How to Unpack the Indian GDP Growth Graph

“There is a magic in graphs. The profile of a curve reveals in a flash a whole situation — the life history of an epidemic, a panic, or an era of prosperity. The curve informs the mind, awakens the imagination, convinces.” – Henry D. Hubbard

 A sense of immediate familiarity crept on me the moment I stepped back to absorb what the GDP growth graph hints at. The first time I came across Hieronymus Bosch’s ‘Garden of Earthly Delights’ was while wikihopping through work inspired by Dante. I was enthralled by the epic scale of the work, a complex and intricate sequential tale of innocence, corruption and judgement. The scale is what captured my attention. By no means we are comparing our graph with the 14th-century Dutch master’s work, but the scale is epic and that needs to be considered. Perhaps an explanation is needed here.     

  1. The graph opens with the 1991 liberalisation, one of the most successful acts of opening a market ever, with it arrived the promise of growth and one of the fastest reductions of poverty in human history.
  2. The graph represents the largest democratic community in human history
  3. The graph is also a representative of wasted opportunities to build a cohesiveness and the emergence of one of the most unequal societies in the world.
  4. TIt ends with one of the cruellest reversals of economic fortunes, exposing around 20% of the human population to an uncertain future, which with the advent of the pandemic, climate change and induced inequality seems to mark the end of an era.

Meradesh’s GDP Growth rate chart deserves your attention and moral imagination.