All entries for Friday 14 October 2005

October 14, 2005

Asia Times Letters

The saying goes, "You can't clap with one hand." In my past [two or three] letters I have tried to explain to Frank how he rapidly needs to qualify his views about India and her people, most of which are not even pro tanto close to reality. This is where I rest my case. But not before I point out the fallacies in his [Oct 13] letter. First, the interest that many Indians share about the developments in China are quintessential for a country that sees itself as a developing power and wants to gauge its relative strengths and weaknesses vis-a-vis other countries on similar trajectories of development. In strategic terms, China has always compared its military power with that of Taiwan and the United States. Second, I fail to see any superiority complex among Indian letter writers of Asia Times [Online] about their proficiency in English. As I have mentioned almost innumerable times, Indians are trilingual people – they speak their local tongue, Hindi (usually) as well as English. If there is something so inherently degrading about learning a foreign language, then why is China desperately trying to catch up on its own English strengths? Wake up and smell the coffee, Frank – it brings us the greenbacks. Third, Indians are naturally argumentative and deliberative people. This is recorded in our ancient traditions. British colonialism has merely given us a modern modus operandi to translate this into a democracy Westminster-style. Even there, India is a unique hybrid between American federalism and British unitarism. Fourth, if Frank admits that China too is learning from the West aka India, then his argument has no locus standi. For if India is learning from the West and acknowledges the fact (according to his own letter), and China doesn't, then this [amounts] not only to "differences in attitudes", but [to] intellectual plagiarism – plain and simple. In any case, since when did socialism or capitalism (depending on whether you're looking at the political or the economic China) become Chinese concepts?

October 2005

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