Monday, May 18, 2009

In response to "Aazadi.."

I had thought of putting this up as a comment on my colleague Pratish's post but then I thought it was too long to be be a comment and hence it became a quick post.
{Further somehow my comment didn't get registered! Some technical snag.}

5 points in response:

1. Your data about the financial aspect of the Indian elections and the GDP hike are probably taken from here.

Thanks to Vipul for pointing out this link to me.

2. The Indian Constitution is definitely a magnificently precise document and aptly called the "Lawyer's Paradise". A research paper like precision was the need to keep such a diverse and complex country together and it was the genius of Dr.Ambedkar to forsee this.

But then again its immense complexity also gives rise to a million loop holes which have time again been abused.

Further the Indian Constitution has not been able to produce an Uniform Civil Code and most sorrowfully the marriage acts of India are still religion based. This a cause for utmost shame for India.

Indian Constitution definitely needs a thorough revision and updating.

3. The fact that Indian electorate this time was 741 million is a big blotch on the image of India. It only shows how terribly we have failed to do population control and how miserably the education system has failed.

India will one day pay heavily for this stark neglect of primary education and politicization of higher education.Link
4. I strongly oppose your view that democracy is in the Indian psyche. Far from it.

It has been only 62 years India has been a democracy and never ever before that in its 3000 year old history has it ever been a democracy. I think 62 years is too short a time for the common man to internalize and understand the tremendously abstract and subtle idea of democracy. Comparatively US has been having elections for about the last 200 years.

Ever so often Indian masses indulge in idolatry and someone gets hailed as the "king" or the "queen" and ever so often some politician gets termed as the "kingmaker". We are still to come out of thinking in terms of "malik" (owner) and "naukar" (servant) and these terms get used in India for every form of hierarchy whereas in reality NO hierarchy should be termed so. And so often so employees in an office call their boss as "saheb" (a term which originates from the address to British officers!)

India has a long long way to go to attain true democratic status. Success of democracy goes hand in hand with the penetration of education in the society and the status of the later in India is dismal to say the least.

But yes definitely this year the Indian Electorate has shown considerable maturity and intelligence by virtually killing so many corrupt people and parties working along divisive lines of caste and religion and regional issues and opportunists.

But the fact that some such elements have still made it through says that we as a nation still have a long way to go.

5. If in the last 3000 years of Indian history there is one thing that has time and again defined India is its scientific creativity and research potential. 2000 years ago when civilizations were being born elsewhere India had produced the mathematics of calculus and theory of infinite series and predictive astronomy and plastic surgery (including even the science of doing amputations without causing infections!) and amazing level of phenomenological medical knowledge.

And not to mention the terrific rise of architectural brilliance in the 18th century. India had then been an exceptional engineering heaven.

Sorrowfully this essential identity of India gets strongly deprioritized by the Indian democracy and the election choices. There are just so few people in the parliament from the scientific fields and almost never does science education and research gets mentioned as the prime concern of the government. If India has to become the major world player in this century it has to ensure exponential growth in its scientific and academic efforts.

Indian elections are yet to mature to reflect this reality.

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