How India Got Its Brahma, Vishnu And Mahesh Act Together

R Jagannathan

Nov 05, 2021, 10:11 AM | Updated 10:44 AM IST

The stars have aligned.
The stars have aligned.
  • As we get ready to celebrate the 75th year of independence, Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh have smiled together as India gets its economic act together.
  • With the three working in tandem, no one can stop India, that is Bharat, from emerging on the world stage on its own terms.
  • On this auspicious Diwali, we should not allow even woke judges and foolish politicians to blight the festival of lights. For, we are going to have a blast, with or without crackers. There is good reason to cheer this year, for all the gods are working in unison and the stars are in alignment.

    But before I explain why, let us start with a broad invocation to Hinduism’s eternal Trimurthi: Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh.

    गुरुर्ब्रह्मा गुरुर्विष्णु र्गुरुर्देवो महेश्वरः

    गुरु साक्षात परब्रह्मा तस्मै श्रीगुरवे नमः

    In Hindu tradition, Brahma is the creative force, Vishnu the preserving force and Mahesh the destroyer. Dharma is served well when all the three are in balance and alignment, aligned in our words and deeds, that is. In the modern world, Brahma is about creativity and innovation, Vishnu about preservation and well-being, and Maheshwara the creative destroyer.

    For much of our socialist-secularist post-independence history, the three were not in alignment, as we followed policies to destroy creativity through mind-boggling red tape and regulations, we failed to preserve not just heritage and the environment, but even our business where we had some competitive advantages (textiles and metallurgy, for example). Worse, we were reluctant to let zombie companies die peacefully.

    In 1991, after liberalisation, we unleashed creative energies, but it was not always of the right kind. The asur shakti was unleashed, with most of the creative energies going into scams and corruption. And we did little to preserve competitive strengths, as the licence-permit raj was replaced with regulatory capture and other forms of tripwires. We refused to let failing companies die by making only half-hearted efforts with the Sick Industrial Companies Act and the debt recovery tribunals. Neither worked. Neither Brahma, nor Vishnu nor Mahesh was pleased.

    It is only after 2014, though many reforms had their origins in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and Atal Bihari Vajpayee eras, that Brahma-Vishnu-Mahesh have begun working in tandem.

    Creative energies have been unleashed for all classes of people, with 34 unicorns being created in the first 10 months of the year. The stock markets are spewing wealth, and Lakshmi is providing finance to promising long-gestation enterprises, as we saw with the success of Jio, Zomato, PB Fintech, Nykaa and many others.

    Even the poor, from the humble pakora seller to the street vendor, were supported to become job-givers rather than just job-seekers, with Mudra loans and microfinance institutions playing their part. Many will fail, but the creative energies of a billion people have been ignited as never before. We only need 20 per cent success in our creative forces to make India boom.

    Brahma is happy.

    The forces of preservation were active both before and during the pandemic, when the Modi government chose empowerment strategies over entitlement. From subsidised pension schemes to Ayushman Bharat to Ujjwala, SVANidhi (loans for street vendors) and Skill India, the poor and working classes have been asked to invest in their own well-being, skills and retirement corpuses. They responded, as now they all have access to bank accounts.

    During the Covid pandemic, while other nations threw money at the problem, the Indian government ensured basic MGNREGA jobs, free grains, and a little cash to preserve body and soul when the economy collapsed. As Covid ravaged the world, India not only emerged as the antidote to it by taking care of its own people as best it could, but by becoming the vaccine provider to the world. Even as the world jeered India about unreported Covid deaths and bodies floating down the Ganga, India quietly went about vaccinating a billion Indians — a job that’s two-thirds done.

    And now, even as climate change and the environment are threatened, India is rapidly moving to preserve its own part of the earth by boosting the use of renewable sources, mainly solar and wind. At some point, we could become big users of hydrogen fuels too. India played a very small role in global warming, but it will play a bigger part in preserving climate equilibrium.

    The preserver in Vishnu is smiling.

    But the most important part was played by Maheshwara, the god of creative destruction. Through demonetisation, the goods and services tax (GST), formalisation, and the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, deadwood in the corporate sector are being culled, sold or rejuvenated.

    The sheer number of big names who lost companies in the process — Tatas, Ambanis, Ruias, Jaiprakash, GVK, GMR, Binanis and Singals (of Bhushan Steel) — shows the broad sweep of this creative destruction which is necessary to preserve overall corporate health. Many thousand more micro, small and medium sector industries, which had no business models beyond tax evasion, fraud and living off excise exemptions, were put out to pasture. We now have a real chance that from all this creative destruction, a new and more competitive small and medium sector will arise, which can take on the world.

    Maheshwara’s cosmic dance of creative destruction is making us stronger.

    As we get ready to celebrate the 75th year of independence, Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh have smiled together as India gets its economic act together. With the three working in tandem, no one can stop India, that is Bharat, from emerging on the world stage on its own terms.

    Jagannathan is Editorial Director, Swarajya. He tweets at @TheJaggi.

    Get Swarajya in your inbox.