This piece in the Telegraph currently has 489 comments (and growing fast), and it was hard for me to find one that was in disagreement:
The former Indian finance minister, Pranab Mukherjee (now the president), said that India didn’t need British aid which, he added, was “peanuts” anyway. He was right on both counts, but oddly enough his pronouncement – no more than the most obvious truth – was met by almost grovelling British requests to continue aid to India. Why?One hesitates to employ an explanation that a polytechnic lecturer in politics might favour, but there is surely in this urgent desire to send aid to our former possession the hangover of a colonial superiority complex, allied to the hope that the world has not changed as much as it seems to have done: that, in short, we are still top dog, or at any rate very nearly so. If we give them aid, it must be because they need it and therefore that we are superior to them in some way. It seems to have escaped the notice of our Government, at least, that it required an Indian takeover of Land Rover and Jaguar to make a go of them, the task being beyond our organisational powers.To use a Chinese rather than an Indian expression, the Mandate of Heaven has moved eastwards.
I think what we are seeing here is the same “moral preening” that Dalrymple identified in relation to the attitude of European elites towards capital punishment.
How are the Dalit People getting along these days?
Now, that’s the way you measure the calibre of a country: the way in which it treats its ‘untouchables’, not by the technical quality of the probe it dispatches to Mars.
Long Live Phoolan Devi.
Or maybe not cos she is dead.
‘Raj’ is a really good word to use in scrabble, by the way. And if you want to read a magical, kaleidoscopic novel about India, the Great Game and the North West Frontier, then you could do worse than Rudyard Kipling’s ‘Kim’.
Dalrymple: India’s Olympic Achievement: Indifference
It wouldn’t surprise me if aid to India is doing more harm than good. It’s probably more a bribe to tolerate our way of doing business – i.e. our lobbied ‘leaders’ are more like gangsters to our inner Moll’s – so long as we’re amusing ourselves to death we’re not rioting – or voting sensibly.
I think I have similar concern to Louise about technical prowess – though not having read all the article I’m not entirely sure how that relates to this topic.
On the subject though of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_skies_research
and even medical research.
Go on, draw up a shopping list, as it were. Not even a comprehensive list of potential scientific endeavours would probably soon run into multiples of billions.
Now, if you take an estimate of the supposed trillions that make up the global uneconomic system (or that go into welfare?) you might think such ventures/projects a bargain… but just how many projects would even an enthusiast give the green light before seeing the madness of it all?
Well, the money such as it exists, is going to be used somehow is it not? And if not us then China? India? Japan? Russia? Far better to spend it on these projects and after all did not Jesus say the poor will always be with us – I don’t think the parable of the good Samaritan was about abrogating responsibility to the less fortunate to the state.
I’m actually very interested in science, not least astronomy but I suspect the congressmen actually had a point, of sorts… probably quite a good one.