London: India, which has announced it will send a space probe to Mars, is now a country with more technological prowess than Britain and the “best and most beautiful spoken English in the world” is now heard in India, the Telegraph said today.
In an article titled “India is heading for Mars: it doesn’t need British aid money to pay the bills”, columnist Theodore Dalrymple said foreign aid does not help any poor countries, “it just corrupts their governments”.
The writer said he was “well placed to appreciate the absurdity of continued British aid to India”.
“It is not only absurd: it is corrupt,” he wrote.
Quoting former Indian finance minister Pranab Mukherjee – now the president – that India did not need British aid which was “peanuts” anyway, Dalrymple said though Mukherjee was right, his statement “was met by almost grovelling British requests to continue aid to India”.
The writer said that in this “urgent desire to send aid to our former possession”, there was the “hangover of a colonial superiority complex”.
The British believe that if they give India aid, “it must be because they need it and therefore that we are superior to them in some way”.
Britain, however, failed to notice that an Indian company took over Land Rover and Jaguar, as the task was beyond Britain’s organisational powers.
It was not British aid that caused India to develop, but the efforts of its own people.
“Aid is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition of the economic development of a poor country; there is no country that has been lifted out of poverty by aid, which is a form of international social security for corrupt governments,” Dalrymple said.
“India has a long, varied, glorious (and terrible) history of civilisation, with the sophistication necessary to absorb influences from abroad, including Western scientific ones.”
“The best and most beautiful spoken English in the world is now to be heard in India. It is outrageous that we condescend to it with our paltry aid, just to pay the mortgages of aid workers.”
He, however, said India still has many problems, including corruption.
“It remains profoundly corrupt and its government is incapable of passing necessary reforms. Rural poverty is deep and persistent. Nevertheless, it is not so very long ago that all right-thinking people saw the future of India as hopeless, one of perpetual epidemic and recurring famine,” Dalrymple said.
He said India’s “young population thirsts for real education in a way than much of ours (Britain’s) does not”.
He questioned India’s tally of medals at the 2012 London Olympics.
“One manifestation of the underlying wisdom of India is its low tally of medals at the Olympic Games, only six – none gold – when it has a sixth of the world’s population. Its young people have more important things to do than put the shot or throw the javelin,” the writer said.
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