Atanu Dey On India's Development

Hauled from the comments

| 5 Comments

The open thread on comment policy post generated a bunch of thoughtful comments. I think it would be nice to haul some of them out and put them in a post for consideration. Here are some.

Kautilya writes (I have taken the liberty of fixing some typos.):

Congress and Islamists go hand in hand for one reason and only one reason – Economy.

The way I look at it is, Congress is a family run business. It’s business interest lies in keeping India poor and weak. That’s really the core to their success. It does not give a shit about India or anything. Like any big Corporate house it looks for it’s financial interests only.

To keep the family business running and not have Rahul Baba and his offsprings unemployed, they need to be in power. Obviously Muslims are their favorite votebank. They are large in numbers (if I am not wrong India has 2nd highest Muslim population in the world), they have a strategic vote share in large number of constituencies across the nation, virtually in every state of any signifance, and it’s easy to get Muslim votes; because all they need to do is ban a Satanic Verses here or a Taslima Nasreen there or overturn a Shah Bano verdict and you got the flock behind you. You got a winner really.

Basically it’s a great return on investment. Without really investing in say convetional areas which get you vote in a ‘real’ democracy, like Education, Health Care, Roads, Water etc, you can win over Muslim votes by such stunts and befriending a local Mullah. That’s a low investment and high return.

Also, you get a free security blanket. Meaning, a Jihadist will never bomb or attack Congress politician; an MP, MLA etc coz, Congress has pretty much bought that Insurance. So basically security which is important for Family Business basically comes free. So again zero investment and that’s great for bottomline.

So lets regroup. 1] High return on low investment; in other words mammoth vote bank during Elections without really changing quality of life and 2] A free security blanket again without having to invest.

What business house can afford to loose lose this winning combination? It would really be foolish for CEO of Congress to woe woo Hindus when they have such an awesome demography behind them. That’s a sure shot way to failure. Ask BJP!

IMO, there are 3 power centers in India. The Gandhis, The Media and The new emerging Dalit/OBC power. Currently each of these power centers share a healthy symbiosis. The Media needs Congress and vise-versa vice-versa. Media is extremely rich and powerful now and it does not want to ruin this balance. They see no reason to dislodge Congress. It’s working out well.

On the other hand the Mayawati/Mulayam/Lalu power center is happy to be powerful at State level. They don’t need New Delhi’s power in immediate future. Their coffers are full. They take turns raping UP and Bihar without having to worry about CBI. It’s again a perfect balance.

So if you look at all of this through the Economic prism, it’s easy to connect the dots. Islamic terrorism is a symptom. Not the cause of India’s current problem. And I don’t think Muslims are the cause either. In fact, the real “Islamists” are Hindus. The one’s who are ruling the nation right now.

If you wana look at root of all this, you have to look back 63 years. That’s where you’ll find the answer (although not the solution).

All this debate about Islam vs Hindu, and BJP vs Congress is meaningless.

Hari wrote:

Atanu: I agree with you that monotheisms stifle — especially Islam the way it is now in many parts of the world. But I am curious about your thoughts on the so called efflorescence of Islam in the centuries after its brutal expansion. As you doubtless know, this period produced some advances in mathematics — algebra for example. Al Khwarizmi, the Persian scholar, was also all for adopting ideas from India, and the wrote the treatise on Hindu numerals (in fact you’ve linked a video on this).

Would you consider this phase of scientific achievement under the Islamic caliphate just an aberration? It’s true that Islamic conquests at the time were no less brutal (the Arab conquest of Sind, for example, which first brought Islam to India’s doorstep) but the same can be argued of how the Spanish went about destroying Latin America (and other Europeans North America) even as some terrific ideas that remain influential to this day were fermenting. Could you address this?

Some other scattered thoughts: the Spanish and European conquest of North America was in essence similar to the Islamic conquest of the Indian subcontinent. The difference is that India’s traditions have survived to present day: it enjoys an astonishing millennia old continuity. More importantly, its people have survived. I live in Massachusetts; the Connecticut river passes through the state and I can tell how strange it feels to live in a land that has has been emptied so comprehensively of the people who gave this state and the river their names. This, as you will know, is true of every state, every city, every river in the United States. Few people think of this when they think of the glory of the United States.

The US owes its present success (and it is a well deserved success) to the fact that the people who would have rebelled had they been alive did not live to fight for their independence — they died of European diseases in tragically large numbers, and they were killed and driven off their lands. Had the Iroquois and Dakotas (just two examples) survived to muster rebellions, the United States would be too torn internally to be the country it is today. It’s fortune (and its crime) is that it began with a blank slate, by erasing everything.

India, because it was well connected to other parts of Asia and Europe, well before the Islamic invasions, had a different trajectory and ended up with a different demographic reality. It did not face the scourge of disease that the Native Americans did, even though it did face the same kind of brutality. And today, even though everything seems bleak, it still has a chance to define its own destiny.

Oldtimer wrote:

There’s an interesting story about the destruction of the Buddhist university of Nalanda. After Khilji’s marauders laid the campus to waste, and decapitated every resident, they looked for hidden wealth and found instead a lot of books. They made a huge pile. Khilji got curious and wanted to know what was in those tomes. His men scouted for someone to explain the stuff to them, but couldn’t find anyone because they killed them all.

The point of the story is that even a barbarian is not free of the human impulse of curiosity. To paraphrase this blog’s author: a good intellectual climate encourages and fosters the human quest for answers, but a bad one cannot suppress it altogether.

Furthermore, I don’t think any creed, Islam included, opposes the advancement of science as long as science is subordinated to belief. As a matter of fact, Islam is less rigid in this aspect than (medieval) Christianity, for its scriptures are full of examples of superseding old rules with new ones when the latter offered tactical/strategic advantages. Under normal circumstances, breast implants would be prohibited, but recent news suggests that jihadis have invented a way to surgically insert bombs into breasts (gives a whole new meaning to “plastic surgery” eh). That’s innovation too, though dark and deadly.

It is good to know that some people approve of some of my posts. Omkar wrote:

Hi Atanu,

I have been following your blog since last few months. I came across this blog when I was googling for Sri Sri. That blog is one of my favourite one.

What you are saying through this blog is not only truth but is something of a taboo in our society. The unspeakable. I do admire your guts to openely express and defend your views. Islam, Socialism, Gandhi are very seldom critisized in a public media. This critisim is important for a better and cooler society. Please continue the challenging work.

Naturally, views differ and some people find my position totally unpalatable. According to them, I am illogical, bigoted, biased and anti-everyone except Hindus. Here’s one who signs off as Rajkamal who wrote:

hmm. that was a test of your biases. i am not from jnu. nice to know that your previous post on ali sina was not satirical as i had initially thought.

I wonder why rajkamal states that his email address @jnu.ac.in if he is not at jnu. If it is a fake email address, why the jnu.ac.in domain? He goes on to ask if I know what an ad hominem argument is:

do you know what an ad hominem argument is?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

Then he goes on to illustrate what an ad hominem argument is:

you aren’t really a rationalist, but just choose to clothe your inherent biases in the garb of rationality, with a bit of half-baked economic jargon thrown in to impress. while i agree with you that islam is fucked up, i also believe that hinduism or whatever the vedas preached is also fucked up, just like any other religion is. it taught our ancestors to maintain caste rigidity and respect white skins, causing us to be colonised by anyone whose skin was whiter. for indian converts, islam was just the choice of a lesser evil.

Like most Islamists, Rajkumar takes a well-worn path: whenever someone makes a claim that Islam is a hateful ideology, Islamists respond with “but so is X”, where X belongs to the set {some other ideology}. I wish they would stick to the subject. If we are arguing whether proposition P is true, it does not help us at all whether an unrelated proposition Q is true or not.

i like reading your blog though. it has pointed me to some great columns, videos and resources, which, in isolation are good mental stimulants. your analyses is of many issues are also smart, and thats why i will keep visiting your blog, despite being certain that you are a dangerous bigot, and hoping that people like you are not formulating our public policies, and sadly, thats why i will keep voting for the congress, till i see a less-worse alternative. after all, would you in your right mind vote for the man who captured the people’s imagination by riding a chariot vowing to build a shrine for an ancient tribal warlord, and promising to take us back to a time monkeys formed armies and black people were demons.

By “less-worse” perhaps he means “less bad” or even “better” alternative. Ancient tribal warlord, eh? Nice. I bet Rajkamal will not characterize the CE 7th century desert marauder a paedophilic polygamous deluded megalomanical murderous warlord. Rajkamal concludes his comment with

by the way, nice to know you have opened up your blog to non-members, to allow non-sycophants to comment, even though they will probably be disemvowelled.

Mr Rajkamal, I have always allowed comments on this blog from everyone. What you do not understand is previously one had to register as a user. It was not a question of membership; it was a simple matter of preventing spam bots from drowning the comments in spam. The change is now anyone can comment and the akismet spam filter takes care of most of the spam. Don’t get so bloody paranoid — even when signup was required, you would still have been able to comment.

There is no secret club of sycophants — most people appear to base their position on reason, and not on uncritical approval of some ideology. This may be hard for a jholawala to comprehend but then that’s how the world works. Not everyone swoons at the name of Nehru/Gandhi as do the people at Jawaharlal Nehru University.

That’s it for now.

  • kautilya

    Hi Atanu,

    Thanks for fixing my typos.

    Regards,
    -K

  • ara

    sorry, off topic. but couldn’t resist sending this to you.

    this is a delicious expose of MY NAME IS BIGOT KHAN.

    http://www.cricinfo.com/ipl2010/content/current/story/449595.html

    Kolkata Knight Riders have suspended a sponsorship deal with a clothes manufacturing firm after public protests over its owner’s links with a controversial murder case. A Knight Riders statement said the deal was on hold but Cricinfo understands it is likely to be scrapped.

    The decision was made in the aftermath of negative reactions in Kolkata due to controversies surrounding Ashok Todi, the owner of Lux Industries, which had signed up with the franchise to supply innerwear.

    Todi has been linked with the death in 2007 of Rizwanur Rahman, who married his daughter Priyanka days before his body was found in mysterious circumstances. Todi had denied involvement in the death and has not been charged with any crime but the news made national headlines and the controversy has remained ever since.

    Various civil liberties groups had criticised the deal, and a senior member of Kolkata’s Muslim clergy had called for a boycott of the team’s home games during the upcoming IPL season.

    click url for more.

  • Srinivas

    Hi Atanu,
    I highly appreciate your courage to stand up for truth and criticize the dynasty and the blood hungry ‘religion of peace’. When I think about it, it takes more than just courage to stand up against the monarch. Sorry if I sound a bit paranoid, but do you have a strategy of sorts in mind to cope with the situation in case the empire strikes back? Recently, when you moved your blog to Asian Correspondent, I thought it was in preparation for an imminent ban on deeshaa.org. Fortunately my fears were unfounded.

  • Indian

    Its almost been a year since I have been following your blog(through a friend’s blog) and never commented. Just wanted to say well written articles, one of them in the last week had me nearly fall off the chair and laugh. I am one of the billions of Indians who cant stand what is going on around in India but a mute spectator. Great reads!

  • RSingh

    Hey Atanu, Please keep up the good work. In the current scenario where media is clearly biased and there are very few ways to access information, your blog is like a breath of fresh air. I have been a reader since long but commented for the first time just few days back. How claustrophobic and unreal a place JNU is, can be imagined only after spending some time there. My experience of few days was enough to let me know that i was better off without Mphil than to study there for two years. Anyway, the mind boggling ignorance of citizens of our country is enough to make us a third world country. Like you say, its all karma….