Apologists of economic triumphalism walk on water. Their narrative often hides troubling realities.

We are in the midst of one such act, in India.

Many Indians voted for a national government which they argued would herald unbridled progress. It was majoritarian wish in a democracy.

I wasn’t surprised to read this column from a successful entrepreneur lambasting critics of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s economic thinking marked by its out-sized ambitions. Manish Sabharwal, chairman of staffing company Teamlease, argues that India needs unrealistic ambitions to put behind the current sedate state of affairs.

No arguments on it.

He then suggests that nations are narratives, made by stories of their own. That’s where I have serious beef with him. Should economic narrative sidetrack deeper societal turmoils?

Sabharwal makes passing mention about the crazy right wing fringe threatening a mandate for progress. What he calls fringe activity is a revisionist plan upsetting the idea of India — as a diverse, secular state.

The fringe hijacks democracy when the majority drifts on indifference. When a national discourse fixated on economic wellbeing lacks empathy.

Embittered societies burdened with unrealistic ambitions have faced grevious accidents. History shows it doesn’t work.


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