Independence Day Reading

Today is India’s 63rd Independence day. Enough time has passed that we should be happy to independent but now on we should be cautious that the hard earned independence will lead to happiness of all Indians.

Here is my reading list for the day.

1.  Should Food be the right of poor?

I don’t know how passing a food bill will feel stomachs but it is indeed  shame that even after 63 years of independence or self-rule we have more than 421 million desperately poor people. That is more than 26 of Africa’s most poor nations put together. While our neighbor China is being compared with United States on all parameters our slogan driven superpower dreams are biting dust. We are being compared with African countries on all HDI parameters. 42% of all Indian children below age of 5 are underweight where as for china the figure is around 7%.

What upsets me more is that we don’t hold our leaders accountable for this situation. Instead we have learned to accept it as our fate and continue with our miserable lives. This apathy is dangerous. I hope the situation will change.

2. A Tale of Two Murders : Yitzhak Rabin and Mahatma Gandhi By Koenraad Elst

A very old article but Elst makes a few points that are worth reading about even today. Elst analyzes Nathuram’s justification for Mahatma’s murder and how it changed the political situation in India. How Mahatma’s murder had distant ramifications on India’s future.

Moreover Elst briefs over Mahatma’s vision of an Independent India and what his disciples made of it.

The most important political effect of the Mahatma’s murder for people who genuinely stand by the Gandhian ideals, was that it immensely strengthened the power position of Jawaharlal Nehru. Prime Minister Nehru and his westernized and Soviet-oriented clique killed Gandhiji a second time, viz. by thoroughly negating every single element in his vision of what free India should be like. They were implacable enemies of everything which Mahatma Gandhi had held dear: Hinduism of course, and religion in general, but also village autonomy, economic decentralization, simplicity of lifestyle, emphasis on personal morals rather than on socio-political structures, character-building rather than materialist consumerism, and grass-roots solutions for India’s specific problems.

3.  Arun Shourie’s speech in Carnegie

My love for this man is evident for the regular readers of my blog.  I am yet to read this speech completely. Ashlley Tellis introduces Arun Shourie with several kind words which Shourie says he is not used to listening. Moreover he quotes these fabulous Urdu lines.

Yeh teri sasoon ki thakun – this heaping of your praise – (speaks in
Urdu) Yeh teri aankhhon ka sakoon– this solace of your eyes – this, you know, of your
looking at me this way – (speaks in Urdu) Yeh sab kaheen rangeen sharart hi naa ho –
I’d hope that this is not just some one of your many  tricks.  (Laughter.)  (Speaks in Urdu)
Jisay hum samaj baithay hain pyar ka andaz– that which we have mistakenly taken to be
a sign of love – (speaks in Urdu) – that way of talking – (speaks in Urdu – chuckles) Who
tabassum who takallum kahein teri aadat hi naa ho– that it is – I hope it’s not just your
habit that you greet every guest with such profuse words.  (Laughter.)


So the adoption of new technologies, of new ways is a great advantage for a
society, and at the same time, at least thus far, the traditional strengths of such a society;
for instance, the strong bonds of the family, and therefore the sacrifice that parents would
make to deny themselves one  thing after the other so that the children could have better
education, and I could give you many impressions, which other who reported to me –
people from Microsoft and others – who have come to India, and this has been their great
mutual impression that they have said.


So once in an aircraft, I went, and one of these newspaper owners, we were
talking.  I asked him, aren’t y ou reading the damn nonsense your such -and-such
correspondent is writing about Kashmir?  He said to me in Hindi, he said – (in Hindi)
Arun Bhai yahee to aap mein or hum mein untar hay.  This is the difference between you
and me.  You are still reading our paper.  (Laughter.)  Kashmir?


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