Taxpayers, citizens and the idea of university

Reading Marilynne Robinson as reply to T Mohandas Paiís argument against JNU

GN Bureau | March 9, 2016


#Barack Obama   #marilynne robinson   #t Mohandas pai   #kanhaiya kumar   #education   #standwithjnu   #jnurow   #jnu  


T Mohandas Pai, a respectable corporate leader, represents a wider audience when he targets JNU students and their misguided idealism for misusing taxpayers’ money.

Then, of course, there is another viewpoint, many have highlighted the vacuity of Pai’s arguments on social media and elsewhere. Furthering this debate – on using “taxpayers’ money”, here is a fresh essay from Pulitzer-winning author and teacher Marilynne Robinson. Since even president Obama too recently turned to her for some wisdom, we too can benefit from her views on the same matter:

Click here for the essay published in the Harper’s magazine.

Here are some points relevant to the Indian debate:

* There has been a fundamental shift in American consciousness. The Citizen has become the Taxpayer. In consequence of this shift, public assets have become public burdens. These personae, Citizen and Taxpayer, are both the creations of political rhetoric. (It now requires an unusual degree of historical awareness to know that both politics and rhetoric were once honorable things.)

* It can be said, however, that whenever the Taxpayer is invoked as the protagonist in the public drama, a stalwart defender of his own, and a past and potential martyr to a culture of dependency and governmental overreach, we need not look for generosity, imagination, wit, poetry, or eloquence. We certainly need not look for the humanism Tocqueville saw as the moving force behind democracy.

* The Citizen had a country, a community, children and grandchildren, even — a word we no longer hear — posterity. The Taxpayer has a 401(k).

* From the perspective of many today, the great public universities (and many of them are very great) are like beached vessels of unknown origin and intention, decked out preposterously with relics and treasures that are ripe for looting, insofar as they would find a market, or condemned to neglect and decay, insofar as their cash value is not obvious to the most stringent calculation.

Comments

 

Other News

Take action, NSUI tells police over varsity clash

The National Students Union of India (NSUI) on Thursday sought action against those who had assaulted students and teachers of Delhi university at a protest march on Wednesday.` “Our sole motive is to compel the police to take some strict actions against the lawbreakers who brutally manhand

BMC polls throw up fractured mandate

 It’s a hung verdict in the elections to the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation, which is India’s richest civic body. Shiv Sena bagged 84 seats closely followed by BJP that won 81 seats. Congress with only 31 seats  performed badly as compared to  52 seats  that it

A poem that gives a perspective on Indian Muslims

A beautiful poem on modern Indian Muslims has caught the imagination of the social media users. “Hindustani Musalmaan” by Hussain Haidry has gone viral on the net. Not just for being crisp, but also for conveying what it means to be a Muslim in this country. There

Demonetisation posed a new challenge to growth: IMF

The Indian economy has recorded strong growth in recent years, helped by a large terms of trade gain, positive policy actions including implementation of key structural reforms, a return to normal monsoon rainfall, and reduced external vulnerabilities, said the International Monetary  Fund (IMF).

The Nirbhaya of Naliya: a gang-rape in Gujarat involving BJP leaders

  The “Forum of Concerned Citizens for Naliya Incident” sent a fact-finding team to Kutch on February 20. The members of the team were Dineshbhai Sanghvi, Meenakshi Joshi, Balendra Vaghela, Dr Jharna Pathak and advocate Shabana Mansuri. Based on their report, the Forum ha

A blotch of saffron on Indian universities

University of Hyderabad, Jawaharlal Nehru University and now University of Delhi…the free space for discourse is steadily being squeezed out of universities in India as the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) backed Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) imposes its will and forcibly blocks out alt

Video

यूपी चुनाव: सपा-बसपा समर्थकों के बीच हिंसा
Digital Transformation Summit

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter