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

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Governmentalising the Research Mind

An enlightened government ought to enlarge the frontiers of research and not promote official thinking.


During the last five years, the National Democratic Alliance government has not shown any inclination to promote deep and diverse thinking in the institutions of higher education. Their myopic educational vision militates against the very idea of university where the researchers are free to enjoy the life of the mind. The latest of these attempts in subverting the idea of the university, to curb its autonomy and to scuttle the research mind, was the resolution passed in a meeting of the vice chancellors of all central universities, the Ministry of Human Resource Development, and the University Grants Commission (UGC) on 15 December 2018, to make research in these universities fall in line with “national priorities.” Some of the universities, such as the Central University of Kerala (CUK), did show extraordinary promptness in implementing the resolution. This resolution seeks to undermine the deliberative processes where several academic bodies participate in finalising the research topics. Such a resolution, thus, is anti-intellectual inasmuch as it seeks to undermine the very democratic dimension of how research shapes up.

The conditions put forward by this resolution are clearly an attempt to make research scholars abide by a particular notion of nation, which in a misconstruing way gets equated to the government, sans all the cleavages, inequalities, injustices, and discontents it embodies. Any differing view or dissent in any form, then, by default gets tagged as destructive to the nation, which the government confuses itself to be. The history and social reality of sections that remain out of the purview of such national priority are being erased from the National Council of Educational Research and Training textbooks. If even research gets limited in this way, then it will become hard to contest the majoritarian view and to remember that there are indeed many discourses of nationalism, and conflicting and differing ideas of nation.

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Updated On : 2nd Apr, 2019
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