Pune: “Any Data That This Government Gives Out, I Take It With A Pinch Of Salt” – Prof. Parakala Prabhakar at Gokhale Institute

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Pune, 5th April 2024: Prof. Parakala Prabhakar, a leading political economist and social critic, spoke at a seminar “Political Economy of New India” at Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics on Thursday. He addressed a rather enthusiastic audience of students, professors, staff and prominent social thinkers of Pune. Prof. K S Reddy introduced the Chief Guest, Prof. Parakala Prabhakar and Dr. RK Pattnaik, who was the Chair and Moderator of the session.

“It was a dream to be here. Once upon a time, I wanted to study here and I also hold Gopal Krishna Gokhale in high regards. Had he lived longer, the trajectory of the Indian social pool would have been much richer,” Prof. Prabhakar said in the opening address.

He said, “The crisis in the employment scenario in India is so severe, that people are ready to fight in a war, take their chances of staying alive. I am not trying to compare Jawahar Lal Nehru to you-know-who. There is a poverty of aspirations and poverty of dreams in this country,” highlighting the problems of unemployment and inequality in India at the moment.

He also pointed out the fact that if India, as is advertised, is really the fifth largest economy, overtaking the UK, then why is it that we are 140th in per capita income? He added “There was a time when Indian Statistical structure was respected and now there are doubts about the Indian data globally.”

Prof. Prabhakar drew the attention to the ways of the present government in handling the recent disputed laws and also expulsion of the members of parliament by saying, “We passed Agriculture related laws in 10 minutes and then the Honorable Prime Minister repealed them in another 10 minutes. Democracy is much more than this. Democracy is governance by dialogue, by discussion, by conversation, by disagreement, by persuasion. That’s what I would like my democracy to be.”

His concluding remarks were, “New India wants to become Ancient India. The new India has now made the blind worship of the past as the biggest enterprise. But we must remember that it is not a match between this government or that government, we must see that the winners are the people of India.

About Prof. Parakala Prabhakar:

Dr Parakala Prabhakar is a leading political economist, a social critic, and a former communication adviser to the government of Andhra Pradesh. He studied at JNU and the London School of Economics. He was the Communications Adviser to the Government of Andhra Pradesh between 2014 and 2018 and held a Cabinet rank. He is currently the MD of RightFOLIO, a knowledge enterprise based in Hyderabad. His latest book is The Crooked Timber of New India: Essays on a Republic in Crisis (Speaking Tiger). Prabhakar in his book “The Crooked Timber of New India” has openly stated that he sees his duty as a citizen of India to point out the wrongs committed by the Modi regime.