Thursday, August 03, 2006


The arguing India, Amartya Sen on why democracy doesn't belong to the West, the fallacy of the "moderate" Muslim, India's atheist tradition, and other contentions, in the California Magazine.

Perils of Israel model, Praful Bidwai on why following the Israel model is a recipe for disaster and for courting more insecurity and making citizens more vulnerable to terrorist violence.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for linking the Amartya Sen interview. It was a wonderful read! He really makes very forceful arguments - in particular, with regard to comparing development and growth in China and India.


Purushottam said...

Have not read the entire interview, but read the parts on India-China development and democracy. While I get the point that he is trying to make that there is scope in India for political dissent and participatory domcracy, he fails to mention the erosion of the very same over the years or atleast several instances where peoples voices/concerns were crushed for "development".

Also, he may have answered this somewhere else, but he is looking at democracy or lack of it from the economic growth lens? Would like to read/hear his comments regarding if that is the only metric and how it relates to democracy (the China case being only a part of it). He has a book "Development as Freedom" --- am not sure if it is on these lines.

-- puru

Purushottam said...

Just another thought ...

Consider the following question:
"Would the millions displaced due to infrastructure projects in India, farmers in Vidarbha/Kerala, tribals in Orissa, think they are better in India than China?"

Further, if the answer is "No" or "Doesn't matter no ones listening to them", what does a discussion on democracy mean?

Anonymous said...

Thats a very valid question you have raised. What does democracy mean to the poor? While it is definitely true that there are many instances where government has turned a blind eye towards the poor. But all the same, I think democracy is the only medium where people can show their dissent. Take for instance, emergency in 1975. People showed their disagreement with Indira's whimsical moves. In Tamil Nadu, the lower caste and poor people have managed to wrest the policy-making from the upper caste Brahmins and I think the entire credit goes to our political structure. In China, I have read reports of chemical and nuclear wastes being dumped in villages and there is nothing the people can do about it. In India too, arguably it is very hard for people to take action in such cases. But at least it is possible to raise awareness and voice dissent. And there have been successes, albeit on smaller scales. This alone is a sufficient reason not to abandon democracy as a political medium.

Finally, let me flip your question and ask you this: would the millions adversely affected by Chinese govt's policies think they are better in China than in India? Would the millions of people who are economically better off in China think they would like to be in China or India?


Anonymous said...

This guy is clearly one of those pseudo-secularists. He takes one incident from Gujrat and basically insinuates that Hindus have been historically "nasty." What kind of an interviewer uses terms like Hindu "chauvinists?" This is such biased journalism! It's clear that the interviewer is so biased with the directed and promting nature of his questions.

"Then if you add to it the nastiness of sectarian politics whereby regarding other communities to be either inferior or nasty or having treated Hindus badly in the past, like Muslim conquerors are supposed to have, then you generate needless anger and hostility." --- This makes him sound like the guy that claimed the holocaust never happened! It's a fact that many of the muslim invaders were ruthless! What is worse is that their religion does not condemn this behavior. Hindu's are like prisoners in their own society!

Puru, your blog is generally pretty good and diversified, but I am sorry to say that this has to be one of the most bias and irresponsible piece of reporting I have seen and it's quite disappointing to see that on one hand you have links to sites criticizing the US media on war coverage, while in an almost hypocritical manner, you have links to articles such as this which are also clearly intended to create a negatice bias toward Hinduism, its followers, and its influence on India's identity. It's taking what Vivekananda did for India in the early 20th century and flushing it down the pipe of mediocrity and calling it a shame that we talk so highly of the spirituality of India. You know, it isn't such a bad thing that the world sees us as a spiritual nation. Our Hindu philosophy is truly universal in nature and I really wish people will realize this at some point instead of writing pieces like this which are clearly meant to further inflame a rather petty war against Hinduism and spirituality. We are stronger as a nation because of it. It is what has helped bind us together for all these years. Don't you think we have done a pretty good job in make people realize that we can be just as materialistic as the rest of the world is? What does it really gain you? We've already achieved record amounts of foriegn investments? He needs to get off his high pseudo-secular horse and perhaps do some studies on Indian identity and perhaps find ways to fix some of the issues with "morality" in the Indian youth. Look what all this "materialism" has given China! The Chinese moral standards have gone right down the drain when it comes to the youth, and that is largely due to the fact that the government was really against religious beliefs in China. I for one am glad that we are a nation of spiritualists. And for the record, we true universal spiritualists don't impose our beliefs on other as do true Muslim and Christian followers. That is fact! (Proof? Follow the money trail of corporate sponsored missionaries and "non-profits." Remember the supposed IDRF scandal? That was corporate sponsored as well. Money talks in religion just as it does in political campaigns where 30 second advertisements rule over honest debate.)

Fact: Hinduism is unversal
Fact: Islam really isn't
Fact: Muslims DID invade and they did pillage and plunder
Fact: For a seemingly educated person, AS needs better diction. Words like 'nasty' are a little too opinionated for me to take him seriously.

gaddeswarup said...

Very interesting articles. Praful Bidwai seems to have articulated very well the problems with israel model. Here is a link to another article why Hezbollah is faring better than expected:

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