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BMC’s dome gets a touch of gold

Gold plated offices! Our colonial heritage must be be gold plated and saved!

Gold plated offices! Our colonial heritage must be be gold plated and saved!

“During our research, we found that there were traces of gold in the original dome. We wanted to restore it to its original glory,’’ said architect and heritage conservationist Abha Narain Lambah. “The gold leaf gilding has been done by a team of craftsmen from Jaipur under the supervision of Ghanshyamdas Nimbarak, who has done gilding work for the Mumbai University’s convocation hall,’’ she said.

In 2007, the BMC floated tenders for restoring the building, pegged as the largest conservation project in India. Expected to be completed in two years, the Rs 60 crore project involves an overhaul of the main heritage building of the BMC as well as the annexe. The project is being carried out by architects Shimul Javeri Kadri, Shashi Prabhu and Lambah. The tenders for the second phase of the project—upgradation of the annexe building—have been floated and work is likely to begin soon. (via BMC’s dome gets a touch of gold).

Our colonial buildings are so important!

This is the most awesome and perverse piece of monstrosity that independent and free India could have come up with. While the ASI on one hand says that they will abandon Buddhist caves because they cannot be saved – yet the administration is gold plating colonial eye-sores – which are also their own offices.

Are there any words to describe this abuse of public office?

What benefit are Buddhist caves

But it cant hurt these architects to be ‘restoring’ the BMC offices. To have access to the BMC, which controls construction in the most expensive real estate market of India must be advantageous. Where real estate rates cross or equal Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai, Paris, London, New York!

On the other hand, what advantage can it be to be conserving Buddhist caves in Mumbai?

Inclusion not elitism, please – Rama Bijapurkar

Delivering India - Bound and gagged

Delivering India - Bound and gagged

with shackled Indian competition that has not just these but other controls, like the one on teachers’ salaries, foreign entrants will be able to build a viable business, offering superior quality to consumers. Before we burst into applause about the magic of competition, let’s think of all constituencies. Better quality will happen for the better classes of consumers, and the rest will have to suffer the collateral damage — an even more depleted, poorer quality, government-shackled institutions, as the better-quality students and faculty gravitate to the new entrants. Thus we go back to rich kid/forward-class preserves and poor kid/backward-class ghettos. As several ministers in the MHRD have repeatedly reminded us in the context of IITs and IIMs, young India deserves better than an elitist education policy that excludes most of them. (via Rama Bijapurkar: Inclusion not elitism, please).

The unfolding scam

Kapil Sibal speaks from two sides of his mouth simultaneously – a rare gift. I am sure his training as a lawyer helps him to do this proficiently. From one side he talks of de-regulation, privatization, foreign investments by foreign universities in India.

Kapil Sibal’s predecessor, Arjun Singh, used every rule, law, dirty trick in the book, for instance, to stop IIMs from expanding abroad. After hobbling all these institutions, the stage is set for ‘entry’ of foreign universities into India. To deliver a captive Indian market to these ‘foreign’ universities.

Much like the Mughal ‘firmaan’ did for the British East India company. After tying up Indian economy, producers and traders into knots, a complacent Mughal Sultanate delivered the Indian populace, bound and gagged to the Europeans.

The rest followed.

Kapil Sibals wants One

Kapil Sibal has converted. And he wants the rest of India to convert. Convert and worship ‘The One.’

… the broad idea at this point is that there will be a Class XII examination (whether it will be marks or grading remains to be seen) to test subject matter knowledge, and this will be given a certain weight — the SAT-type test will test for aptitude and will be used in addition to the Class XII exam. The exact weights will be decided by the task force. This is not an extra exam since, even now, all those who wish to get into engineering, management, etc take various entrance exams. Indeed, the plan is to have just one examination for all these courses and, perhaps, even extend this to other streams … (from ‘Unrecognised schools hardly have any teaching’; Q&A: Kapil Sibal, Minister, HRD, by Sunil Jain & Kalpana Jain / New Delhi February 26, 2010, 0:59 IST).

This new idea of Kapil Sibal’s does not nothing new. Instead it makes it easier to make India into a  recruitment capital for the Anglo-Saxon countries.

The logic of non-performance

Kapil Sibal uses the ‘non-performance’ logic to create new monsters in the Indian education sector. By the logic of non-performance, Mr.Sibal, the first one to go should be your department.

What has your ministry delivered in the last 60 years ? Stronger bondage to English language. A level which even the British could not achieve! The annihilation of Indian education. Selecting the best, churning out ‘grunts’ to serve Western masters abroad, is all that Indian educations seems to achieve – at a huge expense to the Indian tax payer.

Good job, Kapil! Lord Curzon, would be a proud man. Proud of you!

The road from Copenhagen | Ed Miliband | Comment is free | The Guardian

December 26, 2009 Leave a comment
Stop this scaremongering! We got enough problems of our own to worry about yours!

Stop this scaremongering! We got enough problems of our own to worry about yours!

We did not get an agreement on 50% reductions in global emissions by 2050 or on 80% reductions by developed countries. Both were vetoed by China, despite the support of a coalition of developed and the vast majority of developing countries. Indeed, this is one of the straws in the wind for the future: the old order of developed versus developing has been replaced by more interesting alliances. (via The road from Copenhagen | Ed Miliband | Comment is free | The Guardian).

Old bulldog … old tricks

President Bharrat Jagdeo. *Photo credit: thereddsite.files.wordpress.com

President Bharrat Jagdeo. *Photo credit: thereddsite.files.wordpress.com

Gordon Brown, The British Prime Minister declared, “today, together with Norway and Australia, the UK is taking a further step to a Copenhagen agreement: publishing a framework for the long-term transfer of resources to meet the mitigation and adaptation needs of developing countries.” (Paris Hilton note, who the PM of Britain is!)

More interesting was when Europe went ahead and committed funds and disbursed carbon credits. Small amounts – but nevertheless a significant step! So, what gives! How come Europe was disbursing – not serious money, but more than pocket money, without using IMF, World Bank, et al. No UN! How come?

Anglo-Euro efforts

The joint trojan operation (Norway, Australia and UK + EU) against China (or was it India?) was immaculately pursued. Bernarditas de Castro Muller, former lead coordinator and negotiator for the G77 and China in Copenhagen, writing in the Guardian of UK, reported,

The UK financed workshops in selected vulnerable countries and deployed climate envoys. One of its envoys told intransigent negotiators that the UK would mobilise a group of vulnerable countries to pressure the major developing countries – such as China, Brazil and India – into committing to emissions reductions, contrary to their obligations under the climate treaty.

The EU for example made sustained attempts to influence and pressure developing nations – something that only served to increase their cohesion. They bribed where they could, promising the same recycled financing and maybe more to come if countries bent to their demands. And they bullied when they could not bribe.

India’s neighbours, like Maldives, Bangladesh were co-opted – as were countries, led people of Indian extract like Caribbean island of Guyana, Mauritius. The strategy was to isolate China and pair India with the ‘vulnerble 14’ – like Maldives, Guyana, Bangldesh, etc. For instance, alongwith Mohammed Nasheed, Bharrat Jagdeo in Guyana, was faultlessly pursued. Long ignored and isolated, countries like Guyana suddenly found themselves in the spotlight.

Agreeably surprised, they wondered how Guyana “received a disproportionate amount of coverage and access given its size for its progressive and leading stance on climate change.” Time magazine nominated Guyanese president Bharrat Jagdeo, as one of Heroes of the Environment 2008. This year Time magazine included Mohammed Nasheed in its Heroes of the Environment 2009. It was also announced,

Stabroek News in Guyana has confirmed that President Bharrat Jagdeo has been nominated for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to combat climate  change. He was nominated by Professor David Dabydeen, Director of the Centre for Caribbean Studies at the University of Warwick.

US actor Harrison Ford and Guyana's President Bharrat Jagdeo at a news conference about forest protection on September 21, 2009 in New York. Photograph: Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images

US actor Harrison Ford and Guyana's President Bharrat Jagdeo at a news conference about forest protection on September 21, 2009 in New York. Photograph: Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images

The Commonhealth Heads meeting a few weeks before Copenhagen was supposed to seal this ‘alliance.’ Intriguingly, the French President Sarkozy joined the Commonwealth Summit, with Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen and UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon – and proposed a US$10 billion fund for climate change. Just imagine the French joining in a Commonwealth meet (a first, I would think).

Possibly it was the US efforts which made China and India stand together at Copenhagen.

Why the US did not ratify the Kyoto Protocol?

The political undertones of climate control talks are unravelling. The first major smoke signal was when the USA refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol – while talking about global warming and climate change at the same time. Sometimes puzzling and wholly beyond understanding! The lip service paid by the US to climate change can be best summarized by a Hindi idom हाथी के दांत, खाने के एक, दिखाने के एक. Meaning, elephants have two sets of teeth – one for actual use and another for show.

Cynical subversion of media, honours and public opinion

Cynical subversion of media, honours and public opinion

The third element in the multilateral equations set was the efforts made by Bush /Obama to get India and China to ‘get on the climate change band wagon’ with the US. The Chinese ‘unilateral’ announcement of ‘voluntary’ carbon intensity cut after Obama’s trip to China a few days before Copenhagen was a signpost of this unusual ‘alliance’. India followed soon thereafter with its own ‘voluntary’ carbon intensity cuts. One of the justifications of Bush’s nuclear deal with India was climate change.

This US master-stroke of Obama+BASIC meeting, ensured that the “only breakthrough was the political coup for China and India in concluding the anodyne communiqué with the United States behind closed doors, with Brazil and South Africa allowed in the room and Europe left to languish in the cold outside.”

In hindsight, US covert resistance to climate change was actually resistance to the monopolisation by the EU on the climate change agenda and campaign. Under the garb of climate change, EU was trying to do what US did to the world, under the garb of poverty elimination, population control, Bretton Woods in the aftermath of WW2.

What were the BASIC countries resisting

Writing from a Western standpoint, John Lee, in the Guardian, of the UK, faults China for not allowing,

“Teams of international economists, scientists, inspectors and statisticians roaming China to gather information on carbon emissions and reduction initiatives … reporting to political masters in America and Europe … (on) the further problem of cheating in current and future carbon reduction schemes.” (ellipsis and linking text in brackets mine).

The Climate Change Agreement would have delivered us - hog tied and helpless!

The Climate Change Agreement would have delivered us - hog tied and helpless!

Ed Milliband, Britain’s Energy Minister, younger brother of British foreign secretary, David Miliband, writing for the Guardian,

“We cannot again allow negotiations … to be hijacked in this way. We will need to have major reform of the UN body overseeing the negotiations and of the way the negotiations are conducted (for this) global campaign, co-ordinated by green NGOs, backed by business … we must keep this campaign going and build on it. It needs to be more of a genuinely global mobilisation, taking in all countries …this year has proved what can be done, as well as the scale of the challenge we face. (ellipsis and emphasis mine).

Indeed much has been done.

Face behind the mask

Faceless NGOs, without accountability to anyone, were able to bring global political leadership, to the very brink of an agreement. Like Milliband’s boss, Gordon Brown remarked, “the political will to secure the ambitious agreement … comprehensive and global agreement that is then converted to an internationally legally binding treaty in no more than six months.was very much there. The same 25,000 people (25 countries x 1000 powerful people) who rule over the G8-/OECD wanted the poor to invite these 25,000 to have undue and illegitimate oversight over our ‘poor’ lives – in the name of climate change.

The message I got ... loud and clear

The message I got ... loud and clear

To deliver more than 600 crore (6 billion) of humanity to an agreement that would have allowed the likes of the Milliband Brothers (and their NGO ‘partners-in-crime’) to pry into our lives, our affairs and dictate our very existence – with our own consent. Without recourse, with no checks and balances. With large amounts of unaccounted money at their disposal. To decide how we live our lives. Under a system, that would have re-invented colonialism, in a way wholly unknown to us earlier.

Any deal was a bad deal

Last time around, India was called the deal breaker at Doha. This time around, it is China. Who gets called, what by whom, may seems unimportant! But as my grandfather reminded me many times, बद हो जाओ, लेकिन बदनाम नहीं (Beware of getting a bad reputation).

The Guardian, goes onto say, “Only China is mentioned specifically in Miliband’s article but aides tonight made it clear that he included Sudan, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Cuba, which also tried to resist a deal being signed.” Sadly India is not included in this list of ‘deniers’ who are, as Gordon Brown puts it, “anti-science and anti-change environmental Luddites who seek to stand in the way of progress.”

Climate control noise is just drowning out all debate

Climate control noise is just drowning out all debate

How I wish India was blamed for the failure of Copenhagen!

De-construction of climate change by 2ndlook

Indian education – Stirrings at the margin

November 17, 2009 Leave a comment

“Over 2 million children in 2,200 private schools across the country use his ‘Smartclass’ every day; 4 lakh kids so far are registered with online tutorial site WiZiQ; 4 lakh teachers have been trained just this year in skills they would have learnt if they had done a basic BEd; 14,000 computer labs have been built in government schools …

As for whether the distance education model is flagging, Prakash points to how its share in his revenues (65 per cent at the moment) is rising — just 2,200 of the 75,000 private schools have his Smartclasses and just 14,000 of the 925,000 government schools are covered by his computer labs, an indication of how much more scope there is.

According to a CLSA brokerage report, Prakash says, Indians spend $25 billion (Rs 112,500 crore) a year on education till Class 12 and another $5.5 billion on tutoring — needless to say, he wants to be part of this great business where, to quote him, demand outstrips supply by a huge margin and the business is cash-flow negative.

Much is known about 15-year old Educomp and its success — Revenues are up from Rs 112 crore in 2006-07 to Rs 517 crore in 2008-09; Return on Investment (RoI) from 12.92 to 16.04 per cent in the same period; Return on Capital Employed (RoCE) from 28.5 to 27.8 per cent; Return on Net Worth (RoNW) from 24.1 to 35.6 per cent … today, with 400 people just developing education content, in ten Indian languages, Prakash says, he has the largest team doing such work in the world.” (via Lunch with BS: Shantanu Prakash).

After 60 years …

More than 60 years after the departure of the British, Indian media at least seems to adore ‘phoren’ educated politicians as the following news extract shows. Another journalist was effusive in praise when a DMK minister, Azhagiri took oath of office in ‘faultless’ English.

Indian-English language media today finds merit just because these Central ministers are ‘phoren’ returned. While, Indian Universities have become recruiting grounds and supply centres to the West for trained and qualified manpower, Indian media thinks that only ‘phoren’ educated and returned are good enough.

Team Manmohan crammed with A-listers

Manmohan Inc’s team would be any multinational corporation’s dream. Resume for resume, its key members are in a league of their own.

The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) council of ministers, led by the 78-year-old Cambridge-educated economist, has at least 14 ministers who have graduated from Ivy League universities like Harvard, Wharton, Stanford, MIT, Carnegie Mellon, and of course, Oxbridge. There are also Cabinet members who have degrees from US universities. (via Team Manmohan crammed with A-listers- Politics/Nation-News-The Economic Times).

English language media in India is still in its colonial haze – and to see such decadent, colonial ideas, 60 years after the British were thrown out, boggles my imagination. To approve of a politician, because he has English-language skills, or their ‘phoren’ education seems so important to these journalists, who seem to be wagging their ‘colonial’ tail with such approval – and vigor.

These journalists instead should have been worried that 60 years on, Indian Universities don’t seem to be meeting standards. And looking at the (seeming) failure of these Universities.

Higher education in India

This (mixed record) of Indian Universities can largely be laid at the doorsteps of the faulty educational policies that Indian Governments have been following. For one, why is the State increasing its role in education. For another, why is the Indian State supporting English language education with thousands of crores of subsidies – while Indian language education languishes.

80% of India’s population is excluded from higher education as Indian higher system is predominantly in English. Hence, this puts a premium on English – and discounts Indian languages in the educational sweepstakes. The negative effect this on Indian self esteem is not even a point of discussion here.

The principle of exclusion (a colonial idea) is a dominant marker of the entire Indian education system – rather than inclusion. British (and before that Islamic rulers’) colonial practices supported foreign languages on the backs of the Indian taxpayers’ contribution – and actively worked on destruction of local cultures.

For instance, in the erstwhile State Of Hyderabad (equal to about 10%-12% of modern India), ruled by the Nizam, a large non-British kingdom, 2000 year old local languages like Telugu and Marathi were considered uncouth and barbaric languages – compared to a 700 year old language like Urdu, which was supported by the State. Thus anyone without the knowledge of Urdu was excluded from the system. So it is now in India, with English.

This restricts 80% of India’s population from contribution and access to opportunity. Without looking at it from an ethical point, but purely as an economic question means we should look at the cost of this policy.

English In Higher Education Institutions

The problem is actually higher education. What is the future of Marathi medium students once they reach higher education institutions? The Indian state is penalizing the Indian tax payer by granting a monopoly to English in higher education.

Cost to the Indian economy

How does this hinder India? India loses every year about 200,000 highly educated people to the West. These 200,000 people have been educated at subsidized Indian Universities at a considerable cost to the poor Indian taxpayer. What return does the tax payer get from this? Negative returns.

What happens when English stops being an important language in the global sphere? What use will India’s investment in English be at that time? And this will happen sooner than we imagine – at a greater cost than we believe.

The Indian tax payer is creating a large body of English trained graduates, who are finally picked up by Western economies at zero cost. If these Indian graduates were trained in Indian languages, the West may find it difficult to absorb them at zero cost.

English education is now clearly a liability.

What is the cost of switching from English?

Assuming that a 100,000 essential books need to translated into local languages, at a cost of say Rs.100,000 per book, it still amounts to Rs.1000 crores. Is that a large sum of money for modern India. Hardly.

What is the loss to India? How much does this reduce India’s growth rate by? Hard numbers – but definitely big numbers.

So why is India persisting with this policy. Because all the high and mighty, finally want their children to ‘escape to the West’, with a good education from India – at the cost of India’s poor. This vested interest makes this policy go around.

And a lot of propaganda.

Backdoor privatization

The Vedanta industrial group is setting up a University in Orissa. From a campus at the new Lavassa township, Oxford is going to start offering courses. These and other represent the quiet backdoor ‘privatization’ of Indian higher education.

Hidden subsidies

Large tracts of lands are being acquired by the Government, and handed over for a pittance to the private sector. Soon, we will have competition between State Sector subsidized English education – and private sector subsidized education.

Who will help Indian languages get back on their feet

While Indian language Universities are struggling – for funding, respect, status, support, foreign Universities, using paper money, backed by the Bretton Woods fraud, will impose their ideas, culture, etc in India.

While the English speaking economic bloc is struggling, India is not focussing on the French, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese Blocs which are large, excellent opportunities.

This can be a way out …

This actually is a good way out. There is a significant demand for English language education – at least currently. This demand can be met by the private sector. In the meantime, misdirected State subsidies can be gainfully used to help Indian language education get back on its feet.

In the not very long run, the state must get out of business of making up the minds of its citizens.

India starts investing in Indian languages?Quantcast

On the ground, classical language status has meant substantial funds and awards. The solution to such vexed claims and counterclaims may rest in the central government giving up its partisan patronage of Sanskrit and Hindi, and providing the wherewithal for all languages. What languages are classical or not is best left to the scholars. (via Is classical language status meaningless?- Et Debate-Opinion-The Economic Times).

It has taken India 60 years to start with some small investments in Indian languages.

The Indian education system excludes a vast majority of Indians from the higher education system – which is predominantly in English. This puts a premium on English – and discounts Indian languages in the educational sweepstakes. The disadvantaged students who have studied in Indian languages ensure that their children get the ‘advantage’ of English education.

The negative effect this on Indian self esteem is not even a point of discussion here.

End of the road … the bankrupt model

This Indian education model was, till about a 150 years ago, unique in the world. With the highest literacy ratio in the world, and completely privately funded, it set global and historic benchmarks. This model has been buried under a mound of silence – and once in a while you get a glimpse of this.

My first glimpse of this model was through the draft of Parag Tope’s forthcoming book – Operation Red Lotus.

I say without fear of my figures being challenged successfully, that today India is more illiterate than it was fifty or a hundred years ago, and so is Burma, because the British administrators, when they came to India, instead of taking hold of things as they were, began to root them out. They scratched the soil and began to look at the root, and left the root like that, and the beautiful tree perished. (Gandhiji, at Royal Institute of International Affairs, London, Oct 1931 – extracted from Indian Models Of Economy Business And Management By Kanagasabapathi; Page 60).

Gandhiji, in correspondence with Sir Philip Hartog, (chairman of the Auxiliary Committee on Education), laid out the the pre-colonial scenario, which has now been buttressed by research by Dharampal, a Gandhian, in his book, Beautiful Tree, Indian Education in the 18th century.

Sreelatha Menon, seemingly, depends on Tooley’s own PR handouts to write this up. In the entire post in Business Standard, she never makes a mention of Dharampal, whose work is the most authoritative today. Tooley, a (for sometime) IFC-World Bank employee, this research resulted, (funded by the Templeton Foundation) in a book – of course called, The Beautiful Tree.

Between a rock and a hard place

Dharampal’s pioneering work, in 1983, has, not surprisingly, been ignored by the Amartya Sens and The Jean Drezes of the world – all their avid followers in India. Kapil Sibal has been trying to further the colonial British efforts by laying out a red carpet for foreign universities – while tying up Indian institutions into-knots-into-knots-into-knots. The ‘modern’ theory about Indian education goes that all credit for Indian education should go either to the British Colonial Raj or the Christian Missionary Benevolence.

The health care (USA), social welfare (USA), employment benefits (UK), showcase countries (Japan), are running countries into the ground. India has, as yet, not gone down that path. Though, the Indian State has been trying – quite hard.

What Kapil Sibal does not know and hurts us

November 16, 2009 4 comments

Before the western model brought by the British or the Church, there were ezhuthu pallis, or writing schools, run by ezhuthu ashans, or writing masters. There were also schools run by wealthy individuals in their homes for their daughters.

In these tutorials, generations learnt to read and write using writing nails, palm leaves and sand, paying fees in kind. Outside Kerala, gurukuls functioned successfully for centuries. And these were always privately-funded. Is this model better than pumping in more public money into inefficient government schools?

That is the question that James Tooley, a British researcher and writer on education, asks in his recent book, The Beautiful Tree. He sees existence of private education in pre-British India as an argument in favour of low-cost private education that can cover every child. He finds virtue in the large number of private schools that are run in the slums he visited.

This goes against the thinking of development experts, including Amartya Sen and Jean Dreze. A study by the latter argues that the solution is to improve government schools rather than close them.

Madhav Chavan, the founder of NGO Pratham, which in its study found that the poor also preferred to send their children to private schools, sat close to Tooley at the launch of the book. But he made it clear he did not share the views of the author.

To say that private schools hold the key to universal education is to say the unspeakable. As unspeakable as saying that the king has no clothes. (via Sreelatha Menon: A new lesson).

The Beautiful Tree - by DharampalEnd of the road … the bankrupt model

The health care (USA), social welfare (USA), employment benefits (UK), showcase countries (Japan), are running countries into the ground. India has, as yet, not gone down that path. Though, the Indian State has been trying – quite hard.

My first glimpse of this model was through the draft of Parag Tope’s forthcoming book – Operation Red Lotus.

I say without fear of my figures being challenged successfully, that today India is more illiterate than it was fifty or a hundred years ago, and so is Burma, because the British administrators, when they came to India, instead of taking hold of things as they were, began to root them out. They scratched the soil and began to look at the root, and left the root like that, and the beautiful tree perished. (Gandhiji, at Royal Institute of International Affairs, London, Oct 1931 – extracted from Indian Models Of Economy Business And Management By Kanagasabapathi; Page 60).

Gandhiji, in correspondence with Sir Philip Hartog, (chairman of the Auxiliary Committee on Education), laid out the the pre-colonial scenario, which has now been buttressed by research by Dharampal, a Gandhian, in his book, Beautiful Tree, Indian Education in the 18th century.

Sreelatha Menon, seemingly, depends on Tooley’s own PR handouts to write this up. In the entire post in Business Standard, she never makes a mention of Dharampal, whose work is the most authoritative today. Tooley, a (for sometime) IFC-World Bank employee, this research resulted, (funded by the Templeton Foundation) in a book – of course called, The Beautiful Tree.

Between a rock and a hard place

Dharampal’s pioneering work, in 1983, has, not surprisingly, been ignored by the Amartya Sens and The Jean Drezes of the world – all their avid followers in India. Kapil Sibal has been trying to further the colonial British efforts by laying out a red carpet for foreign universities – while tying up Indian institutions into-knots-into-knots-into-knots. The ‘modern’ theory about Indian education goes that all credit for Indian education should go either to the British Colonial Raj or the Christian Missionary Benevolence.

This Indian education model was, till about a 150 years ago, unique in the world. With the highest literacy ratio in the world, and completely privately funded, it set global and historic benchmarks. This model has been buried under a mound of silence – and once in a while you get a glimpse of this.

Priya Joshi: Culture and Consumption: Fiction, the Reading Public, and the British Novel in Colonial India

August 9, 2009 2 comments

The need for Western stamp of approval

The need for Western stamp of approval

Often, the implementation of a new education system leaves those who are colonized with a lack of identity and a limited sense of their past. The indigenous history and customs once practiced and observed slowly slip away. The colonized become hybrids of two vastly different cultural systems. Colonial education creates a blurring that makes it difficult to differentiate between the new, enforced ideas of the colonizers and the formerly accepted native practices.” (Priya Joshi quoted in Contemporary Education By Rao, page 21).

Her theory on the ideological war waged by colonial Britain on India after 1857, ranging from quantitative estimates of book shipments from Britain to India, to library lendings make Priya Joshi’s research compelling.

Her narrative explains the methodology by which national cultures can be subverted, modified and ultimately disfigured. Carrying that logic further, it makes us examine the entire basis of using English in the Indian education system.

Foreign education takes a hit

Out of the around 93,000 students in Australia, over 40 chose to fly back in the wake of the racially motivated attacks. International education is the third largest source of overseas earnings for Australia, generating around US$12 billion in 2008 and supporting more than 125,000 jobs in the country. (via Foreign education takes a hit).

This one hurts …

After all, which self-respecting, WASP (‘White, Anglo Saxon, Protestant’) Nation would like to be dependent on us dirty and crass Indians!

Bad feeling, huh!

Some people do think that that Indians are of no ‘use to Australia in industry or as a market’. Education happens to be the third largest revenue stream for Australia – after raw materials and tourism. And Indians, by the way, are significant consumers for Australian raw minerals and tourism also.

Anyway, such concerned people should let their Government know about these ‘new found facts’. Because the Australian Government is trying its best to attract Indian tourists to Australia – just like they tried to attract Indian students.

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