Blog Tuesday, July 21, 2015 - 05:30
  Last year around this time, I was a regular visitor to a famous south Indian state university which is popularly known for more than just education. Almost every day, I would visit the various social sciences departments of the university, seeking help for a research project I was working on. We were looking for field research associates, students mostly, who were willing to work for a small stipend and willing to use this as an opportunity to learn. For this, I had to approach the head of all the social sciences departments at the university to help us get students. One of them was a middle-aged, well-spoken and kind man who I immediately took a liking to. The first time we met, we spoke for hours about politics, policy and economics. He was a Leftist, as is expected out of the head of any department in any government university in India. I was working with a team which supported free-market policies but the project we were working was not pro-businessmen or in support of the private sector. It was an unbiased research project and the research questions tested if the market was indeed free, or if there were other influences which were helping just a few players to thrive (we suspected there were). This was a win-win for both sides of the political divide. As socialists, they want the bad private guys out, and as free-marketers we want the market to work. So initially, I just pitched the project to him seeking help. I was careful not to get into Left vs. Right debates. He liked the project and promised help. He said he would help us get students, which was a huge boost for us. In the next meeting, he brought in a colleague who was an ‘expert’ in the sector we were working on, and I got my boss to attend it too. During this meeting, the ‘expert’ professor started asking us about our ideological inclinations. We came clean, but told him, hey, yes we are free-marketers, but we want the poor to benefit from it. We want the bad private guys out too, so let’s work towards that. The project we are working on will help poor, we said. But our ideologies were different. And they knew that. We argued about it, and then we had lunch. From that day on, there was no response from either of them. They simply shut us down. Getting students to help us with the project was next to impossible now. They would not respond to my calls or texts. The moment these ‘Leftists’ figured out that we were not ideologically inclined towards them, we were shut down. It did not matter that the project we were working on was an initiative towards reducing injustices. What mattered to these academics was the language we spoke. If you are not a left-liberal, capitalism-hating, RSS-hating, Modi-abusing person, you are not one of them, and they will not help you. They will not help you if you fall short by even one of those parameters. To quote George W Bush, you are either with them, or against them. Our university system is entrenched with such academic. JNU in Delhi is known for its Left-leaning politics and is usually the butt of free-marketers’ jokes. But the situation is really sad in these state universities, where professors blinded by utopian Marxist ideals are holding students back and refusing to let go of an ideology which has trapped the poor in poverty and increased the concentration of power among the elite. How entrenched our education system is with Leftist, Marx-hailing utopian ideologues can be seen in the kind of education that students of economics are provided with. Ask an average student of economics getting out of one of the government universities what capitalism is, and they will spew out Leftist propaganda having no understanding of what it entails. Leftist academics spread hatred among students in our universities. It is this kind of idiocy which allows Prakash Karat to get away with calling Manmohan Singh ‘neoliberal’. The reason I am writing this is because of the outrage that followed the small article I wrote yesterday stating simply this: it isn’t just now that the Hindu right wing is spreading its presence in IITs and IIMs, they have been at it for a while. Nothing more, nothing less. (there is an update here, apparently there is more proof that I was right, the RSS tried striking a deal with IIT Delhi way back in 2010.) In the ensuing outrage, what caught my eye was that many were asking, “Why not write about the Left and Congress in university campuses?” So here you have it. Every article cannot encompass every opinion I hold. What I don’t understand is how silly some of the responses were. Yes, for decades the university system has been chained to the Left, brainwashing students into unscientific reasoning driven by emotional rhetoric. But are we going to respond to that with blind religious nationalism, priests displaying their snake-oil salesmanship in tech-schools and manipulative understanding of our revered religious texts? If IIT Madras and its study circles, which organized for the types of Chinna Jeeyar and others to be invited for guest lectures, do not deserve to be mocked, then we deserve the Leftist-trash that we are exposed to everyday in our education system. If we are so blind in our hatred that we will allow fraud-babas to enter our campuses and drill our students in with cockamamie theories and divisive agenda, then we hold no moral authority to question the stronghold of the Left in our education system. We lost generations to the unreasonable, utopian and self-serving manipulations of Leftist academics in our premier institutions. We cannot let it happen all over again just because the ideologies are different.  
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