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India should be careful before universalizing theories
Changes should be in harmony with majority's beliefs and social laws. Empowerment should be carefully tried and its consequences should be properly calculated. One needs to see that inflation does not increase.

Direct cash transfer scheme—Apka paisa apke haath; take at your personal account, is the new political mantra by the Congress Party to let Rahul Gandhi take avatar in the next general elections. The scheme appears very good and innovative, and it is very difficult even for the opposition to criticize it. After all, the government is planning to transfer all benefits and subsidies directly to the targeted person. So, what’s wrong with it?

Nothing, if Indians compare themselves with Americans and Europeans, but everything, if it is agreed that Indian society is inherently asymmetric and unequal. The argument is not that the scheme has inherent flaws but that its applications’ consequences would not be healthy. If 50—100 million people get benefited by this then this is altogether a different thing but if such benefits are transferred to 500-600 million people then its consequences could be drastic.

First of all inflation could increase substantially. This inflation would have nothing to do with external reasons, currency manipulations, excessive government printing, increase in the price of the petroleum products and improvement in the lifestyle of the people etc. The most important point is that this inflation would have to be borne by all. This is the social cast—a kind of castration, on reducing the number of stakeholders in government-public chain and removing corruption. Indian social laws do not permit outright positive transformations for poor, outcastes and backward classes. Nor do they permit a great leap forward for females at this moment of time. People would be taxed because of violating the existing social laws whereby many commit sins and they feed ants to get relieved.

Second thing is that there would be increased social tensions, and conflicts among various groupings would increase. There would be conflicts of all sorts; social, political, economic. People would vie for increased subsidies and there would be uncontrolled proliferation of political parties. Many ideologies would go away and all the political parties would make a shift towards Left. There would be non-economic hyperinflation in India with capitalist exploiting the emotions and psychology of the people to the extent possible. The say of the external world would increase in India and so would be demand for mullah. On the other hand there would be more discrimination against people receiving subsidies.

If government somehow tries to check all the negativity then there would be increased numbers of mental and physical patients. The point is not that India cannot overcome its social stigmas but that it is not the right time as the proposed changes are very drastic and vast in scale. Many may get depressed and oral spat among various previously discriminated classes and privileged people may increase. India may be internally more divided on the lines of castes, subcastes, religions, regions, language etc. The obsessive impulse for imports may increase and Indians may become wanderers in imaginary land.

This is not the only problem where a desired positive change may have negative consequences. Consider a possibility where all Indians have secondary schooling. First of all Indian government can not provide jobs to all. Both India and China together would require a planet of the size of the earth for their own if they want sustainable life for all their citizens. Secondly, the educated Indians would not like to do many jobs which illiterates easily do. After all Indians are great dreamers and majority of Indians preconsciously think about sending their children to reputed convent schools if not buying a house in the Mumbai’s posh localities. The increased education would increase the conflicts among various people and would break social fabric of Indian society. Nobody should think that caste-less India is possible and if it is possible then it is better. With increased education Indian society would not become more homogeneous—in fact it would evolve other way round. Stratification would increase and even outcastes would discover newer castes. Social tensions would again be skyrocketing high.

The same is true about preventing rape. If India’s judiciary and political executives take stern resolve to end rape then it is very much possible. But to what end? Prostitutions and discrimination against women would increase. The average females may not get adequate employment. Sure, pervert behavior would increase in both genders and it would give a lot of opportunities to feminists. The concept of families may become obsolete in India. Again, if the governments and institutions are able to overcome many hitches and roadblocks then many people may become psychiatric patients, and many more diseases and their variants may develop.  

The same is true for anti-corruption crusade. The point is not that whether corruption could be uprooted in India or not. The point is that it is too expansive and overstretched at this moment of time to talk about revolution in India. As is the case with direct money transfer scheme, uprooting the corruption is possible if a smaller fraction of Indian society is contagious with this evil. Anna Hazare and his team need to go to public to make them aware of the negativity of corruption. This is not a good habit to make Indian Parliament hostage to Anna’s demand.

Not all theories, which are good in intent, are feasible and/or welcome at all times. One should always quantify problems, theories and problems’ solutions. Technological feasibility does not imply that it should be tried. All societies have different rates of adaptation and this is law of evolution. India is unique in the sense that differences, distinctions, asymmetries and inequalities cannot be removed without creating newer ones. There will always be leftovers. This is the constant and continuous consequence of progress. Changes should be consistent with the social laws of the time. It does not mean that changes or revolutions are not possible. But to be precise none has taken place post-independence. One needs to be careful when importing or comparing oneself with Americans and other Westerners. This is no justification of discrimination, corruption, chauvinism and violence. The opinion just tells the constraints of evolution of India—it could never be perfect. Idealism, precision, exactness, perfectness could be very bad for Indian society.                  

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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