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.