I came across this blog post by Dilip D' Souza on the web: Things we celebrate
Before I provide my viewpoint on the issue raised by Dilip, I have to admit that I belong to the camp that lies in the opposite direction of the political spectrum. Dilip often espouses leftist viewpoints in order to draw attention towards problems facing India. In the guise of suggesting solutions, he more or less consistently takes the side of people who prefer heavy governmental involvement in the lives of the normal people of India. We all know how unsuccessful Government of India has been to solve the requirements of the common people. However, people like Dilip and his ilk, steadfastly refuse to understand the inherent inefficiencies associated with the government getting involved in delivering basic services to common man of India. I firmly believe that many, if not all, solutions to India's persistent problems of poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, environmental degradation etc. lie in empowering people and encouraging private enterprise.
Now coming back to the issue raised by Dilip, here are my answers to why Indian media needs to celebrate successes of individuals in every sphere of life:
India has been a nation that has suffered miserably for the last three hundred years. We were reduced to penury by the trade practices of the British empire. Our agriculture and industry were systematically decimated by the British so that the raw materials from India (cash crops and the mineral ores) can support the industrial complex of the Great Britain. Indians, themselves, were too foolish to understand the long-term implications of not having control over their destiny. Even now, I keep on meeting individuals who feel that the British rule of India was benevolent.
For the first time in the history of the modern world, a country of a billion people has seen some light. This is a special feeling. Generations have sacrificed to see this thin ray of hope. We finally feel that India can support her unwashed, toiling, and poor masses. Isn't it time to say thanks to the people who came before us - our founding fathers and my parent's generation?
Articles celebrating successes of other people give hope - hope of a better world, better life, better times. If you take away hope, you pretty much take away everything from the people aspiring to see better days. These stories also provide inspiration - "if they can do it, we can do it too." It helps human beings retain their sanity in a world that sometimes does seem brutal and without hope.
I am surprised that Dilip missed these simple answers. Poverty, darkness, corruption is a reality that all of us face every day to different degrees depending on our status in the society. It is important that they be highlighted but why does Dilip have such anger towards the media trying to highlight the positive developments in our society.
I end this post with an excerpt that I read in some article or editorial few days back. I have forgotten the article as well as the name of its author. But I loved the excerpt for its simplicity. The passage nails down the demerits of the arguments of the socialists of India who perpetually whine about how our society is becoming more unequal and blame liberalization and globalization for this.
"What could prompt this defence of India and China between 1950s and 1980s? It seems to me it is out of Mishra's genuine concern for equality. Rapid economic growth does make some people, and some parts of a country more prosperous than others. But the question to be asked is: are those being left behind denied access to opportunities that can make them prosperous as well? That should be the progressive agenda, not opposing the economic process that is finally lifting millions of Indians out of poverty. The pursuit of equality is a noble goal if what is being distributed is wealth; not if what's being redistributed is poverty. An extremely poor society may be "equal", but that's not necessarily a good thing, if the entire population earns two dollars a day. Rather than focusing on equality of outcomes - a concern common among many who call themselves progressive - they should think of equality of opportunity. And then watch the economies grow."
I could not have said it better.