CENTRE for POLICY ANALYSIS

CENTRE for POLICY ANALYSIS

“Social progress can be measured by the social position of the female sex” - Karl Marx

OPINION


Temple in the Age of Colliders


SOME countries dream of building the next generation colliders to unlock the secrets of the universe, behemoths that will dwarf the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) that was unveiled in 2008 by the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, Cern. Others build giant statues of old heroes or focus on building more temples, a throwback to the communist regimes that have become history or to more ancient times when building (or destroying places) of worship symbolised power. And in these differing perspectives we have a clear delineation between forward-looking and backward-looking nations. If it is the age of frontier technology under Xi Jinping in China, in Narendra Modi's India it is revivalism of what is largely an imagined past, a past that is as far removed from current concerns as it possibly can get.

The LHC, built 150 metres underground on the French-Swiss border and boasting a 27-kilometre-wide circumference, has been the core of particle physics research. For ordinary people, its significance is hard to grasp. Scientists explain that the LHC smashes subatomic particles at nearly the speed of light, and has given the world breakthrough discoveries such as the Higgs boson. They believe the Higgs is a fundamental building block of the universe.  

But fundamental questions about our universe are still a mystery and cannot be answered by the limitations of the LHC, the reason why more nations are embarked on a Holy Grail of building the next-generation experiments or the super colliders. Japan is planning an International Linear Collider, while Cern is going ahead with a Future Circular Collider. The most ambitious is China's project, which is scheduled to break ground in 2021. Experts think this collider could well define the frontiers of particle physics for the next two generations.

As China shows its technological prowess, the Modi regime is pushing India into a backward agenda.  

The most grandiose of the Modi regime's projects, that is, ignoring the scale of the calamity inflicted by the demonetisation exercise, has been the 182-metre-high statue of Sardar Vallabhai Patel, a freedom fighter and a leading light of the Congress party who served as deputy prime minister in Jawaharlal Nehru's government. While the Statue of Unity, as it is called, was patently an attempt to appropriate one of the stalwarts of the freedom struggle to cover the BJP's lack of any of its own, such memorials - there is another massive statue of Shivaji, the 17th century Maratha warrior, in the Arabian Sea, off the Mumbai coast - are integral to Modi's idea of a 'New India'. As he declared in a promotional video, "See our height, measure this nation's height. This is what we want."  

Is that what Indians really want? Not really, as last week's defeat of the BJP in three key states in the Hindu heartland show. The statues, the renaming of cities with Muslim and Mughal names and Modi's special talent for looking back in anger have failed to provide the outcome the BJP and its ideological custodian, the Hindu supremacist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), were expecting.  

Nor did the customary aggressive attack on the Congress and the calumny against Nehru do it much good. And yet, the focus of the RSS-BJP campaign in the next general election, according to most reports emanating from these power centres is expected to be reviving its Ram temple campaign. Since the development agenda on which Modi swept to power in 2014 has been exposed for the sham it is, the BJP would use the demand for building the temple, according to some political analysts, as the overarching narrative to win the general elections. If that is indeed the case, it would reflect poorly on Indians who surely should be thinking more of the future than of the past. It's a bizarre agenda for a country that lays claim to be the rising star of Asia if not of the world.

Nations do hark back to the past to build bridges to the present but seldom has a country been naïve enough to believe that altering or reconstructing the past is a panacea for a bleak future. Hopefully, the dissension within the party should give Modi and the BJP party bosses some pause. At least one forthright BJP member of parliament has publicly criticised the leadership for pursuing a backward looking agenda - he named the temple issue as one of the pointless issues - and alienating the people on its home turf. But panic over losing the 2019 elections may well propel the BJP to ignore sane advice.  

It is not as if China does not flaunt its desire for a return to the glory days of its past. The location of its proposed super collider appears to have been chosen with some thought. It will be built near Qinhuangdao at the end of Great Wall, bringing together an enormous project that had its beginnings in the 7th century BC and a stupendous undertaking of the future.  

China, among all nations, may be uniquely placed to pour enormous sums of money into research projects, but it is pursuing such projects with the clear goal of becoming the global leader in science, both theoretical and applied. The approach, notes French historian Francois Godement, director of the Asia and China programme at the European Council on Foreign Relations, is not just about making China a major cyber power, but "also about China's capacity to shape the international governance of cyberspace according to its own interests".  

What India's chest-thumping politicians given to braggadocio should also note is Godement's observation that although China's developments in the digital and artificial intelligence arenas "have attracted so much hype abroad it is sobering to read more modest assessments from Chinese sources themselves".  

Yes, India's space missions are much to be proud of such as the Mangalayan or the Mars Orbiter Mission. But did they push back the frontiers? China has just launched the first mission to the dark side of the moon. It has entered lunar orbit and scientists around the world are watching the effort with admiration.

Can India continue to be trapped in an imagined past?

   

OPINION

  • River in a 'Court of Law' - Legal issues pertaining to its personality
  • Syria: A Testament To International Moral Bankruptcy
  • When the State Sought to Muzzle Privacy, U-Turn Now Only to Accommodate SC Verdict
  • The Bull in A China Shop Wrecks Indian Economy
  • When Buddha Looks The Other Way: The Plight Of The Rohingya
  • A Fatal Blow to The Judiciary
  • The Dramatic Rise in Wealth Inequality
  • Wild And Baseless Speculations of Crisis in the CPI(M)
  • Budget 2018: Fantabulous Schemes With Not A Paisa Earmarked
  • Kasganj: Sankalp Foundation and the Politics of Hate
  • PM Modi Sounds the Election Bugle: Congress and Hindutva the Agenda for 2019 Polls
  • The US Game Plan in Syria
  • Both Nehru and Patel Were the Need of the Hour in 1947-48
  • The Battle of the Two Begums of Bangladesh
  • Why Bangladesh Matters
  • Kejriwal's Apology is Not What the Media Claims
  • Arrest of a '5-minute Dalits' Proves Why SC/ST Act Dilution Will Grossly Impact Real Dalits
  • The Dalits and the Law
  • Winners May Be Losers In Karnataka's Catch 22 Endgame
  • Jinnah and the BJP
  • Jawaharlal Nehru (Nov 14 1889- May 27, 1964): We Still Live In A House That Nehru Built
  • Implications of Trump-Kim Summit: Nuclear Pays!
  • Thomas Reuters Foundation Survey: Measuring Safety, Generating Outrage
  • ROADMAP TO A CEASEFIRE: AFGN - PAK
  • What Are People Voting for?
  • Foreign Policy: A Double Whammy Awaits India
  • Changing Discourse
  • Assam: The Mythology of "Immigrants"
  • Imran Time is Here
  • 71 Years on, Forsty Relations Countinue
  • To Stop Climate Change, We Need to Open Bordera
  • Make Use of Bid to Postpone Provincial Elections
  • Cringing and Fuddled at 71
  • Ensuring Strident Voice Will Not Become Majority Voice
  • Nehru, Vajpayee and Modi
  • Religious Bias Okayed
  • The Oslo Accords: A Bloody Legacy of Betrayal
  • Crushing the Campus
  • Three Stories And Task of The Office Of Missing Person
  • Drama Over Indo-Pak Meeting
  • An ill Wind
  • Symbolic Actions Alone Are Insufficient For Long Term Change To Occur
  • If Democracy Subverts Itself
  • Returning Land to Civilians is a Promise That Needs Follow Up
  • Democracy In Crisis: What we Know and What we Don't
  • Reparations Office Can Bind The Nations Together
  • Implementation Challenges Facing The Ayushman Bharat Program
  • Subverting the Central Bank
  • Under the Yoke of New-Imperialism: A Fake War of Patriotism and Treason
  • India Joins the Club
  • The Third Phase
  • President is Best Situated to Resolve Political Crisis
  • No Country for Adventure: Challenges Extreme Sports Athletes Face in India
  • Setting A Perilous Political Precedent
  • What Rahul and Modi can do in the Next Four Months
  • Finding a Win-Win Solution to Break the Deadlock
  • Temple in the Age of Colliders
  • Four Parameters of a Political Solution at This Time
  • Resolve National Question With President's Support
  • Decapitating the Leadership
  • Four Takeaways From the 2018 Election
  • Science of Words
  • The Ace up Modi's Sleeve
  • The Government Must Not Deny The TNA
  • The Prolonged Wait For Justice And For Political Leadership
  • Endgame in Afghanistan
  • Pluralist Ethos is More Relevant to National Identity
  • A Concerned Citizen's Points For Inclusion in The Manifesto of Political Parties
  • In My Own Voice: Circle of Unreason
  • RBI To The Rescue of Modi Government - It's Election Time!
  • Say No to War
  • A terrifying Fallout
  • The Type of Leadership The Country Needs
  • Death Wish as Nationalism
  • Politics on Kashmir Need Not be About Optics Alone
  • Why an Urban Job Guarantee Scheme is Not a Bad Idea
  • National Security: The New in 'New Normal'
  • Re-Promulgating an Ordinance is a Fraud on the Constitution
  • Elections 2019: India at a Crossroads
  • Peace and Inclusive Development
  • NYAY Providing Basic Income Fulfills the Vision of Mahatma Gandhi and Changed Election Narrative Based on Basic Issues
  • Advani Should Blame Himself For Promoting Modi
  • Kashmir: Tracing the Degeneration of Mainstream Politics
  • Elections and the Issue of Civil Liberties
  • Jumlanomics:Chronicles of a Post-Truth Bharat
  • BJP: Hiding Failures, Targeting Nehru
  • A Mayawati Moment
  • Godse is a Synonym of Hindu Nationalism, Agenda of the RSS Combine!
  • Development Beyond Numbers
  • A Rational Approach to Countering Extremist Violence is Needed
  • In My Own Voice: Is This the Sprit of Democracy?
  • Prevention is The Best Migration Cure
  • The Rise of Hate
  • The Right Mantras for India's Change
  • Coming Home - Where Family Overpowers All
  • Easter Sunday Bombing Used to Create a Major Rift in Sri Lankan Society
  • Hacking Humanity
  • Environmental Rule of Law in India
  • Peace is a Word That West Has Taken From Afghans
  • Trump's War Games
  • Modi & States
  • Who is an 'Outsider' in West Bengal?
  • China on Maps
  • 19th Amendment Will Correct Itself at End of President's Current Term
  • Authoritarianism and the Crisis of Public Ethics in India
  • Presidential Candidate The People Want
  • Has India's Kashmir Cape Given Pakistan Reason for War?
  • Icons and Ideology of Religious Nationalism
  • Why NRC in Assam May Create Another Kashmir
  • Campaign to Abolish the Executive Presidency in Sri Lanka is a Red Herring
  • As US Tries to Isolate Iran, China Steps In
  • Of Hindi and Hierarchy
  • Why Sri Lankan Elections May Bring Far Reaching Change
  • What US Policy Tells Us About India's Growing 'Friendship' With It
  • Gandhian Philosophy is a Critique of Modernity and Power
  • Inner Party Democracy is Just as Important as Funding
  • India's Foreign Policy Has Dug Itself a Deep Hole
  • 'Broken Promises' and Politics of Hate': Is Political Autonomy The Way Forward For J&K?
  • The Ninth Betrayal: America Has Let Down Khurd, Yet Again
  • Who Benefits From The WhatsApp Hacking Case?: Pertinent Question Left Unanswered
  • State Elections Results Expose "Limits" of BJP's Nationalist Agenda
  • "Religious Belief" vs. "Rule of Law": Did SC's Ayodhya Verdict Legalise Building of a Theocratic State?
  • What Does Trump's "New Refugee Ban" Mean for America's Immigrants?
  • India Must Change Course as Rajapaksas Return on Sinhala Buddhist Wave
  • The Supreme Court's First Judgment Without an Author
  • Geopolitics in South Asia Renders Millions Stateless
  • "Shakespeare's Vision of the Improbale" Unfolds: Is Modi Today's Macbeth?
  • Sri Lanka Under Rajapaksa: Finding Areas of Mutual Agreement
  • "The Game of Religion is Played by Men": Women Speak From the Margins of Ayodhya Dispute
  • Telangana Ecounter- Failure of Local Police Poses Grave Danger to Democracy
  • The Changing Nature of War and Diplomacy
  • Sri Lanka: Government's Cooperation A "Temporary Phenomenon"?
  • The Role of Corruption in This Season of Revolts
  • New Citizenship Law to a "Brazenly Divisive Agenda"
  • Youth Agitation Against CAA Brings a Historic Generational Shift
  • "Digital Authoritarianism": With Internet Shutdowns Normalised, the Digital Space is Democracy's New Battleground
  • Sri Lanka: The Challenge of Development Amidst Devolution of Power
  • The Political Divides that Split India
  • 'Never Again': Echoes of Nazi Crimes Remain Alive 75 Years After Auschwitz
  • "Legacy of Mutual Suspicion" Plagues Opponents of the Modi Regime
  • "Toxic" India Sliding into an Environmental Abyss
  • Manufacturing Hate: From Anurag Thakur's 'Shoot the Traitors' to Pistol-Bearing Youth's 'Yeh lo Azaadi!'
  • Kejriwal Isn't Communal, But His Desire Not to be Seen Anti-Hindu May Prove Self-Defeating
  • Religion States Won't Oppose US-Taliban Deal
  • Lessons From Pathogens: Coronavirus, A wake Up Call?
  • The Geopolitics of the Covid 19 Pandemic
  • Cold War Begins As Nations Fued Over Coronavirus
  • India Fights Coronavirus...With Scriptures, Morals and Police
  • The Burden of COVID 19
  • Do Israeli Settelemnts in Occupies West Bank Constitute a War Crime ?
  • The Global Debate on COVID-19 Lockdown: Listen to Divergent Scientific Voices or Risk Manipulation by Big Businesses?
  • Sri Lanka's Easter Bombings And The Demand For Justice
  • How India Can Solve the "Catch-22 Situation" of Allowing Migrant Workers to Return Home
  • The Time for Universal Basic Income Has Arrived
  • COVID-19 Crisis Exposes Fatal Weaknesses of 'Strong' Leaders
  • The Pandemic Has Taught Us the Importance of Maintaining an Ecological Balance, Will we Remember IT?
  • The Muslim Elite Has Let Down the Muslim Poor
  • "There is Nothing Nationalist or Non-Nationalist in Reporting"
  • Why WHO Took 3 Months to Declare a Global Pandemic
  • A Political Lockdown That Silences Voices
  • The 'Relief Package' of Online Education May End up "Institutionalising Drop Outs"
  • Can Democracy Survive the Coronavirus?
  • As China Ups the Ante, This is What India Must do...
  • Tackling Racism With Compassionate Reporting-CNN Leads The Way
  • Sri Lanka: Pluralism In Governance Required In The Absence of Parliament
  • Idia's Tactical Non-Solutions To China's Incursions in Ladakh
  • "At The Brink of A New Cold War": Sino-US Ties at a Crossroads
  • In Light of Rising Conservatism, Can The Personal be Political Again?
  • India-China: The Complete Breakdown of Trust, How and Why
  • Rethinking Development After Covid-19
  • The Pandemic Must Transform Our Agriculture
  • Treacherous Road to Make Manu History
  • The 'American Way of War' Is Built On A Foundation of Racism
  • Covid -19 And The Crisis of Education-An Insight
  • Governments That Preach Non-Violence Must Lead By Example
  • New Status of Hagia Sophia Signals The Death Of Secularism
  • Covid 19 and Furthering of Sectarian Agenda in Education
  • Biden's "Conventional" Approach vs Trump's "Whimsical" Handling of Foreign Policy
  • Why Arguments Against Reservation are Flawed
  • Curfew Welcomes One Year of Abrogations in Kashmir
  • Ayodha: What is BJP's Motive For Holding Ram Temple Ceremony Amid Pandemic?
  • New Education Policies of India And Pakistan Will Further Divide, Within and Without
  • Does India's Handling of China Make Sense?
  • Return of the Rajapaksas in Sri Lanka
  • An Independent Supreme Court Is a Must for Democracy
  • Does Rule of Law Trump Tide of Public Opinion?
  • UAE-Israel Deal Accelerating Fragmentation of West Asian Politics
  • Congress And Its "Unprecedented Political Challenge""
  • Does The 20th Amendment Threaten Pluralism in Sri Lanka?
  • Digital Hate, Now A Profitable Commodity
  •