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THE BANIYA AND INDIAN INDUSTRY – Arindam Mukherjee

Disclaimer: Baniya in my lexis means business class; points to a cultural mindset. It doesn’t mean any specific caste or community.

Interestingly, the average Pakistani considers himself to be a kshatriya and likes to call the average Indian a baniya. I used to think it to be the Gandhi effect. Later I realized that, that is a fair indicator to who we are. Anyway, that is a different line of thought – I would share what I have in my mind about that, from time to time.

Back to the topic:

Why doesn’t India have good manufacturing backbone? Because the business class doesn’t want to spend on R&D.

Which kind of people control the manufacturing sector (or whatever little is left of it)? Do the research, you will find out.

Why don’t they want to spend on R&D? R&D is time consuming, expensive at times; it is cheaper – thus profitable, to buy tech from foreign countries.

What happens to the good engineers? They land up in Europistan or Uncleistan.

OK, so the regular Baniyas are probably bad; but what’s the Army doing?
No idea! But I have my doubts about how many Maradonas, Messis and Ronaldos of the different IITs work for Indian Army.
[If you read up a small piece of mine on a George Friedman lecture you would realize that cutting edge tech and innovation HAS FOREVER BEEN the domain of the military. From that old radio of your grandpa right up to your smartphone – they were all built and perfected by the military. But Indian Army doesn’t believe in such practices I guess.]

Anyway, so what happens as a result? Importing everything from everyone – China to Israel happens. That is where a separate ecosystem comprising of pimps, lodges itself firmly on the woodwork.

The result of this? Fairly clear I’d say.

Varoon Bakshi adds:

"The problem of the lack of tech based innovation or for that matter the lack of strategic innovation in our military is also a result of the way the military and the MoD have treated our training establishments. NDA, IMA, INA etc are training establishments, however West Point in the U.S. is not a training establishment, it is a full fledged military university. Cadets at West Point are taught by one of the best minds in their chosen academic fields. If you look at the economics dept at West Point, cadets who are pursuing a 4 year BS in economics are exposed to the working of the US Federal Reserve through visits and interactions with leading economists. The civilian faculty in West Point is first rate. Another military academy worth looking at is the US Naval Academy. Prof Samuel Huntington, once upon a time, was a part of the faculty of the Naval Academy. Similarly in the areas of engineering, quantitative sciences, computer sciences, pure sciences, cadets in the various military academies of the United States are exposed to the best teachers and research. This is perhaps one of the reasons why these cadets, when they become officers, appreciate any form of innovation in their respective services."

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