education can wait

universal education, for many, is a chicken-and-egg question.the parents are poor, so the children need to work. the children, being children, can't earn much..so they grow up to be poor. and illiterate. and they have children who can't go to school because their parents are poor. so which comes first - poverty or illiteracy?

if you did a little survey of how indians, or more accurately those indians who have spared any thought on the subject, perceive the issue, you'd find that there are two, broadly, schools of thinking..

one, those who think poverty is the key element in the issue.

two, those who think poverty & regulation are the key elements.

the resounding message from both schools is : education can wait. meanwhile, around sixty million kids in india are not in school. and there'd be many more by the time india becomes a 'superpower'. or a scandinavian 'welfare' paradise. and i'm quite sure we'd be discussing farmers' suicides in 2016, 2026...2106.


washington still doesn't get it...

if democracy means the state listens to the people, then what would you call a state that listens to only some people?

here, an argument that any effort to 'install' democracy is ...well, a dumb (and deaf) idea -

'but the language we choose for "democratic" representation in the country is the same for chalabi or allawi or any of those people. miraculously their leaders speak fluent english, as in vietnam.

in vietnam, the top people spoke english, but the middle people, in general, spoke french. and that gave me a very big advantage because i spoke french. i could speak to the district people, the province chiefs, and a lot of the army commanders, in french. of course i didn't speak vietnamese like my colleagues. none of u.s. really noticed what the implications of that were. the people we were dealing with were, to a man -- and they were all men -- collaborators with the french regime. they were so perceived and recognized by the vietnamese.

it didn't occur to u.s. that someone who spoke english qualified himself for political, electoral leadership in vietnam. the vietnamese, left to themselves, wouldn't have made that a requirement, probably any more than they would have made it a requirement that the leader, like diem, be christian. and in iraq, again, speaking english wouldn't be the natural requirement for a leader there.'
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