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

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Letting Go: Remembering K N Raj

KIf one were to describe K N Raj’s life, it would be called “letting go” – letting go of the ideology with which he started, letting go of spaces of power, such as Delhi, and disappearing into Kerala, letting go of the institutions he built, letting go of friends whose lives have not been to his satisfaction. Another attribute, notable of the generation to which he belonged, was the ability to become invisible in India’s public spaces. This was a marker of the deep humility and modesty of that generation – flashing in and out – not with a bang, but with extraordinary humility. Letting go is something that one does not see today – either in the academic or administrative or political field. Yet, this is a crucial element in a democratic process.

Tributes to K N Raj have quite rightly referred to his role in building the Delhi School of Economics in Delhi and the Centre for Development Studies (CDS) in Thiruvananthapuram, both beacons in the academic field – two lighthouses in India’s academic ocean. Looking back at the time when this was done, the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, it seems amazing, as the privatepublic partnership which is the slogan of today, where corporations are invited to invest in academic institutions, did not exist then.

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