Monday, August 17, 2009

The big giant elephant's renaissance?

"there are foundation stones for a hospital at three different places, by three differernt political parties before three different elections..."-arvind adiga, the white tiger

"india is no more a country than the equator is..."-winston churchill

the number of times people tirelessly talk about cleaning this country(india), when it is implicit that it is herculean, worse, it could be sisyphean. i will explain this clever phrase. sisyphus was given the task of rolling a stone up a steep hill, and the gods made sure that every time the stone reached the top, it would roll back down. vicious, isnt it? to think the gods did it!

to observe morality is to attain mastery over our minds and passions. so doing, we know ourselves. if that definition be correct, then india as so many writers have shown, has nothing to learn from anybody else.-(hind swaraj- m k gandhi)

it costs us a lot to keep gandhiji in poverty-sarojini naidu

there are always theories that our democracy is but a flawed experiment, with high moral grounds but flimsy real life schemes. and there is the back to socialism cult followers, anti-american, anti-globalist, anti-rich, and anti-up yours. and there are the corporate megalomaniacs, completely soaked in money and greed, trying to suck up more and more energy out of more and more people, increasing the miseries more and more, and taking this cycle to its next ugly level, more and more...

i am reminded of the pure form of river ganga, when i am reminded of india. the ganga of premchand's protagonist, who goes to a foreign nation, but on coming back, he witnesses all the pitfalls of the country, but finds solace in the river. is that plausible? the river is dirty as a b-grade movie, and he finds comfort? misunderstood point: he comes back to values, his roots, a place where he can be himself, and can walk with his head high among his own. but does he not find discrimination? yes, because he is a part of it! if you are the cancer, how can you diagnose right?

but what do many people do? shout and scream for india! the lines between patriotism and jingoism is very thin-as is the difference between madness and sanity; mathematics and understanding; love and obsession; poetry and poverty(!). the reason why people get attached to a nation is because they are strongly anchored to it by a form of identification-that they belong to something. when it is taken away, what are we then?

"Muslims said the Hindus had planned and started the killing. According to the Hindus, the Muslims were to blame. The fact is, both sides killed. Both shot and stabbed and speared and clubbed. Both tortured. Both raped”-khushwant singh, train to pakistan

i am not sure if there is any other country in this planet that can claim diversity in such grandiose scale. not even america! we can be good hosts, but there are some stray incidents. the mughals, were the most understanding of plurality until aurangazeb, the hindus were proud of their ever-evolving religion until hindutva(savarkar?), the english were good and able administrators until general dyer...i am always torn by grief and anger when i read about partition stories. khushwant singh's "train to pakistan" is an excellent book on fiction in this regard.

i was agreeably impressed with pakistan's moderation in blasting only six, the smallest whole number greater than five-amartya sen.

india' nuclear arsenal is growing, or i should say, our nuclear plant building capacity is growing. is it good? in my opinion, given that the monsoons fail frequently, it would be a great alternative source of power which would help the farmer focus more on dry-land farming and drip irrigation instead of having to worry about his electricity bills. subsidising electricity when it is surplus is a good idea towards realising food security and preventing malnourishment, but the implementation of such a policy has inherent drawbacks-farmers can misuse it, the usual redtapism associated with a project from the bureacracy. if only the latter would vanish!

what good can come out of writing stupid blogs and discussions on forums? what is the reason for public discussion? ah,now we come to the beauty of arguments. how india has always encouraged this tradition to grow and thrive! how we understand the various view points and sum them up to do something worthwhile!

i only wish india would do well to to the poorest of the poor, those in dire need of food-instead of stocking up food grains irrationally for a buffer, it would make sense to create a system to help the people by distributing them.(again, not socialism, merely empathy.)

i would like to modify gandhiji's talisman:

when you want to know what the poorest indian lives like(the closest to it), stop eating for two days, and scamper around for food with some spare change in the pocket on the third day. and that will melt all the ralph lauren designs in the heart...

lets hope that india alleviates(atleast tries to!) the miseries of the poor and the incapacitated.

The denouement!

"indian students can not only hold their own against their european rivals europe on the latter's ground, but can beat them hollow..."-jamsetji tata

Jai hind!


  1. Wonderful post- especially loved the mention of Sisyphus- Hades gave the poor bastard a seriously impossible task :P

    But with regards to the main points in the post- some may iron themselves out- though a large portion of our country may live in perpetual poverty, issues like nuclear powered stations will be resolved, considering the low "shelf life" of fossil fuels, if you can call it that.

    Regarding partition, it happened. Nothing can change it and its legacy will always stay on. And its unfortunate fallout is all the extremism we see. We can't heal wounds that are too deep, which is what this is.

    All in all, hopefully we are running up the right path, hopefully, and sooner or later, I hope we can see sense.

  2. I am too pessimistic about the growth of India said Ramachandra guha, one of the famous historians of India. As long as we fundamentally reform our education we can't think of attaining any inclusive growth or sustain that miraculous 9% growth.

  3. i dont care about the 9 %. i am really worried about the level of poverty. the figures and statistics makes sense to less than 20 % of the indians...the rest is lost in a haze. but, lets be positive, and not share guha's disturbing vision.

  4. @Gautham Hats off for the post. Great thoughts penned very aptly. Frankly, I am surprised - Is this is the same guy who wrote those empirical rules.
    My reply to the content: It is going to take a set amount of time for the poverty curve to go down and it will certainly happen. You can already see the middle class swelling in the millions. People are moving up the wealth graph gradually. Also, you can direct some of this concern and rage towards active contribution, if not already. And no, I m not suggesting to get into full time social work. There are numerous avenues to contribute. One that comes to mind is Akshaya Patra. Healthy, well-fed children are the basic foundation for a vibrant and value-adding community.

  5. @Jagdish, I am in total agreement with u. It will obviously take time in India to alleviate poverty because social structure is not well developed to meet some of challenges. France's social structure undergone drastic change during Industrial revolution and now france leads the egalitarian society. I hope this will also happen in India and else where.

  6. @jag
    i have bipolar disorder, apparently... :)
    india is mostly agrarian, it is important to not neglect this area, but that is what seems to be happening. but as you say, the middle class should swell-to see lesser polarity in rich poor divide.
    we need a revolution, but of a different kind.i cant think of what, but lets hope something nice happens!!

  7. @gautham Very right about not neglecting the farm economy.

    Indian agri output is mostly shackled by tiny farm sizes which render several options that would work wonders in a larger scale not feasible. We have dairy co-operatives where lot of ppl contribute and then it is sold as a whole. Maybe a similar model can be tried out with farm lands. Combine lands to much larger scale and apply effective irrigation and modern machinery for higher output. Then all share the costs and benefits. A co-op society in this model could lift rural economies. Just a on-the-spot thought.

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  9. @Jagdish I am thinking of proposing "Special Economic Agri Zone" to improve the productivity of agriculture by using the most sophisticated technologies. I don't know anything about economics but logically speaking its quiet workable in largely agrarian India.

  10. a post has been removed... hmmm, that's interesting... :)