This juncture in the trajectory of the country has been distinctive in several ways. The nation is experiencing an on-going wave of transformation that is affecting its cultural, social, political and economic realities. It does not happen often that within the same period of time every aspect of society transforms itself and experiences the requirement to alter and grow out from the patterns that have been taken for granted. As part of the larger network of social relationships the university plays a very significant role.
The conscience of the nation, the thinking capacity of the generation and its ability to make sense of the greater reality are all embedded in the way the university develops itself. Intellectuals not only create and express ideas to allure other intellectuals but their urgent contribution is towards raising the understanding and thinking of the masses living beyond the walls of the university. Young people are chiselled and their intellect is nourished making them equipped to contribute to the greater human well-being.
It is ironic that in the contemporary times the establishment in authority is indifferent to the sanctity of maintain and nurturing a university ambience that thrives on ethics and ideals of freedom, equality, criticality, justice and democratic liberty. It is paradoxical that from JNU to TISS learners are feeling discontented and unsatisfied with the steps that the government is imposing such as fee hikes, compulsory attendance, autonomy bill, imposition of undemocratic administrative measures, regulations that are anti-student and many other concerns that defy intellectually nurtured traditions of academic conduct. Things have been difficult for not just the world of universities but significant difficulties have also emerged in the economic domain.
Frauds and looting of public money by the economic elite has come to light again and the faith in administrative interests in imprisoning these individuals is doubtful. The farmers’ long march to Mumbai to assert their demands regarding loan waver and provision of key agricultural mechanisms won the hearts of people across the country because the movement was peaceful but meaningfully demonstrated the needs of the farmers. The country is experiencing a combination of aspects that remind us of the potential that lies in collective mobilization.
As I pen down my thoughts I think of the students who are compelled to rewrite their CBSE examinations as the papers had been out in public prior to the examinations and feel how young people are discovering that while lessons in moral education have made them think honesty and truth are positive virtues, the real world that exists outside is full of untruth and fraud. Will these learners always be compelled to think that ethics and reality are opposed truths? It is with great intensity that I urge our audience to look at issues surrounding them and to develop a mind that looks beyond political affiliations and ideological lineages and experiences the truth with clarity and openness. I gift you this edition of The New Leam with the firm belief that it will equip you to rediscover a world where wonder is still alive!