Monday, January 17, 2011


  • ……….why did the centralized state seem like such a great idea in the 1940s and 1950s? And how has the economic unshackling affected people’s lives? 

  • A lot of Indian bureaucrats in the 1970s and 1980s wanted the unshackling to happen but probably thought that it was impractical. Don’t forget how bad it was in the 1970s. Emergency and the JP movement (named after its leader Jayaprakash Narayan) have their roots in economic failure—people forget that now.  

Any people in the book you met who stand out?
  • C.K. Ranganathan from Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu, a chemistry graduate who sold shampoo packaged in a sachet. Now, he employs a thousand people. And Venkatesh and his wife, who worked in a stone quarry in Mysore and who were chained (by their employer) just 100 miles from Bangalore. There was no action from the local police or bureaucracy. 

From Patrick French interview with Mint on his latest book.

And moreover: 
  • ………..the historical roots of that process—everything from the conceiving of India as a universal democracy where potentially disadvantaged groups can band together and kick out the existing people in power…….. 

  • ………… every Lok Sabha MP got into Parliament. Did they get there because they had risen up a student organisation, did they get there because their father was the chief minister, etc? What the information showed was that 70 per cent of women MPs are hereditary, two-thirds of MPs under the age of 40 are hereditary, an overwhelming nine-tenths of Congress MPs under 40 are hereditary. It was a surprise to me. Well, it’s not just politics, it’s true of certain kinds of business families, it’s true of medicine, law, media, Bollywood, and other regional film industries. 

  • They don’t shock me and I don’t think that political families are a bad thing. I think in any democracy, it’s quite normal to have political families. But the issue to me in India at the moment, is purely that of the scale. If you look at the people of the older generation in their 60s, it’s one in five or six politicians coming from a political family. That doesn’t strike me as being a particular problem. But if you look at people under 40 and you find that nine-tenths of Congress MPs are hereditary, then that is a serious problem. And the thing that does surprise me a bit is why that is not debated more. Why is that simply taken for granted as normal? People should justify why it’s good that nine-tenths of their younger MPs are hereditary. 

From Patrick French interview with IE.

1 comment:

  1. India, known for its bio-diversity and extensive economical as well as political stance.
    Harikrishnan, in his book, explored this bio diversity, by flunging every grave aspect for granted. He warily riles with people, to whom several snippets of the book were dedicated.....
    It is a must read for every citizen of country...