September 02, 2005

Those fellows again

My fortnightly column for rediff.com is here. This is about recent robberies in Bombay. Thoughts welcome.

6 comments:

Sriram said...

It is very tragic that, in this day and age, we still make such broad generalizations. That too officially!

I am also glad that many Pardhis are able to improve their lives. This proves false all those theories about how Pardhis cannot feed their own children and they need forced charity through the government.

Dilip D'Souza said...

And which theories are those, Sriram?

Sriram said...

Dilip, I remember you arguing that tax money should be used to feed poor children. When I raised the question as why their parents cannot do it, you offered up Pardhis as an example. Doesn't the presence of successful Pardhis negate your argument? Surely, the school teacher friend of yours would be offended if you suggested that tax payers have to feed his children.

Bottomline - tax money can be used in two ways: to pay for services used and for forced charity. In your egg-related posts, you argue for the latter. My contention is that whenever a poor person improves his condition without needing pity money from "elites", he proves you wrong.

Nikhil said...

Sriram & Dilip
It is right that one should not make such genralizations. But I ask again- is it anything new?
Remember what I wrote about a prominent international columnist holding Hindus responsible for the 1984 massacre of sikhs and conveniently avoiding mentioning that there were congressmen involved in it?
Dilip - Regarding the mentioning of Saraswats, I would not feel the bile rising- Why - Because a prominent and visible national columnist once labelled all Brahmins as devious in a national newspaper.
Why- during elections there are open discussions in the national newspapers as to which caste will vote for which party. Dont we hear terms like Yadavs, Vokkaligas, Lingayats, Bumihars, Jats etc.
Mind you the names do not come out after doing any detailed research. All one has to do is read the newspapers and one can be quite conversant with these caste identities.

Dilip D'Souza said...

Sriram, I simply like to be accurate in what we are arguing about. I would like you to point out to me where I suggested taxes should be used to feed Pardhis.

The "negate my argument" stuff is fine if you think you want to "win" this argument. But do remain aware that the same thing can be turned around to ask: doesn't the presence of innumerable Pardhis in misery negate your argument?

My answer: I couldn't care less whose argument is negated, least of all mine. I'm saying, the lesson from India's experience is that there's no blanket solution to these problems we have. I offered the example of TN's succesful nutrition experiment and asked, if that's successful, why not think about replicating it countrywide?

Sriram said...

doesn't the presence of innumerable Pardhis in misery negate your argument?

No, it doesn't. I never claimed to have a solution that make everyone rich or feed everyone. I have always said two things: (1) it is the responsibility of each and every person to improve his/his family's condition (if he wants to do so) and (2) if he is unable to do so, he has to rely on the kindness of friends and strangers.

Forcibly taking money from someone to give to someone else is immoral (just like every other type of force)

You keep saying there is no blanket solution, but what exactly are you solving? Hunger? Medical care? Crime? Human needs are boundless, so I am not sure any of us know exactly what that "solution" looks like. Do you? Until we know exactly what the perfect configuration is, the quest for the "solution" is meaningless.

If you think TN's nutrition program is a success, start one of your own in Maharashtra. Convince and persuade enough people to contribute (monetarily or otherwise) and feed the Maharashtrian children. Don't call for money to be forcibly removed from unwilling people and redistributed.

It is easy to be generous with other people's money.