India is a political, economic paradox: Vice President

India is a political, economic paradox: Vice PresidentShimla, Apr 16 : Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari on Thursday described India as a political and economic paradox, a rich-poor nation with a weak strong state.

"Persistent centrism, and continuous realignment, is one of its striking features. This has accommodated a wide spectrum of interests, classes, status groups, regions and communities in the political process and development structures. This accommodation has not always been equitable," Ansari said.

Delivering the 13th Survepalli Radhakrishnan Memorial Lecture here on the `The Intellectual and Society: Role and Responsibility' at Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS), Ansari said that on the basis of the role played by intellectuals in different societies, it is possible to develop a typology.

"They can be academics, writers, artists or activists. Creativity and courage are the two essential conditions for their public role," he added.

He further said that there is also a symbiotic relationship between the ideas generated within a society and its institutions of social sciences.

The Vice President said that India is a political and economic paradox: a rich-poor nation with a weak-strong state.

The Vice President emphasized that movements to protect and safeguard the environment have an older vintage and fall into two broad categories: micro movements based on result oriented efforts on specific issues and with wide public participation, and macro movements to influence policy.

"The most famous in the first category is the Chipko movement of the early 1970s. Others movements have related to opposition to the construction of major dams and hydel projects and to instances of environmental disasters; examples of these are the Silent Valley, Tehri Dam and Narmada River Valley projects and the Bhopal gas tragedy," he added.

Ansari opined that it is now time to revert to the role and responsibility question in regard to intellectuals.

"Most would accept the need to speak truth to power and do so by advocating the correct alternative. In doing so, awareness and analysis of the major and minor premises of proposed approaches becomes unavoidable," he added.

Ansari also talked about former President Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, describing him as one of the great Indians of the twentieth century.

"As a philosopher Radhakrishnan interpreted Indian thought to the world in what has been called the `battle of consciousness.' The Republic bestowed on him the highest offices of the State and he in turn added lustre to them," he added. (ANI)