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I suppose one must blame the Constitution. When it starts with – WE THE PEOPLE – is it any surprise then that people begin to believe that it is all about them?
We could start at the beginning, but let us go even before that to a time when barristers trained in Britain began to return home and found that they were getting no respect. They gathered around a table and demanded a piece of the cake because after all it was baked from ingredients grown in their backyard. This did not cut any cake until they entered the kitchen and talked to the staff and convinced them to join their demand for a slice of the cake since the staff had actually baked it. The squatters, who had occupied the house through trickery and deceit, were forced to vacate once the kitchen staff took away the salt. In the meanwhile, the kitchen staff had been emboldened and wanted a piece of the cake too. This brings us to the beginning.
This one was truly a googly, if ever a cricketing metaphor was appropriate to economics. While the impact on India’s economy is yet to be fully realised, there is no doubt that the political dividend has been handsome. What AAP’s resounding victory in Delhi brought home to politicians of all hues, was that India was really Against Corruption. Even the champion of Development was swept away by it.
As the hapless Victoria driver from Manto’s short story discovered on the day after, 15 August 1947 did not change anything for him. It would not have changed anything for many of us either, but for education. Education has been the single most powerful and the most reliable engine of social and economic mobility that has transformed the lives of millions of our country’s men and women since Independence. Access to good and affordable education ensures that natural talent, no matter from which strata of our society, can aspire to achieve its potential and contribute to the nation.