I am having a sort of running debate online with Sainath’s sycophants all over the world. I wouldn’t have ruthlessly criticized Sainath if I knew that he had such a huge fan following. Fed up with them, I have decided to plug a few blogs which expose his real face, which, indeed is very ugly.
Aadisht writes on how Sainath make statistics appear in a manner which would push his real agenda, which would be taxing and humiliating the rich as much as possible.
Sainath had written that the maternal mortality figures of India is as much as the total maternal morality figures of Nigeria, Afghanistan and Congo togethor.What is significant is that the population of India is five times the total population of these three countries taken together.
“P. Sainath being innumerate is actually the most charitable explanation for this editorial. A less kind explanation is that his bias is making him too lazy to do his research properly, and a very unkind explanation is that he’s actively using scare tactics to push an agenda.”
“Does Sainath not understand the concept of per-capita mortality rates (which makes him innumerate at best and stupid at worst), or is he intentionally not bringing them up (which makes him dishonest)?”
Salil Thripati too has some very nice things to say about Sainath:
“A journalist is good at reporting facts; he is not a therapist. Accepting this limited role needs humility.”
“By juxtaposing a fashion event with the Vidarbha farmers’ suicides, Sainath is pitting the so-called India against Bharat, or “shining” India versus “declining” India. In any case, how sound was Sainath’s analysis of rural India and the solutions he offered? Sainath also lamented that eight million people have given up farming in the past decade and many are looking for urban jobs “that are not there”. Really? As the informal sector of unorganized workers is far larger—and undocumented—on what basis can one conclude that there are no jobs for migrant labor in towns and cities? And what’s wrong with a few million farmers giving up farming? Many economists have shown that Indian farm productivity is low because the land-holdings are too small, making efficient farming unviable. There are too many Indians trying to work as farmers and many would prefer to do something else. The land is not productive; agriculture’s share of India’s wealth is declining, and the sector is not growing rapidly. A transition to services or industry is a good thing.”
What is interesting about the libertarian blogger Gaurav Sabnis is that he really has some interesting things to say about Sainath. He gives him the respect which he deserves and I appreciate the nobility of Sabnis’s soul. I deeply respect Gaurav Sabnis for this. It is something I can’t do. It is hard for me to believe that Sainath is a well meaning person.
“P Sainath is the recipient of this year’s Ramon Magsaysay Award. Sainath thoroughly deserves the award. I have great respect for him, because he has always displayed something sorely lacking in the Indian media – initiative. Bucking the urban-centric trend of journalism, he travels to the hinterland and brings us stories from there. Sainath’s work is thought of by some as the injection of reality into our affluent middle class world views. Which is why personally I am very disappointed at the inadequacies of the way he brings us this reality. Often I get frustrated, because he is obviously a very intelligent and circumspect man. I can only blame those inadequacies on the lack of objectivity. Even though he does a fantastic job of unearthing stories and documenting them, the spin he puts on it betrays his own beliefs, which are at the very least left-of-centre.”
“His book was about people who were nothing but victims of the state. Those displaced due to dams, coal mines, and so on, and now leading a penniless existence. Tribals who were forced up to give up the very forests that sustain them. There is one thread common to all these stories – someone sitting either in the national capital or state capital deciding what is the best for everyone. And a complete lack of the sanctity of property rights, due to which anyone, whether it is the government or a private corporation which has bribed the government, can steal your land from you.”
“But “sanctity of private property rights” probably seems like too capitalist an idea for Sainath. The truth is interfering with his subjective opinions. Which is why most of the times, Sainath is there-but-not-quite-there. Some of his opinions like the ones here are correct. The WTO IS a sham. Subsidies ARE cornered by the elite. Food security IS a myth. And anyone who knows free markets will join Sainath in voicing those opinions.”
“Where he falters very often is labeling the post-1991 policies as “free market capitalism” and saying they have been as bad, if not worse for the poor of this country, as socialism was. The neo-liberal policies often cop the blame from him. But whenever you take an issue he has raised and dig deeper, the underlying reason is still statist interventionism. However his overall writing continues to create the illusion, willfully or otherwise, that free market ideas are part of the problem.”
It has become fashionable to write about the farmer deaths in Vidharba. Yes, farmers had died in Vidharba. And they will keep on dying unless we change our policies. Farmers in India are not allowed to sell their land for non-agricultural purposes. In fact, they are not allowed to switch occupations, even when reality demands so. If industries want to take over the land, they have to approach the Government and the Government forcefully takes over the land, as happened in Nandigram and Singur. The only way out is to make sure that the farmers have property rights, which mean the sole right to do whatever they want with their own land. As long as Sainath doesn’t write for the sanctity of private property rights, he too is partly responsible for those farmer deaths! He is much, much guiltier than the middle class which he so derides as he is actively pushing the opposite cause.
With all my good will, I can’t believe that Sainath is really concerned with poverty. If one were really concerned about poverty, the first thing he would do is to find out the causes of poverty. He would look at the nations of the world and ask himself why some nations are poor while the other ones are prosperous. The prosperity of United States, the collapse of Soviet Union, the case of Hongkong, the past difference between east and west Berlin, the cases of nations where variants of socialism were practiced, all would convince him beyond doubt that the only cure for poverty is a free market. The world was most peaceful from 1815-1914 when it was closest to Capitalism. England, the then freest nation was the richest. Which poor African country has a decent level of economic freedom? The evidence is too much that no sensible person can ignore them. Yet, the people who claim to be the most concerned about poverty are the ones who would be first in throwing stones against Capitalism. Why is it that it is only the intellectuals who are unaware of this? It should be clear now that ignorance on such a large scale is not out of ignorance, but out of power lust.
“Intellectuals” like Sainath have a deep inferiority complex and envy the rich too much that they can’t see the realities in their true proportions. It is their envy and power lust that prevents them from seeing the truth. In some debates, I tried my level best explaining to the collectivists how make work projects would create more unemployment and hamper productivity, but no matter how well I explained, they got more and more convinced that they are right. The fact is not that they are unable to see the truth, but that they are so consumed with envy and power lust that they can’t see it. What else could be an adequate explanation for this? Quoting the great philosopher Ayn Rand, “Do not ever say that the desire to “do good” by force is a good motive. Neither power-lust nor stupidity are good motives. “