Mangalyan and Sarah Palin

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Look at the above cartoon from New York Times. Pay attention to the strong line that divides the two groups – one a couple of coat wearing, frown faced, bald headed, tea drinking elite closeted inside a glass windowed room and the other a dhoti wearing farmer with a cow, knocking at the door, trying to gain entry into the ‘elite’ room.

Does the cartoon say only this much ? I don’t think so. It says much more.

The ‘elite’ group is visibly annoyed – their frown gives it away. The farmer with the turban holds a lazy cow and apparently seeks admission for the cow as well. Well, to me, that conveys a subtle message. While the ‘elite’ group eats cow, the ‘non-elite’ farmer reveres the animal and seeks to get the due recognition for her. He apparently worships the animal – may be a pagan practice – nonetheless a show of gratitude for the animal that has served him well.

The frown on the ‘elite’ faces tells  me something more. It shows a surprise and irritation – How did this lowly farmer come up the curve ? Did we not starve him of technology ? Did we not try to contain him by denying him the much needed propulsion technology in the mid-80s ? But what the ‘elite’ didn’t know was the very same technology denial resulted in more domestic research and indigenous technology development.

When India conducted the second nuclear test in 1999, the west imposed sanctions. The then PM Vajpayee said that the west needed India more than India needed the west. Well, there were the Coco Colas, Pepsis, IBMs and the other sundry western companies in India. Who would want to ignore a 1 bn strong market ? Sanctions were withdrawn in no time and it was business as usual. Where Clinton failed, Bush remedied. He forged closer ties with India and offered a nuclear deal with no strings attached.

There is an another irony in this. The west supplied Pakistan with arms and the Taliban – to fight the Soviets-  and the same Taliban have turned against the former. But the west denied technology to India and the latter developed the necessary propulsion systems and are aiding the west in Chandrayaan and Mangalyaan missions ( the Moon and Mars missions).  There is a civilizational difference between the two responses.

Speaking of civilization – well, that is a separate topic by itself – and nothing to do with the west though. They are as far away from civilization as is Sarah Palin from common sense.

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