Ancient India, Tripping On The Truth

Gloria Indica

Hi! Welcome to the 18th edition of Gloria Indica, our newsletter written specifically for Wednesdays and Thursdays. If you’re reading this for the first time, then welcome. It’s the end of another week (for us, Friday at 4:20 p.m is when our weekend starts) and we’ve 80 odd days for the beginning of 2021. This is the time to get even more serious and start planning for a hopeful future, a future where progress and peace is all that’s left to fight for. Fortunately we’ve all the help we need for the same. 

Let’s start blazing. 

Joseph Stiglitz is not Tripping on India

Usually, not many are outspoken about their governments, especially the Indian government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi. But not Joseph Stiglitz, because he is not an Indian. The Nobel winning economist was blazing in the recent interaction organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry’s (Ficci) West Bengal state council and moderated by its chairman Rudra Chatterjee, in tandem with Indian business leaders and economists. We couldn’t help tripping. 

Quoting from The Hindu Business Line: 

“You spend money in ways to control the pandemic that helps. The reality is India has not done well in handling the pandemic,” he pointed out while criticising the Lockdown as not well thought out. People migrated rendering the exercise futile and further spreading the virus. “India is a poster child of what not to do,” Stiglitz said. He added that “authoritarian regimes” like the Trump-administration in the US and Bolsonaro’s regime in Brazil too had struggled in dealing with Covid-19. On the other hand, democracies like New Zealand and South Korea successfully controlled the virus and its spread.”

In case he mentioned, these two countries have low populations in comparison, we don’t know.

“According to Stiglitz, these “authoritarian regimes” failed (at controlling the pandemic) as they have often tried to divide societies or shift the blame on someone else; rather than accepting faults. For instance, in the US, President Donald Trump blamed China for the spread of the virus; withdrew funding to WHO and so on. In India, PM Narendra Modi’s regime “has done the same” by pitching one religion against another.”

Like we’ve told readers again and again before, let us not be swayed by emotions and feelings, let us only be swayed by the facts and the truth. For if we are out of touch with reality and do not do our research sufficiently, the reality is going to come back to bite us sooner or later. Rather than taking sides, it is better to focus on understanding what is, rather than what we want to believe. 

Let’s keep blazing. 

Ancient India is not tripping on Modern India

Many modern Indians love to talk about Ancient India’s ‘superior values’, ‘a golden time’ and other adjectives of a suitable nature. Yet the fact sometimes seems as if modern Indians are not like Ancient Indians at all. Here’s the splendid Deepak Sethi, a retired brigadier of the Indian Army and now a Professor of International Business Strategy and Management talking about it.

“Ancient India had a rich tradition of scholarly debate or shastrarth in various disciplines right from the Buddhist and Vedic eras. The Nyāya Sūtras of Sage Gautama had codified types of debates, aims, rules, and methodologies of determining winners. Our news anchors and panellists are recklessly violating those norms.”

The more we read, the more we’re convinced that narratives based on quick conclusions are too subjective and cause us to remain closed-minded, turning us hostile to facts or logic that we do not like. We think ancient Indians, although propagating the caste system for their own good (just like every culture had a dark side, along with the good), were tripping in their own style. 

Here’s from another piece

“Since 1947, scholars have repeatedly criticised colonial ideas of history through their writings. The first principle of history is that everything changes over time. Students of history are also taught about the dangers of anachronism, where 19th-century ideas about “Hindu” and “Muslim” nations and rule were used to justify and sometimes challenge colonial oppression. There are no eternal and unchanging pasts; nor can chronology and periodisation be yoked to sealed religious categories.” 

As always, our point is the same: the past, like the present, and soon the future is going to be too complex and constantly in flux, and cannot be simply rounded up into narratives that go like ‘they did this’, ‘they did that, hence we must do this’ and all sorts of simple narratives we see going around today. The only way these narratives are being peddled and finding popularity is because they’re easy to understand, and people like easy things. 

As always, the dumb are more confident and louder. 

Who cares what happened in the past 2000 years? And even if some people care, how does that matter for the issues of the country at present? We must learn from history, rather than cherry-picking what we like and what we don’t like to peddle narratives, especially ones that do not matter from an economics and standard of life point of view. The dumb and confident need to be bought to the debate table and asked to explain their beliefs. If they refuse to do, the false narratives will lose their sheen and people will start focusing more on what matters: economics. 

Let’s keep blazing. 

What is Truth Exactly? 

In a sentence, Truth is anything that has been documented and cited multiple times (like how Google’s algorithm shows the the results that are the most cited or linked to them) Readers are probably wondering then: how exactly do we know we’re being lied to? We list down a few rules that can be used for each and every piece of information that you encounter: 

  • When you read something: check the source. The name of the site that’s putting it out
  • The source should ideally point to another source
  • The source should ideally point to another source
  • The source should ideally point to another source
  • Repeat this process till you find the mother source and keep Googling as much as you can
  • The mother source should ideally be a research paper, an article written by a researcher or scientist or a lengthy long-form piece of content
  • If the mother source does not point to any source, there’s a high chance that it has been imagined. We ourselves have imagined and written many posts, especially the ones about love and the ones based on dark thoughts.

That’s all. 

Let’s keep blazing. 

Have a great day 🙂

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