Monday, June 1, 2009

A Fine Balance

A college mate of mine got into IPS this year. A nice man, well read, good at heart. Makes me wonder how things are going to go, with him in uniform :-)

But what impressed me even more is watching the Kerala topper in this years UPSC exam: Mithra T - on TV (Nammal Thammil in Asianet and an interview in Doordarshan, especially the later one). She seemed even more innocent, and about she becoming a district collector: are people so innocent, to be administered by such a nice little lady! :) Though she had a heavy academic background in English literature, being a PhD scholar at Kerala University, she seemed very ordinary and down-to-earth, with very little jaada. The interviewer in DD was a serious fellow, and asked about "How Shakespeare and English literature has influenced you", "Did Hamlet's 'To be or not to be' affect you?", "How your background in English literature will help you in becoming a good IAS officer?" - etc - and she managed to answer these quite well (succeeding in hiding a smile, being asked such highly philosophical questions). She is not yet a great orator, and fumbled while talking about what she plans to do for Women (was at a loss for words). When asked about her favorite literary work, she mentioned "A Fine Balance" by Rohinton Mistry, mainly for its "social context", hurting the expectations of our bearded anchor, who wanted her to tell Shakespeare or Shelley. She made up by saying she loved Wordsworth, and he has inspired her in writing poetry on "Nature" :)

What impressed me was the down to earth nature of this year's civil service toppers. They all appear to be sincere, and though sincerity alone is no measurement for being an able administrator, that they could reach these levels through their hardwork alone, made me happy.

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I am reading A Fine Balance now(thanks to listening to the interview). What provoked me to write this post is, in the chapter on Ishwar's history, the caste system of then (and now, though it has come down quite, by no means fully) comes alive. To disturb and remind you. How easily people forget things, and make-believe that such things never existed! Its all well to tell, lets have a stable government, let national security be our most important priority, lets scrap reservations and forget this caste system for once and all. Either you dont know, or you dont remember, or you are just lying(may be to yourself). Perhaps if you "feel" the urgency of the situation, the scenario of Mayawati becoming the Prime Minister of the country may not appear laughable to you anymore.

1 comment:

Charakan said...

True. It is always better to learn from history