Around five decades back, political scientist Fred Warren Riggs propounded the theory of prismatic societies. Sometimes, I am amused by the farsightedness of these thinkers whose hypotheses have stood the test of time. According to this theory, all societies pass through three stages of evolution namely fused, prismatic and diffused. This process is analogous to the splitting of the white light by a prism.
For the general readers, it would be sufficient to understand that there is lot of generalization in a fused society and lot of specialization in a diffused society. In the prismatic society, some areas are generalized and some are specialized. Another peculiarity of the prismatic society is the existence of modern and traditional systems together. For example, you have English medicine and Ayurvedic medicine, you have great scientists and people who still believe in supernatural powers, etc.
Some of the articles in today’s paper bring about this characteristic of extreme perceptions in prismatic Indian society. On one hand, you have an article which says “Woman officer gets gallantry award” and on the other hand, you have an article which says “Passenger objects to woman piloting plane“. Aren’t these extreme shades of gender perception?
Many such examples exist if we look for them carefully around us. This wide range of perceptions poses a great challenge for the administration. With limited amount of resources and political obligations (desire to come back to power which is not a ‘bad’ desire), it has become a convention to satisfy the majority pressure group. This is one of the important reason for the existing state of the deprived section of people in our society. The problem does not exist in the theory of trickle down effect, the problem is that very little trickles down. The social, economic and political systems influence the amount that trickles.