



11)    Andhra Pradesh is in dire straits in the electricity sector. Power industry for all practical purposes is another government imposed monopoly which is an utter failure. Competition via privatization is the only lasting solution to this problem:



12)    Indian government and the governments across the world are taking on debt that may never be paid back. Cyprus, Greece, Spain, and Italy are a few examples of this. However, the national debt menace is bound to spread to the rest of the world eventually:



13)    Final episode is about the Housing Ministry’s license raj and TRAI regulations on how many minutes of advertisements can be aired on television. This is a further indication that India has never really understood the damage caused by license raj. Those who do not learn from history are bound to repeat the same mistakes again:



Nalamotu Chakravarthy

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6 Responses to “Sweccha – Complete Series”

  1. Kiran says:

    I agree in principle much of what you said . But here is what i believe are unique constraints in our Indian society.
    1) Our people, esp in rural areas, still may not make rational choices with full freedom. I am not saying this to insult our people but we have a long legacy of casteism, statusism etc which prevent exercising rational choices. Therefore an external force in form of government is necessary to ensure ppl make rational choice. But however this should be policy and never a law. you can never impose a law with a presumption that ppl make irrational choices. But you can make policies such as encouraging firms by SC/ST's but not forcing others to recruit SC//ST,s.
    2) your premise that consumers should exercise good diligence is ideal but not practical in India as of now. Consumers esp in rural areas hardly travel and if they are stuck with a powerful cheating merchant they are simply stuck. But eventually yes MSRP should go to help good competion.
    3) your recommendations on guns is most reckless I believe. Current modern assault weapons give the power to do immense harm to almost any individual. The risk that governments can be source of opprresion rather than protection is best handled through technology (social networking more direct democracy) rather than through guns in hands of all individuals. And that risk not at all worth the risk of arming dangerous citizens with vigilante tendencies or mass murder tendencies. Even in USA there is a huge controversy and lot of ppl own guns for hunting rather than protection.
    4) Our railways actually achieved a great deal in 50s and 60s and even 70s. Momentum was lost in the aftermath of Indo-chinese war . The habit of seeing railways as a source of doling out favors was actually stronger in 90s and 2000's when India  got allegedly liberalized. So to me the problem is eliminating political control rather than privatizing.
    5) i agree with you on power industry. However govt should issue vouchers to poor ppl to enable them buy electricity at subisdised cost.
    6) Your suggestion on organ donation is brilliant. My father is currently on dialysis. The kidney transplant rules are just insane. There is a chance that poor people can be exploited but the law seems to assume that every Indian is either exploiter and a crook waiting in the corner or a helpless exploited.

    • Chakravarthy says:

      * Unique constraints of Indian society is often an excuse to not do the right thing. There is nothing so unique about Indian society that compels us to give up our freedoms.
      1) People in rural areas are not as ignorant as you imagine. I’ve traveled in the tribal areas and even they are not as clueless as the world portrays them to be. As far as disadvantaged classes are concerned, firms do not hire employees with noble intentions. They hire those that help their business. SC/ST or other disadvantaged classes do not need any special privileges. They just need equal access to the economic opportunities that have been denied to them in the past. Reservations make disadvantaged classes weak and turns them into permanent second class citizens in the society. It robs them of their confidence and self-respect.
      2) Again, not sure what rural areas you are talking about. I have visited many areas in our state in the last two years. No, your depiction of ignorant rural folk was not apparent to me.
      3) Reckless are those that trust government with their security. There is overwhelming evidence that liberal gun ownership leads to less violence. When a thief is trying to break into my house, I am not going to wait for the police to show up. In the US, most people own guns for self protection and to fight government tyranny. I don’t think you’ve seen my episode on guns.
      4) Government monopolies never worked nor will they work in the future. Again, I don’t think you’ve seen the episode I did on privatizing railways. Look into how private railways worked in the US.
      5) You agree with privatizing power industry, but not railways? Don’t you think that’s philosophically inconsistent?
      6) If your father was not on dialysis, you would be arguing that India is unique. People in the rural areas are poor, ignorant, and uneducated. If we legalize kidney sales, poor people will be taken for a ride by the rich. Most of these assertions are far from truth.

      Freedom is universal. It doesn’t matter which country it is. The more freedoms we have, the more prosperity it brings.

  2. Kiran says:

    What do you mean by "right" thing. your language sounds a bit sanctimonius – as if you believe in some dogma rather than what works for people.
    1) Your first point is the same thing I said you just rephrased it – may be it was not "right" words for you. I don't support reservations in private firms but i support govt support to SC/ST entrepreneurs.
    2) No our people are not ignorant but our culture is a problem. Most often people uncritically believe what is handed them over generations even when they are intelligent. Why are contracts so poorly enforced in India but so well in USA ?  There they have a loyalty to what they say here our loyalty is still to our blood. Again I beleive you did not read my post well. I said inspite of these problems govt should not pass laws assuming people will behave in a wrong way but we should have some facilitators to encourage people to cast away some unhelpful traditional ways of thinking. Leaving everything to market often slows change than speedens them up. I want exactly what you want but I don't trust the market to do everything like you seem to do.
    3) Not trusting government really does not apply to democracies. Yours are just old american republican arguements – these are arguements when monarchies are in power in Europe and simply are not relevant with democracies. I know you will bring up the standard hitler was elected democratically example. But that is just an exception. America has a gun problem – world does not. We dont need to import problems. Thieves don't show up that often and stealing is not a problem you can always insure them. Self protection ? what the hell is that supposed to mean – India is not wild west – practise karate if you want you dont need assault weapons in India. India has very low violent crime rates.
    4) I will see your episode on railways but you need to understand that in early 50s a newly born India saw railways differently. Railways was seens as nation builder a sort of unifying force in widely diverse country and not just a facilitator of economic growth. And infact Indian railways did a better job than its predecessor private railways. Before Indian railways were born we had like some 51 private railways and it was a mess whether it s guage or any other systems. 
    5) I dont believe in consistency as unlike you I am searching for what is likely to work rather than canvass for American Republican principles here.
    6). Even now i acknowledged the chance of exploitation but the law seems to be believe that every Indian citizen should be assumed a rogue unless proven otherwise

    • Chakravarthy says:

      If you want to call it dogma- it is the dogma of non-violence.
      1) Perpetually seeing certain segments of society as weak and backward is a remnant of our feudal mindset. All humans are equally capable. There are many SC/STs who are successful entrepreneurs. It is the reservations that suck the best talent among them into unproductive government services and worthless college degrees.
      2) Contracts are not enforced in India because our court system is broken. Don’t know what is cultural about it. Market forces slow the change, how?
      3) Democracy is a dictatorship of the majority. It is so evident but we refuse to see it. All the welfare schemes are about getting the vote. Democracy is about taxing the producers, and bribing the less productive to gain power.
      4) Private enterprises have been standardizing for decades for their own self interest- construction, computers, hardware, cell phones, internet etc. If gauge is a problem, they will eventually standardize as it is in their self interest.
      5) What are “American Repubilcan” principles? I believe in non-violence and that is the only principle. The problem is with social engineers who constantly try to tell the rest of us mere mortals what is good and what is not. I do not know what is good for you and neither do you know what is good for me.
      6) That is what most of the laws are about. What is MRP? It assumes that businesses exploit people.

  3. Kiran says:

    Much as I appreciate and grateful for your blog can't help point out  that your comments editor almost hates your readers who want to comment. I have already accustomed to having my posts show up 12 hours after i wrote them and not being allowed to post as a "reply" but sometimes they just slip in to oblivion. Having said that here is my response.
    1) I dont cast any certain segements as weak (that will be so rude and fascist of me) it is those segments themselves who say to have a fair chance of them contributing to society to best of their abilities they need govt intervention. Nobody doubts all ppl are equally capable but is the society treating them fairly ? And it is also not just SC/ST many others too get sucked up in to worthless degrees and govt jobs. Its nothing to do with jobs but a cultural problem we have had and as well as the economic climate which saw entrepreneruship as criminal activity.
    2) THe court system in US is govt. monopoly – why does it work and why does it work better ?
    3) I should not have used the word democracy. I meant representative govt. in a representative govt with some democracy, free press, and republican ideal (constitution) it is hard to imagine a state using violence for purposes other than to stop or prevent violence.
    4) Thats a good point. I agree that railways should atleast be de-centralized if not privatized – atleast give it to states rather keep everything at delhi. All i am saying is after independence a possible insecure indian state saw railways as a political vehicle as well to unify the country. BTW take Pakistan – they started out on a more economic liberal atmosphere and they grew faster than India in much of 60s and 70s but their social conservatism caught up and see where it is now.
    5) THe only group that I am aware off  which strongly and unconditionally supports the right to rifles including assault rifles are US republicans. I am actually very liberal on social principles. I am great beliver in market principles as well but there are some sections which are complaining that social structure is unfair and market may not address that.
    6) Agreed. MRP needs to go.

    • Chakravarthy says:

      My sincere apologies for a messy blog. It hasn’t been upgraded in three years. I deactivated the spam filter and let us see if it gets any better.

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