We all have heard this story of the tortoise and the hare in which they compete in a race. Everyone had their bets on the hare but, well, you know what had happened in the end, right?
The bold, cocky hare loses whereas the slow and steady tortoise wins the prize. Something of this very nature has been happening with India and Bangladesh.
Indians who’d dreamed of becoming a superpower by 2020 find out in 2020 that their neighbor Bangladesh has risen out of the blue to beat them at their own game!
But can a small country like Bangladesh really sustain this GDP per capita lead in the long run?
First, let’s go back in time, shall we?
2007: On our TV screens, India playing the “minnows” Bangladesh, in the Cricket World Cup. This was a do or die match for India, but anyway, they were pretty confident or let’s put it more correctly, “overconfident” in their approach.
Result: The game was lost!
Now, back to 2020: IMF has written a report that India is set to slip below Bangladesh in terms of GDP per capita or average income.
An average Indian earned 1,876 USD in 2020 and take this, an average Bangladeshi earned 1,887.97 USD!
Now, “bhakt-type” people might say: “That’s a very small lead for God’s sakes; Take a chill pill, or else, go to Bangladesh already!”
Okay, the good news is that India’s GDP per capita will take the lead again in 2021 but according to further calculations, Bangladesh will take the lead in 2024.
Seems like a neck to neck fight, right? So, does a Bangladeshi really earn as much as an Indian? Are we losing the “money” race?
The data does not incorporate inflation which is “mehengai” in simple language. The fact is, prices of products are rising faster in Bangladesh, so an average Bangladesh can afford less number of items than an Indian.
Now, once again, “Bhakt-type” people will say: “Ha, the IMF is anti-national and Bangladesh is going nowhere. This whole news was a big conspiracy!”
That’s not only overconfidence speaking but also an extremely immature thinking. The thing is, Bangladesh has witnessed steady growth for a decade now, while we have remained ignorant of the fact!
Because, even back in 2018, the world economists had predicted Bangladesh GDP per capita to surpass that of India’s, in 2020, without having the knowledge of the oncoming Corona pandemic.
While government remained fixated on the “power aka satta” train, the train of “vikas or achhe din” was missed and how!
First they came after congress and they succeeded. Then they invented “tukde tukde gang” and succeeded by brainwashing millions against them. Then they maligned a peaceful protest by calling it “award wapsi gang” and then, they imprisoned activists, and these days they seem to be targeting Bollywood celebrities.
During all this, Bangladesh was, slowly but surely, peaking.
Again, “bhakt-type” people: “Waah re Libtardu, you seem to be a Bangladeshi motor mouth, as if they’re so great, haan? As if there’s no Islamic terror there? Is there no extremism in Bangladesh!?”
Extremism is literally everywhere, but the point remains, Bangladesh quietly grew whereas we kept fighting among ourselves.
Furthermore, Bangladesh has taken some very wise steps, which we must also learn from, and adopt, as soon as it’s possible. According to HDI:
- An average Bangladeshi lives 3 years longer than an average Indian, that is, life expectancy has improved there because child malnutrition rate is lower
- Female participation in the work force in Bangladesh (36.4%) is greater than that in India (20.3%).
- In terms of literacy, Bangladesh and India are nearly equal. 74.4% Indians are literate compared to 73.9% of Bangladesh.
- Bangladesh has been able to pull people out of agriculture. In other words, reduce their dependency on farming, and have them have further skills.
- Bangladesh exports have risen almost exponentially whereas Indian exports are seeing a decline in numbers.
Let’s sum up what we have discussed so far: In cricket, the 2007 game against India was a one-off kind of win, because India is still far ahead than their eastern neighbor, be that in ODIs or Tests.
On the contrary, the Indian economy has stopped growing as much as it did in the early 2000s and 2010s. Our aim, as Indians, should be to observe individual monetary prosperity within our lifetimes, so that we, as sum total, will help our India grow.
The sad reality is that we continue to battle it out on the social media. We continue to hurl abuses on fellow Indians we don’t even know. By trending hashtags, we think we really can “boycott” our own Indian brands?
That behavior is self-destructive.
We must, ASAP, get back in the real competition, the “economic” race. If we do so, we have a good chance of keeping ahead of our rising neighbor Bangladesh. Perhaps, even compete with China soon, who knows!?