Closing India’s intellectual shutters

The dreary desert sands of dead habit

Over a thousand years ago, the King of Persia sent Al Beruni east to discuss deep issues of science and philosophy with the wise and accomplished intellectuals of India. He wrote that they ‘kept themselves aloof from the outside world, and were ignorant of the arts and sciences of the West’. They were ‘know-it-alls’. Gurcharan Das contends that Brahminical preference for the theoretical over the practical has led to the persistence of intellectual arrogance in India to this day.

Brahminism, of course, does not find any favour at all with the comrades of India’s loony Left. Their shrill cries over the issue of a small number of foreign experts in India’s newly empowered Planning Commission belies a deeper agenda – the sabotage of the UPA government’s agenda of economic reform and liberalisation.

What is worse, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh looks set to succumb to the loony Left’s sinister gambit. He should confront the Communists head on. He must signal that foreign experts are necessary because of the different perspective they provide to India’s planning process.

And most importantly he must signal that India’ intellectual shutters are not closed.

Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;

Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action –

Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake. [Rabindranath Tagore]

7 thoughts on “Closing India’s intellectual shutters”

  1. Aaah. The Al-Beruni ref was brilliant. There’s a quote from Einstein, (dunno the exact words) to the effect that: If I had to point out that one place where the mind reacxhed its highest potential, where the deepest problems were seized and solved etc etc then I must point to India…..

    After all, how many of us know that we’d calculated the speed of light to the second decimal place centuries before Michelson-Morrison? Or that our Aryabhatta and Bhaskara had invented the axioms of euclidean geometry way before pythagoras was even born? or that Shankaracharya’s ‘Advaita vedanta’ beautifully describes in vivid (subjective) detail all the important properties of the quantumn field? Or that vedic mathematics is so advanced that until the 70s and early 80s, the japs and germans published its translations in their best math journals? or blah blah blah…but trust the left to preach we’re no good, never were in fact. reminds me of a fanmous saying: “If you look into the gutter, you’ll only find filth.” Precisely describes what the left does. looks into the gutter and reports constantly that there’s nothing but filth in India. Anyone remember even one good thing the left has done or said about any of the non communist govts and histories of India?

  2. The left merely keeps attacking the economic policies for the sake of attacking. It is relenting on allowing FDI in telecom and airport modernization. Similarly it will have to finally relent on this issue (if the foreign experts dont spoil the party by quitting).

    ps: Are they really foreign experts or are they Indian experts working for foreign organisations?

  3. The Left parties need the UPA more than the UPA needs the Left parties. Remember much of the elections gains by the Left were at the expense of Congress, not BJP. If Congress can get their act together in West Bengal and Kerala, there is a good change the Left will lose seats in the next election.

  4. One thing which really baffles me that how can the Left so shamelessly carry on one set of policies in WB and oppose congruent ones at the Centre. If the Left is so adamant on no foreign participation in policy reviews, why does it itself approach McKinsey and the others for various reviews related to West Bengal, and why does it crave for foreign investment in the state[albeit a trifle late] and why it accepts aid from foreign parties, because monetary support is bound to affect policy decisions.

  5. Sudhir, that quote was by Max Muller, a famous German philogist:

    “If I were to look over the whole world to find out the country most richly endowed with all the wealth, power and beauty that nature can bestow – in some parts a very paradise on earth – I should point to India. If I were asked under what sky the human mind has most fully developed some of its choicest gifts, has most deeply pondered on the greatest problems of life, and has found solutions of some of them which well deserve the attention even of those who have studied Plato and Kant – I should point to India.”

    kpowerinfinity, the reason why there’s such a disconnect is because the West Bengal Communists are actually accountable to their voters, and don’t have the luxury of putting ideology ahead of economic realities. Their comrades in New Delhi, on the other hand, can do as much backseat driving as they want.

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