When I was in college in the seventies during every winter the migratory birds in academia used to come to India from Europe/USA during Dec/Jan and impart wisdom to the lowly Indians. The white variety is the most preferred but the Indians in phoren institutions were also fine. The talk used to be on “American Economic models”/ “European Economic systems”   and “Indian Economic problems”. India was sold to Indians as a problem. That is the initiation for me into terminological terrorism.  Next came the most bizarre identification of our abysmal economic growth of the sixties and seventies as “Hindu rate of growth”. The Marxian economist Raj Krishna is the originator of this spurious and dangerous title since the economic growth rate during that period can better be called “ Nehruvian growth rate” since it was the direct result of the policies of Nehru and his advisors who wanted to usher in a “ Socialistic Pattern of society”

But alas the name has stuck to the extent some contemporary experts comment that if PM does not act swiftly in allowing foreign investments in our economy we may lapse again in to the Hindu rate of growth. Nobody seems to ask whether the recent growth rates of more than 8 percent are Christian or Jewish growth rate? The Marxists as is their wont wanted to spew venom on everything connected to Hindu civilization and culture and found that this the easy way to abuse the people and the faith in one stroke and everybody jumped into this without even thinking.

Then there is this categorization called “organized” and “unorganized” in our National income Statistics and other economic literature. In the service sector for whatever reason the experts in Government consider corporate form of organizations as “organized”. There is an Udupi restaurant near my home that opens at 7 am and closes at 10 pm every day throughout the year. He closes for half a day in an year for Ganesh Puja. He serves Idli and Dosa of consistent quality throughout the day.  Hold your breath—He is categorized as “unorganized” giving an impression that he is disorganized and needs to be bleached by global practices! Government is classified as “organized”—Can there be a more irony than this? Nearly 90 percent of India is self-employed and from that point of view whole of India is “unorganized”. This is the terminological terrorism imposed by IMF and World Bank on unsuspecting Indians.  In every TV debate and seminar people pontificate about ‘unorganized sector’ and how to make them “organized” without realizing what they are talking about. So the arguments go that we need Wal-Mart’s to organize trade, we need McDonalds to organize restaurant business we need Grey-hounds to organize transport of human beings etc. Incidentally our families are part of the “unorganized” sector as per the economic experts and I really do not know what is the suggestion to make it “organized” –May be by breaking up of the family system as in the west. As they say it –Give the dog a bad name and then hang it from the nearest lamp post.

Another of these terminological terrorism is about medicine /yoga/education etc. It is assumed that Allopathy is the only acceptable form of medication and so other systems like Ayurveda are called alternate medicines and we swallow the idea hook line and sinker and repeat the same ad-nauseum. We do not argue that our medical tradition is the main stream and others are alternate systems. Yoga is considered as alternate form of therapy to keep ourselves fit.  The tragic part is that we Indians have also internalized this terminological terrorism and use it without thinking about the implications.

It is like the newspaper reports mentioning that the “bird hits the plane” when actually it is the plane which hits the bird since the sky is the original and natural habitat of the birds.

The family is a burden in the Western system today and Children are encumbrances or constraints. Our mainstream media also uses this terminology without thinking about the implications.

 We are concerned since many times words repeatedly used begin to represent ideas and we tend to accept it without questioning. It is always the West which has imposed words on us. We need to have a commission to protect us from the terminological terrorism or a conscious war against it by the younger generation.

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Professor Vaidyanathan

Professor Vaidyanathan

The author is Professor of Finance and Control, Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore, and can be contacted at vaidya@iimb.ernet.in. The views are personal and do not reflect that of his organization.
Professor Vaidyanathan

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