Are we stepping towards change?

Societal Reflection

Are we stepping towards change?

A national daily that you go through every morning with a cup of tea in your hand is always dominated by political events, crime stories, upcoming talent doing well in their respective fields or the latest gizmos turning out to be the highest sold merchandise among citizens. But what is so interesting about it? The answer is all these stories reflect the changing trends in our very own city, Delhi.  

Some may be depressing and some progressive but collectively they represent ‘social transformation’ in the national capital. And, on the basis of these changes, the City has been ranked as the most ‘creative state’ in the country! According to the Creative Index Report 2013, the first in the series, launched by the world’s leading think-tank Martin Prosperity Institute (MPI), Institute for Competitiveness and The Prosperity Institute of India (TPII), Delhi has got the top position on the basis of Technology, Talent and Tolerance - the 3Ts. 

Though the ranking is based on views taken from the ‘creative class’ of people who are in management, finance, law, healthcare, education, arts, music and entertainment, it gives ample opportunity to citizens to seriously do a reality check on whether Delhi is deserving when it comes to tolerance, talent and technology? 

“Since it is a perception based index and restricted to only certain class of people, the views are bound to be positive,” says Vivek Kumar, associate professor, Sociology, JNU. “But if you take tolerance into account keeping in mind the current state of affairs, then we are ‘intolerant’ towards gender. It is visible from the rising graph of crime rate and atrocities against women. Even if we take caste, class and different communities into account even then index will flat,” asserts Vivek. 

Supporting his views is another sociologist and social anthropologist at JNU, Susan Visvanathan, “Tolerance is a myth in Delhi.” Using Mahabharata as a metaphor, she says, “Every women is a Draupadi and every man a Duryodhan. This exposes the real truth of our existing society.”

Susan goes on to talk about lack of tolerance among people of different castes and communities and mentions ‘Delhi’ a book authored by Zaka-ul Allah. “The book gives an account of the tradition of religious co-existence in the 20th century. Chandni Chowk is one place which has every religious institution and represents the tendency of co-existence between different castes. However, at the same time conflicts in the past and in recent times highlight the existing intolerance today.”

What concerns Susan most is the lack of interference by people. “In terms of moral relativism lack of interference in any issue is a frightening aspect. It is a sign of negative changes in society.” When it comes to talent and technology, both Vivek and Susan call Delhi an artificial city. “Talent and technology is a part of globalisation and is a heterogeneous process. It is coming from outside and not unfolding from within. No doubt there are opportunities but Delhi’s population comprises migrants and therefore the ‘indigenous talent’ is also ‘migratory’,” explains Vivek . 

But Peeyush Bajpai, co-founder, the world's first Hindi search portal is positive about the survey. “Most people relate creativity with ‘the arts’. However, creativity is only application of originality that provides meaning to our lives, grind out disruptive ideas not only for our business models but also to address mundane affairs of life. The MPI creative index thus provides an objective view to a subjective area and may fuel the necessary debate on how to foster creativity. A thing to cheer for all Delhities!” Viva la Delhi. 

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