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The S Gurumurthy Chat

The Critic (Thu Jun 4 1998 7:59 IST)
I see that Mr. S.G. is not yet here, nevertheless, to start the discussion and warm up, why should we stick to only Indian products?

Mr S Gurumurthy (Thu Jun 4 1998 8:4 IST)
I am not saying that we should stick to only Indian products. If Be American and Buy American is valid for Americans, be Indian and buy Indian is valid for India.

Ramprasad (Thu Jun 4 1998 8:6 IST)
GuruJi!!! Can you briefly tell me what are your ideas of Swadeshi and how they can help strengthen our economy?

Mr S Gurumurthy (Thu Jun 4 1998 8:8 IST)
Swadeshi is an Indian Global view, it is a long haul. Unless India is a Global player -- it will become a Global subject. It has to play its games at the Global level -- ie, it is a National game at the Global level, otherwise global games will be played at the National level. Swadeshi is playing Indian agenda at the Global level. Till Chidambaram's Budget, India was playing Global games at the National level. Sinha's Budget has made a significant attempt to play our National game at the Global level.

Sridharan (Thu Jun 4 1998 8:8 IST)
Shri Gurumuthiji, With FII investment coming down sharply in the last one month or so and India weightage coming down in FII portfolio investment, do you really believe that private equity capital can be garnered without a buoyant stock market? And what does this government has done to improve the sentiments of the stock market?

Mr S Gurumurthy (Thu Jun 4 1998 8:12 IST)
Sridharanji: You may recollect that after Chidambaram's Budget last time, the stock market went up by 400 points in five days. When it came own, it was even faster. Because you can't weaken the production base of India and indulge in financial engineering. I am happy that Sinha has concentrated on the fundamentals. It will take a few months for the stock market to follow. This will be durable.

Ramprasad (Thu Jun 4 1998 8:12 IST)
GuruJi !! What are those National games that you think we should play and did we play them in the past and did they succeed? Can you give some details

Mr S Gurumurthy (Thu Jun 4 1998 8:17 IST)
Ramprasadji, Unfortunately India never played its National game at the Global level. Pandit Nehru played a personal image game in politics and won Global recognition. Mao, on the other hand, never went out of China but played the Chinese National card effectively. As a Nation, the only Global game we have played is to have exploded the Bomb.

Shivakumar (Thu Jun 4 1998 8:16 IST)
Shri Gurumurthiji, In your opinion what will be India's Economic future post Pokhran II?

Mr S Gurumurthy (Thu Jun 4 1998 8:21 IST)
Shivkumarji: Post Pokran India will be heard in the WTO. India cannot be ignored. It's now taken as a serious Nation just as China was always since 1978. I see India getting tough in its negotiations and growing in self confidence. This is the sine qua non for negotiating global economic deals.

sainarasimhan (Thu Jun 4 1998 8:21 IST)
Mr. Gurumurthy: Do you have any opinions regarding the (international) portrayal of the BJP as a Hindu Nationalist Party and the consequent damage that the India image takes? Will the VHP, RSS, etc. tone down their rhetoric ... or at least do so with respect to the media ... so that we look a little more civilised (in the Western sense of the word)?

Mr S Gurumurthy (Thu Jun 4 1998 8:26 IST)
Sainarsimhan, if you are convinced about what the "Civilised West" says about India, I have nothing to say. If the West is wrong in your view in perceiving the BOP, we will have to convince them. Anyway don't hanker too much for their certificate. So long as you are clear that the West is wrongly perceiving India, it is only a matter of time -- they will understand it also. Will you agree that the worst image of India under the BJP was created by the pseudo liberals in India

pc (Thu Jun 4 1998 8:26 IST)
Japan and Germany are heard at the WTO - without the need for bombs, so are Malaysia! and S Korea! and Thailand!

Mr S Gurumurthy (Thu Jun 4 1998 8:29 IST)
Shri PC, Germany has a war history to live down and so has Japan. No one expects Malaysia and Thailand to have a Bomb. If China or India did not have it, that would be regarded as odd. India became serious in the Western mind only after .

pc (Thu Jun 4 1998 8:28 IST)
And mind you, whose help r u taking after the bombs - American MNCs! will that help come without its pound of flesh?

Mr S Gurumurthy (Thu Jun 4 1998 8:32 IST)
Mr PC -- even without the bomb the MNCs would demand their pound of flesh. With a bomb in our hands like China in 1978 we are only better off.

S Panchratnam (Thu Jun 4 1998 8:32 IST)
Gurumurthy, O Champion of the Swadeshi Jagran Manch. How do you think the sanctions will affect the country? Will it blow your patrons in the BJP away?

Mr S Gurumurthy (Thu Jun 4 1998 8:37 IST)
Shri Panchratnam, sanctions will affect America more because if it is not Boeing, it's Air Bus for us, if it is not American banks, it is EC banks. Russia is waiting to supply nuclear reactors for power production. The French have offered nuclear submarines. All these countries are ultimately traders. Sanctions require principled business and not the principle of business.

Shivakumar (Thu Jun 4 1998 8:37 IST)
Shri Gurumurthiji, In terms of development of Indian Companies and Indian entrepreneurs, wouldn't the early implementation of buy-back facility of share in the Companies Act be a more relevant thing today?

Mr S Gurumurthy (Thu Jun 4 1998 8:37 IST)
Shivkumarji, yes

ragoth (Thu Jun 4 1998 8:36 IST)
Shri.GM. Is India doing enough to expose the Chinese game of propping up Pak?

Mr S Gurumurthy (Thu Jun 4 1998 8:40 IST)
Shri Ragoth- India is not doing enough. But it has started to expose the China-Pak link.

sri (Thu Jun 4 1998 8:34 IST)
Namaskar sri Gurumurthy. What do you think about the influence of US on India? Should India move closer to mend ties with US or continue moving away from its influence?

Mr S Gurumurthy (Thu Jun 4 1998 8:47 IST)
Mr Sri - India an U.S. have many things in common. When some US diplomats met me, I told them that knowledge and assessment of India is poor, political rather than civilisational. India is one civilisation that sent out only ideas and not armies. Once India becomes a serious concern for the U.S., as it has become now, the US will study India correctly .The US will ultimately have to fight Islamic fundamentalists. In this, India is its companion. Already, the US is worried about the fact that the Pak bomb may be an Islamic Bomb because Pak consulted Iran and Saudi Arabia before exploding the bomb. In my view, US and India are going to be great allies in the long run. Therefore, we should try and improve communications with the US. The Indians in the US can do a great job if they stop criticising India and explain the Indian civilisation to the US.

DHA (Thu Jun 4 1998 8:43 IST)
Gurumurthy: You believe that by conducting a few nuclear tests, we are playing the game at the global level. I cannot believe that someone so intellectually deficient as you can be considered worthy to be a guest on this august forum. What do you know of foreign policy except the lies taught to you at your shakhas?

Mr S Gurumurthy (Thu Jun 4 1998 8:49 IST)
Shri DHA - I am happy with your certificate because the same certificate should go to the Chinese also.

Subramani (Thu Jun 4 1998 8:48 IST)
Mr G: Would you advocate throwing the Yankee MNCs out of the country if the US tries to meddle in Kashmir?

Mr S Gurumurthy (Thu Jun 4 1998 8:50 IST)
Mr. Subramani - Yes, because then the MNCs will ensure that the US does not meddle in Kashmir.

Jairaj (Thu Jun 4 1998 8:42 IST)
mR gURUMURTHY: which toothpaste and soap do you use? Have you stopped drinking Thums Up and Gold Spot ever since the Coke bought it over? Is it true that you do not use any MNC good for comforts of your life style?

Mr S Gurumurthy (Thu Jun 4 1998 8:53 IST)
Mr Jairaj I have neem paste and sandalwood soap to use. I have fresh fruit juice and coconut water to drink. I don't go for chemicalised food paste and drink.

A B Narayanan (Thu Jun 4 1998 8:47 IST)
Sir Gurumurthy: Can Indian afford to be protectionist in the long run?

Mr S Gurumurthy (Thu Jun 4 1998 8:56 IST)
Mr. Narayan you are speaking in the American idiom when you say protectionist. Do you know that the US is levying 155% duty on sugar and Japan 860% duty on rice. Free trade and protectionism are not absolute concepts. The only absolute concept is National interest.

M K Kumar (Thu Jun 4 1998 8:46 IST)
Good evening, Sir. I wanted to ask you if there is any likelihood of India being savaged by the sanctions?

Mr S Gurumurthy (Thu Jun 4 1998 8:58 IST)
Mr. Kumar don't worry we are not going to be savaged by sanctions

Rajeev (Thu Jun 4 1998 8:58 IST)
Mr Gurumurthy: How can an intelligent man like you state that US and India have common dangers from Islam. If that was so, Bangladesh would have not been created. Moreover, in today's world not all Islamic countries are backing the Kashmiri militants. In fact, there is no single Muslim country unlike Turkey in 1900s which rules the Muslim world, isn't it? Van you comment on what basis you say that Islam is a great threat to US and India?

Mr S Gurumurthy (Thu Jun 4 1998 9:2 IST)
Shri Rajeev - the American view of Islam is totally different since the collapse of USSR. Please study the book on civilisational clashes by Huntington and the debates in Foreign Affairs magazine. Bill Clinton went to Africa and addressed 12 African nations exorting them to fight the fundamentalist Sudan.

ajay (Thu Jun 4 1998 9:1 IST)
murthygaru, I thought the topic here is swadeshi, but it is gettting political. About Kashmir, why don't we solve the problem once and for all, plebiscite or whatever. What is wrong with people (of Kashmir) choosing what they want? About Fundamentalism, any fundamentalism is bad, right?

Mr S Gurumurthy (Thu Jun 4 1998 9:6 IST)
Mr. Ajay- if there is plebiscite in Kashmir that is the end of all peace between Hindus and Muslims in India . Don't you have any sympathy for Indian Muslims, so don't be too sweeping. When you talk of fundamentalism, you must understand that it is peculiar to the Abrahamic faiths which are wedded to one book and one prophet -- that is why the fundamentalism project of Chicago University said that the Eastern religions are not fundamentalists like the Judaic faiths. So please do not equate a religion of many books and many prophets with a religion of a single and a single prophet.

ragoth (Thu Jun 4 1998 8:51 IST)
Shri GM: Will there be a change for the better regarding Kashmir in the government's approach? No more goof-ups and a clear-headed approach?

ragoth (Thu Jun 4 1998 9:3 IST)
(Transformed question!): Shri.GM. What should be the new approach to Kashmir, in your opinion?

Mr S Gurumurthy (Thu Jun 4 1998 9:10 IST)
Mr. Ragoth: Once I suggested to Mr Jim Clad of the Carnegie Foundation that the US should suggest that the entire Indian Muslim population should vote on Kashmir. He was then sure that they will vote to retain Kashmir to India. This will make Pakistan reject this proposal. It means that Kashmir is not a Hindu-Muslim issue. Is this original enough?

Brahm Astra (Thu Jun 4 1998 9:10 IST)
Mr GM: When is the govt going to implement its "a school in every village" plan ? (which needed a higher priority than the bomb)

Mr S Gurumurthy (Thu Jun 4 1998 9:14 IST)
Mr. Brahmastra: The RSS has successfully spread the concept of single teacher schools in South Bihar and other vanvasi areas. This will be the answer for rural and hill area education. I think this Government might launch this programme as a Government project all over India.

kkn (Thu Jun 4 1998 9:11 IST)
Shri Gurumurthyji, Could you please tell me what do you mean when you say "SWADESHI". I have gone through "HINDU ECONOMICS" by Dr.Bokare but for a layman like me, I would appriciate if you can explain this concept in simple words.

Mr S Gurumurthy (Thu Jun 4 1998 9:22 IST)
Shri KKN- Swadeshi means India first approach, it also means that there can be no homogenisation of the world. Diversity of life and life style is integral to swadeshi it makes economics relate to culture, that is why in India parents and gran parents are the responsibility of their children . The brother educates the brother and sisters. Brothers remain unmarried to get the sister married. In the West, these family and social obligations have become Government programmes though social security. So the swadeshi concept does not rely only on the market and the state. But it gives the natural space to the family and the community besides recognising diversity. You want to know the economic value of culture. If all earning Indians disown their dependants and ask the state to take care of them, it would require several times the Indian budget to give them the basic needs.

himanshu (Thu Jun 4 1998 9:16 IST)
Gurumurthyji, I have studied in an RSS school for 7 yrs and I think I can understand our swadeshi policy well. When I read the world history and want to take some lesson from it, many countries have had philosophies similar to "swadeshi", and it has resulted in below par products from their own countries and the ultimate sufferer is the end consumer who has to live with less than what he deserves for his money. A good example is American car industry. They lobbied hard to keep Japanese competition out and during this entire period of about 60-80 years the level of improvement in their products was very small. But when they opened the markets, all of them had no choice but to work VERY HARD to keep up with foreign competition, and in the process the rate of improvement of their product was extremely significant. What is your opinion about it?

Mr S Gurumurthy (Thu Jun 4 1998 9:26 IST)
Mr. Himanshu: a consumer is also an employee, this is what Japan recognised when it strenuously built its industrial base . Now, it has industries as well as consumer satisfaction.Otherwise it would have had neither. No economist has spoken only about consumer satisfaction as yet.

kkn (Thu Jun 4 1998 9:25 IST)
Shri Gurumurthyji, Expanding "SWADESHI" , What do you feel of current Management (Industry) process in India. What should be done to reflect our own ethos in managing our businesses rather than copying western or Japanese theories ?

Mr S Gurumurthy (Thu Jun 4 1998 9:28 IST)
Shri KKn -already many people are working on the Indian ways of management. Only when Indian self confidence rises the Indian management will also take roots .

(Thu Jun 4 1998 9:12 IST)
(repeat Q) Mr S Gurumurthy: Is India going to renege on their WTO agreement?

Mr S Gurumurthy (Thu Jun 4 1998 9:32 IST)
Mr Sai - we should not renege on WTO. We should aggressively negotiate unlike in the past.

Mr S Gurumurthy (Thu Jun 4 1998 9:37 IST)
Brothers and sisters thank you all. I enjoyed this session thoroughly. If I have been unconvincing on swadeshi or other ideas of India its my fault and deficiency in articulation and not the fault of the idea itself.

Mr S Gurumurthy (Thu Jun 4 1998 9:38 IST)
A.Ganesh Nadar signing of from Madras . We will be with you in the near future.Good night.

Questions that Mr S Gurumurthy did not take