American Indian academic on Indian education
Prof.Devesh Kapur expresses disappointment on education.
He warns about how we can’t take the middle class euphoria seriously. The middle class could be progressive at some time but other times it could easily turn into a reactionary force.
So, one has to educate the middle class opinions in the light of the political and economic changes.
Any economic crisis, it is the middle class that turns hostile and even ditch the larger national interests. Dr.Kapur cites the cases of Germany and Italy under the fascists.
So, this time we have to seek the disinterested and objective advice from the intellectual class.
India, says the famed US academic, It is not often in India we see academics speaking out .When it comes to public affairs, the Indian academics are very discouraging.
Why academics? Even otherwise, noisy TV anchors?
They are no more reliable. We saw them on the Nira Radia tapes scandals.
They are, it seems, purchasable. They compromised with their freedoms to canvass candidates for even ministerial appointment.
The less said the better!
Now, with Narendra Modi in the saddle what we see in education? No action whatever. No policy worth the name. It looks the HRD and the UGC seem to be order-issuing bodies only.
India has a lot of academics and intellectuals based in the USA and UK. What about these gentlemen and ladies, high-tenured jobs they hold in such prestigious universities from Harvard to Yale and Columbia and not to speak of UK’s Oxford and Cambridge.
Jut the other day we read with sadness the passing away of Prof.Tapan Roycury, the famed historian who did India proud.
The Bengali gene is good in academics and theories and theorising and they also make good writers. There are so many now winning accolades, from Nobel Prize to other prestigious literary prizes as well. There are now quite a few Booker Prize winners as well.
Yet, after Modi took over we see a chill in the academic world. Not just inside India but also outside in these Western universities.
Men like Amartya Sen and Jagadish Bhagwathi, great economists whose view command respect have suddenly, it seems, have fell silent.
So too others like Lord Meghnad Desai, a famed fellow Gujrati who we expected would be consulted by the Indian Prime Minister. No, it looks the PM shies away from intellectuals and media men and women.
Now, it is all the more important that at6 least one fellow-Indian academic has come out with a scathing criticism of the education affairs in India.
Higher education is destroyed in India by academics and politicians say Prof. Devesh Kumar, Director of the Centre for the Advanced Study of India at the University of Pennsylvania.
According to Dr.Kapur, Mr.Modi’s attempt to engage the Indian Diaspora in the country’s development may be possible in the private sector, but would be highly difficult in public universities, unless the structure of the higher education changes radically.
“Suppose the Vice-Chancellors of a university aid, “I am creating special place Indian academicians abroad”.”Do you think it is possible? It is not possible, as others in the university would be up in arms. Higher education has been destroyed by Indian academicians as much as by Indian politici9ans.So in higher education Diaspora’s role is difficult”
Dr.Kapur said unless Indian grows at a reasonable pace, the new middle class of India could become a source of reactionary politics”.”There are times when they are agents of progressive social change and times when they are reactionary. In Germany and Italy it was the middle class that supported the fascists. When there are times of insecurity, they are precarious.
The lower middle class is always insecure about slipping back into poverty”
Prof.kapur says that as on date he doesn’t see any fundamental change in view as far as changes in higher education in India is concerned”.
The education scenario in India now seems very disappointing and even apprehensive”.