The Collapse of Indian Civilization?
#1
Ladies and gentlemen, I'm relatively new to Nirmukta and have been somewhat reluctant to ask this, but is it over? More than a millennium of squalid deprivation, a brief spurt in attempts for national rejuvenation, and now this? Whenever we hear or read people's comments on the national state of affairs, a critical flourish is there, but they sound somewhat hopeful as if this "detour" into hell is temporary and there is still hope. We have a population over a billion and counting, engaged in mindless procreation and mind boggling rates of crime especially on women, not to mention. Law and order is collapsing with Khaps and various Senas filling in the void. A blind reactionary sort of nationalism is inching towards claiming power with lies and exaggerations of Hindu swamis, yogis, and rishis having solved all the world's problems in the "spiritual" sense and secrets towards recent scientific discoveries having been hidden in the texts of the Puranas or dances of Shiva. Anyone who tries to act soberly, reasonable, and critically is immediately hounded as anti-Hindu and intimidated. People are resting upon the laurels of their forefathers without developing the scientific temper which comes with a ruthlessly inquisitive state of mind. And those who do which means the lakhs of engineers and doctors manufactured by a failed education system are more than happy to kneel before the guy with two Sris and all sorts of pseudo scientific quacks. After all, it's not as if they've gone in the "science stream" for any rationale other than making money in the booming businesses monopolized by oligarchs who keep their heads but are ready to sacrifice others' in uncertain economic times. Islamic militancy continues marching across borders, China insists on gobbling up the world economy through unfair practices in its fever of Confucian nationalism (with a red coating), India too will militarily pick itself up and dust itself off ready to present its Hindutva face so that it can participate in the 21st century, which mind you, will be dictated by the theme of "the clash of civilizations." Yet society continues to flounder, and population just won't stabilize. I know some may say that the greater the population the better the division of labour in economy, but isn't there a damn limit? Is it over for India? Have the circumstances gone so bad that they're out of our hands and the Ashoka charkha has finally stopped spinning?
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#2
If history is a guide, wariness is advised when presented with such narratives of decadence and decline, because these usually preface a call for revivalism on a war-footing and a call for submission to a savior who promises to fulfil the nation's destiny. The notion of historical inevitability and the belief that there is a chosen few to whom this inevitable destiny is revealed, resemble religious notions of eschatology and prophethood, be it during the Third Reich or the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. When such narratives begin to define the national discourse, what results is an intolerance of diversity in aspirations, an enforcement of a national aspiration and the clamping down of a martial law on the imagination as it were. This maybe done either by revivalists claiming to return to roots or revolutionary hastening the arrival of a utopia, but the casualties always seem to be civil liberties, cultural diversity and human decency as seen in earlier historical instances.

In the Indian context, Ramachandra Guha in India after Gandhi suggests that if India has at least managed to 'muddle along the middle' and managed to not be a totally failed state, it is because its leadership and electorate rejected both the revivalist idolatry of Right radicalism and the revolutionary iconoclasm of Left radicalism. While acknowledging without lament that India may never be a superpower as it is conventionally understood and that the capital earned by soft-power is estimable though not inexhaustible, it would help if those who care about the welfare of Indians see their mission not as a march towards a utopia or a fleeing from a dystopia, but as a collective effort to reduce manifest injustices to the extent we can. Adopting an approach of realization-focused comparison rather than transcendental institutionalism centered around a Party or the Sangh, seems an approach that is better suited to India based on both historical precedent and historical warnings.
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#3
(29-Oct-2012, 09:53 PM)arvindiyer Wrote: If history is a guide, wariness is advised when presented with such narratives of decadence and decline, because these usually preface a call for revivalism on a war-footing and a call for submission to a savior who promises to fulfil the nation's destiny. The notion of historical inevitability and the belief that there is a chosen few to whom this inevitable destiny is revealed, resemble religious notions of eschatology and prophethood, be it during the Third Reich or the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. When such narratives begin to define the national discourse, what results is an intolerance of diversity in aspirations, an enforcement of a national aspiration and the clamping down of a martial law on the imagination as it were. This maybe done either by revivalists claiming to return to roots or revolutionary hastening the arrival of a utopia, but the casualties always seem to be civil liberties, cultural diversity and human decency as seen in earlier historical instances.

In the Indian context, Ramachandra Guha in India after Gandhi suggests that if India has at least managed to 'muddle along the middle' and managed to not be a totally failed state, it is because its leadership and electorate rejected both the revivalist idolatry of Right radicalism and the revolutionary iconoclasm of Left radicalism. While acknowledging without lament that India may never be a superpower as it is conventionally understood and that the capital earned by soft-power is estimable though not inexhaustible, it would help if those who care about the welfare of Indians see their mission not as a march towards a utopia or a fleeing from a dystopia, but as a collective effort to reduce manifest injustices to the extent we can. Adopting an approach of realization-focused comparison rather than transcendental institutionalism centered around a Party or the Sangh, seems an approach that is better suited to India based on both historical precedent and historical warnings.

Yes, but the masses don't want to "muddle in the middle." They want glory. Golden clad saffron glory. Modi is the savior (though I think his economic policies have been to some benefit) and India is the tiger which is awakening to rip through "psuedo-secularism" and become a superpower. This seems to be the narrative and the drama these days. But, what if for the remainder of human history, some nations continue to bask in their own filth of servitude, chained by narrow mindedness and festooned with the garlands of poverty and wretchedness. What if such a nation is India? Call me a pessimist, but pessimism seems to be the realism of our day and age. The age of uncertainty.
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#4
(29-Oct-2012, 06:10 AM)Deleted User Wrote: Have the circumstances gone so bad that they're out of our hands and the Ashoka charkha has finally stopped spinning?

Your post reminds me of the lamentations of V.S. Naipaul in the book India: A Wounded Civilization. He wrote the book in 1975 and makes some of the same points you raise in your post and concludes that India is a decaying civilization. But as you know things in 2012 are lot better than in 1975. For example when you look at the mortality rate (http://www.indexmundi.com/facts/india/mortality-rate), under-5 (per 1,000 live births) in 1975 it was 166.7 and in 2010 it was 62.7. That is a tremendous improvement. I can bet that every other indicators of social well being today is lot better than in 1975. In fact the farther you go back in time things will appear a lot worse. So my conclusion is the exact opposite. Things have never been this good for India or for the world.
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#5
(29-Oct-2012, 11:41 PM)Captain Mandrake Wrote:
(29-Oct-2012, 06:10 AM)Deleted User Wrote: Have the circumstances gone so bad that they're out of our hands and the Ashoka charkha has finally stopped spinning?

Your post reminds me of the lamentations of V.S. Naipaul in the book India: A Wounded Civilization. He wrote the book in 1975 and makes some of the same points you raise in your post and concludes that India is a decaying civilization. But as you know things in 2012 are lot better than in 1975. For example when you look at the mortality rate (http://www.indexmundi.com/facts/india/mortality-rate), under-5 (per 1,000 live births) in 1975 it was 166.7 and in 2010 it was 62.7. That is a tremendous improvement. I can bet that every other indicators of social well being today is lot better than in 1975. In fact the farther you go back in time things will appear a lot worse. So my conclusion is the exact opposite. Things have never been this good for India or for the world.

Reduction and amplification my friend, reduction and amplification. You're amplifying the good things and reducing the negatives. For starters, roads are a lot worse. Population has become more unstable. Actual intellectualism (and not that of self proclaimed clerics and spokesmen of culture) has been tarnished in this vicious onslaught of feeble-mindedness. You know, Shashi Tharoor says something along the lines of India being a developed civilization in an advanced state of decay. While I'm typing, the moments, the environment, and the aura of the present are dissipating into what we term as "the future", and I'm increasingly skeptical about the future. Everything seems like shit.
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#6
BTW, what the heck is "Indian Civilization" in a globalized world? I understand the concepts such as "Indian Civilization" and "Chinese Civilization" from a historical perspective when people mostly lived in isolated islands briefly interacting with each other though trade and war. But in the days of Facebook and Twitter this concept seems extremely archaic to me.
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#7
(30-Oct-2012, 12:01 AM)Captain Mandrake Wrote: BTW, what the heck is "Indian Civilization" in a globalized world? I understand the concepts such as "Indian Civilization" and "Chinese Civilization" from a historical perspective when people mostly lived in isolated islands briefly interacting with each other though trade and war. But in the days of Facebook and Twitter this concept seems extremely archaic to me.

What isn't?
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#8
Deleted User Wrote: Reduction and amplification my friend, reduction and amplification. You're amplifying the good things and reducing the negatives. For starters, roads are a lot worse. Population has become more unstable. Actual intellectualism (and not that of self proclaimed clerics and spokesmen of culture) has been tarnished in this vicious onslaught of feeble-mindedness. You know, Shashi Tharoor says something along the lines of India being a developed civilization in an advanced state of decay. While I'm typing, the moments, the environment, and the aura of the present are dissipating into what we term as "the future", and I'm increasingly skeptical about the future. Everything seems like shit.


Ok, let us start with roads. Let me quote from Wikipedia. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_ro...#section_1

Quote:
By the end of British occupation in 1947, India inherited a poor road network infrastructure. Between 1947 and 1988, India witnessed no new major projects, poor maintenance. Predominantly all roads were single lane, most unpaved. India had no expressways, and less than 200 kilometres of 4-lane highways. In 1988, the National Highways Authority of India was established in India by an Act of Parliament. This autonomous entity came into existence on 15th June, 1989. The Act empowered this entity to develop, maintain and manage India' road network through National Highways. However, even though the Authority was created in 1988, not much happened till India introduced widespread economic liberalization of the early 1990s. Since 1995, the authority has privatized road network development in India, and delivered by December 2011, over 70,000 kilometers of National Highways, of which 16,500 kilometers are 4-lane or 6-lane modern highways.


Clearly the roads have gotten better. Ofcourse for a person of privilege the current status of roads will be inadequate but for the average Indian the roads are lot better today than in the past.

As to population being *unstable* it is not clear to me what you mean. I assume you mean high birth rate. In fact birth rate has been dropping as well as can be seen here.
http://www.indexmundi.com/g/g.aspx?c=in&v=25

As to intellectualism, I am not sure what would serve as a good proxy. Whatever it is my bet is that it is better today than say 50 years ago.
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#9
(30-Oct-2012, 01:46 AM)Captain Mandrake Wrote:
Deleted User Wrote: Reduction and amplification my friend, reduction and amplification. You're amplifying the good things and reducing the negatives. For starters, roads are a lot worse. Population has become more unstable. Actual intellectualism (and not that of self proclaimed clerics and spokesmen of culture) has been tarnished in this vicious onslaught of feeble-mindedness. You know, Shashi Tharoor says something along the lines of India being a developed civilization in an advanced state of decay. While I'm typing, the moments, the environment, and the aura of the present are dissipating into what we term as "the future", and I'm increasingly skeptical about the future. Everything seems like shit.


Ok, let us start with roads. Let me quote from Wikipedia. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_ro...#section_1

Quote:
By the end of British occupation in 1947, India inherited a poor road network infrastructure. Between 1947 and 1988, India witnessed no new major projects, poor maintenance. Predominantly all roads were single lane, most unpaved. India had no expressways, and less than 200 kilometres of 4-lane highways. In 1988, the National Highways Authority of India was established in India by an Act of Parliament. This autonomous entity came into existence on 15th June, 1989. The Act empowered this entity to develop, maintain and manage India' road network through National Highways. However, even though the Authority was created in 1988, not much happened till India introduced widespread economic liberalization of the early 1990s. Since 1995, the authority has privatized road network development in India, and delivered by December 2011, over 70,000 kilometers of National Highways, of which 16,500 kilometers are 4-lane or 6-lane modern highways.


Clearly the roads have gotten better. Ofcourse for a person of privilege the current status of roads will be inadequate but for the average Indian the roads are lot better today than in the past.

As to population being *unstable* it is not clear to me what you mean. I assume you mean high birth rate. In fact birth rate has been dropping as well as can be seen here.
http://www.indexmundi.com/g/g.aspx?c=in&v=25

As to intellectualism, I am not sure what would serve as a good proxy. Whatever it is my bet is that it is better today than say 50 years ago.

Man, you're an idiot. You don't get the point.
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#10
*Man, you're an idiot. You don't get the point.*

Maybe I am a bit slow or maybe you are clueless. Before we get into your drivel about the collapse of Indian civilization let us first start where you wanted to start.

*For starters, roads are a lot worse.*

Can you please explain what you meant by the emphatic statement when the evidence shows otherwise?
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#11
(30-Oct-2012, 04:29 AM)Captain Mandrake Wrote: *Man, you're an idiot. You don't get the point.*

Maybe I am a bit slow or maybe you are clueless. Before we get into your drivel about the collapse of Indian civilization let us first start where you wanted to start.

*For starters, roads are a lot worse.*

Can you please explain what you meant by the emphatic statement when the evidence shows otherwise?

From archival videos, existing roads looked pretty damn good with less cars than today where drivers can't simple traffic rules. Drivers such s yourself I suppose.
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#12
(30-Oct-2012, 05:02 AM)Deleted User Wrote: From archival videos, existing roads looked pretty damn good with less cars than today where drivers can't simple traffic rules. Drivers such s yourself I suppose.

Empty roads doesn't imply better infrastructure health. It also might mean that there weren't as many cars back then as of present.

A quick google search (wiki link) indicates that road infrastructure is better now than anytime in history.
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