Tuesday, 30 July 2013

From my book shelf

I want to note down every single line from Ramachandra Guha's
book - Patriots and Partisans

Excerpts from the book: 

Page number 22:
As that wise Indian, Andre’ Be’teille, always points out, what we must strive for is reasonable equality of opportunity, not absolute equality of result. That we have plainly not achieved, hence the disparities noted above. The life chances of a Dalit remain grossly inferior to those of a Brahmin; of a Muslim to those of a Hindu; of a tribal to those of a Hindu or Muslim; of a villager to those of a city dweller; of an Oriyan or Jharkhandi to those of a Maharashtrian or Tamil.
One consequence of market-led economic growth shall be to accentuate these differences. Since upper castes tend to have higher levels of education and greater mobility across India, they are likely to garner the most profitable jobs. Since well developed regions have a reputation for being rich in skills and open to innovation, the bigger investors will flock to them. Since cities have more resources and better infrastructure as compared to small towns and villages, they will continue to get the bulk of new investment. In this manner, the already substantial gap between(for example) Bangalore and rural Karnataka, south India and eastern India, city-dwellers and country-folk, will grow even larger.

Page number 23:
Less acknowledged, perhaps, is the part played in leveling inequalities by the outstanding system of public schools and publicly funded universities in countries such as Canada and the United States.
The situation in India is all too different. The inequalities in access to good education and health care are immense. The school my children went in Bangalore is world-class; the school run by the state a few yards down the road is worse than third-rate.

Page number 24:
There appear to have been three,overlapping, phases in the evolution of political corruption in India. The licence-permit-quota Raj of the 1950s and 1960s was the first stage. Favours were granted to particular individuals or firms in return for a consideration. The second stage, inaugurated in the 1970s, involved the ruling party taking a cut of large defence contracts.  The third stage, which began at the same time but which really intensified only in the 1990s, has rested on the abuse of state power to allocate –or misallocate-land and natural resources to friends and cronies.

Page number 26 & 27:
The mining and power sector boom is in part propelled by the fetish of achieving nine per cent growth, which, it is said in some circles in New Delhi is necessary for India to achieve superpower status. Those who most actively promote this ambition are a certain kind of Cabinet minister, a certain kind of corporate titan, and a certain kind of newspaper editor. They are all, I believe, best with a deep inferiority complex, whereby they wish desperately to be placed on equal terms in international for a with the politicians, billionaires and editors of the West. Their hope is that at such places as the World Economic Forum in Davos, they are treated with as much respect-not to say reverence-as the leaders, entrepreneurs and editors coming out of Paris,Berlin,London and (especially) New York.

In truth, the superpower aspiration is as much a male, macho thing as Naxalism or Hindutuva. It is likewise a fantasy, and an equally dangerous one. It has already spawned much conflict in its wake. With public policy overwhelmingly determined by the desire to achieve nine per cent growth, we have handed over peasant and tribal lands for the most destructive forms of industrial and mining activity. By making that one number the sine qua non of national pride and honour, the central government has encouraged state governments to promote corruption, criminality, social strife, and massive and possibly irreversible environmental degradation.

The cost of narrow-minded focus on GDP growth, and of a fetishization of a particular number-8,9,10 per cent-can be colossal. For, the GDP accounts do not subtract for the loss of water, and the pollution and destruction of land and vegetation caused by opencast mining.

Page number-28
The market can promote efficiency and productivity, but not ecological sustainability or social justice. The market does not value the needs of poor people who have no money; it does not value the future; and it does not value the right of other species to exist.

Page number 33:
However, in the eyes of the new, excessively market-friendly media, the environment is only about pretty trees and tigers. They wish their readers to have their cake and eat it too-to live resource-intensive lifestyles and yet to be glory in the beauties of the wild. They cannot, or will not, that the one imperils the other. Nor will they acknowledge the persistence and significance of more local,less glamorous, environmental issues-such as the state of the air and the water, the conservation of energy, the provision of safe and affordable housing. These issues affect the lives of hundreds of millions of Indians. However, by succumbing so readily to the cult of wealth and celebrity, the media can find no space for them.