Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The rotting of word “liberals”

From The scared dragon by Meghnad Desai

  • The Indian Constitution is a great document which affirms India’s deep-rooted commitment to the liberal democratic tradition. This tradition guided India’s unarmed independence struggle against the British. Indeed, Gandhiji and Nehru and much of the Congress leadership had imbibed these values when they had been in Britain. A fundamental critique of British Imperialism ever since the days of Dadabhai Naoroji was that the regime was ‘un-British’, that is untrue to its own core values. 
  • It is embarrassing to many people to admit that the notion of human rights is a Western import. But little in India’s past prepares us for the notion of equal rights among all people. The tolerance of Ashoka or Akbar or the justice of Jahangir are all things to be proud of, but these depend on individual idiosyncracies. Indian society as a whole never admitted to equality; Shudras and Dalits were never equal in India nor did Muslim rulers follow the tenets of Islam and treat all as equal. 
  • The truth is that the colonial experience enriched India in terms of imbibing liberal democratic values even as it exploited its economy. Over the sixty-three years of independence, India has overcome the negatives of colonialism and is now thriving as an economy. What it needs to preserve is the positive heritage of liberal democratic values. If India loses that, it will be just another frightened dictatorship like China.

From Reducing corruption to Twitter by Taveen Singh
  • We need to be more critical of this nonsensical stalling of Parliament over the demand for a joint parliamentary committee. It is a terrific way to divert attention from the real issue, which is that the reason why corruption has reached such unimaginable proportions in recent years is because the licence raj has not yet been fully dismantled.
  • We are lucky that because there was a feeble sort of private sector in existence, despite decades of Nehruvian socialism, we did not end up facing what Russia did after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Our high officials could have ended up as oligarchs, as happened in Russia, but because there were real industrialists around, it was they who saw the opportunities that came after the economic reforms began and grabbed them. What our high officials ensured was that they did not give everything away for free and they ensured this by deliberate obfuscation in areas of policy.  
  • We need transparent and clear rules that would guarantee that nobody setting up an airline or a cell phone company can influence policy changes or reduce competition. This is what we should be talking about instead of twittering on and on about scams in this silly way.

It appears to me that all these above words are merely poured due to the frustrations generated by The State through its operations in the affaires of citizens of India.

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