This editorial in today’s edition of The Telegraph gladdened my heart as few things do these days. I have immediately shot off the following congratulatory email to them:
I have been reading The Telegraph since the day it was born, and no editorial ever made me so happy as today's first - Icon Fever (TT, Wednesday, March 31). It so happens that I have been harping on the selfsame theme for more than a quarter century in my humble capacity as a teacher, to no avail. Judging by their icons, Indians have grown immensely smaller indeed. They don't seem to be even aware of it, leave alone feel ashamed, more's the pity. And it all stems not only from a total confusion between ideas of greatness, excellence and mere popularity, as you quite rightly say, but the fact that we can no longer imagine that without material success of a large sort, anybody can deserve respect or emulation. The lot of the Satyen Bose, Ramkinkar Baij and Bibhuti Banerjee types was bad enough in their own time, but it would have been far worse today, because to the hardship of penury would have been added the humiliation of near-universal contempt and ridicule. And that speaks volumes about how much this country has 'progressed' in the last half century, culturally and morally speaking. Good to see that your editorial writer takes the role of conscience keeper seriously sometimes. More power to your elbow.