“Cafe Economics—Games hedge funds play”, Mint, 31 October, supports the view that finds hedge funds sinister and central banks benevolent. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) example is used to endorse the Reserve Bank of India’s “ears to the ground” posturing, while erecting capital controls and fuelling inflation by defending an exchange rate peg. Far from being an exemplar of laissez-faire macroeconomics, HKMA precipitated speculative attacks in the 1990s as a result of its deviation from orthodoxy. A good civil engineer does not prefer seismic sensors to strong foundations. A good parent teaches his child that sand castles are inherently risky, not that waves are evil. Economists should likewise prefer sound institutions to circuit breakers.
Your report, “TN anti-Brahmin movement hits tradition, boosts real estate”, Mint, 16 November, highlights the plight of a community under attack.
It needs recalling that the currently powerful Dravidian politics had its origins in anti-Brahminism. Slogans such as “If you see a Brahmin and a snake, kill the Brahmin first” (Pambayum papanaiyum parthal, muthalil papanai kollu) adorned the walls in Tamil Nadu of the 1940s.
People such as the Kannans with valuable ancestral properties in Chennai, eyed by developers and those who go to the Silicon Valley, are few compared with the bulk of the Tamil Brahmins in towns and villages struggling to compete in an environment made worse by ever-increasing quotas and prejudices.
Sometime back, Economic and Political Weekly carried an article on the plight of Brahmins in India, pointing out that they have been effectively driven out from the teaching field and hinted at their looking to Parasuram rather than to Ram for their betterment.
Leave aside the militancy of Parasuram, Brahmins had better become more active socially and politically and not confine themselves to bhajan samajs and sangeet (music) sabhas.
The current experiment in Uttar Pradesh of an alliance between the downtrodden and the Brahmins is one such experiment that should be tried elsewhere too.
This refers to “Bengal on boil”, Mint, 13 November. It’s a sad state of affairs that the West Bengal government has given a free hand to the CPM cadre to do what they want. The violence in Nandigram has already claimed several lives. Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s image took a beating when he shelved a special economic zone in Nandigram after farmers turned violent against the proposed project.
Nandigram was a project through which he wanted to generate employment for the youth. However, in the wake of deadly protests, the plan was aborted. What is unfortunate is the fact that the issue has moved beyond farmers’ protest and is now more of a political battle being fought by the Left, the Trinamool Congress and the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind. Real issues of industrialization and poor farmers have been forgotten. There is a debate whether the chief minister should resign or such projects should be abandoned.
Neither will serve the purpose, as in the long run, what is the guarantee that the next chief minister will not have a different approach? How many more projects will be dropped to understand the importance of progress and growth?
At the moment, priority should be given to compensating the victims, and in the long run, efforts should be made to make the farmers understand that their interest will not be forgotten and growth is for the overall betterment of the state and the country.