Two opinion pieces. Two State universities. Plenty of problems.
Exhibit A: Mumbai University (from an EPW editorial):
The appointment of the present vice chancellor (VC) in 2010 was widely criticised as an act of political favouritism overlooking his inadequate academic qualifications. However, the education lobby in the state, dominated by powerful politicians (shikshan samrats or education emperors as they are known), has for long manipulated to place amenable appointees in this post. A VC who is dependent on political-bureaucratic patronage is likely to find that he/she has to contend with “recommendations” in filling significant posts. From here it is a short journey towards the erosion of governance structures. But the patronage of politicians does not move on to planning for more funds for the institution, leading to the obvious neglect of higher education in the state. The university’s record in teaching and research in the humanities has been abysmal as is evident in the steady decline of students awarded PhD degrees. Its deteriorating image has had the twin effect of keeping away talented faculty and students not only from the state but also from other parts of the country.
Exhibit B: An unnamed university in Gujarat (from an op-ed by Ananya Vajpeyi):
... The ambience is absolutely stifling. Over and above the routine inefficiencies and mild forms of corruption that plague Indian academia, in Gujarat there is a type of state interference that actually leaves thousands of individuals who are just trying to do their job beleaguered and demoralized.
You cannot trust colleagues or students, who may turn out to be ‘informants’; you cannot speak except in very small circles of extremely close friends and people whom you have discovered to be genuinely like-minded through long association. Needless to say, the chances are abysmal that anyone is going to write great books, deliver memorable lectures or produce beautiful art in this setting, when the thought-police are everywhere. Even the possibility of having a regular, more-or-less uneventful academic career, where one can work with a degree of competence and retire with a degree of dignity, is thwarted.