ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Out of Bounds

This is with reference to the article by A G Noorani on foreign scholars and the government (September 23). Noorani has quoted from Paul Brass' report on the supposedly banned topics for foreign scholars. However, foreign scholars are not the only ones discriminated against. I, an Indian, was also a victim of this government mafia. I was a student of anthropology in New York in the early 1980s and wrote to the home ministry in 1984 for permission to do sociological field research among the northern Sikkim communities of Lachen and Lachung. The reply (I was pleasantly surprised to receive it) said that as a student from an American university I was likely to disclose Indian secrets to the American public, so I was not permitted to visit that part of India for research. I have misplaced that letter over the years, but I showed it to Leo Rose of the University of California at Berkeley (who was then working for the US State Department at Washington, DC) who was immensely amused at the perception of the CIA threat among Indian government officials, many of whom, upon retirement from the ministry of external affairs, took visitng appointments at American universities.

Biswanath Debnath

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