Today, the Indian state seems particularly inept at generating the kind of knowledge it requires as it tries to realize its global aspirations. We have severe deficits when it comes to producing our own information, on the basis of which our strategic and policy decisions can be taken, our greatest long-term hopes pursued. The two major security threats we face, external and internal, embody this current lack.
From his latest Mint column. The external "security threat" Khilnani refers to is the once coming from Pakistan. But his views on the internal threat are worth highlighting:
...[The threat] emanating from the impoverished areas of the country in which Maoists are operating. We all acknowledge that these parts of the country are in great social and economic distress. But our sense of the nature of that distress is appallingly general. Our government and our social scientists lack the detailed, rigorous field studies that would illuminate, in a nuanced, non-ideological fashion, the key drivers and the casual [sic] chains that lead towards violent agitation. It’s all the more galling, then, to learn that it’s the Maoists themselves who turn out to be, in addition to gun-toting militants, rather expert social scientists with a more impressive grasp of the structures of contemporary agrarian society than our own government. Some in their membership have done real field work to advance plausible explanations of why so many Indian citizens feel compelled to take to armed revolt.
Is it true that "our social scientists lack the detailed, rigorous field studies" that illuminate "the key drivers and the casual [sic] chains that lead towards violent agitation"? Or is it the case that India's social scientists (and journalists and human rights activists) know a great deal about -- and understand -- the key drivers and the causal chains, but the Indian state has no intention of listening to them?