Posted by: Vikram | January 3, 2009

Oh Mr. Gurcharan Das please spare us your bullshit !

It looks like Mr. Gurcharan Das will stop at nothing in his crusade to prove how awesome ‘democratic’ India is and how horrible Communist China is.

There is a lot he wants to ‘prove’ by simply saying things and giving absolutely no evidence, in fact he says,

I have no satisfactory explanation for all this, but I think it may have something to do with India’s much-reviled caste system.

Yes, India (democratic, dont forget) is so much better than Communist China because its social system condemns people to a lifetime of slavery and humiliation with absolutely no hope of emancipation. That is uptil the modern Indian state arrived. A state Das singularly hates.

What is the reality ?

The Communist revolution smashed centuries of social hierarchy and flattened the Chinese society. The country can today offer its citizens basic services and social mobility that most Indians can only get with great difficulty. Its women can walk around its cities unfettered and unharassed, not molested and abused at every corner. Its entrepreneurs can rely on superb infrastructure that was created after the population had a certain basic standard of living.

The Republican Indian state has been overall much slower in improving the lot of its citizenry. Make no mistake, the average Indian is better off than he/she was 60 years ago. But this improvement is not very impressive when compared to other developing countries. And the responsibility for this does not rely squarely at the feet of the state. A lot of the blame has to be shouldered by the educated middle-class of modern India which simply fails to even recognize the reality of caste. Far from producing a generation of charged social-reformers in the vein of Ambedkar and Gandhi middle-class India has mostly produced some very average movie stars and some over paid cricketers. This has meant that the process of social change had to be carried out by the oppressed all by themselves.

India’s middle class and its state have effectively abandoned its masses. They are being made to claw their way to justice using the power of the vote. If they succeed, then it will be one of the biggest stories of the 21st century that will make the world an immeasurably better place. To make India great Das needs to uplift his fellow Indians not put down the Chinese.

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Responses

  1. I am glad you have brought up the subject. Das is not alone. I recall a column by Barkha Dutt on her dazzled return from Beijing. There again she said that while we may not have been able usher in the awesome progress that the Chinese have, we were better off because “we have democracy”!

    Indians of this class are happy in their own privileged ‘free world’ and they want to tell ordinary Indians who have little practical freedom and a poor wretched existence that they are better off than the Chinese because they have ‘democracy’. I often wonder how much of rage will these Indians feel if they go to China and see for themselves how far the Chinese have gone in the last 25 years while they have relatively fallen far behind.

    These guys have a misguided view of democracy. Instead of talking about the real serious issues in India, they are busy indulging themselves and the rest of our elite that somehow Indians are very happy because we have the democracy that they otherwise never care about.

    Really, it embarasses me that people like Das can get an article in the NYT. I think the NYT just wants to show Americans how delusional Indians can be.

  2. @ Vikram : China is not comparable with India. India would win hands down any day as a place to live. Freedom does matter. The price of such equality in China is clear. If you want change you will be taken ‘care of’. I have witnessed with my own eyes how they treat their prisoners in China. I have also seen evidence of cultural genocide. China is China, we must stop comparing ourselves with that country. The quality of life in that country can be terrible especially in rural areas of it. Medical care in China in my opinion is as terrible as India if not worse. Simple things like disposable syringes were missing in some hospitals. My business partner who was on a trip earlier was poked again and again with the same syringe until he finally could ask his insurance company to get him out of there.

    China is not a heaven-paradise. I am sure there are better countries out there who have done well for themselves in social equality without killing millions in a ‘cultural revolution’. Personally also there is nothing like ‘no social hierarchy’ in china. There is a definite social hierarchy. If you are a party member you are likely to do much better than if you are not one. There is also much discrimination between different nationalities. If is much better for you if you are a Han than if you are an Uighur or a Tibetan. Of course the majority Han say things like ‘but the minorities are privileged in China’ in the same tone as Upper caste Indians say about Reservations. China also has alarming rates of female infanticide. The reason being one child policy and since Chinese mostly prefer male children, girls are likely to be bumped off. Trust me China is crap. Although India is crap as well.

  3. I have been to China, although for a short while and talked to ordinary chinese people. We should not assume they are happier than Indians, in fact I would think they are less happy. They are always looking over their shoulder. The place is oppressive although I envied the women for being so free.
    You should have seen the fear they have for the police! It’s scary.
    I do not know whether it is the political system, maybe the Indians are happier because of our laid back nature, religiosity and other qualities, but the fact is that we are far better off in India. Ten times, a hundred times!!!

    • Well, If you go to cities in Japan or Korea, you would likely to find more “unhappy” people fitting your standard.

      As a Chinese, I know exactly what phenomena you have discribed: very stern and inexpressive faces in the crowd, always hurry and alert.

      I call it the “urban syndrome” ,commonly found in north eastern aisa. For after the economy took off, gone is the leisure of relaxation and merriment, the pure feeling between people without material calculation in mind.

      The fierce competition and income equality made rivals among classmates and colleagues, the rising real-estates price made marriage a union of financial convenience rather than a matter of love.

      Naturely, if you want to see warm faces and enjoy lighter atmosphere, you have to go deep into the rural area and find relatively closed familys who are not yet influenced by the “material greed ” of the city and industry.Those things would not turn better until our GDP is comparable to EU and be able to introduce a intensified social wellfare network. Nevertheless, the society is progressing and we have to take the price if only our childern could enjoy a life like their contemporaries in Europe.

    • Nita, I have read your blog on your trip to China. Your blog praised China effusively. You expressed your admiration for how clean and modern China is. You marveled at how free and respected the Chinese women are. You were amazed by how much better, cleaner, and richer the Chinese countryside is as compared with Indian villages. You especially praised the Chinese as fashionable and hard working. You were amazed by the complete absence of eve teasting. You said you couldn’t believe how first-world Chinese buses are, how spotless the Chinese train stations, and how Chinese flyovers have barriers that shield traffic noise from people living nearby
      Yet, here you are expressing completely different sentiments on Vikram’s blog. Are you being dishonest here? Could it be that you are succumbed to the Indian tendency of putting others down to make ourselves feel better?
      Now, I would encourage everyone to read Nita’s blog entries on her experience in China and compare with her comments here. Judge for yourself what Nita truly thinks.
      I know the Chinese are happy because I lived and worked in Dalian, China for two years. Let me tell you, the Chinese are far more dedicated and serious, by the virtue of their 5000-year culture, which values hard work, diligence, and dedication above all. The Chinese frown on loud public behavior and respect privacy and sanctity of personal space, unlike we Indians. You said on your own blog that Chinese cities are surprisingly less crowded than ours. Have you ever asked yourself why? This is because Chinese dislike interfering with other people’s business and want privacy. Their cities are built so that if you want a peace of mind, you can have enough physical space to do so. Another thing about the Chinese attitude that is different: the Chinese dislike people who talk too much. They are suspicious of “talkers” because their culture teaches them that those who talk too much accomplish little. Less talk, more action is their national slogan. So Chinese naturally do not have this urge to befriend strangers, much less foreign strangers like you. This is how the Chinese have caught up with the advanced nations and why we Indians are wasting our time talking instead of doing actual work.

    • Nita and Odzer, how do you know the Chinese are less happy than we are? Have you visited our villages in Bihar, West Bengal, or any Naxal areas? Have you talked to the wives whose farmer husbands committed suicide? Have you talked to the 160 million dalits who are still forced to do manual scavenging? Have you talked to the kids who live in our slums? You and many middle class, english speaking Indians live in a bubble. In this bubble, rural india does not exist. Let me tell you about the real India:
      1) 47% of our children are malnourished and stunted as against 7% for China.
      2) 50% of us are functionally illiterate according to the UN. Our shameless politicians claim our literacy rate is 62%, but the UN development agency disagrees because our politicians count anyone who can write his name as literate! Chinese literacy rate is now 92%!
      3) 55% (645 million) of us live in poverty according to the UN Development Agency’s MPI poverty index. Yet our shameless politicians use Rs.70 per day as the poverty line and pretend that our poverty rate is only 27.5%! Chinese poverty rate is at 12% in 2003, the latest year the data is available. I have no doubt the Chinese have made great strides in reducing poverty in the past 7 years. I would not be surprised if their poverty rate is now well below 10%. 8 Indian states alone have more poor people than the entire sub-Saharan Africa! Google “MPI” “poverty” for the specific report.
      4) 400 million of us have no access to electricity! China will achieve 100% electrification between 2012 and 2015!
      5) China spends SEVEN times more on health care than India. Even their rural clinics in remote areas are better equipped than most of our city hospitals. Google “sick man of Aisa” and “India” for a Time Magazine article on this. The article says we are the new sick man of Asia.
      6) India’s sex ratio imbalance is WORSE than China’s! Are you surprised by this? I was! Check out CIA world Fact Book for comparison.
      7) 20% of us suffer from daily starvation. On the UN “Global Hunger Index”, we are ranked 65 out 84 countries. Even after our Green Revolution, we are still 60 places below China. Much to my disgust, we are also ranked 7 places BELOW Zimbabwe, 12 places BELOW Sudan, and 19 places BELOW North Korea! Sudan has an ongoing civil war, Zimbabwe is one of the poorest countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, and 10% of North Koreans died in a famine only 15 years ago and now rely on China to feed its people! Nita and Odzer, are you HAPPIER than the Chinese because India is ranked BELOW these countries?
      8) India is ranked 134 out of 182 countries on the UN “Human Development Report”. We are ranked BELOW Namibia, Botswana, Tonga, and Gabon, which are all poor sub-Saharan African states! We are ranked 32 places BELOW Sri Lanka! Yes, THIRTY TWO places BELOW Sri Lanka! Nita and Odzer, are you happy now?

      So Nita and Odzer, I encourage you to get out of your Indian Middle Class Bubble and talk to real Indians. Ask them if they are happy when their children are suffering from malnutrition. Ask them if they feel happy when they go to sleep hungry every night. Ask them if they feel honored to be doing manual scavenging for the upper caste. Ask them if they are happy without electricity and medical care. Ask our fellow starving, illiterate Indians if they are happy when even Chinese chickens and pigs are fed better than they are! Just ask them. Go, I encourage you!

  4. @ Odzer, Nita : Lets face it, we Indians love putting others down to prove we are better. Whether it is within India or outsiders. Many of the comments (not published) that came on my UP vs TN page were about how ‘black’ South Indians are and how Rajnikanth is like a monkey etc. I have heard Indians here say umpteen times how ‘Americans lack family values’, not religious enough etc. How Pakistanis are religious extremists even though we elect people like Modi/Advani/Thackeray ….

    You must have experienced this yourself many times.

    I am not saying that China is some paradise. But we have to stop putting down others to show we are better. If Das can say this on an international stage like this I cant even imagine what middle-class Indians say in their drawing rooms. Democracy was something past generations of Indians worked very hard to attain and nurture. We cant pervert it like this.

  5. @ Vikram : First of all, I never put down anyone I am simply stating what can be obviously observed even on a 2 day visit to the PRC. Although I was there for much longer. Secondly if you read the last line of my comment I did make it clear. I think you should visit China once because the Chinese do run a huge ‘lets have a better image’ campaign. It is often not clear to people outside what China is like. I also suggest you visit Middle provinces and the Chinese South West.

    Oh and btw all of our blogs in China would be banned. You would not be able to read most of international media and even if you could it would be terribly slow. Although I keep hearing from the Chinese how things have changed. So in the past it was even more terrible. Lets be honest when we describe the Chinese, they are not some sort of super achievers either. No one knows the real figures about growth in that country. The currency is virtually pegged to the dollar and the government sits over every bit of valid information. So most of it is just an ‘estimate’. I think a better country for comparison would be South Korea. Their businesses are structured like those in India. They were extremely corrupt in both government and private sector and they have done exceedingly well in a very short span of time. They are also surrounded by nations that are ‘hostile’ to them. I think sometimes that we must take the Korean route to prosperity.

    • Odzer, you said you lived or visited China and understand it. May I ask where in China you have lived, visited, or worked? I worked in Dalian, China for just under two years, and I have traveled all around China. My impression of the country is overwhelmingly different from yours. I don’t believe you have ever set foot in China. You are just claiming this to lend some credibility to your opinions.

  6. Odzer, I am certainly not blaming you. You and Nita can certainly be more objective. Doesnt it irk you even the slightest bit that a moron like Das can get an editorial in the NYT ? It is his opinion I dont agree with. And I am saying that it is very easy to argue the other way around.

    But I guess there is no point in arguing about this anyways, like you said in ur 1st comment.

  7. @ Vikram : I agree! In any case the guy has no clue, you can not have sustained progress without the state getting its act together. So indeed he is living in his own fantasy world.

  8. Vikram, blindly admiring any country is wrong. I admire a lot of things in China but that doesnt mean I have no right to criticize it. I find your argument quite odd. One needs to criticize. It’s healthy, as long as one is objective and sticks to facts.
    I am not referring to G D’s article here, and I thought this was quite evident from my comment.
    One needs to see the pros and cons of every political system, every country, every situation.

  9. My blog is banned in China after I wrote about Tibet. Let’s see china objectively please. The people there are suppressed and unhappy. Anyone who visits China can see that. or maybe they are internally happy and just don’t laugh and smile much. That too is possible.

  10. Nita, I am not saying that we blindly admire a country. And I am certainly not advocating a communist state in India. What I am saying is that we not try to use our democracy to somehow claim that we are better off.

  11. He(Das) should have paused to think if trade and commerce were flourishing in societies without caste system. If some of them made it to forbes list. And if anything the list of Indian billionaires reflects on caste, it shows how egregiously discriminative Indian economy is.

    I guess the blog post should have been read w.r.t India, and its self-indulgence promoted by Das and his likes.

    The argument against china’s economic growth (compared with that of India) has always been ‘democracy’ and ‘freedom’, as it is in Das’s column and in some comments here. What is forgotten is Freedom and Democracy in India is an inverse-pyramid. It becomes suffocatingly stifling down the socio-economic ladder. As a liberal economy, even the communist china could hardly be any different.

    India is seen as a success story (as Das quotes) not just because its a democracy, because its a favorable democracy. There ought to be a difference.

    Thank you Prabin for your great comment. The reality of caste, hits not only on the billionaires list but also in the students in India’s premier educational institutes and the uptil recently India’s administration and politics (North India esp).

    A democratic political system is a good thing, but we should think of it as a starting point for buliding a good society not an end in itself.

  12. Another article on India and China.. After reading much about China I can say India is a better place to live.. and as odzer mentioned ‘Freedom matters’. What we are going to do all the wealth without freedom.. it’s like hell.. A country in which there is no freedom to media how can term it as a country to live.. all those olympics and all gimmicks shown by them to shut the mouth of the world. A country which was not able to solve the Tibet problem doesn’t have the right to say anything about India on Kashmir..

    Then again our Citizens failed to raise our standards of Indian democracy as all were started to concern about their own goods.. But time hasn’t gone beyond.. we can push India to greater heights 🙂

  13. While democracy in India is not perfect and not mature, there’s no doubt that the Indian political system is much better and preferable to the Chinese one. They shoot the factory manager if the product is found to be tainted. They do not allow any criticism from dissident voices and throw them in jail. Most likely, your blog would be censored if you were living in China and if Gurcharan Das was a party official (and you wrote a similar piece criticizing him).

    So, it’s a no brainer that Indian democracy is much better than the Chinese system.

  14. Amit, Kanagu at no point have I said that I think that freedom and democracy are bad things. However I will just repeat what I said to reply to Prabin’s comment,

    A democratic political system is a good thing, but we should think of it as a starting point for buliding a good society not an end in itself.

    And Das is trying to potray Indian democracy as an end in itself. Democracy enables us to correct problems in our society, but the problems wont go away just because we are democratic.

  15. Vikram, I read that op-ed piece, and Mr. Das specifically uses “evolving” to describe Indian democracy, and I failed to find any evidence that he think Indian democracy is “awesome” – which is what you used in the post. Here’s the relevant quote by Mr. Das:

    “The answer is that India is a vast, unwieldy, open democracy ruled by a coalition of 20 parties. It is evolving through a daily flow of ideas among the conservative forces of caste and religion, the liberals who dominate intellectual life, and the new forces of global capitalism.”

    Using “unwieldy” does not connote “awesome” to me. 🙂
    Is it possible that your analysis of his op-ed is coming from a Marxist/leftist perspective?
    (The fact that you quoted his reference to caste system hints at that.) 😀

  16. I did not mean awesome in the sense that you perhaps took it in. He thinks that just the fact that India is a democracy is something to feel good about it, when in reality it should just be the natural state of affairs. We became democratic (after a long struggle) 60 years ago, not yesterday.

    Yes, India is evolving, but until it can give its citizens a basic standard of living it has no right to lecture any other country in the world. In a modern nation, the right to a decent education is just as important as the right to free speech. And in huge countries like India and China, providing a decent education to all is a much bigger challenge than letting “a middle-class housewife on national television tell a reporter that the Indian commandos delayed in engaging the terrorists because they were too busy guarding political big shots”.

  17. Vikram, in USA, with its 200+ years of democracy, one can still find homeless shelters and soup kitchens in almost all cities. Whereas one also finds all the glitz of Las Vegas and palace-like mansions built by the likes of Donald Trump. Both exist.

    I’m not saying that India shouldn’t pursue what you suggested above re: education, or that Indian democracy’s work is done, but perhaps a little patience is necessary. I also don’t see an either/or or zero-sum issue between providing education and “letting a housewife speak her mind.” (Interesting choice of word there – “letting”.) Are you saying that not letting that housewife speak her mind (while you are speaking your mind through your blog) will somehow help provide education? Sorry, the connection is lost to me.

  18. Amit, I didnt say that there is a choice between providing education and ‘letting a housewife speak her mind’. I did not imply that at all. I am saying that providing the former is a much bigger challenge than the latter. And India, especially the North has failed to live upto that challenge. It will now face the consequences.

    The poor in authoritarian China are much, much better off than the poor in India. The freedom to speak, organize and vote are very good things that should be protected but they mean little in a country where half the children are malnourished. And Das simply fails to account for this fact.

    Yes, patience is required, that is exactly the point. Before blowing the trumpet of democracy on an international stage, we have to get some basic things worked out.

  19. Hello Vikram: very interesting blog. I share many of your views, esp. on the Indian middle class.

    One small question: you have a quote from Gucharan Das where he credits our peculiar institution -the caste system-for our democracy. Can you recall the source of this quote? where did you get it?

    In a forthcoming book “The God market: How Globalization is making India more HIndu” (Random House, aug. 2009), I crticize G D and some of his fellow neo-Swatatnraites for their HIndu traditionalist (NOT Hindu nationalist) biases.
    i have read his India Unbound and other essays on the internet.
    if you can tell me the source of this quote it will be useful.

    thanks and keep up the good work

    Meera Nanda

    • Meera, welcome. The quote is from this NYT piece http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/02/opinion/02das.html?_r=2, the first line of the 7th para.

      • Vikram,

        Based on my understanding of that NYT piece, GD is not crediting Indian democracy, but the economic growth to the Vaishyas, as is clear from the sentences following the one you quoted: “…who have learned over generations how to accumulate capital, give the nation a competitive advantage. Classical liberals may be right in thinking that commerce is a natural trait, but it helps if there is a devoted group of risk-taking entrepreneurs around to take advantage of the opportunity. Not surprisingly, Vaishyas still dominate the Forbes list of Indian billionaires.”

        Did you misread his words?

        Amit, what Das says here partly makes sense, in the sense that it will always be some subset of the population that will be entrepreneurial. This will be true of any country I guess. But, if this subset is also a well-defined group, it raises the spectre of control of the economy by a single ethnic group. I hope you can see how this close network of individuals can keep others enterprising groups of people out of the economy. I dont have evidence for or against that claim, but it is something that needs to be thought about.

      • Vikram,

        I’m not sure that the entrepreneurial ability/business activity is limited to one caste today (even if they may be good at it), or that this one caste controls the entry of others.

        Besides, you quoted GD’s words to imply “(his) crusade to prove how awesome ‘democratic’ India is” (your words) whereas he meant those words for the economic activity, not democracy.

  20. I agree with you that often(almost always! :P)we make too much noise about “culture” and “democracy” to feel better about ourselves and our failures, but I don’t get why you’re going on and on about China’s “awesomeness”. I mean, what do you intend to prove? That India sucks because though we can provide more freedoms, the Chinese are more prosperous?

    The country is an all-consuming maw. It’s an authoritarian state and no one actually knows what goes on inside there. I personally don’t believe much of their “growth story”, and call me biased, but I somehow have this feeling that a lot of blood has been shed for “prosperity”.

    One thing that comes to mind is the Narmada Bachao Andolan. If we were Chinese, we’d have probably shot Medha Patkar and Co. and got the dam built. Then the same people who complain about the Indian democracy’s failures would start railing against Narendra Modi for “stifling free speech and bla bla”. You’d probably start dishing out statistics indicating “how free” the US is and “how we don’t have even basic freedoms of expression.”

    So while we may be behind China in most respects, and while we have no right to put down others to hide our failures, our system of governance is much better than the Chinese’s. Our problems are grave, and varied, but we don’t have to solve them in the Chinese way(what is the Chinese way, btw?Idk) ,whatever you write about the “progress” of China and the “failures” of India.

    • Akshay, it is not so much China’s prosperity I am talking about here. It is about the equality of China’s society and the dignity it can offer to the majority of its citizens. I am not comparing so much China’s economic growth rates and number of billinaires to India’s as I am the number of malnourished and literate.

      I do believe that as long as we have a democratic state and freedom of speech India can some day offer its citizens the same equality and dignity that many other states can, alongwith the civil liberties it currently offers.

      I would recommend the book Smoke and Mirrors by Pallavi Aiyar to understand this better. I will quote her,

      “One of communism’s lingering legacies in China was a basic belief in the dignity of labour and to me it was this belief that created the broadest gulf between India and China; a chasm ultimately much harder to bridge than that of GDP growth rates or flashy infrastructure.”

  21. “The freedom to speak, organize and vote are very good things that should be protected but they mean little in a country where half the children are malnourished. And Das simply fails to account for this fact.”
    Bang on. I quite agree.

  22. If you gentlemen here would like to listen to the opposite view, then I would contend that my nation, although still a third world nation too in essence, is cerntainly better off than india in the respect of material wealth and visible living quality.

    The arguement can be sealed with a simple quotation of UN Human development index this year. http://hdrstats.undp.org/en/countries/country_fact_sheets/cty_fs_IND.html

    Generaly speaking, a chinese will live 9.5 year longer than his indian counterpart; have twice the purchacing power; 3.63 time less likely to be in poverty; six time less likely to be illiterate. And a india child is 7 time more likely to be underweight after birth and 3 time more likely to die before the age of 40, etc etc“““““.

    I think result this disparity simply to the untruthful propaganda by the PRC government will not be contributing arguement, for the UN report also supported by various indenpent investigation and some data are not that easy to modify without causing chain reaction.

    Therefore, to argue a chinese live a worse life than his india counterpart is presumptuous as least in the view of “hard stardard”. As to whether chinese live a more emotional happier life, I cannt really decide myself.

  23. Add some view on un-material quality of life. I think common chinese has more social equality while common indian has more political equality; common chinese has more social freedom while common indian has more political freedom.

    The rational is that chinese are mostly ethical homogeneous. We have been a semi nation state for nearly 2000 years, whose officals and bureaucrats are elevate by national exams. We have no real aristocrat ever since the first emperor and embrace the idea of “power through merit not blood line.” And thats why we can maintian the unity of a vast and highly centralized bureaucrat empire for centuries, without devide into feudal ligeance and prince states.

    And because of the CCP’s emphasis on mass education and basic industry. A chinese poor is much more likely enrolled into 12 year of basic education, participate in the industrilization and live a economically independent life. Or they would excel in the national exams, go the tech school or college, climb up the social ladder.

    While a poor indian, though enjoy more political freedom. Would very likely to suffer illness of mal-nutrition in infancy, fall victim of various discrimination whether “castes, sex or religion”, drop out from school, unable to find a labour intensitive job in industry and have to depend his life on his countrymen with higher social status and castes(to work under them or became their servant).

    Thus, it may perhaps to be true that rich indians enjoy a better life than their chinese counterpart because of freedom of speach , freedom of protest, freedom of “`etc, etc. However, when it comes to the poor, who careless about political freedom but affected more by social freedom, india does not necessarily performed better than China.

  24. @ ever4244, welcome and thanks for all your comments. I mostly agree with you, in fact there is little to dispute, especially since most of what you have said is fact backed by solid evidence.

    However, I must point out that I dont agree with the notion that the poor ‘care less’ about political freedom than material well being. The evidence certainly doesnt point to this, the poor in India vote in much larger percentages than the rich, they mobilize themselves politically a lot more than the rich. In fact, in the only authoritarian period in Republican India (The Emergency) between 1975-1977, it was mostly the poor who mobilized against the state taking away freedoms. It was they who overwhelmingly voted against repression in 1977.

    And in today’s India, with the state often trying to grab land and other resources in the name of development, it is the political freedom that is allowing the poor to fight back.

  25. Gurcharan’s story sounds made up. It wouldn’t surprise me that he made up this little story to desperately make his point. We are Indians after all, so making up an anecdotal story is not unusual.

    • Dev, made up or not, what is far more troubling to me is what Gurcharan Das seems to be gettting at. He does not place the anecdote in the context of individual liberty of citizens. Rather he is trying to show off the ability of the middle class to vent anger at inept politicians. If he was an observant analyst he would instead note that the empty angst of this impotent and mostly uninterested class rarely leads to anything positive for the mass of the country.

  26. […] and abide by the Constitution that is the basis of its moral authority. No amount of impotent rage or charity can do that […]


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