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]