Thursday, March 10, 2016
Here is a lucid and well reasoned article on JNU -its genesis and present turmoils.It is written by Jaithirth Rao , the former CEO / founder of MphasiS , the IT multi national and Citibank Global Technological Division.
I have been wondering for the last few days as to why so many PLUs—People Like Us—my friends, in other words—hate JNU? It is important to note that virtually all my friends live in Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Chennai, Coimbatore, Hyderabad and so on. They are pretty unanimous in hating or in at least disliking JNU. It struck me that their cities of residence had something to do with their feelings. These are all productive cities, committed to the ethos of growth, progress, prosperity, constructive actions, entrepreneurship, making things, selling things, creating jobs and so on. They are distinctly different from our parasitical, unproductive and dysfunctional capital—Delhi.
JNU was started by Indira Gandhi, probably with a Machiavellian plan in mind. It was a time when anti-establishment Leftist ideology seemed very strong even in rich countries—remember UC Berkeley, or Paris 1968? Our great leader, a direct intellectual descendant of Chanakya, was perhaps concerned that these Leftist loose canons could fatally weaken our country. So she devised a beautiful plan to house-train, domesticate and defang the Leftists, especially the shrill and hysterical academics among them, who pass off as opinion-akers—assuming that such a thing as an opinion exists in the Leftist world.
She decided to give them jobs at the tax-payer’s expense in JNU and a dozen other places. Now that they had cozy jobs and opportunities to travel to the paradisiacal cities of their choice—Moscow, Leningrad (not St. Petersburg as it is now called), East Berlin and so on—they ceased to be an immediate menace to society. They wrote papers, which no one except their own kind read and they spent their time drinking tea and coffee (thus ironically increasing the profits of filthy multinationals like Lipton and Nestle!) and of course, also drinking rum (thus increasing the profits of Indian capitalists like Mallya and Chabria). They resembled tamed pet animals. Indira Gandhi must have watched them with a level of bemused contempt. And when she was not watching them, it is pretty likely that she had her IB watching them! Indira Gandhi had a profound respect for the strategies of the European elite.
She knew that the French and German governments paid scholarships and stipends to students not just for years, but for decades in order to ensure that these radicals were safely ensconced in academic museums from where they could not create much trouble. She implemented this strategy with JNU and a dozen other such institutions most of which are located in Delhi (surprise) and Kolkata (surprise, surprise!). In short, Indira Gandhi successfully purchased social insurance in the distant past before the Berlin Wall fell, at a time when leftism was seen as a distinct threat.
A prominent Leftist intellectual, recently wrote about the fact that among JUN alumni there were distinguished professors, NGO leaders, commentators and bureaucrats. I am sure he has his facts right. I am also pretty sure that there are no JNU alumni who have bothered to become entrepreneurs, start a business, make and sell something that consumers want and provide employment to people. If that had happened, the JNU professors would have thought of themselves as having completely failed. Their objective all along is to train and let loose upon the country, people with grievances, grouses, a sense of victimhood and above all a sense of entitlement.
Tax-payers who live far away from the JNU campus are expected to provide inflated salaries to professors who have over the decades successfully failed to make any intellectual mark. Tax-payers are also expected to provide scholarships and research grants to students, who never graduate and who are engaged only in researching the weaknesses and ailments of Indian society. On top of this, the JNU professors and students reserve the right to endlessly criticize the tax-payers. This reinforces the old adage that the recipient of charity (receiving money for unproductive work can only be called charity) almost invariably hates the person from whom he receives goodies.
JNU has consistently and vociferously opposed the economic reforms introduced by Narasimha Rao, Manmohan Singh, Atal Behari Vajpayee and now Narendra Modi. The faculty and students hate what they call “neo-liberalism”. They do not like the fact that many young Indians like to work in the information technology field. They carry on an endless diatribe against persons who they refer to as “cyber coolies”. The emerging Indian middle class, shopping malls, E-commerce —any area where there is economic vigour is opposed and lampooned by them.
Their love of things Islamic is quite distorted. No JNU researcher would dream of doing field work among Muslims who are successful in business—be it software or pharma or retailing. The same holds true for JNU’s interest in Dalits. The entire focus has to be on Dalit victimhood. No attention is given to emerging movements within Dalits to improve their situation through education. While there are angry demonstrations on the issue of Dalit oppression (which tragically exists in spades), no celebration is ever done of Dalit entrepreneurship orDalit capitalists who have emerged under the hated neo-liberal dispensation.
Instead of paying attention to the fact that young persons from the north-east and from Kashmir are coming by droves to places like Pune, Bangalore and Gurgaon taking up jobs in the dynamic IT and BPO sectors, JNU academics are still focussed on the grievances of yesterday and want to keep encouraging their students to continue articulating these grievances in a hysterical manner.
JNU is known as a university for the social sciences and humanities. Hard sciences and engineering involve hard work and require empirical validation - not just frothy radical slogans. It is not surprising that JNU is at the head of the movement against GM (genetically modified) crops which are routinely grown in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Korea and the U.S. and which India merrily imports, but does not grow, thanks to the influence, not only of JNU types, but of a bizarre rag-tag group of anti-science and anti-technology elites who are determined to throttle Indian science if they can.
It is not my case that there are no problems or legitimate grievances in our country. It is not even my case that economic growth is the sole panacea for all our problems, although I do believe that vigorous growth is a necessary condition for India. It is not even my case that my taxes should not be wasted on salaries and grants for mediocre leftists. After all, so much of our taxes are wasted in so many ways. A little mollycoddling of rum-drinking Leftists can easily be rationalized and justified. What then is JNU’s problem?
No one defends the absurd acts of the incompetent Delhi Police who used colonial era laws to trouble others and made fools of themselves. As for the lawyers without briefs who seek the oxygen of media publicity by indulging in outlandish aggression—the less said about them the better. They do not even provide comic relief. So despite the clumsy behaviour of their antagonists, why is it that JNU professors and students get so little sympathy from the rest of us?
Why is there a sense of schadenfreude that they deserve what is coming to them? I submit that JNU has a serious PR problem. The faculty, the research staff and the students need to do considerable introspection. Why are they seen as lazy, privileged, incompetent elite completely out of touch with the country and indeed, the world as it is today?
Unless they do this as a serious exercise, they run the risk of losing the legacy of Indira Gandhi—continued funding. And they may find that no one, not even their current supporters in the media and politics will bother to step in as JNU is slowly and inexorably de-funded and marginalized.
At a minimum, JNU needs to think of a campaign aimed at productive and tax-paying citizens outside Delhi. There is no point in quoting Foucault and Gramsci and expressing disdain for advertising. When survival is at stake, structuralism and post-modernism are of little use. A good old advertising campaign is what is called for. In their own interests, the JNU folks should move on this.
The author is the former CEO of MphasiS, and was head of Citibank’s Global Technology Division. He is currently the Executive Chairman of Value and Budget Housing Corporation (VBHC), an affordable housing venture. Rao is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of Swarajya.
(Source- Via e-mail from Col NK Balakrishnan, Retd)
Colonel N K Balakrishnan ( Retd ) ,