Sunday, August 25, 2013


  1. Ram Guha on intellectual dadagiri:

    By tradition and temperament, Indians are extremely deferential to those older, richer, and more powerful than themselves.

    This is so even in the realms of science and scholarship. Once an intellectual has achieved a certain status, he uses it to mark out a clear hierarchy between himself and those younger or less well known. [...]

    Accustomed to displays of loyalty and servility, India’s most distinguished intellectuals often fall prey to self-love. When CV Raman left the Indian Institute of Science to start a new research centre, he named it after himself.

    Thirty years later, a distinguished agricultural scientist did exactly the same thing. India’s most celebrated chemist presided over the naming of a scientific centre and even of a road junction named after him. India’s two most famous economists have allowed the naming of fellowships and prizes, and even professorships, after themselves.

    Guha does talk about a couple of truly exemplary leaders: Prof. Obaid Siddiqi at NCBS, and Prof. V.K.R.V. Rao at the Delhi School of Economics.

  2. Anubhuti Vishnoi in The Financial Express: For the new IITs, IIM faculty, the question: what will our spouses do?

  3. Seema Singh at The First Post: How IIT-JEE is becoming the stronghold of CBSE, urban students.

  4. Akshaya Mukul in ToI: Now, collegium of scholars to select higher education institute's chief:

    To deal with this chronic problem, the HRD ministry has decided to establish a collegium of scholars that would prepare a directory of academics for leadership positions like vice-chancellors or heads of institutions of central educational institutions. There are more than 100 autonomous educational institutions under the HRD ministry. Earlier, the provision of having a collegium was part of the National Commission for Higher Education & Research Bill. But since it looks improbable that any of the HRD bill would get Parliament's nod, the ministry had decided to take the executive route.


  1. Arunn said...

    Reading Guha's piece on 'heroes' seeking worship from mortals, I am reminded of the advice by Santiago Ramon y Cajal, warning mortals of some consequences of their 'worship'. Samples from his book:

    *) Saints may emerge from the docile and humble, but rarely scholars.
    *) Hapless is he who remains silent and absorbed in a book.
    *) Undue veneration prevents critical evaluation.
    *) Extreme admiration drains the personality and clouds understanding, which comes to accept hypothesis for proof and shadow for obvious truth.


  2. Anonymous said...

    Re. "...truly exemplary leaders:"

    Ummm... How about, say: Nehru's favorite socialist, Prof. Mahalanobis (ISI)? Not so clear-cut an example? OK, at least, how about the much more recent example of Narlikar (IUCAA)? Pretty clear, no? And, recall, Harish Chandra wasn't around when MRI was renamed to HRI...

    But, of course, there can always be "dadagiri" of the "nameless" kind, too, no? Indians, after all, have both invented the zero and worshipped the naught for ages.

    Conclusion? Trust the Indians to do "intellectual dadagiri"---with or without their names.