I watched this video about the Greek debt crisis, and one of the things that struck me as weird was soem of the parallels I saw with our own Indian systems. Specifically, the portion from 9:30 to 11:00 on how the democracy of Greece wasn’t split on economic classes or shaped by profession, but by a quid pro quo of different social classes made up of family and kinship groups.
As an Indian, this is obvious to those in politics. The caste politics of India is almost always present. Uttar Pradesh has the SP and BSP as the most blatant examples. Lalu’s (RJD from Bihar) coalitions were called the Yadav-Muslim coalition (I wish I was joking). I’m pretty sure there are more examples, and yet I believe for now these suffice.
The bit about low trust societies and how they distrust government institutions was also interesting, because over the past few years, I’ve seen both. I’ve seen my people who hated government institutions grow to love them, and people becoming incredibly more suspicious of the institutions that exist today.
A story that I can share regarding bureaucracy is this. I got my aadhar card details changed in 10 minutes. I’m serious. I went into that office at 10:50 for an appointment at 11:00, and came out at 11:00 (I stay in Telangana).
10 years ago, me and my mother had to wait in line for a whole day for some documents for passport, and my friend told me that changing his aadhar card details in Bihar took his mother about a week of constantly running around his office. While it is possible that this is a difference in the states, it is also possible that this is an improved upgrade in the the administrative capabilities of a State (State with a captial S, meaning the Indian State).
At the same time, the distrust of the central government (and with pretty good reason, what with Pegasus and so on) is pretty high among certain circles of people, who for the most part are convinced the government is going to go full fascist on them any day of the week (Not military dictatorship wise, but more goondagiri wise).
I once asked my maid who she would vote for. Her answer was both baffling, yet enlightening. She said that in her village, they voted for whoever the village elder said to vote for.
I asked her if there was a caste difference in the villages, and she said that everyone in the village was the same caste, so there wasn’t. I doubted the village was religiously heterogeneous (I could be wrong, but it’s unlikely), so I decided to drop the topic.
This is a sentiment I’ve heard echoed in occasional quarters (and this happened in my college elections too, if you can believe it. Not caste, but group voting did happen.) Fascinating stuff to read about.
Fascinating topic really.