If High then ‘Secular growth rate’ If not ‘Hindu Growth Rate’!

published on December 2, 2012

Dear Sir,

Reference the ‘Sunday Opinion’ – ” Is 5-point-something the new Hindu rate of growth ” – (TNIE – 03 DEC 2012)

The ‘ABSURD TITLE’ reminded me of a ‘feedback’ given to a ‘Pink Daily’ three months ago by Prof. R.Vaidyanathan of the IIM (B) . It is equally valid in the present case also.

Enclosing the same for the reading pleasure of Mr. Shankkar Aiyar.

Warm Regards


Absurd use of terms, e.g. : Hindu Rate of Growth

(R. Vaidyanathan’s feedback)

To: ‘[email protected]

Subject: Hindu Rate of Grwoth

01 SEP 2012

Dear Sri Sukumar

I am a regular reader of your paper and also encourage my MBA students to read it to have an understanding of Indian Business/ Finance etc.

Many of the in-depth analysis in your paper is very good.

But I find the usage of “Hindu Rate of growth” in your short edits and even news stories is unacceptable.

It was an “off the cuff” remark by Raj Krishna in a seminar about sluggish growth rates due to Nehruvian policies.

To use it in an esteemed news paper like yours is surprising since there is no correlation or relationship established between a religion and economic growth rate

If a professional cook like Samir uses it I can understand since he may neither know about Economics nor Hinduism [nor about Raj Krishna]
But I find it getting used in your news reports on Economic matters—like Comparing with Growth rates of other countries etc

I have additional problems with that usage—lots of my students who are post-80 born do not know much about sixties/seventies or even the wry sense of humor of Raj Krishna

They ask me repeatedly– why a reputed paper like Mint calls the past growth rate as “Hindu Growth rate” when I try to talk about Permit/license/quota raj. Also one young girl student asked me—why not call the recent 8% growth rate as “ Hindu growth rate”

Plus many of my White American colleagues are intrigued by that usage and even today one person sent me a mail asking why that is used.

Many of them read your paper since I have recommended it to them based on their WSJ experience.

I am only asking you to seriously consider this issue and stop using that phrase when there is neither theoretical nor empirical justification for that

If yours is a general news paper meant for flippant coverage/ 3rd page crowd –I would not even have written this note.

Needless to add I expect a response from your desk

Thanking you

Professor of finance

Prof Vaidyanathan has been charitable to Dr Raj Krishna, who coined the term ‘Hindu Rate of Growth’, when the former said that the latter said it in a ‘wry sense of humour’ mood.

A reader of The Times of India wrote the following:
‘The term was coined in the ‘70s by a well-known economist Dr Raj Krishna to describe the inability of the Indian economy to grow at more than a modest 3 per cent per annum, through a large part of the planning period, when other economies were growing at a much faster pace. He attributed this to the philosophical temperament of most Indians, their belief in contentment and lack of killer instinct’.

R.C. Mody, in the Open Space section of The Sunday Times of India, August 6, 2000.

Clearly, Dr Krishna was trying to say that the Hindus were actually quite malicious in not casting away their ancient philosophy and take advantage of the supposed wonderful programmes that he and his colleagues had put in place to make India grow fast.
When the Hindus, in the 1980s, took advantage of the limited reforms that were instituted, and grew at 5% pa, no one asked Dr Krishna to explain how did the philosophical temperament not come in the way.

He passed away in the early 1990s, and so there was no way he could have been asked about the performance of the Hindus in 1990s and the first decade of the 21st century.

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