Reflections on the Nobel Literature Prize Day!

This one line that stuck up in mind and echoed the whole day when the Nobel Prize for Literature was announced from Stockholm, Sweden. These were the words born in “deep pain” from a survivor of the Serb Massacre in Yugoslavia. Why the pain? The other winner for 2019 Peter Handke, an Austrian writer who shamelessly supported the massacre, the genocide, hence the universal outrage.

Peter Handke

There was already controversy over the way the Swedish Academy was managed, this year’s selection of the Austrian author was also much criticized for his support of the Serb massacre in the Yugoslavian civil war in which mass murders were committed. So much brutality happened and so much indifference and disinterest of people, intellectuals, writers and artists was seen. These are the people who should have risen up and protested and yet we see the very reverse! Where is the world going?

Yes, the decision of the Nobel Committee was very inexplicable and very disturbing. That must explain the current crisis the world over – so much cynicism, indifference, fall of values and leadership. Yet there seems to be hope. We see new voices and protests are brewing all over, in Hong Kong and elsewhere, in other countries. There are renewed wars in the Middle East and uncertainties all over.

The 16-year old Greta Thunberg, the Swedish climate campaigner who spoke with vehemence and anger at the UN that the world leaders who assembled at the UN were slapped, as if on their faces! She pointedly asked, more than once: “How dare you?”.Her anger and demeanour was such that world leaders, among them Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin responded gallantly! Hats off to their gentlemanliness!

The point here is that the world over it is sheer selfishness and greed and a patch of sheer ignorance and inability for men and leaders to rise up to their inner potential and outward behaviour.

Against Profit and Greed!

In education and culture, there is a definite decline and fall of values. Martha Nussbaum, the great philosopher, who is also known in India, who was for long with the Chicago University, has written a book called “Not for Profit”. The very title provokes one to recall the counterpart: Profit Greed! In India this distinction must be crystal clear! India is now embarked on a journey of seeking profit and greed in every segment of endeavour! Education has become totally commercial and profit-driven. The so-called educators and now much elevated in society and politics!

Who are these educators, you know? They are as varied as gentlemen and crooks can be! In some states, why, it must now will be in all states that every undesirable person has entered the field of education, from milkmen to policemen to underhand dealers, politicians of all kinds! The commerce of education has taken deep roots and the society and public life gets corrupted beyond repair, it seems. University education is now mass education and all sorts of corruption can be seen in the sector.

There is so much corruption in the private and government colleges and university degrees are secured without attending classes. Everyday new revelations of corruption are coming in the open. Now, the latest to make headlines is impersonation in the competitive exams so that the one who can cleverly write and pass the test gets rewarded and the one who gains is the one who didn’t sit for the test at all.

The son-father duo is now inside jail! The education promoters are of various kinds, with the most successful among them are now into all gainful pursuits, many have also entered politics. One has become so successful that one is a PCC chief and also Deputy Chief Minister! How much greed a man can have!

In the USA too this choice of sciences and engineering is growing while the humanities are looked down. But of course times change and things could change for the better. Recently, in India we saw a few young IAS officials resigned their jobs very soon after they joined the much coveted offfices like district collectors. Why?

The young officials with so much youthful idealism see very soon how politics has deteriorated. The uneducated and unscrupulous politicians pressurize young men and women and they decide to leave these prestigious careers! So, the political party functionary commands the officials, be he or she, district collector or other high officials at the command of illiterate political functionaries decide to go!

So, education is now at the cross roads. Education, ethics, idealism and much else is at a discount. No wonder, the Nobel Committee found itself helpless but go for the candidates who don’t win approval but only revulsion. Let us all give deep thought how to find a new Rousseau!

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