Wednesday, July 05, 2006

A highway called India June 18, 2006

Homi Bhabha, the distinguished professor of English at Harvard, recently described India as a multi-lane highway. This is a happy metaphor, I think, because it captures nicely our diverse multilingual, multicultural, open society in which all are moving forward, albeit at different speeds. At the same forum Amartya Sen added that India had experienced huge gains from the economic reforms and everyone seemed to be rising. The only question is if those in the slow lane are gaining enough from the reforms. He went on to remind us about the English philosopher, David Hume’s astonishing thought--market expansion makes us aware of others’ lives and thus expands our ethical horizon.

Thanks to talented persons in the fast lane, India is now on the verge of becoming a world beater, even a champion, and this is happening after a thousand years. We ought to ensure now that those in the slow lane also get an equal start on the highway so that they too accelerate and change lanes at the right moment. Hence, I had proposed here a scholarship scheme on May 7th with a choice of any private or public school for all disadvantaged schoolchildren in India. This would promote equity without compromising merit, and it would do more for OBCs than reservations. It turns out that it will also cost exactly the same as the cabinet’s decision to recklessly expand capacity in higher education.

Arjun Singh’s proposal, however, seeks to artificially push persons from the slower to the faster lanes. This will cause accidents on the road and all the lanes will slow down. When high performers observe persons with lower marks stealing ahead by unfair means, they are bound to lose heart. Some of their competitive spirit will die. The notion of fair competition develops early in human beings. Studies by the Swiss psychologist, Jean Piaget, show that even three year olds get offended when one child gets a bigger piece of the cake. This is why every judgment by the American Supreme Court has opposed quotas even though it was sympathetic to affirmative action.

The cabinet’s compromise to rapidly expand seats will further diminish the already low standards in most colleges. India will not be able to compete in a world that has no place for mediocrity. Since 1991, we have tried to build a world class India by focusing on growth, believing that expansion was the best tonic for lifting the poor. Suddenly, in the past two years, we are no longer interested in growing India but only in dividing it. No wonder Arjun Singh appears in a web poll among the “villains who divided India” along with Jinnah, Godse, V.P. Singh and Narendra Modi. I am not one of Midnight’s children--I was born in the silence before the storm that overtook the lives of my family during the partition. I have a sickening premonition that we are facing another division of India. Arjun Singh might sleep well, but I wake up in the night with this terrible casteist nightmare.

At the same event in Delhi, Larry Summers, the former President of Harvard University, claimed that history will remember our age by the rise of China and India. The importance of this event to world history, he said, is equal to the Renaissance and the Industrial Revolution. If the cabinet proposal on reservations goes through then history will only remember the rise of China. India, it will record, was too busy cutting itself up.

4 comments:

srjwebsolutions said...

We are leading responsive website designing and development company in Noida.
We are offering mobile friendly responsive website designing, website development, e-commerce website, seo service and sem services in Noida.

Responsive Website Designing Company in Noida
Website Designing Company in Noida
SEO Services in Noida
SMO Services in Noida

indian models91 said...

We are uhe solid first platform for modeling newcomers to achieve there new dreams. The first to train and promote out models at our expense to avoid burden on them. Join the most popular agency if you modelling jobs in Delhi for female freshers, models, students, housewives aiming to start there modeling career. We are top modelling agency in Delhi offering modelling jobs in Delhi for upcoming female freshers or experienced models who want to join lingerie modeling agencies.


modeling agencies in Delhi
modeling agencies
modeling jobs
modeling auditions
model coordinators
modeling jobs in Delhi


ANIL GUPTA said...

We are specialized in Mechanised cleaning of Underground and Overhead Water Tanks of all sizes. Door Step services across Delhi, Noida and Ghaziabad.


Water tank cleaning services in Noida
Water tank cleaning services in Ghaziabad
Water tank cleaning services in Delhi

Drain cleaning services in Noida

Drain cleaning services in Ghaziabad
Drain cleaning services in Delhi
Pipeline Cleaning Service in Noida


Pipeline cleaning services in Ghaziabad
Pipeline cleaning services in Delhi


Tank cleaning services in Noida

Tank cleaning services in Ghaziabad
Tank cleaning services in Delhi

Exide Battery said...

Battery Mantra Buy Car and Inverter battery online in India. BatteryMantra is Noida based India's No. 1 online battery store offering you genuine batteries of all the well-known battery brands at best prices.

Online Inverter Battery Store
Online Car Battery Store
Buy Inverter battery Dealer Noida
Buy battery online Noida
Online Inverter Battery Store
Buy car battery Noida