Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough
A Flask of Wine. a Book of Verse and --Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness
And Wilderness is Paradise enow.
- Omar Khayyam

Monday, June 02, 2008


its past two o clock, in the morning. i am transcribing the audio tape of a Research Scholar interviewing an Anglo Indian, whose only claim to fame is being an Anglo Indian. Christ, the things i do for money....

i desperately desperately need to go on a holiday. last week i went to a private college, in the middle of no-fucking-where. we had to interview a about 30 or more undergrads who would, in a couple of years, acquire BBA and BCA degrees and land cushy jobs, but who do not understand the meaning of the word "sibling" and when explained, one of them informed yes ,she had a brother and that his "sex" was "female." their parents are paying more money for this degree in a single year than my parents did on my entire education. i am NOT exaggerating.

then we spent the rest of the day interviewing equally moronic staff members, who do not understand what " social sciences" mean, who have no clue about the possible effects of privatisation of education. when we mentioned the phrase we were met with a blank, incomprehending stare from most of them. given the fact they teach in a private institution (that requires all of them to wear identical sarees everyday,) the situation could have been potentially hilarious had i not been struck, in a rather Kurtzian manner, by "the horror" of it all.

because this private institution, which has air conditioned classrooms, and where rich, dumb kids pay lakhs to study, is not a freak exception, it is more like the norm in our country. what is appalling is that our government seeks to establish hundreds of such "universities" in the next five years, under a Public Private Partnership venture, which is nothing but an euphemism for wholesale privatisation. education is increasingly becoming the most profitable business on the block.

i wish someone would write a paper on how and why and when india ceased to be a welfare state. in practice this entire Nehruvian vision of a "democratic socialism" was a sham, as was the whole deal with gandhian ahimsa. but it was there somewhere at the back of everybody's minds, even if "welfare" and "public duty" were mere words and nothing more. its funny how no one even mentions them nowadays. its funny how people are almost embarrassed at the slightest mention of these notions. its funny how people actually take pride in being the "hook or by crook" types. and its funy how without batting an eyelid the powers that be, devolve responsibility, hand over the primary areas of public duty to the tender mercies of private corporations. they dont give a shit, what becomes of the nation, if education and health go to the dogs, they dont have the grace to even blush when they advocate an "education for those who can afford it" policy, or when they say "isolated centres of excellence like IITs and IIMs should not be encouraged because they dont present a sustainable model of development,", they shamelessly promote mediocrity (backed with money, of course) in the name of equity. i know, its not new. they never gave a shit. they never, ever ,cared. but the difference now is, they dont even bother to keep up the appearances, to appear to care, to continue the pretense of giving a shit...if only a verbal one.