Ayn Rand and the relevance of Objectivism in India

Ayn Rand is a writer who never fails to leave the reader pondering over her philosophy, and for those who are not initiated into her ideology, I will do a quick briefing. Ayn Rand believes in the strength of an individual over the group; this does not mean she is against group work, but not at the sacrifice of individual freedom to work, speak and most importantly- THINK.

All among us who want to dedicate some part of their life to the betterment of the society get a shock or dilemma on reading her books, and she appears right all the time. I can not help rethinking my own ideas; I personally feel that there are many who are not as fortunate as I am, and it is my inherent duty to do something for them, as I was given all the resources to grow, but being humans, just by an accident of being born in the underprivileged section, many were denied what I consider my birthright (this word itself defines the rights that a person gets since his birth, which differ from one to another). Though her words sound harsh, but is there any other way to speak the truth? Had there been no people like her, the balance would have certainly tilted in the favour of communism, socialism, fascism, nazism but not capitalism.

The characters of her book strive to fight in a world where reason is frowned upon and the true individualists strive each day to survive and sustain not just themselves, but all others who are in-turn working against them. It is like the Jews making new railway lines or weapons for the nazis, which in-turn brought more plight to their own bretheren.

Her novels evolve to a greater clarity of thought- from ‘We the living’– to ‘The Fountainhead’, and epitomizing the ideology in ‘Atlas Shrugged’, reaching a zenith. The sum up is to create a society where an individual is not brought down by those who are around him, and works for what he feels.

The lines that influenced the most are, “What is the most depraved type of human being” for which her answer is- “The man without a purpose.”

The lines force to think “How important is it in one’s life to have a defined purpose?”

But with whatever I have experienced, it is important to have a purpose. As without a purpose, we drift aimlessly. Purpose drives our actions and motivates us to achieve, but again comes a question, “What is success?” To be true, such questions are the creation of a mind that wanders aimlessly and needs a justification for that, and even I did this. Someone said, ” A life of purpose is the purpose of life.” 

Now arriving at the topic- 

India is the youngest nation in the world, in terms of the largest youth population. But this huge potential is going down the drain. Specially in the northern states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, the youth is very  bright, but there are no opportunities. For a few seats in the army, police, bank clerk, paramilitary forces or the railways, there are thousands of applicants, and the selection invariably occurs by influence, as there are so many eligible candidates. Consistent failure in these selection processes breaks down even the toughest of boys, who, if given a chance, would have done wonders. We are in a society where we are repeatedly reminded to fall in line and obey what the superiors say, without thinking. Here, individualism is sacrificed. The trends are changing through the IT revolution, and the youth of remote villages of India are now reaching heights of Manhattan, and doing well there. There are many examples. But the sheer number of our human resource is so large that if given a chance, half of the top posts across the world would be occupied by Indians. The west, specially the US respects talent. It is in those conditions that Ayn Rand’s philosophy is implemented. Now the question arises that who will work for the poor, the answer is simple. Let individuals work for themselves, let them pay reasonable taxes, and use the money to educate everyone, provide meals to the school children, provide proper health facility, have better colleges and universities and in those circumstances, let individuals compete. Today’s focus is on doling out goodies and cash to the poor, to ensure their votes, and to ensure that they remain poor.  MNREGS has been a success in some aspects- It has reduced migration, addressed poverty, helped the poor, but is it a permanent solution? Why not focus on the next generation also, letting them avail a better education. The problem in India is dependence of a large population on agriculture.  Better education will create more opportunities and bring returns in the long run, and also provide our educationists an opportunity to free us from Macauley’s system to a more worthwhile teaching, encouraging inquisitiveness, reasoning and self-esteem. The time has come for this, but in a nation where we are still bowing our heads to 80-year-old leaders, Ayn Rand truly needs a wider audience.

2 responses to this post.

  1. One dilemma is the tussle between Che Guevara and Ayn Rand- and it does make sense to follow either of them after knowing them. Or having a thinking of our own, as what suits The US or Cuba does not necessarily apply to India, and a lot of water has passed below the bridge since both of them passed away.


  2. Posted by Varun Tibra on July 12, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    Hi Karan,

    I had always wanted to read your blog, in particular this post. Finally i have fought with my laziness. I have read her books and i completely agree with your points. there is just few point i would i like to discuss.
    Living in a developed nation like UK from the past one year now, i and some of my Indian friends always wonder why cant India be like this. I have tried figure out the reason behind this.
    In India we all have support according to our family economic condition, which makes it very difficult to reduce the gap between the higher and lower class. As the higher class always get more resources and thus the gap between the rich and poor always increases. It is nothing like this in UK. There is full government support for any child born in this country. Nobody is less privileged than others, schooling is free and everybody have equal opportunities. The government in fact pay around 100 pound a week per child for his growth and the unemployment allowance is very high. The concept is very simple the government take very high tax and help the needy ones to create a better and balanced society. Here a laborer and a plumber earns more than an engineer. In India because of the number of people available to do any job the minimum salary has also gone so low which is not anywhere near to live a dignified life. Ironically in most of the cases the contractors don’t even pay that minimum salary defined by the govt.
    The simple fact that people die of starvation in India makes me sad. I cannot agree more to your point that in India the tax system should be uncorrupted and every child till the age of 16 must have a basic level of standard of living and compulsory education.Given the level of corruption in India this goals seems impossible but we all can not but try.
    Saying big words is easy but implementing them is challenging and you have full respect of mine for doing that. I wish i could have leave my responsibilities toward family and joined you, hopefully in future the time will be right.
    Cant wait to read your other posts, will finish them as time permits.

    Take Care
    Be in touch


    P S : Where the hell did you learn to write so brilliantly!!!!


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