I belong to a generation weaned from the liberal arts, and for whom the three Rs meant Reading, Writing and Rithmetic, not Ramrajya, Rashtrawad or Rohingyas.
Very early in my life I decided science was not for me and reaffirmed it by consistently failing math from class VI to class XI. (This was, of course, before our education czars made the breathtaking decision that math is not necessary for engineering!)
But I do not belittle mathematics and consider it an important marker for assessing the progress of human civilization. And so, the numbers fascinate me, because they are susceptible to various interpretations, depending on where you are sitting, sleepy or hallucinating. Here are a few that have particularly interested me lately.
2070: This is the year India will achieve net zero carbon emissions, PM Modi announced in Glasgow. That’s about 20 years later than what the rest of the world is committed to, and the global media, when they don’t report on Mr. Biden’s gas episodes, are trying to figure out the significance of this year / this number: what is the reason / impetus behind 2070? Many explanations have been offered.
Economists said it was a validation of John Maynard Keynes’ famous obiter dicta: âIn the long run, we’re all dead. Because, given the continued rise in temperatures, we will have crossed the red line of 2.5 degrees Celsius long before 2070, and the whole of South Asia will then have become a continental tandoor. Congress appears to support this, claiming that Modi chose this date because he cannot achieve his goals but assured that there would be no one alive to criticize him in 50 years, except perhaps Digvijaya Singh and Siddharth Varadarajan.
A contrarian group, led by MJP Nadda, has the exact opposite point of view: they think this confirms the popularity of Mr. Modi, shows his confidence that he will be there in 2070 also to present the slogan “One India , One Zero â. As evidence, they point to Mr. Prashant Nostradamus Kishor’s latest prediction that Mr. Modi and the BJP will be there for a very, very long time, no vaccine is going to help.