Modernizing India would require data on the premodern: A Raghuramaraju

(A Raghuramaraju teaches philosophy at the Indian Institute of Technology, Tirupati. The column was first published in The Telegraph on October 11, 2021)

 

  • The Adi Shankara and Plato had a deep mistrust of change. While Plato called for arresting change, in Vedanta philosophy, change is relegated to Maya; it is also Brahman, with its quality of permanence, which is the ultimate reality. In contrast, change and progress are essential characteristics of modernity. However, there is a large gap between the pace of change in the West as compared to that in India. Over the years, there has been significant progress in India in terms of reducing poverty, expanding the health sector, spreading literacy, building infrastructure, creating affordability, and providing opportunities for and access to a better lifestyle. However, the rate of progress still remains far slower than it is in the West. This is frustrating for the promoters of progress — particularly the modern State — that would like to see India change as rapidly as some of the developed countries. While corruption and a lack of seriousness and professionalism are some of the obvious reasons for the variance in the pace of growth, we also need to explore the other underlying reasons.

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