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Roti, Kapda aur Skyscrapers

Posted by anandrr on July 3, 2008

Srirangapatna templeI sometimes wonder what it meant that India used to be an economic superpower in the 18th and 19th centuries, India and China used to be the top 2 countries by GDP for the longest time in history. Then you see a temple like the one above and realise that every little town and village used to have one such temple with a grand tower and construction style, and that any country that could spend the kind of resources and labour constructing these behemoths must have been very rich indeed. It’s like a thousand Empire State Buildings all over the country. It’s very likely that the average Indian was quite poor, I have no idea, but the kind of wealth represented by the ancient construction in India is astounding. Think also of how quickly and easily England brought us to our knees and how poor they left us, and we’re forced to confront how poorly our kings planned for various eventualities as also how brutally England plundered us. Perhaps if we had been a democracy back then…

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2 Responses to “Roti, Kapda aur Skyscrapers”

  1. V Seshadri said

    Ha,ha,ha, such conceit!

    The big assumption in your musing is that democracies always arrive at good decisions. This would be amusing if it weren’t tragic. I believe the reality is that some kings were good and some not so good, some dynasties were good for a while and deteriorated thereafter. Democracies sometimes arrive at good decisions through good reasoning and sometimes at good decisions through specious reasoning, and many times squander and stumble through while there is adequate balance in the treasury.

    Yes, if only the situation were better…

  2. anandrr said

    Actually, no. I’m not assuming that democracies always arrive at good decisions. Nobody who has been alive for the past 8 years could make that assumption with a straight face. But! in aggregate, democracies do make for a better outcome than all the other forms of government out there. In my opinion, it has to do with the presence of freedom. When people are free, better outcomes will prevail.

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