ignoble merit

anoop puts it eloquently:
Indian academicians and intellectuals are not ‘lazy’ but highly incompetent as they are the product of a society where merit is at premium. A caste-ridden society, where the caste interest and caste-pride take precedence over everything, can never produce genuine/objective scholars and academicians.
it isn't the first time that someone from a marginalized community has expressed that view. dr.ambedkar had very patiently tried to explain how caste makes a society inefficient, quite a while ago. every time a young student from a similar background walks into an indian university you can be certain that that realization would strike him at least once during his stay there.

why doesn't it strike those with merit, as certainly, or as frequently?

the nobel is one popular yardstick for measuring 'merit' among the brahminized classes. but i don't think they ever bother to take a look at how nations one-hundredth the size of india, in terms of population- like austria, norway, sweden, switzerland, belgium- have won more nobels than india, even when we include all the non-indians, also-indians and once-indians in the short...list of indian laureates.

those nations are older? well, austria, norway, sweden, switzerland and belgium still bagged more nobels (8, 6, 17, 14 and 5 respectively) than india (4) after 1947.


gaddeswarup said...

I think that there is much to ponder about in this articleby Anoop Kumar. Various institutions, however brilliant their start may be, seem to start reflecting the outside reality sooner or later. Possibly so much effort is spent maintaining the unwarranted status attained by birth that the actual aims of the institutions suffer. I remember visiting a mathematics department in the South in 1973, where everybody including the peons belonged to one caste. Many rules are contravened or modified to fund even retired people from dominant communities. The endogenous system of marriages and general poverty seem to incline people to cater to one's own group. This is often done under the guise preserving culture. May be intercaste marriages is one way to go.

Sanjeev said...

My biggest question is what were the other nn brahminized sections doing. Why they haven't contributed to indian science and thought. Just wallowing in self pity under the oppression cloak would not give any answer.

Sanjeev said...

Incidentally China, a nation as big as India has won only four Nobels. I would be intrested to understand how you like to tweak your theory of Caste system and underacheivement in science to fit in the chinese. Maybe some brahminized elements squeaked into chinese buddhism.

Sanjeev said...

How would you like to explain the lack of Nobel laurates from the arabian and persian gulf countries. Except for Iran (two Nobels) their record is quite bleak. Unlike the Hindu india these people supossedly do not have any caste system and also they follow a supposedly egalatarian religion.

anu said...

Actually China has only one Nobel prize. I am sure you will pause on that.

1) Indian science and thought like that of the Chinese until recently comes almost exclusively from the marginalized –agriculture, farm, forestry, fishing, textiles (by lower castes).
2) Institutionalized science as acceptable to western/modern science, to which India has built huge sand monuments and filled them with upper caste.

If 1) collapses, you will be paying more for dhal, milk, fish etc maybe even have to encash your bonus checks to buy imported protein and cotton.

If 2) shuts shops, the world will not bat an eyelid.

Chinese in the last few decades are adapting to the western model, selectively participating in globalization, asserting their domination. In the short span they have ushered in a technological revolution that the west understands and relates to (nobel accessible in the near future), while at the same time it is reigning in and making steady progress on all their human development indices -tangible micro and macro level changes.

India is neither here nor there with science and technology (except buying the yarn the IT guys sell -call centers constitute revolution in science and thought). And our abysmal human development indices remains or continues to hit newer depths for large sections of the population (lower castes) -micro and macro level changes can be imagined/ignored here (by upper castes).

Kiran said...

Not a single one of the nobel prize winners came through Indian university system. And british India does not count.

Brahminical people are incompetent in modern science as they are incompetent in anything that implies accountability to the society. The only stuff they thrive on is unaccountable gibberish such as interfacing god through Puja.

Sanjeev said...

"Brahminical people are incompetent in modern science as they are incompetent in anything "

Kiran - I am not sure what you mean by this. By Brahminical do you mean the people from Brahmin caste/community. If that is the case then this community has produced many a well known scientists. One example is C.V. Raman and there is no non western physicist of his stature.
It is very silly to escape responsibility of underacheivement by blaming a community as oppressors.
Per Anu's logic every middle class indian is an oppressor as they tend to gain from the wage arbitrage from the poor clases. That includes the rich and middle class dalits and bahujans. I would like to extend this logic to include every rich man in the world is an oppressor.

kuffir said...


have you thought about why you are so excited as to react repeatedly to this post? because you identify yourself as an 'upper' caste indian. by reacting to this in the manner you've done, you're not only trying to defend the system of castes but you are also trying to defend the undemocratic regimes/societies in the middle east and to our north. if they aren't bad, why are we bad- that sums up your attitude.

Sanjeev said...

I get excited about lots of things and comment repeatedly on many subjects. All I have done here is posed some questions on your theory about Brahmins and scientific development in india and why your theory cannot explain the scientific (under)achievement records of china and arabia. There is obviously a hole.

Now you are make baseless and adhominem statements like me claiming some upper caste status and defending some oppresive system. Your assumption that I am defending some caste system is again baseless. What I am questioning is the demonization of a certain community for all the shortcomings and wrong doings of a country. I feel that is an extremely narrow way of looking at things and would not solve anything.
I am quite surprised that you do not find any problem with a comment like 'Brahminical people are incompetent in modern science'. Which makes me think that you and the people who make such comments are talking poppycock which is also quite fascist. I do not subscribe to such views and for me it sounds too similar to anti semetic propoganda. I find such sterotypical statements directed towards a large community with enoromous diversity does not make any logical sense can be easily falsified through easily avaialble data. Thats my point.

gaddeswarup said...

To Sanjeev above,
I see these blogs as only a source to get diverse points of view and glimpses of what might be true. Almost any topic seems to need vast amounts of research to get any idea of what might be true. The very fact that caste topicsdraw a lot of animated comments may be an indication that it has been hampering
'development'. There are some acdemic articles which may be of interest:

kuffir said...

swarup garu,

'I see these blogs as only a source to get diverse points of view and glimpses of what might be true. Almost any topic seems to need vast amounts of research to get any idea of what might be true.'

i don't know about other blogs, but this blog celebrates the truth- and who shall measure its truthfulness? as this post points out, the merit of those who measure everything in india is very suspect. my personal view is that their merit is very embarassingly insubstantial.

Anonymous said...


The only indication why caste blogs trigger more replies is that we all belong to certain caste. Even if we want to forget about it, govt of India doesn't allow by constantly asking us to fill the caste name in every govt application. Nothing more.


I agree with you. Jumping to caste system and blaming upper castes for the ills of this country is too simplistic. Your example of China and Arabia clearly debunks the theory of this blog.

All the countries that didn't participate in Industrial revolution and left behind industrialized countries in development are playing catch up. With huge population to feed, this will take time. Why to come up with convoluted theories for something so obvious?

BTW, I don't belong to any upper caste.

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