Sunday Capsule 1

It seems my grandiose attempt to be regular on the blog does not have the blessings of divine providence. Though most of the times, my blog – negligence is because of internal factors like choosing to watch a movie or spending time randomly instead of writing on topics which interest or concern me and which I feel would be interesting to my peer group, this time the reasons were totally external. I have a professional life which like a boat ( in high seas ) is highly susceptible to damage by the strong winds of promotion, rating, normalization, talent pool, A,B,C,D,1,2,3,4 , vintage, increment, pedigree etc etc. I was also caught in the turbulent winds of performance appraisal and after much moping, brooding and introspecting for the last two weeks, I finally pulled myself out to writing something. But I will take a shorter way out. Instead of some original thought I will pass on some borrowed content.

My friend Sourindra recommended that I watch (in YouTube, of course) Ramachandra Guha’s lecture which he delivered in Ottawa. The subject of his lecture was interesting – Ten reasons why India will not and must not become a superpower

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No doubt Guha writes well and his latest book India after Gandhi is testimony to that. In this lecture Guha analyses what according to him are the top ten challenges facing India. Thus laying down the context he goes on explain how the battle for superpower-dom is premature and unwarranted without any real upside. Those who want to hear more of the lecture can do so at the link provided. I shall also not list the ten challenge but write a bit more on the first challenge which he mentions and that is the Maoist problem, which has been in page 5, page 6 news snippet for quite some time but made front page headline news in the last month or so.

Poverty in India hits you right in our face, the moment you take your first few steps outside your home. And though it is something we have grown up with, it nevertheless bothers us that the proportion of people below poverty line rarely seems to go below 40 % ( in fact this percentage is very reactive to the daily income cut-off used to calculate BPL percentages. An increase of this daily income cut off to Rs 30-35 renders more than 75% as poor). And all this poverty in the background of increased consumerism and billionaires makes a startling comparison. The rich have got richer in India. Have the poor got poorer is something on which I will not be able to comment (  My friend, Sourindra feels that the condition of the poor has improved with better accessibility to healthcare and education but the disparity nevertheless between the right and poor had also grown).

The Maoist struggle which we interpret as a rich Vs poor struggle is actually much more than that. It is as Guha points out the struggle of the tribal people who are dispossessed, deprived, voiceless and unrepresented. The 30 year old Maoist insurgency cannot be explained in half a paragraph. All I plan to do with the Sunday capsule is leave with you with enough thought on the topic. Arudhuti Ray’s 30 page essay- Walking with the Comrades has evoked extreme reactions. While many praise her for excellent journalism, she has received strong criticism for romanticising violence. And while you read thorough the same, do not forget to put in your comments too.

Prithwish

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