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By: Kishan Bhatia
July 06, 2007
V
iews expressed here are author"s own and not of this website. Full disclaimer is at the bottom.

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Vedic culture is characterized by its power of knowledge developed starting about five millenniums ago and it flourished in India except for about a millennium from 950 to 1947. Hindus, Buddhist, Sikhs and Jains are direct and Christians and Muslims are indirect beneficiaries of Vedic knowledge (see C. K. Raju, “The Eleven Pictures of Time,” The physics, Philosophy and Politics of Time Beliefs, SAGE Publications, New Delhi and London (2003)). Vedic people had social, cultural and commercial ties with ancient Greece, Roman Empire, Middle East including Egypt, today"s Iraq, Iran and other Arab nations and Far East including China, Japan, South Korea and nations of Southeast Asia.

In my guest article, “Science and Cultural Dilemma” at the iVarta, I had compared three dominant global cultures. The regrouped data in table is from http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html  and it documents major religions of the world ranked by number of adherents in 2005;

 

 

Population

Population

Major Religions (2005)

%

Million

Christian (Catholics, Protestants, Eastern              Orthodox, etc)

31.51

2100

Muslims (Sunni, Shia, Sufi, etc)

19.50

1300

Secular (Nonreligious, Agnostics, Atheists)

16.50

1100

Vedic (Hindu, Buddhist, Sikhs, Jains)

19.53

1302

Chinese traditional religion

5.91

394

Primal-indigenous

4.50

300

African Traditional & Diaspora

1.50

100

Others

0.83

55

Jews

0.21

14

Total

 

6665


Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Sikh have a common origin in Vedic teachings/heritage/culture and hence following the criteria used for grouping Muslims and Christians, they are Vedic sects.

Vedic tradition derived global population of about 20% is comparable to that of Muslims (Sunni, Shia, Sufi, etc) as Islam with comparable percentage of population represent all its sects. Christianity has global population of 31.5% and at least 10 sects identified in the original data.

Prior to about a millennium ago the feudal India was built on commerce, agriculture and value added goods manufactured in small scale manufacturing shops all across India. As a result of colonization, first by the “loot and plunder” brand Islamic invaders of Turkic origin from central and north Eurasia and about three hundred years ago by Europeans the feudal India lost its freedoms and with it the power of commerce based on its knowledge base inherited from Vedic scholarship. The wide spread small scale industrial infrastructure of feudal India was systematically destroyed in the colonial British India to make room for cost effective growth of industrial age manufacturing set up in the homeland of its colonial masters. Continuous cost reductions are now possible by manufacturing on economics of scale and using supply chain managed distribution systems.

Indians are regaining their strengths, both military and economic in the Republic of India, a multi-ethnic, multicultural democracy with a constitution based on secular principles of equality, fundamental and personal property rights for all its citizens. Indians are now aggressively engaged in developing human resources to create a largest body of knowledge workers that is responsible for steadily growing neo-wealth of India. To cater to local markets for a population of 1.1 billion Indian manufacturing is achieving cost-effectiveness necessary to serve relatively poor rural masses by increasing production with economics of mass scale methods and deploying supply chain management technology for cost-effective distribution system. The growth of retail segment in the organized sector is a direct out come of these cost-effective technologies.

Unlike in feudal India characterized by widespread discrimination based on social and cultural institutionalization of bigotry in the form of birth based caste system and religious affiliation, thrust of human development in India today is to empower all its citizens. All Indians are now politically very actively asserting their rights for opportunities in education, jobs, government, etc. As India uses increasing levels of creativity and innovation to strengthen elements used to calculate human development index, poverty in India continues to decline. Poverty reduction is associated with wealth generation using developed human resources, the knowledge workers. As the depth for the pool of knowledge workers increases India will continue to shine increasingly in the global village.

A key requirement of developing knowledge workers globally in demand is proficiency in math, science, philosophy and logic. These are the characteristics of Vedic culture and society. Unlike Christianity that continues to reform itself from 15th century onwards by accommodating scientific truths based on reason and rationality, Islam following the Asharite philosophy from 13th century onwards has reverted to medieval-autocratic principles of submission to authority of scriptures and rulers, which led to diminished emphasis in Islamic madrassahs on study of math, science, philosophy and logic – the basic knowledge needed to reason and for rationality.

A consequence of not accepting truth based on reason and rationality can be estimated by understanding poverty levels, which can be quantified. According to the World Distribution of Income, Quarterly Journal of Economics (May 2006) the number of persons below a standard of poverty line fell in China by about 250 million and that in India by 140 million from 1970 to 2000. This massive poverty reduction occurred despite an increase in population of about 400 million in each country and rising income inequality within China and India during same period.

A tragedy for world poverty reduction is low income growth in sub-Saharan Africa, which is dominated by Islamic social, cultural and political (medieval-autocratic) practices and where number of people in poverty rose by around 200 million from 1970 to 2000. Economies of Africa and nations like Pakistan are driven by foreign aid and a glaring lack of adequate human resources developments.

The economic triumphs in China and India are derived mainly from improvements in governance, notably opening up to markets and capitalism. Foreign aid had nothing to do with the current successes in India and China, and it did nothing to prevent African tragedy or low economic growth in real terms or growth rates adjusted to inflation in Pakistan from 1999 to present.

Foreign aid is typically run through governments and, thereby, tends to promote public sector that are large, corrupt and unresponsive to market forces. In the latest ranking of 177 nations (The Failed States Index 2007) Pakistan was ranked 12th as a failing nation and globally 20 of 57 OIC nations were ranked in top 40 failing states. The ranking of failing states is dominated by the followers of Islamic culture, social and political practices.

Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa has described widespread corruption by army and political operatives to siphon off foreign aid by the Pakistan"s military to serve military causes. In “Modernity, Generals and Ayatollahs” Suroosh Irfani has reviewed the scholarly book, Military Inc by Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa (Modernity, Generals and Ayatollahs  —Suroosh Irfani).

Unlike Pakistan with its nuclear weapons, both China and India are now being looked upon as increasingly developed nations as they continuously expand economically at annual double digit GDP growth rates. In pre-1990 period when India was also dependent on foreign aid for its development, the poverty levels in India were steadily growing and that trend has been reversed as structural reforms instituted from 1990s onwards have started delivering desired results.

India as measured by its economy and military strengths was ranked among a third world nation prior to 1990s. If Indian economy continues its annual double digit GDP growth then it is projected to be among top five economies in about a decade and its poverty levels steadily declining to under ten percent in about two more decades.

That is the power of knowledge based human resources that can"t be ignored.

Kishan Bhatia

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