Tuesday, April 26, 2011

PC and Maggie: the pitfalls of certainty

I have been reading Karen Armstrong's memoir Spiral Staircase. What got me thinking is what she writes about the early eighties, which were the days of Margaret Thatcher in Britain. Armstrong notes that Maggie Thatcher was very set and certain about her world view being right. P Chidambaram, our Home Minister also strikes me as very certain in his views. I am uncomfortable with his vision of India with "85% living in cities". I am curious whether he has factored in the cost to the environment of majority people living in cities. What would happen to our forest cover if cities were to expand exponentially, I wonder. Especially for low-skilled labour who live in abject conditions in our cities, is it not better to create opportunities for them to stay in their villages and towns (NREGA seems to be a good move in this direction)?

It is perfectly ok to be unsure and to know that you may not have it right all the time. If everyone was certain about what they thought and sought to execute their certainties ( like the Al Qaida, for instance), the world would be a difficult place to live in.

And then, is anything certain in life other than death?

(this is an edited version of an earlier post on this topic)

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