Dr Pravin Togadia
It is not the Third World War and yet just the whisper of Damascus being attacked by the US affected our Dalal Street! Sensex declined 651 points, rupee dropped 2.6 per cent, FIIs (Foreign Institutional Investors) sold equity worth Rs 7,160 M and most big and small shareholders lost millions. Already weakened economy has become so volatile here that even the rumour of such far away international happening affects here.
When I refer to the history, generally people like me are degraded as ‘taking India back in 6th century’ or ‘removed from the modern reality’ notwithstanding the fact that a person like me is updated about not only the latest medical inventions and practices being a Surgical Oncologist (Cancer Surgeon, in routine language) but also have an access to not all but at least some economic spirals globally and nationally.
Bharat has been a big exporter since centuries. From Spices to Fruits, Jute, Bamboo, Iron Ore, Diamonds and many types of food items were exported from Bharat to Egypt, Mesopotamia, Middle East, African continent and other countries. Many people from Bharat went to these and many other countries for trade and some even settled there coordinating further enhanced trade. No currency systems had barter as a common practice as was prevalent in Bharat.Bharat kept on getting gold, other precious stones and gems in return of these exports. The kingdoms that covered the areas which produced the export items got gold and silver etc. as their share of revenue. They and the traders offered part of it to various temples from Somnath in Gujarat to Padmanabha in South. Common families in Bharat lived happily with sufficient food, clothing and shelter. They saved some gold for the emergencies which usually were rare as their lives really did not depend on Bharat’s global trade; they were self-reliant.
Bharat was prosperous, happy and more importantly controlled most part of export trade of the world. What went wrong in modern day that makes today’s India so volatile to global stray incidents? Despite invasions from Islamic rulers and their looting Bharat’s tones of gold and gems, Bharat stood steady to other global happenings, rather most its trade remained intact. When invaders stayed back here and started ruling, then came deadly taxation which even continued in a different form during the British rule. With modern education came modern amenities and things that Bharat never needed. Tea bags to cars – Bharat changed because Bharat became India.
Yet, Indian economy was not so feeble. First and Second World Wars gave some jitters in terms of availability of food grains but that was really not because of wars; it was due to severe droughts and famines same time. It was not that Bharat was not exposed to the globe earlier. Traders who travelled worldwide brought back some goodies and lots of stories. But with Islamic and the British invasion, India lost Bharat’s prosperity and stability.
Printed currency itself was the first FDI so to say! Barter stopped and the economy saw strange up and down turns. Key to Bharat’s economic stability was its exports. They now have reduced substantially. East India Company to the today’s Multinational companies all have been using Bharat, its people and land for their manufacturing, trading and exports that benefit their nations. Recently, an American multinational launched its toothpaste here. Look at the pack carefully: The toothpaste is manufactured in their plant in China and imported by their subsidiary. Why? When foreign multinational comes in here, it promises 75 per cent exports and full manufacturing here. Who gave them the right to dump ‘Made in China’ toothpaste here? To escape the legal tangle, they got some other subsidiary to import it from China so they can say – Marketed by!
Not even direct FDI here and such escape routes are given to the toothpaste seller? Long time products like toothpastes, talcum powder and other 800 products were reserved for Bharat’s Small Scale and Cottage Industry. With fantastic proven ancient medicinal knowledge, Bharat needs toothpastes and soaps from MNCs? That too dumped from China? It does not promote exports but it takes away Bharat’s income away to the foreign nations making their currency strong and our economy volatile. Relax, I am not giving sermon on ‘Swadeshi’. It is must, but this is not the forum. For technology that is not here, machines that we cannot make (this also is questionable) and such things there could be some collaboration with international companies. But when Bharat has the strength and capacity to float many Indian Multinationals abroad, why give away our money in toothpastes and soaps? Using our traditional Ayur Vedic Kumkumaadi Tailam, another MNC from UK makes fairness cream and sells it at an exorbitant price. But despite hygienic manufacturing units, when even the global patent have been given to our Gou Arka as a base for medicine that can slow down growth of Cancer, why our Governments do not push other countries to allow Bharat’s similar products in their markets?
The stringent tests that our products are given in western and middle eastern markets are not given to their products here. Once the MNC comes in with sparkling promises of a big investment and false promises of employment to the locals, there can be no checks on their products. Recently, a famous MNC’s baby powder was found to be carcinogenic (cancerous) due to the outdated chemical process! Few years back another American MNC was importing their women’s hygiene product which actually was reserved for the Small Scale Industry here.
The crux of all is that rather than wasting our precious resources on giving them away to the foreign companies, we all must push the Governments to form a policy of true encouragement and support to exports without harassing irrelevant rules as well as to establish Bharat’s companies and products manufacturing abroad. Clothes, Tea, Spices, Computer Chips, Gems / Jewelry, artifacts and thousand other things can come under this support.
The bone of contention that hurts our economy the most is crude oil. Globally its prices fluctuate and so does our economy! Austerity, no travel, save fuel, etc are the damage controls. But why dig the well only when there’s fire?
What today we term as ‘alternative sources of energy’ were the main sources of energy in Bharat (and many parts of the world that learnt from Bharat’s traders). Solar and wind energies among them are being explored and used now but making them affordable to common people and easily applicable for various appliances including vehicles is the responsibility of the Governments and corporates. IITs have in depth studied these sources. Some professors and students from an IIT met me and showed the diagram and research of sustained source of energy. That was Goumutra (Cow Urine). Not a joke. Following the model, we jointly developed a set-up that keeps a ceiling fan and a 60 watt bulb burning for 48 hrs minimum with less than 10 liters of Goumutra. The patent has been taken of it now but the governmental apathy does not allow such a simple energy to reach villages where there is no electricity. This also has a bonus impact: Saving the no milk cows and farmers earning selling Goumutra which we are already buying from them for various medicinal and beauty products.
There are so many sources of energy in Bharat. Running of the Himalayan and other mountain rivers can produce enough energy without building destructive dams. Imported crude oil is the modern day invasion. Petro dollars rule the world and are in the wrong hands. Exploring Bharat’s crude oil is not enough. Making alternative sources of energy applicable and available will sustain our economy despite global upheavals. Increasing exports again with strong diplomatic pressure (if American Shampoo is allowed in here then the equal tonnage of Indian company made herbal shampoo should be allowed to be sold in American market. It applies to bread, cake, chocolates & all.) is must.
Get the world depend on Bharat; make Bharat self-reliant for everything that a common person and industry need and sustain these efforts with sincere and honest support. If governments don’t do it, then Bharat does not need Governments; public will do it. We will not allow Bharat’s economy tumble with global tremors; we should rule the world as we did it once and for long time!
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