Showing posts from September, 2018

Problem of Indian Secularism

India faces a general election in 2019 and the battle lines are clearly drawn. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government, which came to power promising an economic miracle, has been an abject failure: Like many other administrations before them, this administration gave precedence to political imperatives ahead of economic policy. While its defenders would be quick to list out the government's various achievements, the brevity of the list would be embarrassing to all but those who are either ignorant or have a political motive. The Modi revolution was a whimpering affair, more of tinkering than of bold moves, and after four and half years, as is usually the case with a country like India, the country has gone backwards by not moving forward. Despite this, however, in the run-up to the general election, no one seems to be asking the economic question: 'Are you better off now than you were four years ago?' Rather, the big battle cry of the opposition is Secula

Beyond Start-up Culture

That governments are so enthusiastically trying to promote start-up cultures, handing out investment grants and building fancy new hubs, would make Milton Friedman turn in his grave: One can anticipate his protest - it is not the business of government to do business!  But then, democracy in its 'for the middle class, by the middle class' incarnation expects the government to be a job creation machine, and when all else fails, the Ministers say 'let start-ups be'! In fact, they celebrate it: In this affair, failure, the hallmark of government programmes, is some sort of credit. It allows the governments to celebrate the doctrine of creative destruction - ever so cool - while destructively creating a self-blaming proletariat, whose revolutions are limited to ventures and whose idea of nirvana is an Exit. There was never a better mantra invented to justify a permanent bureaucracy. But, at this point, I must stop and make an important distinction. My post is abou

On the crisis of liberalism

Liberalism is a contested word. So contested, in fact, that I can't even qualify it with some catch-all phrase, like 'as it is commonly understood'.  In fact, it is not understood at all: It's often a term of abuse in India, where it's seen as a form of retardation (hence, the coinage, in the great Indian English tradition of joined-up words, 'Libtard') while in the West, it's a lost ideal nostalgically mourned. In North America, Liberalism is often synonymous with economic justice, an activist state restraining the excesses of the market, combined with unrestrained individual choice, allowing people to live their lives as they please; in Europe, it is about a non-interventionist state and unrestrained operations of the market, with individuals permitted to do as they please as long as they don't threaten social harmony. So, the creation of a National Health Service would be considered a Liberal policy and right to abortion a great Liberal ca

The Global Condition: Global or International?

I titled these posts the Global Condition as I thought my Internet-inspired, immigration-induced state of life is best expressed as such, but the debate whether this is living global or being international is still quite topical. International it indeed used to be, till Global became commonplace. Again, as in my personal narrative, I don't know when the pivot came, but one can say that our views, and words, changed at some point in the early nineties. Perhaps this was Berlin Wall, perhaps this was the demise of Soviet Union, perhaps it was World Wide Web making Internet a commonplace. International used to be cool - it was connected to workers' movements and the global legislative body was named 'United Nations' rather than 'Global Forum' - and nation-state was a progressive, forward-looking thing; but then global took over.   In that sense, one could say being global and living internationally are not the same. It is perhaps rooted in the left-right d

The Global Condition: 1

I have reset my life. I did this before: When I hit a roadblock or got stuck doing something I hated,  I would imagine a day when a new life started. And, it works, because, all frustrations wash away, and hope comes back in. Besides, I let go of expectations, all that I accumulated over time, as those often are the biggest roadblocks. I have just done that again. So, everything needs to start again, and this blog too. Having just separated it out from my work not very long ago, I want to connect it back again. In fact, I want to restart my blog and bring it to the centre of what I do. That may mean letting go of certain things, like my profoundly agitated thoughts about Brexit, Trump and other global calamities, but - who really cared for those thoughts anyway? The new blog would hopefully allow me to be more personal - and meaningful - as I intend to write about a thing that I am discovering more and more: Identity!  I grew up in more hopeful times. By the time I was

Creative Commons License