India Uncut

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Thursday, May 12, 2005

Getting rid of the privilegentsia raj

Rajiv Desai writes in the Times of India:
A few days ago, when I was standing in line at an airline counter, I was rudely shoved aside by two men checking in an absentee dignitary. Not wishing to make a scene, I urged the flight attendant to intervene. Amazingly, she told them to queue up. In that simple statement, she challenged the feudal culture of privilege that has sapped this nation's spirit for five decades.


To my mind, the attendant at the airline counter deserved a medal for egalitarian behaviour. It reinforced my growing belief that India is finally getting rid of the privilegentsia raj.

Privilegentsia: that’s a nice neologism, a trifle unwieldy, but expressive. Desai’s piece is excellent, but I think he is being a little too optimistic, as I tend to be sometimes as well. I love seeing examples of India’s liberalisation around, but we’ve barely begun liberalising. Similarly, the “feudal culture of privilege” that Desai speaks of is too pervasive to be broken through in a hurry. The process has just begun, and we are crawling, crawling, crawling, with a mountain to climb.

(Link courtesy Gaurav Sabnis. It was the first tip I received via sms!)
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