Defence vs education

April 24, 2012

Over the time you have been researching some issues, you would have visited 100s of articles and more often you come across articles written by normal public and not experts. For example, you start off with articles on defence spending in India, and you dig deep into the subject and reach a page “India tops in illiteracy and Defence Spending” on a Pakistani blog. Its the comments of such blogs I enjoy most. The article is honest with no data manipulations and the tone is, as expected, not so friendly. The comments however try to discredit the author and he defends it well. But sooner or later he turns on the pro-country arguments. This is after repeated assaults on Pakistan’s state of affairs. My point is, the article and some of his comments made very important points. A new way to view the problems. India has a literacy of 74% but in absolute numbers the illiterates are about 300 million which is close to the population of USA which is 312 million.

According to UNESCO estimates, there are about close to 1 billion illiterates in this world. We can say that one in every three illiterates in this world is an Indian. its all in data representation. Lets compare our results with that of China (since that is what we do after Agni-V launch), Brazil and South Africa.

China – literacy rate (Adult) – 95.9% according to 2009 report
Brazil – literacy rate (Adult) – 90% according to 2008 report
South Africa – literacy rate (Adult) – 89% according to 2008 report
India – literacy rate (total) – 74.04% according to 2011 report

(Adult is above 15 years)

China – literacy rate (youth) – 99.4% according to 2009 report
Brazil – literacy rate (youth) – 97.84 according to 2008 report
South Africa – literacy rate (youth) – 97.6 according to 2008 report
India – literacy rate (youth) – 82% according to 2009 report

(youth is 15 to 24 years)

Lets see how much is spent by the countries

China on the other hand spent close to 190 billion US dollars on Education and about 92 billion US dollars on Defence. (irrespective of the rumour that it spends nearly double the declared amount on defence, its still less than that of education)

Brazil Spends about 90 billion US Dollars on Education and about 34 billion US dollars on Defence. (Less for Defence and more for education)

South Africa spends about 24 billion US dollars on Education and about 5 billion US dollars on Defence. (Less for Defence and more for education)

India, in its latest budget spent close to 11 billion US dollars on Education and about 36 billion dollars on Defence. (More for Defence and less for education)

You know that population of India is 120 Cr, China is about 140 Cr, Brazil is about 19.4 Cr and that of South Africa is 5 Cr. Even if you do a crude per-capita expenditure calculation we can see that China, Brazil and South Africa spends more on each person than India does. Also, it spends more on education than on defence. Leave corruption aside and still these numbers are so not encouraging.

note : I have used the US dollars as a common currency for comparison. If there are any discrepancies in the data provided please do point it out.


Value of Life

April 22, 2012

When you read some news or hear about some incidents this thought comes to mind, What is the value of a person’s life?

Two security guards were killed and the District Collector was kidnapped by Maoists. This is following the kidnap of a politician and a couple of Italian Tourists by the same group. Fact.

When you commit a murder, no matter whom you murder, you will get the same punishment. This stems from the “Rule of Law” propounded by A V Dicey in 1885 to apply to all societies. It has three main characteristics

  • The rights of individuals are determined by legal rule and not the arbitrary behaviour of authorities.
  • There can be no punishment unless a court decides there has been a breach of law.
  • Everyone, regardless of your position in society, is subject to the law.

This in principle states that everyone is equal and will be punished only by the court of law and only when the said person has breached the laws of that land. So, it inherently says all lives are equal. Fact.


These principles seem utopian and that is the reason why we see atrocities in the society but maybe they are not so idealistic or impractical as they are construed to be. Coming back to the first fact, the Maoists chose to kidnap politicians, foreigners and bureaucrats and not just anyone. This clearly shows that their lives are more valuable to the people of this country than say of a petty farmer. Agreed, these are the people who will effect change in larger way and others are guests in our country. Does that mean the farmer can be left to die? Maoists who claim to fight for such petty farmers dont value their lives that much too. Neither do they value the life of a bureaucrat who is trying to improve the lives of the same people for whom these Maoists claim to be fighting for. In midst of all this, what value do you give to the lives of those guards who were killed. Media conducted the interview of the family of the abducted collector  and even published a statement made by his wife. I still dont know if those guards had wives or kids. The guards’ families must sure have lost all hopes since parents have lost sons and their hopes of future. Just because they signed up for a job in which they will put their bodies between bullets and the person they are protecting, do they lose any and all kind of value for their lives? The collector’s school teacher’s statement is also in the news article but except the names of the guards, Kishun Kujur and Amjad Khan, I dont know whether they had wives, fathers, mothers, children, or did they go to school, were they bright students or not, did they have to deal with trauma of death in the family or whether they had Facebook accounts and if they updated it with any important viewpoints (All of which I know about the collector). I really dont know any of this and I have searched on the net but could not find much information on them. This is where we as people of this country fail


Considering different set of facts, we can now focus on the supporters of Maoists. Of course there will be difference of opinions in a large population and everyone would want their ideology to be propagated. But that does not mean that we must use means of violence and force it on others which is what these left wing extremists are doing. Over and above that they support the Islamist militancy and say that it must not be opposed since it is anti-US and anti-imperialist in nature. But then, isnt it also anti-human in nature? Regardless, kidnapping bureaucrats who have good reputations of helping the down trodden does not help us in believing that they are indeed fighting for the cause that they put out. They are in fact fighting for the ideologies rather than their goals (bringing peace to the people who are suffering at the hands of the present government). They have spread wide and far in the country yet they wont jump to action when an honest cop is killed protecting law by the hands of goons. They wont kill the leaders of land mafia who are cheating lakhs of poor people, but they will kill the police officers who are trying to maintain law and order citing one or two bad cops. Hindering the development of roads to remote location saying that they are being built to ease the travel of special forces to check the Maoists and then blaming the government for doing nothing for the poor is a definition of hypocrisy.


There is a lot to write about these two issues but much has been written, read and forgotten(bane of human mind). This is just a reminder to all that no one is absolutely right in a society. Compromises are a must to exist in a group, no matter how small that group is. When someone fails to compromise then the chaos starts. It can be absorbed by someone else’s compromise and even if they are adamant then the chaos grows bigger and slowly there is destruction, not just physical but also moral. When the chaos has stayed for a long period of time, thats when we must check for signs of corruption. Ideologies are means to achieve goals. But over the time, Maoists have forgotten that and are trying to impose their ideologies on everyone. In this long time we, the people of India, have forgotten too what democracy is for which we fought for so many years. I think that is the fault here. We fought for a long time for an ideology but we forgot the goals. It was not just those who formed the first government and wrote the constitution, but every citizen of that time had fought for Democracy. But they forgot, during that long struggle, both the meaning of Democracy and their ultimate goal of peace and prosperity. As a result, we are blaming the Maoists and they us. Both are wrong here and only when everyone realises this we will be able to attach the proper value to a life. Every life is precious.