India in Search of Glory
Speaker: Ashok Kumar Lahiri
Venue: New Seminar Hall, GIPE
Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, along with the Pune International Centre, organised a special seminar as a part of its Seminar Series on September 14th, 2023. Ashok Kumar Lahiri, former CEA, graced the occasion as our special guest. The seminar was moderated by Dr Ajit Ranade, honourable Vice Chancellor of Gokhale Institute.
In his opening remarks, Vice Chancellor Dr Ajit Ranade stressed on the immense cultural heritage and history of our nation. He also focussed on how India, fighting a million odds, emerged as the largest parliamentary democracy in the world and continues to strive for its democratic and constitutional values.
Ashok Lahiri began with how democracy is an instrument for the crude functioning of a nation. He recognized the many advantages of democracy and how it helps to reach a Pareto Optimal situation in real life. He then went on to discern the many shortcomings of democratic functioning, such as, intra-party and inter-party conflicts creating disruptions in daily administrative and political functioning. Mr Lahiri spoke about the effect of diverse preferences of the voters and ethnolinguistic fraternity prevailing in the country. He also quoted Lawrence Summers’s prediction that China and India will grow very fast and very soon become the world’s largest economies.
He also classified India’s post-independence history into three phases: – 1. Nehruvian Phase (1947-1964)- Democratic Socialism and Policy Autonomy; 2. Populist Phase (1964-1991) and 3. Reform Phase (1991 onwards). He asserted the importance of coalition governments and how they can also implement crucial national policies. He also stressed on the declining status of the caste system in the country and its irrelevance among the modern youth. He ended that with the emergence of need for roti, kapra, makan, the people have less and less time to think about the caste affiliation of theirs.
The lecture was followed by a Q&A session wherein Mr Lahiri diligently responded to the curious queries of the audience. The guest was felicitated by the Vice Chancellor, and the seminar concluded with the vote of thanks.