Chetan Bhagat Need Not Worry About Pakistan, Should Focus on Saving His Own Country

Chetan Bhagat Need Not Worry About Pakistan, Should Focus on Saving His Own Country
Chetan Bagat recently wrote an article titled “Is it time for Pakistan to return to the motherland?”

Indians just need to get over the Pakistan complex. They cannot digest even after 75 years that our ancestors were able to fight for their rights and get their own country against all odds.

So the question is: is it time for Pakistan to return to the motherland? Dream on. Bhagat refers to Pakistan’s economic crisis. According to the IMF, Pakistan is the 11th fastest growing economy in the world. And only a few years back Pakistan’s economy outperformed India’s showing greater economic growth, higher levels of foreign direct investment. The exact years were 2000 to 2018.

He goes about poverty in Pakistan without realising the poverty in his own motherland India. Here are some facts. In absolute terms, 41.6 per cent of India's 1.1 billion people earned less than 78 pence per day compared with 22.6 percent of Pakistan's 173 million. Hence, Poverty ratio is twice in India as compared to Pakistan.

In terms of GDP per capita, both India and Pakistan have been very closely matched over the years, with India actually being richer than Pakistan for only five years from 1960 to 2006.

In 2006 Pakistan was richer than India. Even in 2020, the per capita income of India was only 1.56 times higher than Pakistan on an exchange rate basis. Both nations are quite low in the world's GDP per capita rankings, with India at 147 (nominal) and 130 (PPP) and Pakistan at 160 (nominal) and 144 (PPP).

Rather than worrying about Pakistan's economy, it would be better to focus on improving your own nation. We have a young and energetic population that is more than capable of turning the tide around.

The writer also worried about Pakistani rupee depreciation. The Indian rupee depreciated over 11 per cent in 2022 against the dollar -- its poorest performance since 2013 and the worst drubbing among Asian currencies -- as the US Federal Reserve's aggressive monetary policy propelled the greenback.

He may be surprised to learn which currencies have been performing the worst in 2022. Inflation has been rising worldwide and central banks have responded by increasing interest rates, striving to avoid currency devaluation.

The cause of the current monetary crisis is multi-faceted, including supply chain shocks which occurred during the pandemic, vendors overcompensating for higher raw material costs, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Other economists, such as John Taylor from Stanford University, think that too much cash was injected into Western markets in 2021 following the pandemic, contributing to the situation we find ourselves in. British pound, Turkish Lira, and Sri Lankan rupees to name a few who did very badly in 2022.

Chetan Bhagat also writes that the theory that Muslims will be safe in Pakistan and unsafe in India has proved wrong. Seriously? In Modi’s India? Let me remind him of the article titled “India’s Muslims fear for their future under Narendra Modi” published in BBC News on May 16 2019. This article examines the climate of fear among India's Muslim population since Narendra Modi came to power in 2014. Hindu nationalists have become increasingly vocal in their support of Modi’s policies, which threaten to undermine India's secular status and equal rights for all citizens.

These radicals are attempting to limit minority rights with the implementation of laws like the Citizenship Amendment Act, which is seen as a way of Hindus having more rights than Muslims in India. Muslims report feeling unsafe and targeted, living under constant fear of discrimination, economic marginalisation, and violence.

Chetan, does not need to worry about Muslims being safe in Pakistan. He can, however, make them safe in his own motherland.

There is a world we have known before covid and now there is a post covid world which we are living in. In this new world, we should realise that we are all connected in one way or the other. We need to live and let live.

The author is a graduate from Clark University in business studies and is an educationist and an entrepreneur.