‘Neither soft nor hard, just flexible like grass’

Jaithirth Rao in The Indian Express:

“I think it is a mistake to categorise India as a soft state. It is certainly not a hard one. It is a flexible one with a deep survival instinct. Our science teacher in school would tell us that grass blows with the breeze but never gets uprooted however strong the winds. A big tree which does not bend or blow can and sometimes does fall down in a severe storm.

“The Republic of India and our political leaders (who, despite all their faults, need to be admired) are like grass. They have figured out that a good-cop bad-cop approach works. Sometimes we do have to use the army against some alienated groups. But even as one set of leaders are behind that effort, another set is offering an olive branch to that same group.

“Our greatest contemporary intellectual refers to Indians as an argumentative people. I think we can refer to our country as a “talking republic”. And that central fact is of great importance. Binary either-or solutions, while attractive on the surface, could easily destroy our country.

“We need both efficient toughies and talking softies. We never need to make fundamental concessions that we find unpalatable. Holding our own while talking and talking about talking is what this big fat democratic Indian republican party is about. The combination has kept us together, and hopefully it will continue to do so.”

Read the full article: Solid state theories

Also read: What if India hadn’t been partitioned in 1947?

‘We drink in our caste in our mother’s milk’

The three greatest contributions of Mysore

‘Carnatic music can innovate, expand, grow’