Thursday, March 8, 2012

When the titans will shrug

"IT IS A WIN FOR EQUALITY AGAIN" screamed the headline out of the morning news paper. Puzzled, he picked up the news paper.

"15-08-2035 New Delhi : As expected since a few days, the honorable government of People's state of India passed a resolution in the parliament reserving a percentage of seats in all public mode transport based on the scheduled list of castes and tribes as listed in the constitution of India and/or economic status. Speaking from outside the parliament Mr. Sudhir Paswan , the head of state of People's state of India said,
" This bill ,although very trivial in nature, concerning only the public transport is a part of series of reforms to bring about equality of castes and classes. In our 88 years of independence, I can proudly say that we have truly moved towards equality. It first started by making a reservation in premier institutes like IIM and IIT for scheduled castes and tribes in year 2006. India wasn't a people's state then, but it was a step in right direction. Then in 2016, we introduced a bill, which made it compulsory for all private companies to reserve a certain percentage of job openings, and then eventually the position of CEO of companies was to be held only by a reserved candidate so that the hiring process could be overlooked in a transparent manner......"

He knew the rest of it, IT sector was the biggest casualty in India,  Philippines had now taken the lead in IT. Tired of reading politics, he moved on to read some other news.


He was getting late for work, if he reported late, he may lose his 30 year old job to a young 'reserved' chap. He kept the newspaper on the table, with a sigh, picked up his bag, shrugged and left home hoping that his company would last one more day, one more day of survival in People's state of India.

The above scenario is obviously an extreme kind of hypothesis, but an impression that the scenario may not be realized would be callous. Our nation today wants equality for all, an equality of opportunity for all. If equality was ever given some thought years ago, the world would have been a different place now. The lantern makers would have fought for equality of opportunity on production of electric bulbs. Horse ranch owners would have had the motor cars banned for jeopardizing the livelihood of horse and horse owners. Telegraph manufacturers would have banned telephones and telephone manufacturers would have banned satellites and mobile phones, all new inventions would have been banned for the sake of equality. And if Maharaja of Baroda had considered equality as a factor in his decision making, he wouldn't have sent B.R. Ambedkar on a scholarship to USA, he would have sent someone of lesser intelligence to study so that he can have an opportunity to equate his intelligence with Ambedkar.

Two kids, born to be neighbours, whose parents work in same organization, raised together, went to same school, both gave sole entrance exam for professional course. One gets 99%, but cannot get admission, other gets 90% and gets the admission. That is the justice of equality delivered by constitution of India, unquestionable?  The kid who did not get admission is disappointed, applies for an admission in USA, gets prompt admit, the whole neighborhood starts crying brain drain. That is the judgement of equality delivered by the great ethical Indian society , unquestionable?

 A very old Parsi industrial group signs a deal with West Bengal communist government to set up a car manufacturing plant in Singur. They pay high price to all the farmers whose land was acquired legally along with a job offer in the same plant. After a few years, the plant is ready to roll out cars, but suddenly, the farmers realize they still want to cultivate jute on that very land. They decide to stall the unit with the help of some 'Didi'. They want the land back. The industrial group demands the money they paid back, but the farmers are helpless and poor, they exhausted the money on living expenditure. The industrial group refuses to bow down. 'Didi' calls this subjugation of poor by rich, a social activist known for stalling projects and a female bookers prize winner who could only write one popular book all her life with incestous theme and spends half her time in capitalist USA, join hands with 'Didi' to bring equality and justice to farmers. The farmers damage the unit  and injure the workers inside the unit. The industrial group has enough, they abandon the plant and leave the state. The unit is brought down and land is returned to farmers. The farmers now unable to cultivate anything on that land, plead for help. The government then compensates the farmers. Happy ending?

Two friends arrive in the city of opportunities together. Both have the same qualifications, however one of them has a penchant for hard work. He works hard and gets a job at a reputed company. With his first salary he moves out of the shanty in the biggest slum of Asia built illegally, which he shared with his friend to a nice rented apartment in a distant suburb.The person who is not so hardworking continues to live in the shanty and starts working in an illegal leather factory. The hardworking person continues to grow arithmetically, but is unable to keep up with the growth of realty prices and continues living on rent. He pays all his taxes regularly. His friend meanwhile continues to grow in leather business geometrically. He has enough money to buy an apartment now, but that would mean giving up the leather business. The hardworker reaches old age in the rented home. One fine day he reads a directive by government to move all the Shanty dwellers in the slum settlement to apartments which will be owned by them. His hardly working friend moves into a swanky new apartment built free for him by the government from tax payers money, while the hard working person dies a nondescript death in the rented apartment, having paid all the taxes on time.

The pretext of equality has long been used to choke fair competition. Any sentence that uses word equality becomes an oxymoron. The concept of equality meant, equal opportunity for privileged and underprivileged alike, however it has long since been modified to mean an equality in opportunity for competent and incompetent alike. Any body who has had a reservation ready for him all through out his life irrespective of the opportunity he had economically or socially automatically stands to be underprivileged against someone who may have had same opportunity but was privileged, since he belonged to open category. Anybody who is rich by his/her own virtue is accused of being a poor hater, he is considered to be privileged and is doomed with the burden of supporting the underprivileged, who may be drunkard spending all his days income on buying country liquor. Any body who earns is a privileged one, and is cursed to pay taxes so that the ones who are too lazy to work, the underprivileged, living on land purchased by government from the taxes paid by the earning class, can be fed and given better place to live in. Is that the equality we strive for?

When equality of privileged v/s underprivileged and not that of competent v/s incompetent is achieved, that would be the day of reason and justice of equality.


One of the central characters in the famous novel by Ayn Rand, "Atlas shrugged",  asks the other central character

what sort of advice he would give to Atlas upon seeing that "the greater [the titan's] effort, the heavier the world bore down on his shoulders". With him unable to answer, he gives his own response: "To shrug"
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