THE leading Indian development practitioner and Harvard Mason Fellow Dr R Balasubramaniam gave lectures in London and across the UK about India’s progress so far in her quest for development and how the time is now ripe for an alternative development vision.
Dr Balasubramaniam talked about the need for a paradigm shift away from the traditionally used measures of development which focus solely on economic development, and is pictured centre right at the London event, hosted by Rang De UK, Vision India Foundation and Indians in London Group.
Citing research done by Angus Maddison for OECD in 2001, he revealed the lesser-known fact that India had the largest GDP in the world from the first to the 16th century and accounted for 35 per cent of global GDP at its peak.
Dr Balasubramaniam argued that India achieved this by leveraging her social and human capital and not focusing exclusively on economic measures. Further expanding on the definition of social and human capital, he elucidated that it stood for building the physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual abilities of Man.
After the event he said: “My development vision is best articulated by how the poor can participate in producing wealth and how development is not about pulling down the rich, but instead is about pushing up the poor.”
Mr A S Rajan, Minister of Co-ordination for the High Commission of India, London, attended the event and later said “Dr Balasubramaniam fantastically narrated the inherent strength and beauty of traditional India, having worked at the grass-root level in some of the most interior parts of the country.
“He gave new meaning to some economic terms, very different from the way they are being understood in the current world. His ideas on the strengthening of the existing time-old institutions and enhancing social capital are very interesting. His critical analyses of the working of democratic institutions in India are worthy of serious thought.”
The event also included book signing of Dr Balasubramaniam’s latest publication, ‘I, the Citizen’ which is available both in print format and online. In the book, he narrates an alternative archetype for human development.
Rang De UK is a chapter of Rang De (in India), which is a non-profit social enterprise working to fight poverty by providing low-cost microcredit. Vision India Foundation is a non-profit organization working to engage Indians and Indian-origin people to develop better policymaking and governance framework. The Indians in London group is an independent body for Indians in the UK promoting all aspects of their culture.