“Will the Indian mind ever get decolonised?” is the question that R Vaidyanathan asks at the end of his column titled “The colonial conquest of India by Cambridge varsity” in DNA today. (Hat tip: Raja Shekhar Malapati.) It is about the government of India giving Cambridge University Rs 26,00,00,000 (US$ 6,500,000) to support the ‘Jawaharlal Nehru Professorship of Indian Business and Enterprise.’ That professorship is to mark the centenary of Nehru’s arrival at Cambridge.
It is nothing that Cambridge will get excited about, however, since it has an estimated US$ 5 billion in endowments. The Rs 26 crores the Indian government forked over amounts to around 1,000th of that. But Rs 26 crores would have funded a hundred schools in India, perhaps making a difference in the lives of thousands of children, and directly and indirectly providing employment to thousands of people desperately in need of a living income.
How we spend money depends crucially on two factors: whose money is being spent and what are the objectives of the person who is doing the spending. As long as the money belongs to the person who is spending it, it is hard to object to what he or she does with it — unless it for some clearly destructive purpose. If Mukesh Ambani digs into his pockets and decides to give $5 million to Stanford University, it’s his money and none of our business. But if the money is someone else’s, then what it is spent for and by whom matters. In the case of the US$ 6.5 million grant to Cambridge university, the money belongs to the people of India, the spender is some politician or the other who wants to win favor with his or her Nehru-Gandhi overlords.
If this sort of public corruption is does not outrage the Indian public, it means that they are immoral, ignorant and stupid. It could just be apathy but it could also be a total lack of a sense of fairness and justice. My bet is that it will go largely unnoticed. Let’s hang out head in shame as it does say how immoral, ignorant, and stupid we are collectively.
I mentioned above that it could be some politician who is behind this corruption. I wonder who it could be. I don’t have the faintest clue. But perhaps I do. Here’s one. It was about the Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.
The Hindu of 27th May carried a news item ( “Tell all job scheme is Congress brainchild“) which quotes Dr. Manmohan Singh as saying:
“I request that you should carry the message across to people that this right [to employment] has been given to them by Soniaji. This right has been given to them by the Congress party… If you assist in implementing this law in a proper manner, you will be able to lay a strong foundation for creation of goodwill for our party and our beloved leader, Ms. Sonia Gandhi.” [Emphasis mine.]
I am not making this up. The Prime Minister of India actually used the words “Our beloved leader.” What about “the Great White Hope”? Our beloved leader, the great white hope!
All bow to the Great White Hope, Our Beloved Leader, the Dispenser of Rights to Employment to Indian Natives, the Giver of Gifts to Fight Poverty. Long live the Great White Hope.
How I wish that the GWH–OBL had come to India’s rescue, say, 30 years ago. But better late than never.
Now at least when the message is heard far and wide across this GREAT nation that our beloved leader has gifted employment to hundreds of millions, the gratitude of the brown natives will know no bounds and they will kiss the earth and vote the family of the GWH–OBL into power to continue to deliver to them gifts from the GWH.
It has been variously reported that the Our Beloved Leader’s family has a fair bit of money tucked away in sundry accounts but I did not realize that the family had that much money in the bank to fund the NREGS. I was laboring under the illusion that it was the Indian taxpayer who was funding the NREG, which I had written about earlier and decided that it will guarantee greater poverty. Well, now that Dr MM Singh has assured us that it is being personally funded by the GWH–OBL, I am reassured.
To answer Vaidyanathan’s question: the Indian mind may or may not be decolonized but certainly the minds of leaders like Manmohan Singh’s mind will never be decolonized.