Taxpayers, citizens and the idea of university

Reading Marilynne Robinson as reply to T Mohandas Pai’s 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

‘Indian media powerful but suffers perception issues’

Lamenting that in the race to catch eyeballs with sensational news, tabloid journalism has got mixed up with serious journalism, senior journalist and Padma Shri awardee Alok Mehta has said that credibility perception of Indian media has gone down. Yet, despite criticism, Indian media is free and powerful.

India’s vaccination coverage crosses 30-crore landmark

In a milestone achievement, India’s cumulative vaccination coverage has exceeded 30 crores. A total of 30,16,26,028 vaccine doses have been administered through 40,45,516 sessions, as per the provisional report till 7 am Thursday. As many as 64,89,599 vaccine doses were administered in the 24

Gujarat’s smart move with smart app for unorganized workers

The Government of Gujarat has launched a web portal and a mobile application to facilitate online registration of workers from the unorganized sector by giving them smart cards for availing various welfare schemes. Chief minister Vijay Rupani has given a befitting reply to his critics that

How a portal saved 2,000 lives by connecting patients with dialysis centres

As the city of Mumbai went into the lockdown in March 2020, those who were on permanent dialysis and caught Covid infection or suspected to have been infected were badly in need of dialysis treatment. At the same time a large number of patients who were already in dialysis centres started contracti

Tamil Nadu constitutes `Economic Advisory Council` with nobel laureates

The Tamil Nadu government has announced the `Economic Advisory Council` to the Chief Minister comprising Nobel laureates, Raghuram Rajan, former governor of Reserve Bank of India and various other economic experts from around the globe to advise the state on how to reverse the economic slowdown. The state

Kashmir valley railway stations get rail Wi-Fi network

 All 15 Kashmir Valley Railway Stations, including Srinagar, have now got integrated with 6021 Station Wi-Fi Network of Indian Railways. Public Wi-Fi, provided under the brand name of RailWire, is available at 15 stations such as Baramula, Hamre, Pattan, Maz

Visionary Talk with Madhur Bhandarkar, National Award Film Maker



Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter