Those who can, teach
- Elections 2014 LIVE: Vishwas's 'Irani or Pakistani' remark sparks row; Modi attacks Sonia
- RBI: Growth rate to stay under 6 per cent
- Buses go off road in Mumbai as drivers, conductors strike against long duty hours
- Narendra Modi has deep character flaws... wouldâve fought in Varanasi if I knew Hindi: PC
- US visa ban on Narendra Modi to be lifted if he becomes PM: Report
Is creative scholarship found only in research institutes? Across disciplines, the most notable names are teachers
Why do social sciences in India thrive best outside the university system, asks Pratap Bhanu Mehta, ('Rigour in the margins', IE, November 15), lamenting that India's most creative writers and social scientists (with the honourable exception of history) have been housed in research institutes cut off from students. Surely this self-congratulatory myth-making has to stop? This constant devaluing of teaching and the refusal to recognise the heavy odds that undergraduate and postgraduate teachers work against while still producing world-quality research, accompanied by mutual back-patting between a handful of Boys' Club members that has become common sense across the media, because the Boys' Club has clout in the media.
First, is it true that creative scholarship emanates only from research institutes? Certainly names can be named, justifiably awe-inspiring names — Rajni Kothari, Ashis Nandy, Partha Chatterjee. But take a minute to scan scholarship across disciplines other than history (which Mehta concedes does not fit his claim) — multi-disciplinary feminist work, sociology, literary studies, political science, economics — almost every name that springs to mind is a teacher: Sharmila Rege, Veena Das, Alok Rai, Zoya Hasan, Sudipta Kaviraj, Prabhat Patnaik. I invite those literate in social science scholarship to continue the exercise and reflect on the tenability of Mehta's claim, especially when many high-profile members of research institutes neither teach nor publish.
Of course, Mehta is ignorant of the academic writing (not just newspaper pieces) in Indian languages produced by scholars who have primarily, if not exclusively, been teachers — Sibaji Bandyopadhyay, Suhas Palshikar, T.K. Ramachandran. Equally importantly, Mehta discounts the hundreds of serious scholars produced by teachers who, through their lectures, have introduced cutting edge philosophy and social science to students in places in India where even Economic and Political Weekly is difficult to come by, let alone international journals. These students then reach Delhi and Hyderabad and Pune and Kolkata, go on to do doctoral research, publish, and some may even join research institutes. Research institutes are not produced in isolation.
- As campaigning picks up, candidates focus on strength areas of rivals
- 143 restaurants offer 30% discount to voters on April 30
- Auto union strike: Drivers demand Tricity permit
- RO serves Pawan Bansal show-cause notice
- BJP releases ‘chargesheet’ listing 16 Cong ‘scams’
- From mobile apps to post cards to call centres, parties go all out to woo voters