It may seem odd to begin a piece regarding the on-going struggle surrounding the centuries-old Sabarimala temple in Kerala with the first lines of a book, published relatively recently in 1974 by an American, which deals primarily with the rights of people and what the state can do. But it is actually quite relevant.
The preface in Robert Nozick’s book Anarchy, State and Utopia begins with the simple declaration that —
“Individuals have rights and there are things no person or group may do to them (without violating their rights). So strong and far-reaching are these rights that they raise the question of what, if anything, the state and its officials may do. How much room do individual rights leave for the state?
In today’s Business Standard, Pranab Bardhan in his article “India — A case of bad governance“, makes a number of very important points.
Only recently did I become aware that there is a local politician in Mumbai named Raj Thackeray and that he has been inciting people to violence to stop non-Marathi speaking people from migrating to Mumbai. The man, in my considered opinion, is a certifiable idiot and an evil one at that. But then there is nothing particularly remarkable in Raj Thackeray’s quest for votes through divisive politics. The British quite successfully implemented it and ever since political independence, politicians across the spectrum have been dividing India along regional, caste, and religious categories. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, instead of erasing caste distinctions, even went so far as to name a significant portion of Indians as “harijan” or “children of god” — thus implicitly, according to his adopted Abrahamic theology, categorized the rest as “children of satan.” The present Italian Gandhi continues that fine tradition and implements policies that discriminate against people that do not subscribe to some Abrahamic sky-god. I wonder if Raj Thackeray is going to be invited to join the Congress Party, seeing that he is a master of divide and rule?
Blowback. Backlash. Expressive words. They mean that sometimes the reaction to an action can be severe and unacceptable. Blowback is often associated with fire. You set a fire thinking that it will go that way but instead it goes this way. Ill thought-out policies usually suffer from blowback and backlash.
I observe with a great deal of trepidation the policies that Dr Manmohan Singh, the prime minister of India, is promoting. I think that with friends like Dr Singh, the minorities (as the pseudo-seculars like to call them) don’t need any enemies. Their “friends” are selling them down the road for votes now. Later — and the later it is, the worse the reaction — they will suffer not for crimes of their commission but for what the likes of Dr Manmohan Singh did to get their votes. Dr Manmohan Singh will be long gone, a footnote in history, but what he is participating in today will have set back Indian civilization decades if not entirely doom it to third world irrelevance. The leadership of the minorities (and we all know what that actually refers to) is too stupid and ignorant not to see the long term consequences of the Faustian bargain they are making with the oh-so-secular government today.
I really feel for the minorities. They don’t deserve such punishment that Dr Singh and his bosses are planting the seeds of today. The harvest will be bitter indeed for them.
The Acorn lays it out by asking Manmohan Singh the right questions. Over a year ago I had written an open letter to Dr Singh. What a reply.
There is no easy way for me to go about discussing a subject that I think requires some degree of hard thinking. It is always so when what one is dealing with matters that lie at the foundation of one’s entire mental edifice. Replacing the entire foundation, or even parts of it, is not a task which can be undertaken over the course of an afternoon. In most cases, I don’t think foundations can be reworked; it is best to tear down the whole structure and build upon a new foundation. Keeping that caution in mind, what I want to consider here is one of my foundational principles which is that coercion is wrong.