An ‘anti-national’ regulation
Universities are a source of new ideas for human advancement, held a mirror to society and act as a protective shield against authoritarianism but now with latest regulatory measures, the universities in India are forced to change under the external pressure. But no matter how much used to they have become of getting subjected to inexplicable governance by India’s higher education regulator, the University grants commission, the most recent decree of being prohibited from writing critically about the government and making joint representations has surely been a blow to India’s national prestige today and its health in the future. The latest regulation requires employees of publicly-funded universities to be subjected to the Central Civil Service (conduct) rules governing central government employees. The silencing of academics is not only incompatible with democracy but also curbing the freedom in such a manner will also pull the society backward.
Undoubtedly, very much like other associations, even universities need to adhere to a code of conduct, to avoid any type of confusion and disorder, maintaining respect for the autonomy of its members, ensuring fairness in the evaluation of performance of students and teachers, efficiency in the conduct of everyday business, and accountability in the wielding of power by the administrative authority. To be at par with the universities around the world, universities in India are also expected that they would speak truth to power. If we take this freedom away by implementing such conduct rules, we deny ourselves a vital safeguard against despotism. A world authority in the field of linguistics, Prof. Chomskelf of MIT has been a very sharp and clear critic of the U.S establishment for over 50 years. His early work in this genre was ‘At War with Asia’.
Two economists at Delhi university, Jagdish P.N. Bhagwati and Padma Desai wrote a very sharp critique of planning in India an it took decades to find a place in India‘s economic policy. The launching of the economic reforms of 1991 was a ‘Bhagwati-Desai Moment’ in that their central prescription, liberalization, was adopted.