I’m sure most Indians would have heard two contradicting views about India. Firstly, the arguments claiming India to be a prosperous and well developed region (cluster of provinces) before colonization and claims to have proof for their argument. Secondly, the argument (especially foreigners) considering Indians as people who are boastful of their past arguable achievements, without having any present day significance. This contradiction made me think. Initially like everyone else I tried to find which one is the truth but soon realized that I’m missing something bigger and more important. I started so discover a certain degree of agreement in the contradictory views. So, the soul of this post is to find the implicit fact agreed by both the proponents.
In the former argument there is a call for the Indians to not forget their roots which were apparently glorious and says that latter argument is developed by westerners (in particular by the British) to destroy our self-esteem. The latter argument just points out at our present day reality and asks for our recent contribution to the world development. If we get into verification of authenticity of either of the arguments we will be lost. We can’t deny the second argument but at the same time we can’t fall prey to it since we were indeed a slave nation under the British and we do see lack of self-esteem among Indians, who are willing to accept anything from the west and don’t like to appreciate the east. So let’s move on and check if there is any common ground in these two arguments.
Being a person who likes to define rules of the game before playing one, I want to define what is progress? Here is the way I look at it: Anything which makes us understand our universe better is progress. The only way to understand the universe better is through science. Thus my yardstick of progress is scientific progress. When we contribute to scientific progress it gives a sense of right to enjoy the modern day technological facilities or else metaphorically speaking, if we don’t contribute to science and enjoy its benefits then it is like living on other’s income by theft or robbery. Being a man with moral conscience scientific progress is the epitome of all kinds of progress which will make me proud in front of foreigners. It is the last frontier of a nation’s developmental challenge.
Now coming back to the two opposing views, one fact is accepted in both perspectives i.e., Indian contribution to scientific development (synonymous with development) in modern times is very less if not nil (thanks to CV Raman, Ramanujan, JC Bose). Major chunk of scientific work happens in America after WW2 (though CERN and some European universities continue to hold on) and before WW2 it was Europe which was the knowledge bowl of the world. So in past 400-500 years we are constantly lagging in the quest for knowledge. Whoever claims for Indian contribution inevitably goes before this period and in case they come up with some examples they will be exceptional people with a foreign institute affiliation. So where did we fail? I am forced to accept that we failed, but where?
Scientific progress asks for economic prosperity since the quest for satisfying the knowledge hunger comes only after satisfying the real hunger. India certainly had all the resources for economic development. Any simple study will reveal the reason behind huge population in India as abundance of natural resources here, apart from petroleum. Hence economic progress with men and material power must not have been a problem. But, both scientific and economic progress asks for one key factor which was completely missing in India and it is often neglected around the world. That key factor is political stability. The political instability and lack of governance not just derailed our scientific progress but also our economic and every other forms of progress. This is where our ancestors failed us. They couldn’t give political stability and protection because of lack of foresight, will, interest and presence of selfishness.
Now that I have arrived at some sort of conclusion what is more worrying for me is that we continue to commit the same mistake as that of our ancestors’. We continue our apathy and indifference towards politics. Majority of those who indeed show interest does it for personal gains or to pessimistically ridicule the developments. Politics is something which everyone must know. Irrespective of a person studying science or arts or economics, he must know politics and its implications. He must have a political ideology of his own. He must be able see through the political developments and actively participate in it. Hopefully we will realize this before it is too late.
Probably you know that India’s full name is “Republic of India” or “Bharathiya Ganrajya”. But why is India called as Republic of India? Why not as Democracy of India when it is the largest democratic nation? Why do we have only Republic and Independence days but no Democracy, secular or socialist days etc. when all of these words appear in our preamble? To find these answers let me introduce to you what is known as “Political Spectrum” which is way more complicated than light spectrum (I sometime find electromagnetic spectrum confusing. X-rays are on right or left?).
If you rearrange EM spectrum from increasing order of frequency to wavelength then left goes to right and vice versa. Similarly in case of political spectrum it is important to define what is left and what is right. Simply calling communists as left is like saying red (I mean color red) is on left side of spectrum. So here is one sensible way of looking at political spectra:
As you can see if 100% power goes to government then people get 0% power. But probably equality needs little explanation. It is a left ideology that the government with 100% power can abolish the differences in the people. It can control people to create a society where everyone is equal by taking away the excess from wealthy and giving to the poor. Whereas on far right, the people are on their own with no government so according to Darwin it’s all about survival of fittest with obvious result of inequality.
Now where does dictatorship, democracy, republic etc. come in? Well if people were to have 0% power that means they can’t even decide who should have that 100% power so naturally dictatorship is established. On the contrary, if there has to be no government then it is obvious to have anarchy.
All the subtleties are involved with the distinction of democracy and republic. Democracy on the relative left says “majority will rule” but the republic on relative right says “law will rule”. Idea of republic is to make laws and let people be free as long as laws aren’t violated but democracy is simply to go with the majority to govern people and the people has to accept the majority decision on every issue. When the drafting board decided to call India as a republic they were clear that India ought to be a center right nation. Democracy is required to elect the people who would make laws thus making democracy a necessary evil (also laws need to change with time) but it’s not the idea on which India needs to run.
For a country as vast and diverse as India with multi-party system is bound to have coalition politics. Everyone in India understands that only an alliance can form a government at the centre. Here I want to express my concern not at the idea of coalition politics itself but regarding the way in which alliances are being formed.
Though the need for coalition arises because of practical reasons, the need for separate parties itself is because of the fact that one party ideology differs from that of others (at least in theory). But look at the parties which have done the following deeds
- Aligning with National Democratic Alliance- NDA in one term and United Progressive Alliance- UPA in the next (eg. Trinmool Congress- TMC, Dravida munnetra kazhagam- DMK)
- Two rival parties at state level supporting same alliance at the centre (eg. Bahujan Samajwadi Party- BSP and Samajwadi Party- SP supporting UPA)
- Principal opposition party (eg. Janatal Das(secular)-JDS in karnataka, Nationalist Congress Part- NCP in Arunachal Pradesh) for Congress supporting them at times both at centre and state
Observing these kind of frequent changes in the stands of political parties involved in the great Indian coalition politics (similarity of this phrase with “the great Indian comedy show” is intentional), one can easily notice the reason behind these developments i.e., multi-party system of India giving way to establishment of numerous regional parties. These regional parties getting just 20-30% of votes in just one of the Indian states have started to feel that they can control the central and the state governments. DMK interference with Indian foreign affairs (https://prismoflife.wordpress.com/2013/04/13/srilankan-tamil-issue/) was probably the peak of audacity shown by a regional party. I seriously doubt if these regional parties have any ideology and stand on various issues that is required of a political party or they are just behind power and personal gains.
From my interaction with the people from Tamil Nadu (TN) I understand that they are very proud and sensitive about their language just like the Maharashtra, Andhra and Karnataka people. I am not against this feeling but when this feeling clashes with the national interests they must put the country first. May the words of Sachin Tendulkar teach these people a lesson or two: “I am an Indian first and then a Marati”.
In fact the Srilankan Tamil issue is not a domestic regional issue. It is an issue of foreign affairs. Supporting some foreigners just because they speak Tamil at the cost of Indian interest doesn’t make any sense. Though I don’t like the congress party I feel that this issue of foreign affairs shouldn’t have been a reason for DMK to destabilize our central government. And certainly the decision of AIADMK government to stop Srilankan players from playing in Chennai IPL matches is a black mark to our nation.
Now let us look at this foreign issue and analyze where it stands in history. There have been terrible war crimes in the past. Be it the Germans or the Red army of the Russians or the rape of Nanking, Many(may be all) winners of the war have committed crimes. I am not saying that those acts are justified. But all I ask from the people of TN is to sympathize with Polish, German, Chineese and other people who suffered from war crimes equally and don’t weigh any particular war crime more than the others.
North Indians generalize that TN people are educated people (sometime call them nerds) so I do hope that they don’t continue this folly. Many great people including people from TN have served their life for the mammoth task of unifying India. Let us respect them by being united at least on all foreign matters.
PS: In the matters of controversy, the weakest link in the argument is the credibility of the writer. So let me clarify that though I am not a Tamilian, I am probably ‘more tamilian’ than those tamilians who don’t speak Tamil. In fact, some of my kannadiga friends are irked when I converse in Tamil. So I am not (and cannot be) an anti-tamil ideologist. I am not pro-srilankan either as I have nothing to do with that nation.
When I clicked on a Youtube video shared by my friend on Facebook I didn’t know I was about to discover a whole new world on Youtube.
In case you didn’t know.. There are something called channels on Youtube (basically Youtube pages which are created by people to post their videos) and here I share 4 of my favourite channels which are excellent. Just click on these links and you will probably forget that you started here!
I never knew the ordinary numbers can be so much fun! I am sure you will fall in love with queen of mathematics number theory after watching this channel. PS: I no more consider numbers as ordinary
If you thought physics is nerdy and complicated stuff.. Here is a channel which will explain most advance physics in minutes!
If you always wondered the difference between England and Britain check this out.. All sorts of misconceptions debunked here!
Just like us you cant put Vsauce channel into a category.. He uploads videos on several scientific topics and they are simply too awesome 🙂