Monday 17 June 2024

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Anger and civic sense also leading to intolerance: Swaminathan


Indian society is largely becoming an angry society that is leading to intolerance at different levels, says India’s leading economist Swaminathan S Ankaleshwar Aiyar, while welcoming the phenomena.

He was speaking at the M S Prabhu lecture on "From Narasimha Rao to Narendra Modi", organised by Konkani Bhasha Mandal at Ravindra Bhavan in Margao yesterday evening.

While negative intolerance in the society among fundamentalist forces is being debated nationwide, Aiyar in his lecture projected other side of a coin, pointing out at positive intolerance that is also emerging through increasing rebellion.

He also felt that rather than intolerance, our civic standards have improved, thanks to the emergence of private media compared to the government-controlled media 25 years ago.

"There is also intolerance to intolerance", he said.

To put his different stand in perspective, the noted columnist recalled the worst social disharmony the country had witnessed in ‘90s, referring to Babri Masjid demolition, riots led by Shiv Sena, Rajiv Gandhi assassination, Mumbai blasts, Gujarat riots etc.

"Considering the huge amount of disharmony during those times, I feel what is happening today is nothing. Things have improved since then. Harmony returned, though tensions continued", he observed.

According to him, media coverage of events before 1992 was minimal while private channels in the 21st century have been conveying horror of these incidents to all and even lynching becomes a national news.

“We are now much easily swayed, angered and disgusted by small things. Because of this we have become more sensitive society and angry society and we make government react to it", he observed.

Aiyar feels that the mood in the country is pretty dark as never before due to which we witness several national award winners are returning their awards in protest of intolerance.

He also referred to all kind of incidents like love jihad, ban on cow slaughter, people lynched to death, killing of three famous writers etc.

The columnist also brought to the attention of the audience that India today has three popular actors - Shahrukh, Salman and Aamir who are Muslims but don’t have to change their names unlike Dilip Kumar and others in the past.

"As long as it is possible for 200 billion Indian girls to fanaticize about Shahrukh Khan, I think secularism is here", he said in a lighter vein while concluding his lecture.



On economic front, Aiyar said a biggest beggar before 1991 has become a contributor today and is in a position to offer aide to countries like Africa and Bangladesh.

"We were termed as an elephant but the elephant got converted into a tiger after Narasimha Rao came to power in 1991. By 2000, India started growing at 7 to even 9 and half percent”, he observed

The economist however also observed that the global recession and several corruption scandals slowed down the pace in the later years and once again we have gone back to 7 percent.

“When everyone else is sinking due to global slowdown and if we are not sinking, then that certainly is an achievement” felt Aiyar.

He also termed India’s biggest success is the children of unwealthy families becoming the new economic giants in the private sector, referring to the software companies like Flipkart and Snapdeal.

However, he said, the government has failed on social development front Education, Health, Nutrition, Law and order, justice, security and safety.

“We remain to be poor on this front. These public services cannot be dealt with public-private partnership and so we have a long way to go", he opined.

He also noted that the biggest fall in poverty is amongst the Dalits and the Muslims, stating that the Dalit Industrial Chamber of Commerce and Industry has been set up by the Dalits.

“Some of these Dalits have become millionaires. Capitalism smashed Feudalism and the Indian aspect of it - the casteism”, said Aiyar.

 Earlier, President of Konkani Bhasha Mandal Chetan Acharya welcomed the athering while eminent author and entrepreneur Datta D Naik spoke on the life of M S Prabhu.

Anant Agni compered the programme.

(Anwesha Singbal is a freelance journalist and can be contacted at this email or +919923442746) is now on Telegram & also Youtube. Kindly subscribe for free & remain updated.

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