Saturday, January 9, 2010

Why do extremes unsettle our comfortable middle ground?

By Badri Raina

(Excerpts from Badri Raina's Znet Article)

Reading what our well-intentioned prime minister said in his address the other day to Speakers of sundry parliaments from the Commonwealth countries, the Bard sprang to my mind, as he so often does in so many contemporary contexts.

To wit, the otherwise piety-ridden Manmohan Singh expressed deep apprehension at the vile attempts of some "extremists" to cause unacceptable imbalances and dethronements in the orderly project of the peaceful enhancement of mainline developmental concerns, piloted no doubt by men in power who know best.

So it struck me, not for the first time, how little a part of that enhancement seemed, despite politic pronouncements from time to time, meant to touch the lives of the "poor naked wretches" of whom India still comprises some two thirds of its population.

It struck me that none of those politic pronouncements ever carry the agonized charge of Lear's "O, I have taken too little care of this!" Or the least resolve to "take physic" inorder to "feel what wretches feel."

It also struck me how negligible a recognition obtains in our power structure of the "extreme" nature of the mainline model of development so dear to our prime minister, since what else but "extreme" would you call a model that fattens the fat all the time and impoverishes the impoverished all the time as well? For example, just today's bitter news in India: sugar will now sell at Rs.50/- a kilogram! So no longer even the comfort of that warm and sweet cup of tea for some 70 or more percent of Indians as the cold solidifies into needles and pins.


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