Sunday, May 3, 2009

oops... and a long story

I'm a horrible horrible person.
Not only have i not posted in years, but i'm also going to commit the most heinous crime in the whole world. i'm going to use my blog to help do my history homework. gasp! shudderr! :)
but since i love history and my homework is pretty cool, thats not as scandalous as it could've been. 

Okay, so my history homework is a book report, and i picked a book with a heavy sounding title, and content fractionally heavier than the title. So, the book is called "In Spite of the Gods: The Strange Rise of Modern India" and it's by this guy, Edward Luce, who used to be a journalist from The Financial Times and it's written brilliantly, but it's virtually impossible to summarize.  It's pretty much a 350 page essay, complete with witty anecdotes, random interviews, extremely perceptive opinions, and many many millions of facts some of which were pretty hard to comprehend. It took me a lot of energy, and many many attempts at self-motivation to finish the book, because there's enough info on one page to fill a newspaper.
And I'm now wondering, how do make life easier for myself? do i pick up random facts that really appeal to me? or do i work on a generic essay? do i send a link to the blog to my history teacher, to show him how dedicated i am to the cause?

In any case, back to my book. It begins with one of the most classic topics of discussion with regard to modern India, the traditional land of paradoxes debate. He talks about India's schizophrenic economy, where over two thirds of the people are employed in the primary sector, while three fourths of the income is from the service sector. He talks of stunted urbanisation, and of poorly executed reforms, in addition to the largest BPO business, and many successful garment makers who supply for the likes of Marks and Spencer and Gap. (and much to the author's amusement, Victoria's Secret. lol) 
He then goes on to talk about India's bureaucracy- about how a government job is the difference between a pukka house and a cow shed. Of the active and keen officials who join theIAS, and are then severely disillusioned by many transfers for any transparent work. He talks about a system which is an ancient relic from the times of the British, and has undergone barely any change, as well as the judicial backlog that plagues our country.
His next topic is where he slowly begins to wade into the controversial from. He talks about the rise of the lower castes, and of Ambedkar and the story of the Mahars. He talks about caste politics and the idea of the caste vote bank. He touches on the story of the All Indian Yadav Mahasabha and talks particularly of Lalu Prasad and Mulayam Singh. 
Next he talks of the threats posed by Hindu Nationalism, and talks particularly about the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), and their off spring party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Luce goes on to visit the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the militant side of the RSS, and hears of their Hindu extremist ideologies.  He begins the story of L.K Advani and the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya.

And this is like four chapters... there are spprox five left. So you see why i'll never finish? :( 
I think i'll do another part in another blog post. it's really sad that i have so much to say about school work but there you go.

Oh and one more thing. guys, feel totally free to comment on anything in these posts, cos i really need your inputs to make my project beyond awesome.

okay, in true tamil serial style, to be continued.... :)

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