Suppose few thousand years down the line, somebody digs up to find the traces of the present Indian Civilization. Since, we have good enough techniques to determine these things even today, they should certainly be able to determine how inequities prevailed in the society (the houses, the planning of villages and cities, the diversity of quality of belongings etc. etc.). The concept of the welfare state is fairly old and well rooted by now. But the welfare of people, in practice, remains elusive for a large part of the world’s population even today.
If we look the history, I had mentioned someplace else the very apt observation of Pt. Nehru that the (materialistic) grandness of any civilization has almost always rested on exploitation of certain sections of the society. This combined with the fact that in many societies inequity is taken as almost given has always given me a feel that somehow the egalitarianism has not been a very prominent characteristic of the popular (political/social/economic) thinking in Human History. The intellectual and moral (sometimes not even those) thoughts being kept apart.
To that extent I took pride in this age, where these concepts are largely a part of popular thought.
But what I have written in the first paragraph is something that struck me recently. We only see what was there. That need not mean that popular thought was also the same. May be government’s role even then was to ensure equity, but just like today they never succeeded.
If anything, it makes me little more pessimistic. At times I thought we have only recently accepted it in principle and hence some time will be required before it can be put into implementation. But if we thought this way all through and are still where we are today, I am not sure how optimistic to feel about future.
And yet… the human spirit does not give up.
I still hope…