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Showing posts from January, 2008

Lord Macaulay's Speech on Indian Education: The Hoax & Some Truths

A friend has recently forwarded me a quote from Lord Macaulay's speech in the British Parliament on 2nd February 1835. I reproduce the quote below:
"I have traveled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such calibre, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native self-culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation."
The email requested me to forward me to every indian I know. I was tempted, but there were two oddities about this quote. First, the language, which appeared …

Babu-Fat

Despite the euphoria in the Indian media, new-found confidence of the Indian businessmen and the sense of optimism on High Street, India remains a poor country.

I am no less a patriot, trust me! I find Gordon Brown's condensing description of Britain's relationship with India as 'partnership of equals' full of colonial delusion. I feel offended when India's poverty was showcased on International Television without a reference to its ever-present dignity. I feel offended when, above all, we are lectured on the values of communal harmony by our erstwhile rulers, who spread and taught disharmony as a tool of their own commercial gain.

But, despite my pride, I dont befool myself when reality knocks - corruption, poverty, lack of meritocracy, is plain for all to see! In many cases, our development is only trailing the development of commerce in other places - call it globalization, but our place in the value chain remains low. When we give a penny, we think the beggar fee…

Hope and Fear

The Economist cover story puts it aptly - Up in the air! After the first rounds, the party nominations for the presidential election in the United States is indeed up in the air.

Mitt Romney can make it, so can Rudi Giuliani. John McCain has won New Hampshire. Mike Huckabee is reminding everyone of another upset candidate - Jimmy Carter - and the 'vocal' majority in the Republican party may still put him up.

On the other side, Hilary Clinton's talk of experience - possibly electoral than administrative - has won New Hampshire. Barak Hussein Obama and his message of hope is still strong, and may carry the day. John Edwards is down, but not out yet.

TIME magazine opines that the nomination can go two different ways - it can either become Clinton vs. Giuliani, which will be in the tradition of post-McCarthy american election, one dominated by the message of fear; Or, it can be a McCain vs. Obama, which will be true Post-Nixon election, one determined by hope, and reconciliation …

Sunday Post - True to its spirit

I am writing this on a Sunday. After a long time, I must add. There are other peculiarities too. First, I am working. Well, I had to work on most Sundays in my life, but now I am compelled to, as I am in Dhaka. I am not sure why they work on Sundays. It is perhaps their way of saying that they have a different God. Second, as I said, I am in Dhaka - trying to work out a joint venture with a local business house. Third, I have to go in a few minutes - so this will be short. I just wanted to keep the habit.

So far, my visit to Dhaka has been disappointing. I have not seen many changes. Except, of course, as I looked out of my hotel window, I could see a super-mall, one I saw being built up when I came first time to this city in 2000, and which, I assumed, I shall never see completed when I left the country in 2004. There is also a flyover, work on which went on forever, and I assumed that it would never get done. Unfortunately, this time my visit is too short and agenda too limited for m…

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