Technocratic Innovation

Over at 3quarksdaily, our own Aditya Dev Sood has posted an essay exploring the innovation legacy of Muhammand bin Tughluq:

Tughluq provides the very paradigm of a technocratic innovator, someone who could never cast his eyes on any part of the countryside but to see potential means for building a larger and more powerful State, to be built by transforming it, extracting surpluses more effectively, moving people around, reorganizing their lives and livelihoods as he saw fit. For Tughluq, innovation was something you do to other people, and there appears a direct line connecting him with so many later figures with the same basic approach to innovation. Dalhousie brought India railways, no matter what the peasants thought of this magical and terrifying technology. Nehru brought dams, bridges, public utilities and other temples of modern India. Sanjay Gandhi made it possible for the state to sterilize you for the public good. Since the time of Tughluq, innovation by and for the state has mostly proceeded without the participation or consent of those who are innovated upon.

3quarksdaily – Tughluq, Innovator

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