Article 2769

Date: 5/26/2006


The Next Partition of India////// >- Subhash Kak/////// >Rediff, May 24, 2006 >/////// >The die is cast. Manmohan Singh's government has announced that the >legislation to reserve additional 27 per cent seats in higher educational >institutions will be introduced in the monsoon session of Parliament. This is the >beginning of India's second partition, which follows the one that took place 59 >years ago. That one was geographical; this one will go right through every town >and city.//////////// >Some are surprised at this decision that appears to create problems for the >government needlessly. But there is a logic to this that goes back to the 93rd > Constitutional Amendment, which was passed last December. At that time the >Opposition, with cynical calculation, chose not to oppose a law that >effectively limits autonomy and free association in colleges and universities, even >those that do not receive public funding.////////// >'We can't build the nation with a 19th century mindset' >Although citizens' taxes underwrite public colleges and universities, in the >current dispensation the Indian government sits on top of the management >like a colonial overlord. Teachers, students or the community are not consulted >about the administration or future plans. The minister says, do this, have so >many more students -- no matter what their preparation --- and the serfs, >that is the professors, must deliver. It doesn't matter that the IITs are >already short by 20 to 30 per cent in their teaching staff. /////////////// >Indian liberals claim that such curtailment of freedom is necessary for >social good. But liberal values contain elements that can endanger liberty and >progress. Morality gets sacrificed at the altar of electoral politics.//////////// >Ironically, liberalism was originally a moral project that required the >ability to distinguish between right and wrong. Imperialist and high-priest of >liberalism, John Stuart Mill, recognised that a free society required moral >restraint. Indian liberalism, however, is literally and figuratively the rule by >license, which recognises no obligation to others. >Fifteen years ago near financial bankruptcy compelled the Indian State to >loosen License Raj in the economic field. Strangely, as the world transitions >into a knowledge economy in which learning and training will have the highest >value, the Indian State has come back with vengeance to expand License Raj in >the field of education.////////////// >The middle class deserves what it is getting >Nothing is forever. The great centres of learning in India before >independence -- like the universities in Allahabad, Calcutta, Madras, Delhi and Bombay >that produced some of the world's leading scholars of the first half of the >20th century -- are pale shadows of their old selves. One would expect that >the IITs, IIMs, and AIIMS would also soon slide into mediocrity. >Perhaps the Indian elite are not particularly worried about all this. They >don't need excellent institutions in India as much as they did twenty years >ago. The world has become a village, and the rich will adjust by sending their >children to colleges overseas in Europe, America, Australia, or Singapore. >The idea of partition is like the word 'divorce' in a marriage. Once it is >out of the mouth, it can set forces in motion that make it unstoppable. One >would expect that since the UPA government has now made an official statement >about the quota legislation, it will come to pass sooner or later. Let Us >remember that a year before the first partition, Gandhi announced that the >'partition will have to be over his dead body.' The government assumes that the >opponents of the new partition will, like Gandhi, eventually learn to live with >it.///////////////// >It is obvious that since the principle has been conceded, there will be an >attempt to expand reservations in private companies and then to expand them >further based on religion. >Meanwhile, students who are agitating against the reservations and call >themselves Youth for Equality have announced that their strike will continue. But >the powers of the government are so vast that it is hard to see how the >students who seek equality and autonomy will win.//////////// >At Ground Zero of quota protests >It seems such an unequal struggle: the cold apparatus of the government on >the one hand, and the passion of the students on the other. The students appear > to echo the words of the Hindi poet, Ramdhari Singh Dinkar: >Man ki bandhi umange asahaaya jal rahi hain >Armaan aarazoo ki laashen nikal rahi hain >inake liye kahin se nirbheek tej laa de >pighale hue anala kaa inako amrit pilaa de >(Our mental aspirations are burning >desires and wishes have become dead >let the light of fearlessness be brought >let us drink the nectar of molten fire) >The students are already in; they are obviously fighting for principles and >for morality./////////////// >The thought of something higher than personal gain brings to mind the writings of the British essayist-doctor Theodore Dalrymple, who has chronicled the >contemporary sense of hopelessness in British youth in spite of material >comforts at home. He claims that drugs, gratuitous sex, and breakdown of family >are a consequence of the liberal State's focus on just the material and the >internalisation of this value by the citizens. Dalrymple insists that one needs >the transcendent also for meaning, and morality is part of the sphere of the transcendent.///////////// >'Middle class only bothers about itself' >Like their doctor-colleague in England, perhaps the agitating doctors in >India are crying out for something much more than just the reservation of seats >in colleges. They are fighting against the impending partitioning of India's >soul./////////// >The Reservation issue: Complete coverage > >Subhash Kak//////////// > > >000000000