The Indian State can deliver a nuclear bomb and launch satellites but not universal primary education or decent public health. This is not an accident. It is a choice made by the elite who have been in power for 60 years and reflects their values. Indian progressives love to talk about socialism but what they mean by it is very different from what it means in the West. Western socialism used the State to help poor masses. Indian socialists used the State to project elite power. The reason is that Indian society lacks a very basic element, which is present in most societies. This is the equality of respect, the basic idea that all human beings have equal status.
Hindu society is a caste society and caste denies the simple idea of status equality. In class societies, there is inequality of income and wealth but once feudalism disappeared, there was no status inequality. In the US, race was central to the denial of status equality, but that was fixed by the struggle for civil rights. India has adopted the political equality of ‘one adult one vote’. But in social terms, caste inequalities add to class inequalities. The Indian State has been mainly manned by upper caste elites and they do not consider the lower orders deserving of education and health. Read More