Former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan on Sunday noted that the populist nationalism is potentially quite damaging to economic growth. It is often articulated as the majority community’s feelings of aggravation at being discriminated against, he added.
In a conversation at the Times Litfest event, Rajan said that populist nationalism is ascedent all over the globe and India is not untouched by it.
“Populist nationalism is damaging to economic growth… it has to set back the economy because it is divisive. It feeds off the sensation of the majority community feeling it is being discriminated against,” Rajan said while answering a question.
“It exists all over the world and also in India, while people exploit this sense of grievance,” he said, adding that the issue of reservations in the nation is an example of the phenomenon.
“It is important to tackle the underlying economic problem (jobs). One cannot overstate the grievance of the majority community because minorities have also faced discrimination historically,” Rajan said.
The former RBI governor termed populist nationalism as “inward looking”, while policies it backs “often come in the way of growth”. “Nationalism is not patriotic because it is divisive and can even be quite dangerous. However, it is wrong to dismiss people who are voicing these things…dismissing them as rustic. These protests have a sense of identity that is being eroded…that cry also has to be heard,” he added.
The ex-governor also said that the “democracy is India’s strength.”