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Ritu's note



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Administrative Note:
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Week's Agenda: Economy
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This is a difficult problem, Ritu. On the one hand, you agree that 
ill-defined boundaries are causing a problem. At the same time, it is 
clear that we disagree on a fundamental issue, one around which ideas of 
social exclusion are clearly being formulated and are gaining ground. 
Clearly, this is a good example for the kind of exercise I have been 
proposing.

I don't know that I am right, but I am trying to get the discussion to a 
point where two things stand out. 

(a) The position you are taking is not very different from the status 
quo, which permits proselytization. Equally, it is true that the status 
quo is not helping minorities. I didn't conjure up Hindutva or its 
popular appeal. There are a lot of people out there who subscribe to it, 
and not all of them will come forward to defend it openly. Liberal 
opinion has attached a certain amount of shame to the conservatives, so 
they remain quiet, but their attitudes have only hardended. As a result, 
you don't even have the opportunity to debate their thinking. Only a few 
oddballs like me will say what is on so many minds, but in truth many 
more people obviously find some merit in this line of thought. Do you 
agree with at least that much?
If you think my line is off-the-deep-end, you can check out Indian 
Express and Rediff Poll sites, in the former, 71% of 100,000 (no less) 
respondents said missionaries should be forced to quit India! You said 
you wish to be consistent with democratic norms, try that one. 

I, on the other hand, said democracy is nothing, republicanism is 
everything. The former merely exerts the will of the majority, the 
latter protects the interests of the minorities too. Democratic norms 
would run counter to your position, and the law would require you to 
uphold it!

(b) It is easy to imply that I am advocating a pro-Hindu opinion. Far 
from it, in fact. If we say that economic force is OK, inevitably the 
VHP and the missionaries and the mullahs will be at loggerheads over 
potential power-bases. That is the nature of politics, we would only be 
giving them additional firepower. And guess who will win? Today, 
minorities might find that the status quo protects them, but the status 
quo is derived from British notions of social organization, and more 
importantly, IT IS ERODING.

20 years from now, the top schools will not be run by missionaries, the 
top hospitals are already no longer run by the church. Devoid of 
political patronage, muslim universities are already losing ground. 
Every little incident of terrorism stains muslims even further, the 
madarsas are seen as breeding grounds of division and crime. And in the 
coming years, the natural progress of growth and industrialization will 
vest Hindus with an economic advantage (because of the numbers) that 
others will not have. At that point, it will be too late to argue that 
economic muscle should not be permitted to determine social 
organization. 

Ash 

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