Different epochs, different lessons
I have a few points to make about the views expressed by M.S.N. Menon in his article "Swadeshi spells success" (March 10).
Every epoch has its own realities, which have to be understood within the context of the socio-economic and geo-political realities of that age. During the colonial era, a handful of militarily powerful nations directly ruled vast tracts of the world, and pompously justified what was blatant exploitation rooted in racism and contempt as a carrying out of a moral duty of superior races to improve the lot of heathen and undeveloped peoples.
Battling an enemy as wily and seemingly omnipotent as a global colonial power required a wide array of strategies and tactics, and swadeshi, which hit the soft underbelly of their economies, was a very potent weapon. The colonial powers took raw materials from colonies at dirt-cheap rates, and monopolised the sale of finished products back to these colonies. Swadeshi attempted to deprive them of this hugely profitable captive market, thereby weakening the whole edifice of colonialism. It was the right strategy for that kind of adversary.
Shorn of all cultural and
philosophical dross, that is what swadeshi was: a very effective
strategy in a difficult, lopsided war.
There is only one thing that Singapore had that we lack: strong political will to improve the lot of the people.
I think the only thing that we should be demanding in addition to globalisation of capital and business is that all highly qualified workers in the world should be global citizens — able to work in any country they desire. India, and all other developing countries, should lobby relentlessly for this.
This refers to Ashwini Bhatnagar’s "At home in the world, which world, pray? (March 3).
Throughout the world English literature has dominated the writings in other languages and India is no exception. But this does not make English literature in any way superior to the writings in other languages. It’s true that writings in English has a wider global readership. But as regards the content, resonance, imagery, connotations, deep rooted nuances, expression of human sorrows and sufferings. Indian English writers come across as inadequate. Such writings hardly stir the consciousness of readers. The emotions of these writers have hardly to do anything with the sentiments of the people.
I feel that most of Indian English writers are deeply entrenched in western culture and values and as such remain detached from their roots. Their aristocratic lifestyle and lack of commitment to the ethos of India and its rich cultural traditions and cherished values are a matter of concern. They hardly have any feel of the ground realities. The case of V.S. Naipal is no different. His An Area of Darkness is full of contempt, hatred and indifference towards India. The novel is part travelogue and part fiction. He has been visiting India like a tourist and appears to be insensitive to the ethos of the country to which his forefathers belonged. Writers like Naipal have a myopic vision of India. On the contrary writers like R.K. Narayan, Mulkraj Anand, etc. have a deep sense of commitment towards the literature and their works reflect the true face of society. They occupy a highly revered and predominant position in Indian literature. The literature in regional language is more authentic. I think, Neemrana should be an eye opener for those living in a fools’ paradise. Writers can fool themselves but they cannot take the readers for granted.
This refers to "Roly poly children make unfit adults" (March 3) by Madhu Sharma.
The writer rightly says that the lifestyle of the family and lack of proper activity are responsible for obesity among children. Children should be encouraged to stay away from fast food, eat healthy food and go in for light exercise in order to fight fat.
BRIJ MOHAN SHARMA