ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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From 50 Years Ago: On Conventional Wisdom

Editorial from Special Number, Vol XIII, Nos 27, 28 & 29, July 1961.

On Conventional Wisdom …An exaggerated fear of shortage of foreign exchange and also of internal resources has been responsible for neglect of preparatory work on projects [in the Third Plan] about the inclusion of which there was the slightest uncertainty. …The debate on financial resources which has quite unnecessarily dragged on for over a year …has created a general atmosphere of scepticism which is hardly conducive to any big endeavour. Moreover, each agency has its own set of ‘conventional wise men’, too, who instinctively combine against anyone who shows imagination and initiative… This ‘conventional wisdom’ is also behind the ominous signs that one sees on the political horizon. The Prime Minister lashes out, day in and day out, at communalism, casteism and linguism. But whenever any action is proposed to give effect to any of his general ideas, the ‘wise men’ take charge, and, in the name of realism, vote for only patchwork res-olutions; and forces of communalism, casteism and linguism flourish as gaily as ever. It is only a blind man who does not see how simi-lar is the communal situation today to what it was prior to the emergence of the Muslim de-mand, first, for reserved jobs and, later, for a separate State earlier in this century; or that caste politics in Bihar or Mysore makes a mockery of the adjective ‘national’ qualifying the ‘Congress’; or that Assam’s flouting of the recommendations of the States Reorganisation Commission on minority rights and lapse into savage chauvinism are a precursor of the disintegration of the Indian Union…

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