Give us education, not weapons

Francios Hollande, the President of France, landed in Delhi to be the chief guest at Republic Day celebrations. It was followed by the signing of an accord for the sale of their high-end fighter aircraft, Rafale, to India. Hollande said that the jet had been well-tested and proved highly reliable in the ongoing war against the ISIS in Syria.

The purpose of Western engagement with the internal affairs of developing and underdeveloped countries does not simply lie in the hegemonic power struggle between power blocs. But what they have been doing is far more destructive than we can imagine.

They have created ISIS and destabilised the region. This gives them a chance to use their arrogant colonial design of dividing the world into two spheres, one contains the protected and privileged “We”, the other a wretched, demonised “they” to be destroyed wantonly. It’s their time to test their multibillion-dollar defence technologies to be up for sale shortly. They befriend nations to destroy them, and rebuild them, for a fee. For them it’s always gain and never loss. Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Libya, West Asia, the Balkan states. The situation is the same everywhere.  

And now when Hollonde has openly claimed the successful testing of their war machine in Syria, we are ready to pay for the weapons almost Rs. 13,33 crores per aircraft, i.e. 60,000 crore for 38 aircraft (The Indian Express, 26th January). This is said to be part of Make in India, even though the different defence labs in the country are hobbled by lack of proper funding. The recent decision by the MHRD to discontinue the existing non-NET fellowship for M. Phil and PhD research scholars is a stark example of jumbled priorities. They have deliberately tried to put up education for sale in the name of meritocracy, deliberately ignoring the dimensions of acute inequality, diversity and idea of inclusivity in higher education. This erratic step was taken with little consideration for the social and economic dynamics of the Indian society, which could harm students from a major section from lower economic strata and prevent them from acquiring higher education. On the other hand, the government is out on a shopping spree, shelling out billions of dollars for military toys rolled out from well-funded, well-managed research laboratories and factories of developed nations. Can’t we see here the hollowness and hypocrisy

It is high time the policy makers looked out for enhancing the capabilities of knowledge production in our universities through the dynamics of inclusivity, equality and socio-economic wellbeing, rather than looking out for a cosmetic overhaul of capabilities through purchased toys.

Pusham Azad Babu
MPhil scholar, JNU 

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-29 February 2016 on page no. 2

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