Today, Oct 31st, is the 138th birth anniversary of the man who integrated the various princely states of British India into the India we have today, Shri Vallabhbhai Jhaverbhai Patel (1875 – 1950) also known as Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. He was the first “Minister of Home Affairs” and the Deputy Prime minister from 15 August 1947 until he passed away on Dec 15th 1950 at the age of 75.
He was a giant of a political leader and modern India owes him a lot. But as has unfortunately become the pattern, towering leaders of the Indian National Congress are rarely celebrated by the party; instead they elevate Nehru and his progeny — pygmies compared to the Sardar and others — to the high heavens and airbrush others out. Fortunately things are improving, thanks to the access that readers and writers have in this internet age. Now we can begin to glimpse a more accurate picture of how petty, vindictive and mean-spirited Nehru actually was; now we have something to counter-balance the hagiographic propaganda Indians have been fed for so long. Social media is a real treasure in this regard.
This is a follow up to my previous post (“A Tale of Trash“). This was published on Niti Central Oct 22nd.
One of the most enduring impressions that visitors to India carry away with them is that Indian cities are littered with trash. This is really unfortunate since trash is something that each of us can do something about and the problem is not as intractable as the big ticket problems that require collective action such as roads, power and public transportation. I recently wrote a piece for NitiCentral.com which I reproduce below, for the record.
Last evening I came to visit my dear friends, Urvashi and Anuj Tiku. Today I woke up in the city that doesn’t sleep and found that I’m king of the hill, top of the heap. Those little town blues melted away, and I made a brand new start of it in ol’ New York . . .
I am looking forward to a dinner with another friend, Mitra Kalita, later today. Now let’s listen to Frank Sinatra sing the 1980 hit song, “New York, New York.”
Today’s quote is related to liberty and freedom. It is from Louis Brandeis (1856 – 1941), an American lawyer and an Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court.
In a 1928 judgement [Olmstead v. US] he wrote:
“Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.”
As regulars of this blog know, I advocate the liberation of education from the clutches of the government. That is not going to happen in a hurry but that means that more people have to become aware of the disaster that the Indian education system is. I wrote piece on the topic for NitiCentral recently. Here it is, for the record.