Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Ideological contol of Institutions

Subir Shukla
There's a spate of articles in various newspapers about how 'Hindutva oriented' forces are taking over various institutions. Most them point out how various rules are being bent to bring in unqualified but ideologically oriented directors / heads of institutions etc. All this is done in a certain tone, as if whatever was done earlier was OK but this is not.
Here's my response to a recent article by Praful Bidwai in
"I hold no brief for the saffron brigade but what is happening is not very different from what the more ‘secular’ groups did when in power. For instance, when the National Curriculum Framework was developed in 2004-5, the consultations were not as wide-spread as the writer makes out. None of those who typically contested the views of the secularists were invited for discussions (let’s not forget that the NCERT is the National council and must reach out to all sections). Similarly, academics or resource persons who some of the core team felt threatened by were kept out. The very low overall ownership of this Curriculum Framework is reflected in its slow up-take across the country. Ten years later, several states are yet to use it to inform their own textbooks, for instance.
The larger point is that carping on this is not enough - the Sangh is essentially doing what was done to them. Despite claims of academic impartiality, it is not as if eminent scholars who held views inconvenient to secularists were appointed by previous regimes anywhere.
Since articles like this essentially preach only to the converted (who are perhaps not so many that they can make a difference to things, going by the election results), a longer term strategy for enabling rational and secular thought to gain ground would be a more constructive theme to focus on. The Sangh has worked tirelessly and patiently over decades to reach this point - instead of complaining, that is one thing that might be worth learning from them."

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