Home > History, India, Indian Economy, Politics, Religion > Lee Kuan Yew resents India’s Peaceful Rise- Almost

Lee Kuan Yew resents India’s Peaceful Rise- Almost


Lee Kuan Yew has been rather dismissive about India always. Reason-India does not have ‘Confucian ethic’ that China has.

One party dictatorship or two-party democracy. What's the difference? One more collusive political party! (Cartoonist - Matt Bors; Posted on August 4, 2008; Cartoon Source and Courtesy - cagle.com). Click for larger image.

The speed of China’s change and the thoroughness, energy and drive with which the Chinese have built up their infrastructure and pursued their goals spring from their culture, one that is shared by the Koreans, Japanese and Vietnamese, who adopted the Chinese written script and absorbed Confucian culture. The Chinese are determined to catch up with the U.S., the EU and Japan. Fast-forward 20 to 30 years and the world will have to accommodate a more technologically advanced and economically more sophisticated China, whether under a single- or multiparty system.

India does not pose such a challenge–and won’t until it gets its social infrastructure up to First World standards and further liberalizes its economy. Indeed, the U.S., the EU and Japan root for India because they want a better-balanced world, in which India approximates China’s weight. (via India’s Peaceful Rise – Forbes.com).

Patronising Lee

Lee Kuan Lee has always been rather dismissive about India. Lee thinks that India biggest disadvantage is that it does does not have the ‘Confucian ethic’ – which China shares with Korea, Vietnam and Japan. The other disadvantage that India has, is its democracy. India is getting some mileage because it is not a threat.

Of course, India also does not have the advantage of a family with such ‘Confucian ethic’ running the entire country!

Of course, possibly, it never occured to Lee-san that running a nation with 15 major languages, 3 major religions, 4 racial stocks – and a democracy has never been attempted in world history. That we live to tell the tale,  is in itself an achievement. Lee-san notwithstanding.

In Greater China

Understanding Lee-san’s Confucianism.

In Hong Kong Chinese movies, till the 1990’s, a recurring theme was the Buddhist monk. Until the modernist Jackie Chan goes to America versions started coming out, it was always the wise Buddhist teacher who taught the Brave ‘Chinaman’ to fight against feudal oppression. It was always the Wise Buddhist Teacher who showed the way.

Unlike the Platonic-Confucian polity, Indic systems represented freedom and equity. And that is the reason for the success of Buddhism.

Lee Kuan Yew – a Confucius bhakt

This also explains why Lee Kuan Yew extols Confucian virtues of Greater Chinese. Is it surprising that the ‘modern’ Chinese Government is so afraid of Buddhist revival that they have put restrictions on the Falun Gong followers from doing breathing exercises in the open. Falun Gong which attracted nearly 10 crore followers in the last 15 years, seems to have made the Chinese Government nervous.

Contrast the faith that the Chinese have in Buddhist teachers with the representation of Church and priests in Hollywood and you will see the contrast. One set has been able to maintain trust and faith for more than 2000 years – and the other set seems to have lost it in less than a 1000 years.

Is it any surprise that the common Chinese loves and venerates the Buddha – and the Chinese Government (and Lee-san) lays so much emphasis on Confucianism?

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