12 May, 2021

The Doctor And The Saint

Excerpts from the Booker Prize winning author's introduction

The Doctor And The Saint

Today, India’s one hundred richest people own assets equivalent to one-fou­rth of its celebrated GDP.  [1] In a nation of 1.2 billion, more than 800 million people live on less than Rs20 a day. [2] Giant corporations virtually own and run the country. Politicians and political parties have begun to function as subsidiary holdings of big business.

How has this affected traditional caste networks? Some argue that caste has insulated Indian society and prevented it from fragmenting and atomising like Western society did after the Industrial Revolution. [3] Others argue the opposite; they say that the unprecedented levels of urbanisation and the creation of a new work environment have shaken up the old order and rendered caste hierarchies irrelevant if not obsolete. Both claims deserve serious attention. Pardon the somewhat unliterary interlude that follows, but generalisations cannot replace facts.

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