Hindu Rate of Growth

I see that the phrase “Hindu Rate of Growth” evokes strong emotion in some quarters.  Gaurav wants Hindus to flinch when they hear that phrase. I do flinch, not because I am a Hindu, but because I am a member of the Cartel. The phrase is one of the Cartel’s worst nightmares – a bad pun gone horribly wrong.  As a service to humanity, I shall explain the origins of the phrase.

The culprit, the originator of the phrase was an economist named Raj Krishna. I do not know where he stood on the pseudo-secular scale, but he was a free market supporter and also presumably a punster. If the Cartel had existed at that time, he would have found sanctuary among us poor misunderstood souls.

It so happens that “secular” has two meanings. The first meaning is familiar to all. The second meaning is a technical one. It means “trend”. For example, “secular rate of inflation” is the rate that one gets after stripping out periodic fluctuations and cyclical variations. When economists talk of “secular growth”, they are talking of the long term steady growth that one gets after correcting for economic cycles and the like.

So, Raj Krishna looked at India’s secular rate of growth and found that the rate  was an embarrassment to the term “growth”.  So he decided to take a dig at Nehru’s economic policies by providing the most natural antonym to “secular” that he could think of – and of course, he came up with “Hindu”.

So, in a way, the term is a comment on Nehru’s economic as well as religious policies. Unfortunately, he hadn’t reckoned with Hindutva supporters and conspiracy theorists – but then I repeat myself.

23 thoughts on “Hindu Rate of Growth

  1. Raj Krishna was a supporter of free markets.. really?

    My preliminary research (okay, just google searches and some faint memories of a long-forgotten lecture) is not so clear on this.

    BTW.. even in Nehru’s times, the most natural antonym to “secular” was “communal”. Please.

  2. I didn’t say libertarian. He was a free marketer with a Chicago background. He supported welfare measures, but he was emphatically against the license quote permit raj.

  3. In 1977 it was still Nehru’s land ? Shouldn’t you be saying “Of course, because in Gandhi’s secular land, the most natural antonym to “secular” was “Hindu”. ” ?

  4. Umm.. Okay, but the fact remains that he was taking a dig at the LQP Raj and thought it was a good idea to make a pun on “secular” too. We can speculate about what went on in his mind, but that he thought of “Hindu” as the opposite of “secular” is interesting. Also, quite clearly, it was not an attack on Hinduism as it is normally portrayed.

  5. Wikipedia says

    “The term also points out that Hindu dominated India’s low growth rate was in contrast to high growth rates in other non-Hindu Asian countries, especially the East Asian Tigers, which were also newly independent. This meaning of the term, popularised by Robert McNamara, was used disparagingly and has connotations that refer to the supposed Hindu outlook of fatalism and contentedness.”

  6. Ritwik

    Ravikiran will say that entry from Wikipedia has been hijacked by Hindutva supporters and conspiracy theorists ( but I repeat myself) who just want to slander some poor soul, who is so innocent that he doesn’t even know his antonyms.

  7. I think it was simply because ‘Hindu’ is easily identified with India in the West.

    Calling it ‘communal’ wouldn’t have given that little narrow finding a brand identity. Also the word ‘communal’ doesn’t have bad connotations in the West. I would go as far as to say that it is a word with good meanings in the West and I have seen it used in those senses.

    Good replacements for ‘communal’ would be ‘partisan’ or ‘sectarian’

  8. It seems to me that Raj Krishna was making a joke on the (pseudo) secular tendancy to distance oneself from anything remotely Hindu, and that the joke’s actually on secularists rather than Hindus.

  9. Nitin,
    Krishna Raj was not Raj Krishna.

    Have you read Raj Krishna’s writings or is your opinion based on what you have come across from 3rd pary sources ?

  10. You provide no reference based on which you are writing your views. I have done some research on the issue and didn’t find whatever you claim here as true.

    The fact is that Raj Krishna had Communist leanings, and he chose the term “Hindu” as a way to vent his innermost hatred.

  11. as ARUN SHOURIE describes the phrase,in India if u make a comment on hindus it is absolutely fine but if u make any comment on muslims/minorities u are not secular and u will meet serious offensive from CONGRES.if sachar’s report is to believed,then minorities have hardly contributed to present growth,so should not this growth be called the actual hindu rate of growth?

  12. HiAgain said “I think it was simply because ‘Hindu’ is easily identified with India in the West.”

    I agree with this – to the rest of the world “Hindu” is synonymous with “Indian”. Raj Krishna just came up with a phrase that had a nice “ring” to it.

  13. Prof Rajkrishna called the sloth of our economy as Hindu growth rate because ‘Hindu ‘ philosophy of fatalism and resignation was responsible for the arrest of accileration. Even after sixty years we are in the single digit growth that too by much manipulation of figures. Asian country South Korea had as big as 40 % growth. It is Hindu who slow down economy by leaving everything to God. In David McClleland’ s term Hindus have low achievement motivation.
    Dr.Kranti kumar sharma

  14. Are you really sure that he coined it as “hindu growth rate” just to take a dig at nehru’s economic policies?
    ive read in a few places that Prof. Raj Krishnan was a staunch hindu and he took pride in everything related to hinduism. He coined it as “hindu growth rate” because he believed that no matter what would happen hinduism would still prevail. He used it explain the sanatan(eternal) nature of hinduism. It had nothing to do with hinduism in the theological sense.

  15. Dear Abhishek, Prof Raj Krishna was not a Hindu Fundamentalist. He disliked that Hindus attributed everything to fate and stars and were never industrious. Innovation and invention were never chosen by Hindus. They glorified past and took great solace in doing so. Goswami Tulsidas said ” Jab Aaave Santosh dhan, sab dhan dhoori saman” This is nothing but low achievement motivation or statusquoism

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