All entries for Monday 12 September 2005

September 12, 2005

Asia Times Letter


I have noticed [letter writer] Frank's constant referral to the "white man's laws" and India. I tried explaining to him earlier that the tradition of pluralism and solution through argument and deliberation is as ancient as Indian civilization itself, ie, over 5,000 years, and Amartya Sen has recently penned an entire book on this issue (The Argumentative Indian). He should definitely read it to clarify and update his thought process. Moreover, if India is indeed an exemplification of Western norms and institutions, I question which developing country isn't. Today's world and its modernity [have their] roots in the Industrial Revolution of Western Europe. Whether one likes it or not, or whether one can change this in the future, is a different matter altogether -but this is indeed the fact. If Frank is arguing that China is somehow unique, then I disagree. If modern democracy has its roots in Britain, then Maoism a la "Chinese socialism" is also a variant of Marxism or Leninism of the West. Even Deng Xiaoping's gaige kafang is primarily a pragmatic move which heavily relies on borrowed economic ideas of the West. Both China and India have their own unique traits, and that is natural among such ancient societies. But both their modernities are borrowed.

September 2005

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