Monday, February 9, 2009


Celebrations of V-Day apparently reel under clouds and dictums of vanguards ofBharatiya sanskriti after the recent macabre at the Mangalore Pub which has  renewed interest of dhartiputras of India towards cultural soverignity  in agora of issues that face the nation.
I am not using the space to be judgmental or attributing values to either group, both have their own reasons and beliefs which differ starkly as both belong to opposite paradigms.

This piece is an attempt to observe the issue from a public policy lens.  Whether the incident is an isolated one or a spontaneous outrage of some jilted people who mix concoction of tradition and religion in the beaker of poverty and resourcelessness or is it the entropy of an intricate development model which has widened the resource gap, bred inequity and inequality. 

What has been flashed on TV and computer screens and print media recently could be attributed to the “sequel of economic liberalization” coupled by a large divide of "Haves and Have nots" that has evolved into cultural conservatism colored into religion and tradition.
Now let’s have a look at this ---------

Around 3 per cent of the India population falls in “middle class” category, which means around 30 million people [which is approx. 10% of the total population of the USA]: The class is "reinvention  mode" and "harbinger of socio cultural transition and economic change" ----  vibrant face of  post structural modern India and darling of  capitalistic liberal West .

A study by Navdayna -- a Delhi based NGO suggests that on Purchasing Power parity basis this 3 per cent of population in India spend around U.S $ 30,000 per capita per  annum on consumption (including consumption of entertainment, Pubwala ), On the contrary there are 
nearly equal (27% approx) number of Indians who live below poverty line (BPL), which loosely means they do not consume more than Rs 12/Day  (as per 1994 base price).

With this picture on canvas, it should not be an utter surprise if V-Day and “sequels of economic liberalization and globalization" would be under fire from disgruntled majorty who fall in the spheres of have nots or have little to celebrate.

Branding Senas of Rama or Siva as zealots , violent militia and questioning their mandate  or bashing late night outings of vivacious Gen X in the name of culture or tradition  in print and electronic media will definitely help in increasing TRPs and circulation numbers  of publications but not the issues that the people face in real life.

Ther is   need of an open discussion to delve into the causes for anger and violence and the options that policy can offer.

But this cannot be the last word as India is complex beyong Comprehension so is the culture.

Your comments are welcome.

No comments: