Making attendance mandatory for students and researchers threatens the articulation of responsible freedom – the chief reason for the university’s excellence.
Avijit Pathak is professor at the Centre for the Study of Social Systems, JNU.
The aggression of development, the militancy of cultural nationalism and the loud assertion of ‘shiny’ India have become the dominant discourse, and it is becoming extremely difficult to come out of its shadow.
Why is it that everything is upside down, and all that happens in the name of religion is divisive, oppressive and morally repugnant?
In an emotionally charged environment, suspicion is normalised, everything takes a political turn and even an unintended mistake by an otherwise well-meaning teacher is turned into a scandal.
What are the aptitudes, capabilities, skills and qualities that a university teacher/researcher – particularly in the domain of humanities and social sciences – needs to cultivate, and is the NET in tune with this spirit?
Both as a director and actor, Guru Dutt was at his best in Pyaasa and Kaagaz Ke Phool – two films that not only have an element of timelessness but have also given a new meaning to the landscape of Indian cinema.
A teacher ought to realise that their task is not limited to a fragment of specialised academic research. Teaching is an act of inter personal relations. It is political as well as spiritual. It is ethical as well as subversive.
The ‘spiritual age’ Sri Aurobindo visualised is strikingly different from what present-day proponents of religious fundamentalism talk about with their politics of culture and religion and the stigmatisation of the ‘other’.
To create enlightened citizens, education cannot involve forced discipline. Instead, it must encourage critical consciousness, responsible freedom and creative awakening.
As sensationalism and the flow of ‘breaking news’ grips the TV news industry, we need to educate ourselves to distinguish the serious from the trivial.
When the onslaught of majoritarianism or the assertion of narrow identities is taking us to a dark, segmented world, are we ready to hear the call of his lost voice?
Even when differences prevail, it is difficult to escape Marx and all his ideas.
If our research halls become empty, if no young mind comes to us to discuss books and ideas, the job that we do as teachers in a research university loses its charm and meaning.
When political sensibility degenerates into political indoctrination, studentship receives a severe blow. Growth stops, the mind becomes closed, rigid, deterministic and hence, violent.
In the face of new social conservatism drawing from militant nationalism and global capitalism, Gandhi’s philosophy may hold lessons even for his left-Ambedkarite critics.
CBSE’s prevalent culture of examinations, which is indifferent to the uniqueness of a learner, negates creative articulation and critical thinking and kills the spirit of teaching as a vocation.