Monday, August 22, 2005

Of equality and equal opportunity.

Somewhere earlier on my blog, I had posted a link to Nehru's speech - "A tryst with destiny". As far as I have seen, this single speech sets out the Indian Dream for all of us better than any other. And amongst other things, Nehru mentions "...It (freedom) means the ending of poverty and ignorance and poverty and disease and inequality of opportunity." Note that he says "inequality of opportunity" and not "inequality".

Nehru knew, unlike the communists of today, that an equal society is unsustainable as it has high entropy and deficiency of opportunity, not to mention the fact that it is against the laws of Nature.

What laws? Simple - note that a rat and an elephant are not created equal. The rat is small, has numerous predators and has a short life span. The elephant is huge, has next to no predators and has a long life span. However, nature gives both an equal opportunity to survive. Rats have numbers. Elephants do not. The sheer numbers of rat population give the species a way to survive, and both species thrive (without taking into account wanton destruction of elephants by humans).

How does this apply to the real world? Easy as pie - Tendulkar and I cannot be equal. But both Tendulkar and I should get equal opportunity to become Tendulkar. The results may vary, but the opportunity should be the same. That is what a democracy should guarantee. In terms of governance, what should be guaranteed is that everyone gets an equal quality and quantity of education - be it a rich dalit, a poor brahmin or a 'backward' politician. And this should be a race to the top, not to the bottom.


NGM said...

Hello Gopal, great post!

Gops said...

hey thanks, ngm!
Appreciate the appreciation! :)

H said...

Gops , great article

Gops said...

Thanks H!

kattricker said...

Hey Gops, thanks for yet another great mind tickling post kano. I am lagging on many of your posts right now - will read them as time permits and comment. Keep goin'!

Anonymous said...

Thanks karthi! Do read my "Globalization and Poverty" post as well...I hope to add to it soon and any comments will help!