Monday, May 28, 2007

Two years ago, at about this time, I was in London briefly to see my daughter and went with her to a play that she wanted to see. It turned out to be a stunning piece of theatre: brilliantly constructed and tackling some of the key questions of our time: fundamentalism, ambition, materialism, cross-cultural life, inter-racial attitudes - all within the context of a British-Muslim family (the author is a Muslim woman).

The play focuses on Mr Rizvi's ambitions to be elected to a local council (that's the equivalent of a municipality), which unravel as family secrets are revealed at the same time as political developments in the wider world turn sour. The play has its bitter-sweet moments of humour but focuses on questions of understanding and misunderstanding, and the clash of values within a family.

CHAOS is the first play by Azma Dar and I am happy to see that her script has been published by the London publisher, Oberon. Sphere: Related Content

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Is the Chinese government playing fast and loose with its own rules?

The FT this morning reports that the Shanghai government agency responsible for clearing drains and repairing lifts in apartment buildings has emerged as a leading shareholder in at least three listed companies, in spite of being barred from such investments. The Shanghai Municipal Housing Maintenance Fund Management – appears on lists of the top 10 shareholders of companies in the aerospace, electronics and energy sectors traded on the Shenzhen stock exchange. The three holdings are together worth about Rmb788m ($100m).

The revelation, says the FT, will add to concerns that different parts of the government have invested heavily in shares – often illegally – during the recent boom in the mainland market and could be exposed to losses if there were a crash.

Well, that's fine as a concern for those watching the markets with a nervous eye to a possible crash.

Most observers will be concerned about something rather different: how are these illegal investments by Communist Party-controlled entities rigging the rules to make Communist Party members even richer than they would otherwise be? Is it the case that the drive against corruption only applies to those who fall out with the Communist Party?

Most dictatorships eventually come unstuck because of this kind of practice of creating a set of rules or laws but then allowing the high and mighty to benefit from breaking exactly those rules. Sphere: Related Content

Advice to Lufthansa and other Airlines: How NOT to handle passengers when flights are delayed due to fog

Headed from Zurich to Bangalore, my early-morning connecting flight from Zurich to Frankfurt was delayed due to fog (tough, but it happens!).

Several of us were concerned about possibly missing the flight to Bangalore but the stewards and stewardesses were airily reassuring: "Yes of course you'll catch your flight, Sir/Madam, they know we are on our way, all the flights are delayed anyway!". It did not strike me then, but as far as I can recollect, no one rushed off to attempt to make contact with anyone anywhere as a result of these several enquiries.

Anyway, when we landed at Frankfurt, we were (just) in time to catch our flight to Bangalore even if it was to leave as scheduled.

However, Lufthansa had no quick means of transport waiting to get the Bangalore passengers to our flight.

Instead, as we got off the 'plane and boarded the bus with the others bound for different destinations, our bus was kept waiting near the airplane for some mysterious reason. It was only when two irate passengers (not including myself!) rushed out and started shouting at Lufthansa employees that the bus was waved off.

When we arrived at the normal Terminal entrance, there was no Lufthansa employee to get us quickly through the crowds of bored/ tense/ anxious/ milling/ waiting/ masses of people (who were there perhaps due to the fog?), so that we could be rushed to Gate B46 and catch our flight.

The result was that Bangalore passengers arrived at the gate just after it had closed!

Surely, Lufthansa knew that the flight from Zurich had landed, we cried to each other and to the impassive Lufthansa staff. Surely the flight could have waited two or three minutes given that all the other flights were being delayed as well?

Actually, my guess is that Lufthansa had (as is often the case nowadays) oversold the flight and so we were deliberately delayed to ensure that we missed the flight.

Of course, I could be wrong, but I have learnt to be suspicious about such things of late.

Well, that was that, we finally thought, and now we have to find the very next possible flight to Bangalore.

Meanwhile, at Gate B46, another crew had taken over and there was a fresh line of passengers waiting to get across to the next 'plane there (to Toronto, as it turned out). When I caught a staff person's eye and posed my question about what to do about getting the next possible flight to Bangalore, he said, "Bangalore? Oh that wasn't this gate at all, that was the next-door gate!"

Thoroughly confused, I went to the next Gate where there was someone (I dimly noted that he was in a different uniform) and he said, pointing "Bangalore? The flight just departed..." (I glanced to see it pulling out, but the 'plane looked somewhat strange). He asked to see my ticket. "Ah Lufthansa, he said, I can't do anything for you at all, I'm Air India. ("So it was an Air India plane!", I thought) You need to go to the Lufthansa Executive Lounge, which is that way about 50 yards, and up the escalator".

So I get to the entrance to the Executive Lounge, where the person says, "Yes, up you go!" (Well, at least she seems to have been briefed about what is going on, I think) as she waves us up the stairs to the Lounge itself. (By the way, the gateway to the Lounge is not brightly coloured or lit enough: given the clutter all around it, one can easily miss it!).

We struggle up the stairs and arrive at the Lounge, where the person at the desk says, "Yes, but you have to go to the Ticket Desk so that your ticket can be endorsed". She tells us the way to the Ticket Desk ("down the stairs, left, 100 metres....." and off we go to try and find the Ticket Desk.

Her directions are good. We arrive there. But only to find an extremely long queue. We wait and wait. The queue hardly moves.

I start timing how long it takes for the desks to attend to one person. Every transaction (this is at the Business Class counter!) seemed to take a minimum of 20 minutes and one takes over 30. The Economy Class counters seem to be working much more efficiently, though there is of course a very long queue there.

Why are the Business Class counters being so slow I wonder? Then I twig it: the staff at these counters are TRAINEES! That is why there is the person hovering around behind the two desks and spending his time with one or the other from time to time!

But what are the two others doing loafing behind the Economy Class counters, I wonder? I can't think of any explanation at all.

Then I wonder: why are there no extra desks being provided for all these people? After all, the fog started disrupting the schedules the previous evening!

And one desk is completely unoccupied!

Moreover, the folk at the desks don't seem to be working at all briskly - they seem to be working if anything slower than normal pace - chatting with each other and so on. The young man at the counter in front of me uses a credit card to rip a bit of a form off in four movements, rather than in one movement by using a ruler. He prints a ticket out for the "nth" time and scans the ticket stubs of the passenger in front of me yet again. The computer system is obviously not co-operating with him (or he with it!).

Eventually, he starts putting in manually the numbers from the ticket stubs . Still no luck. He does this again and again. And again. And again. And yet again. He certainly is determined - if clueless about what to do in this situation.

Finally, even he gives up and turns to the passenger and asks him to ensure that he shows the baggage stubs at the gate so that his luggage travels with him. The passenger says he understands and will do so. He leaves.

At last, my turn! I notice that it is just over 90 minutes since I joined the queue.

"My" young man tells me that there is only one flight to Bangalore a day. I explain that I am going for a Board meeting and I will only be in Bangalore for 2 days before I fly back, so it is imperative that I go as soon as possible - or not at all. He explains that it is possible to get to Bangalore via Bombay (and yes there are seats on the Bombay flight) but that the flight will arrive in Bombay at 1.00 a.m., with a 5-hour layover before the connecting flight to Bangalore leaves at 6.00 a.m.

I have a little experience of Bombay's airports, so I first request him to check that the connecting flight will leave from the same Terminal. He checks. Yes, he says, the flight from Frankfurt arrives at Terminal 2 and the flight to Bangalore leaves from Terminal 2.

Fine, I say, and will you give me a bed for the night? The young man mumbles something about sending a fax to his colleague in Bombay but he is not sure that it will reach him in time - and that the layover is only for 5 hours so they usually give only some coupons - a hotel bed is only guaranteed if there is a 6-hour layover.

I say "Hey, I'm travelling Business Class! If Lufthansa's incompetence has made me miss my connection surely you can provide a bed for the night! And you want me to land in Bombay and start hunting for a hotel bed at one in the morning? I'm going for a Board Meeting, for goodness' sake, there's no point in my arriving for it completely shattered!". The young man is sympathetic but firm, "Sorry, Sir, I can't guarantee a bed, all I can do is send a message to my colleague".

So I tell him to cancel my journey. No point going if I won't arrive at Bangalore in time for the meeting (flights in India can be notoriously delayed), and there's no point going if I get there incapable of making sense of what is going on because I haven't had any sleep!

I have wasted a day and Lufthansa has lost a passenger (though they are possibly not bothered about that, as I've indicated, because they oversold the flight?).

I take the next flight back to Zurich and am back in Zurich by 3.30 p.m.

Only to find that my luggage has not made it back to Zurich with me!

So I fill in the Lost Baggage form. The young lady draws my attention to the 'phone number I can ring, and the website at which I can track what's happening to my baggage - it sounds all clear and wonderfully technologically efficient.

She also assures me that I will be telephoned as soon as my luggage arrives.

I get home and expect a call later that afternoon or night.

No information.

I wait several hours.

Then I call the number which is on the sheet of paper I've been given. This gets me to one of these automated things that tells me there is no information available at present and they'll call me as soon as there is.

I get up the next morning and potter about with other things that need to be done, at the back of my mind wondering what is happening to my luggage.

Eventually, I can't stand it any longer and try the website.

It asks me for my name and the "File Referenznummer AHL". That does not match anything on the form I have been given. I enter the "Your file reference number" on my sheet, but the system informs me that this is wrong. I then try what is down on my piece of paper as "Your file reference" (as against "your file reference number"!) . However, now the system is very quick and efficient. But it tells me that there is no news - and that I will be rung up as soon as my luggage is found.... !!!

Well, it is now two days and three hours (i.e. 51 hours) later. No news so far. That is what the telephone number tells me when I call in. That is what the website tells me when I log in. And of course no one has called me so far. Not even to say, "Sorry, Sir, we are trying our best to find your luggage but we have no idea where it is".

And of course I can't speak to any human being about the matter.... Sphere: Related Content

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The reservation system, and the politics of government controls and corruption

A friend responds to another of my Blogs as follows:

"Did you know that India today spends roughly US $ 4.00 bn (yes, billion) on education abroad of all those kids who are denied education in India because of this wretched reservation for the so called OBCs (Other Backward Castes) that were found by the Brits in the census of 1931. The Brits just wanted to divide Hindu society further because it was giving so much support to the Mahatma.And now the likes of Arjun Singh have grabbed that data like Mandal before him to say that there are others like Harijans. There is no new data, no new figures since 1931 . So, what men like Arjun Singh and others like him are trying to do is to force that data of 1931 in creating reservations for groups for which the Constitution had no space. The Founding Fathers knew what the OBS data of 1931 was all about. The reservations as per the Constitution were meant only for the "harijans" (the untouchables) and these did well and no body grudged them.As for the violent groups, I have no sympathy for these feudal groupings that are rising by the day in India of today--in a chain of action/reaction.The tragedy not just for India , but for the whole planet under a globalised world is that its economy does rest on consumerism--like it or not. Thus you have a situation where some people, some groups, do very well and the economics of a so-called "trickle down effect" does not seem to work in the end. As for the value system--the tried and tested Indian values which have held the country together, allowed democracy to flourish despite vast disparities, are now steadily disappearing in the same manner as have Christian values in the West. Some times I feel that perhaps that is the price that civilisations pay for the new industrial global culture. Look at China for that matter. Gone is the old Chinese civilisation."

My response:
The figures that you quote, illustrate exactly the national problems created by the stranglehold of our elites: With $4billion one could finance not only one but many illustrious universities in India! What is the total expenditure on all our Central Universities in India???

However, no one is allowed to found a university in our country without the approval of a thoroughly corrupt bureaucracy and political system. In fact, you can't even establish a single college or even a primary school without the say-so of the bureaucracy! One of our family friends, who runs an excellent school in Bangalore (one of the best) chose to *stop* her middle school when it turned out that continued recognition now required bribery! So the children of Bangalore are the losers simply because some idiots in the educational bureaucracy now want a bribe, not realising that their own children and grandchildren suffer (and will suffer) as a result, from increased competition for the few good schools that are available.

Or take hotel rooms. We need about 100,000 hotel rooms in the country, I am told. However, according to the last figures I have (from December 2006) the Ministry of Tourism has "sanctioned" the construction of about 10,000 (!). Why do we need a Ministry of Tourism to tell entrepreneurs how many or what quality or which location to build hotels? If entrepreneurs make foolish decisions, let them suffer. If entrepreneurs make wise decisions, let them profit! What does the government or the ministry know about such things?

So the real problem of our country is not the reservation system, it is government control of still too many areas of our lives. Wherever government control goes, the entire reservation system will disappear. As long as government controls are there, the reservation system will be there and people will fight for the crumbs that the national economy will produce, because of course government control means slow growth of the economy. There is no point in blaming what the British did or did not do in 1931... They had their political purposes (which we can debate), but what cannot be debated is the fact that the British did leave a clean administrative system behind. By the time I was a teenager, it had become sometimes "necessary" to give a bribe – but you only had to give ONE bribe to get anything done. Now the perception is that you "have" to bribe everyone from the Chaprasi to the Head Babu to the Minister and even higher - and even then you may not succeed in accomplishing a totally legitimate goal!. Corruption has spread and spread in our land since Independence – by contrast with the West, where it is being increasingly exposed and eliminated.....Only recently have important new legislative means come into being to fight corruption, such as Right to Information Act.

But if the government can be got out of the way, the country would prosper much more than it does. Market forces would weed out the stupid or immoral or unprofessional while the good would flourish, from whatever caste or region or belief-system they come. Not so in a government-controlled system.

The clash between values and a market system is more apparent than real - 40% of Americans still go to Church (EVERY SUNDAY!), 70% believe in God, and so on....I know from academic research that the figures were hardly different 10 years ago, 30 years ago, 50 years ago and a hundred years ago....the difference is that the misdeeds of the minority are very much highlighted by the mass media, which gives a distorted picture of the country (in the same way as people even in America have a distortedly greater sense of how unsafe their streets are than they really are).

Naturally, the advantage of the mass media highlighting such things is that in their much more genuine democracy and relatively freer markets (however imperfect) at least their problems get attention as a result of media coverage (unlike what happens in our country).

We have a sham democracy if one wants to be severe about it or, if one wants to be gentle (and probably more accurate) we are still learning what it means to be a democracy and a free market, and are still being massively hampered by government controls. Sphere: Related Content

Casteism in Today's India

A friend writes, in response to my recent Blog on caste:

"I must dispute that Brahmins and the like are holding the country to ransom. It is the other way around now. Look what we Punjabis have to suffer in Delhi from caste ridden states like U.P., Bihar, Orissa, TamilNadu, etc. In Punjab, being either Sikhs or Arya Samaji Hindus we had all forgotten as to what caste was. Now with the high castes like Thakurs etc using caste to garner votes---Arjun Singh and his reservations in the Universities is playing havoc with our young people in Delhi and Punjab. The so called reservations of seats for OBCs has denied Punjabis their rightful place in the Universities even if they do well, because the quotas are filled by all these guys from U.P., Bihar and so on. Look at the flood of students going for pre grad studies to U.K., USA, and Australia from families that can afford this, only because their kids can't get into the decent colleges at home even if they get grades as high at 93 to 95%. It is high time India adopted policy of all Indians being Indians first and equal as happens in Turkey. That is the only way to ensure and protect Secularism and nationalism. Or else India is headed for further tensions and caste divides".

I have replied to my friend as follows: "I agree with you completely. What we need is not caste-consciousness but love of the country first without regard to caste, point of origin, beliefs, religion, ideology and so on. Only those who believe in and practice violence (whether Sangh Parivar or Muslim extremists or Naxalites) should be brought before the bar of justice when and if they indulge in violence.

Unfortunately, the country is caught in the mix between:
(1) the reverse-discrimination against the upper castes in government and education to which you so eloquently draw attention,
(2) old-fashioned caste-consciousness in places such as in the Bimaru states, where our 3 top castes still lord it over the rest of our people and physically prevent even education from reaching them – that's the majority of our country, population-wise, and
(3) the new caste- and language-based politics of India, specially afer Nehruji unfortunately sanctioned language-based states. There was, after all, a lot to be said for simply drawing straight lines through the country as Europeans did in Africa (making due allowances for towns and villages of course) – though that would not really have solved the problem, as it has not solved it in Africa. What we need is a value system, such as that which Gandhiji tried to teach us, in which service was recognised before self. Unfortunately, Gandhiji's teaching, which sat well with mission-school educated youngsters and other de-traditionalised Indians could not stand against the new western-style greed which has been in the ascendant in the West for the last 20 years or so, and has revived traditional greed in India (at least greed was the traditional dharma of the vaishya caste, which is my own - but the disease of greed has now spread to the whole country)." Sphere: Related Content

People's Tribunal on Nandigram

All fair-minded citizens will be astonished that the Government of India and the Government of Bengal have not yet set up an indpendent commission to investigate the circumstances surrounding the shooting down of peasants by the police in Nandigram, following all the tensions regarding the possible formation of a SEZ there.

I therefore welcome (and I am sure that all fair-minded citizens will welcome) the formation of the People's Tribunal consisting of: Justice Bhargava, Ex-Chief Justice Sikkim High Court; Prabash Joshi, Editor, Jansatta; Minakshi Sen Bandopadhyay, Ex-Member, Womens Commission, Tripura; Lalita Ramdas, Social Activist; John Dayal, Journalist and Human Rights Activist; Jyotirmay Samajder, Doctor; and others. Sphere: Related Content

Tiny minority of India's traditional elite continues to hold the country to ransom

It is a sad fact that a tiny minority (probably numbering no more than a few thousand) continues to create a terrible situation for all of the country, resulting in bad publicity for the country - with a resulting impact on foreign tourists coming to the country, investing in the country, and so on.

This minority from India's traditional elite is totally unconcerned about the economic impact of its unsavoury activities on the country.

The traditional elite, consisting of the three top castes (Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas) held the country entirely to ransom earlier in our history. Rich people from other backgrounds naturally became part of the traditional elite particularly from the 7th century onwards.

Fortunately, most of the traditional elite started modernising, secularising and liberalising following the introduction of modern ideas beginning with the work of William Carey in the 1790s.

Though there were outbursts of opposition from certain elements in the traditional elite (including the 1857 "Mutiny" - which is known by various other names as well), fortunately only a tiny minority in the traditional elite (represented by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and its allies in what has come to be called the "Sangh Parivar" or simply the "Parivar") still continues in its traditional preoccupation with trying to keep the nation in its control.

The Parivar has continued and even increased its verbal and physical attacks on the majority of the India's population (Dalits and OBS who were, in the times dominated by VHP types, known as the "outcastes" and "lower castes"), but also against Christians and Muslims.

And of course against Sikhs. On the 30th of June 2006, Shri Kupahalli Sudarshan (boss of the RSS, a part of the Sangh Parivar) again asserted that Sikhism was merely a Hindu cult - to the great anger of all the Sikh organisations and political parties in the country. Sikhs have moved the Justice Venkattachaliah National commission, which is reviewing the Constitution of India, to ensure that the Sikh identity as a separate religion is reaffirmed in the Statutes, and no attempt is made to rob the community of its distinctive identity by branding it as a sect or cult within the larger Hindu fold.
The Indian National Minorities Commission's Vice Chairman, TarlochanSingh, has put it on the record that the RSS's attempt to amalgamate the Hindu and Sikhreligions could pose a`serious threat'' to peace in the Sikh-majority state, Punjab.

Mr Tarlochan Singh told then-Prime Minster Mr Vajpayee that "The hardliners amongst the Sikhs were lying low after peace prevailed in Punjab. Now these groups have got an agenda and are organising meetings and protests in the state....Such pronouncements are interpreted by the Sikhs as being hostile to the Sikh religion and identity. Everyone is aware of what happened in Punjab in the eighties and nobody should try and create bad blood again. Sudarshan should withdraw the statement he made earlier and recognise that Sikhism is a separate religion and Sikhs have a separate identity." It remains to be seen if the RSS will respond to a commission summon to be available for a discussion next week. As far as I know, Sudarshan still has not withdrawn his inflammatory statements.

Another member of the Minorities Commission, Mr J. Dayal, writes: "The Sangh Parivar has never really hidden its agenda against the Sikh Community. The Congress may have been the main guilty party in the chaos and trauma of Punjab, and its terrible repercussions during the 1984 anti Sikh riots, but the Sangh hand has also been clearly visible in the troubles, up to and including the massacre of the Sikhs in Delhi, Kanpur and several other cities.
"People have not forgotten the anti Sikh rhetoric of grassroots Sangh workers and their leaders in Punjab and Delhi at the height of the xtremist movement in the border state. If the spotlight after the massacres focused only on the Congress, it had much to do with the desire to indict the goons of the then ruling party's Delhi unit. Later it was too late to enlarge the scope of the enquiries and the public debate to also indict the Sangh Parivar. Many guilty have goneaway scot free because of this lapse. So what is the lesson in this `sporadic unconnected incidents' - as the prime minister may perhaps style them? What is the common threadthat connects the physical and psychological wounds of the Christian in Udaipur, Phulbani and Gorakhpur, the anxiety of the Muslims as they await the Dharma Sansad's decision in the Kumbh at Allahabad on the date for the launch of the construction of the Ram Temple on therubble of the Babri masjid, and the Sikh fear that it is being robbed at political gun point of its very identity?
"Kupahalli Sudarshan keeps no one in any doubt about what his Sangh wants in the country: There can be no place for minorities unless it is as domesticated pets, living at the whims and fancy of the Sangh's definitions of nationhood and patriotism, of its narrow concept of culture and its perversion of an Indian ethos. The Sangh does not hate just one minority. It hates them all." Touchè.

If the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and its allies "only" hated the majority (Dalits and OBCs) and the religious minorities, that would be bad enough.

Unfortunately, the Sangh Parivar hates everyone in the country opposed to its agenda, whether they be secular, Hindu or whatever.

The Sangh loves only itself - and if the country is not going to accept the values and rule of the Sangh, then the Sangh seems determined to hate and to do everything in its power to damage the country as a whole. Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Lessons from the Enron disaster

Sherron Watkins, widely regarded as the key whistle-blower in the Enron disaster, published a book on the subject a few years ago, POWER FAILURE: THE INSIDE STORY OF THE COLLAPSE OF ENRON (Doubleday, New York).

Those who can't get hold of the book for any reason will find very worthwhile to go to the following long interview with her in Ethix magazine, the Bulletin of the Center for Integrity in Business: Sphere: Related Content

On "99 year old article on India - The Atlantic Monthly"

I see that a certain artilce from 99 years ago is now doing the rounds, with the cover note: "You will be moved/shocked when you read this (entire) article from the Atlantic Monthly, October 1908! Please take the time to read it; Indian history books glossed over these kinds of details"

I have no idea what those who are circulating this article mean by "Indian textbooks glossed over these kinds of details": all this was fully known to Indians of my generation, born soon after Independence

There were numerous similar articles not only in the US press, but in the Indian press as well as in the Irish press (not to mention the press of other countries)

Whether or not such information is now known would, in my estimation, not be a matter of textbooks, but of whether attention is paid to such things

In any case, sixty years after Independence, it is silly to continue to blame the British, when it is clear that other colonies or dependencies such as Malaysia and Singapore have done brilliantly well – even China has done brilliantly well – compared to us (and that is true not only over the last 60 years, but also in the last 20 years, and 10 years, and 5 years, and last year, and even the last quarter....)

We are very good at continuing to blame the British when we should be blaming ourselves!

The fact is that the causes of India's failures today lie wholly and entirely – as Gandhiji said in his own time – with Indians and with Indian culture: every time Indian kingdoms lost to "foreigners" they lost ONLY because they were betrayed by their own people – whether it was against the forces of Alexander the Great or against the Persian and other Muslim invaders of the 11th century, or against the European invaders from the 17th century on

That is why Gandhiji sought (however imperfectly) to change Indians and Indian culture – and that is why he was killed by Nathuram Godse who stated publicly when he was finally released, having served his term in jail, that he had no remorse for killing Gandhiji and would gladly kill Gandhiji again because "Gandhi destroyed Hinduism"

Gandhiji certainly dealt a mortal blow to the kind of "Hinduisms" that existed at that time, even though those are not quite "destroyed" yet (they survive in the backwaters, though they are losing ground to mainstream "Hinduisms" or to the Hindutvists)

Mostly, what we have now is "post-Gandhi Hinduisms" in the mainstream (i.e. "Hinduisms" that are secularist and concerned with improving things in this world)

We also have a "post-Gandhi reaction" in Hindutva, which continues to be anti-secularist, though it is "this worldly" as mainstream "post-Gandhi Hinduisms"

Mainstream "post-Gandhi Hinduisms" will certainly survive (they flourish as a consequence of modernisation)

Hindutva, on the other hand, is a reaction against modernisation. It may well succeed in gaining power in India (just as anti-modernist mullahs succeeded in gaining power in Iran). But, as in Iran, if the Hindutvists do gain power, they will condemn India to greater backwardness for as long as they are in power

If those who are circulating this article are interested in improving things in India, they should commit themselves to supporting the modernisers and progressivists, instead of continuing to hark back to what happened 99 years ago - though it is important to understand history, that is a different matter from considering ourselves (and so making ourselves) victims of history. Sphere: Related Content