What are the few things that you have read academically and can correlate with observations in real life? - ForumIAS

What are the few things that you have read academically and can correlate with observations in real life?

So we all read a lot of stuff during Civils preparation. Is there something that you have read about and are also able to correlate  with observations around you. It could be something simple as your city doing well in Swachhhta Sarveskshan to something more complex like a social theory that you have seen unfold around you.


Saint_,Newton981and8 otherslike this


Knowledge is power - from as small a thing as asking for directions to a stranger to subjecting yourself to a doctor , a form of power is being exercised on you because of information/knowledge asymmetry. When a doctor tells you to get checked for certain thing , you don't know if he is asking you to do it in good faith or simply to get his commission from diagnostic centres. Even if you know you won't be able to do anything other than maybe to consult another doctor, but who is to say that guy won't do the same to you. He is the professional afterall , and you have to trust the guy simply because well he is the expert. It is this same exercise of knowledge as power that leads to things like USA gymnastics sex abuse scandal. The sports doctor would exploit teenagers in name of one or other health checkup , massage routines , and kids and parents had no choice but to submit to his authority because they thought may be it's normal SOP for sports. Well Parents are just parents who are they to question the health expert !!

Maybe it's for same purpose that theres one language for elites in which scriptures are written and knowledge transferred and other language the commonly spoken one for plebs. You control knowledge, you control power.

When you meet a guy who doesn't understand your language and you teach him cuss words without his knowledge, again you exercise power over him. This exercise of power is so ubiquitous and so obvious you wonder why it took so long for a philosopher to point it out

Neyawn,KatnissEverdeenand26 otherslike this

"Iron law of oligarchy",  This says no matter how democratic and inclusive the institutions are, power tends to concentrate in hand of few elites.

Darvey78,Saint_and22 otherslike this
Went to Rishikesh a few months back and money was being charged to drive ahead road, I said to the person giving slips that he was violating my fundamental right under A19 and I can directly go to the SC, he quietly asked me to move ahead without paying! other passersby started yelling at him for why he didn't charge me and demanding from them.
EiChan,GaryVeeand18 otherslike this

Most of the feminist theories . Their battle seems real when u reach a certain age,  (Cognitively to see it around actually). The daily Judgement, the suppression, stereotypical mindset about everything like work, home making, marriage, separation etc. is so real.

But the tendency to fight against all odds and sticking to one's belief and working on it, is also real.

chamomile,sbhatiand18 otherslike this

Benefits of digitalisation and bridging digital divide for rural developement :-  This time when I visited my hometown I could see that people living nearby and in my own extended family used internet and other govt schemes and programmes to actually change the way agriculture was practiced. I could see they were experimenting with other crops and trying to reduce their over reliance on cereals. Growing horticulture crops for better returns. Experimenting with organic agriculture. 

The problems that we read facing our agriculture is also very very real - My village suffers from depleting water table. I have seen people literally digging borewells every 1-2 yrs with a cost of rs 25000+ as ground water is depleting. Access to markets and mandi is a real issue, for selling a product in mandi they have to tarvel for 30+ Kms which sometimes leads them to incur a lot of costs and hence they sell in the nearby market to the traders which take it at a very low price. 

I have seen about farmers literally selling their produce at throw away prices. While we consume potato at Rs 20-30 /Kg in states, they sell it at Rs 2-5 Kgs in the village mandi. 

Privatisation of schooling and education is real ( from what I have seen in my village) :- People with meagre incomes are not sending kids to the govt school because of either teachers being absent or the school looking more like a residence of stray animals or no facilities at all provided. Those who can afford send kids to private schools and those who cannot their  children to go to school just for mid day meal and after being served that they come back to home. Mid day meal has been a failure in retaining children in schools. 

And bahut kuch hai, my village visits are always an eye opener and also that problems that we read are ekdum real and they need efforts, a lot of efforts from govt and administration. 

chamomile,ThePhenomand17 otherslike this
That Dukkha (Suffering) is primarily a result of Trishna (Desire). 
Neyawn,Just_restlessand15 otherslike this

A short story (The Lottery by Shirley Jackson) that stayed with me even after reading it many years ago. The link below 👇 


Summary: A village conducts “The Lottery” in order to have good produce every year. But later, in the story, it turns out that they were choosing a person to sacrifice. The belief was that the produce gets better because of the sacrifice. No one opposes the tradition except for the one whose name is drawn out through the lottery.

 Whenever I would see a wrong tradition/law being followed in the society, this story keeps coming back to me. Then I found the solution in political science/ ethics, the concept of “Veil of Ignorance” by John Rawls. (I still find this to be ineffective, because in the story also, people had devised this rule of lottery system under the veil of ignorance… the ignorance of “just tradition”, not “just society”)

Now let me tell you an event from my own experience. Few years ago, I went to the weekly sabji market. I saw one of my childhood friends, a shit genius and a good cricketer, was selling the vegetables. Seeing me, he started acting as if he was there to buy those. Obviously, he was being ashamed of what he was doing. I preferred to ignore him, keep his self respect intact and came back with a heavy heart. It started nagging me, what if I was at his place? Isn’t it unfair? What is the solution to such injustice and inequality. I think I still can’t find the best solution. But one Positive effect it has on me is, I never oppose Reservation and Affirmative action. 

D503,Just_restlessand15 otherslike this
e-technology in the aid of farmers. So this morning  I saw papaji logged into an application and keenly counting how many parchee are yet to come(one parchee means you can sell 40 quintal sugercance to the sugermill and based upon your total land under sugercance cultivation, quota(total parchee) is decided). I asked about the app and got to know that app is "e-ganna" (sugercance) where all the activities from farm to sugermill are uploaded. Was happy to witness ICT penetration into rural areas with dismal literacy. 
chamomile,sbhatiand11 otherslike this

The Second Law of Thermodynamics.

Entropy(Randomness) tends to increase always.

Consider yourself. No matter the amount of effort you put, with every passing day, the randomness increases. Howsoever elaborate study plan you make, as soon as the exam approaches, your bulk of pending or to do task list grows.

The best you can do is minimize the growth of entropy. You can't bring it to a still.

Wu Wei.

dalpha,Darvey78and10 otherslike this
Realism vs idealism in IR, and normative vs empirical approach. So turns out, I have been an idealist throughout my life, and have always focussed on what should be without giving due importance to what is. I have faced a lot of setbacks in my personal life, ranging from family to friends, and relationships. Now, I still have my principles and morals intact, but also, l look at things as how they are. This has made my life so different than before, and it feels sort of liberating.
Neyawn,Just_restlessand7 otherslike this
As I was interning in a government school during COVID-19 the mid May meal got replaced with dry ration and monetary assistance(DBT). Since I saw it happening in my school, I can only speak of that particular school. Students were given packets of pulses, wheat, rice, oil and cooking cost as DBT. However, there was this issue of students not having Adhaar card in their name so bank accounts were missing for some. 
EiChan,chamomileand7 otherslike this

Be it the expressways that have reduced travel time by a factor of 2 or be it the health workers who visited houses urging people to vaccinate, the India infrastructure story continues to grow by leaps and bounds. What is even more interesting is that I'm yet to mention digital infrastructure, I live in a city that only took cash 5 years back and now everyone prefers UPI. 

I had grown up seeing an absent state around me so even if there's little progress, it means a lot.  

chamomile,Celebornand6 otherslike this
One more: Application of Prisoner’s dilemma in current Indian political discourse. For instance: it is very well known that a number of left leaning or moderate parties cut through each other’s vote and yet they fail to form alliance to effectively combat the right leaning party, despite knowing that it will be counter productive to not form alliance. 

Per Aspera 

Ad Astra

Celeborn,sstarrrand6 otherslike this
Thomas Piketty argues that the inequality of capital in 21st century is so high that society cannot function if there was an equitable access to information. I think this one idea defines our age and is pretty much at crux of the phenomenon of so called surveillance capitalism. 

Per Aspera 

Ad Astra

EiChan,Spockand5 otherslike this
Patriarchy is deep rooted in Indian society. The way #metoo fizzled out in our country is one of the many examples.
chamomile,nerdfighterand5 otherslike this
New observation made: Debate on reservation in India produces more heat than light - Ramchandra Guha

Per Aspera 

Ad Astra

walterwhit3,Villanelleand5 otherslike this

The concept of Crescive institutions and Enacted Institutions

 Sumner put forward this theory of folkways and mores

 He says in any given culture.. customs, morals, beliefs and practices of a culture over a period of time develop into folkways and mores ( means something like morals which are acceptable to society or social group and they aren't necessarily written 

 And then there are crescive and enacted institutions :Crescive institutions are unintentional social institutions which grew out of the mores and folkways of the people examples being marriage, accepted social behaviour, religion etc... where asEnacted Institutions are social institutions that are deliberately set up to achieve certain goals. Examples - Age of marriage, Dowry prohibition laws etc

 Here comes the beauty of his theory

 "He says that when enacted institutions are in line with crescive institutions more will be the success of enacted laws"


Observations in real life :

 I never understood the case of high incidences of rape cases in India despite most stringent laws in our country. It's like almost they never act as deterrent because we have crescive institutions ( such as customs, traditions ) which promote male supremacy in society.

 Since childhood and through socialisation -> special preference for male child, performing last rites by religion, second hand treatment to daughters, male worshiping (In Kadavacho festival women fast for husband where as there are no rituals of men to fast for women ) all these subconsciously and unconsciously made men believe that they have supreme authority over women. And whenever these notions are disturbed in the minds of men either by society or women empowerment they go out of control and perform unexplainable acts of violence and rapes. This means acceptance and success of any laws depends on how sync both crescive and enacted institutions are. 


This holds true not just for rapes but for most things that happen in the society. 

This totally blew my mind :)

vamgadu,hakunamapotatoand4 otherslike this

Visited Indore a couple of days back. Observed two things - 

1. The city was really clean. The beautification of walls by paintings giving out messages on agriculture, heritage etc was nicely done. 

2. Good implementation of FASTag on the way. It made the process so much easier and faster. 

Saint_,sbhatiand4 otherslike this
Better information on agriculture suited to agro-climatic conditions can reduce farm distress. Coming from western TN have seen that there is higher genetic diversity in cropping. Also there is no APMC here, So agriculture is fairly liberalised. However, this is also a region that extraxts too much groundwater. Might have a bearing on the watertable in the long run
sbhati,KingSlayer23and4 otherslike this


@Naadan_Parinda How can someone selling vegetables act like buying one? How can ignoring someone promote self respect? No wonder you never oppose reservation.

You're probably imagining a guy with a shop and many baskets. Now imagine the opposite. 2 young people and a single basket, on the road sides. 

We have friendship for a long time. I never bothered to know his background. He never wanted to tell me. So, ignoring the incident (not him) was the best possible way.

Now I want you to see the bigger picture and think about the deeper problems plaguing the country. Ignore it if you don't believe it.

sstarrr,sjerngaland3 otherslike this
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