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Curbs on research topics ridiculous

Curbs on research topics ridiculous
Highlights

A professor from Kerala has quit the Board of Studies of Central University of Kerala in protest against a circular from the university asking the departments to admit students for PhD only if they have subjects related to ‘national priorities’

A professor from Kerala has quit the Board of Studies of Central University of Kerala in protest against a circular from the university asking the departments to admit students for PhD only if they have subjects related to 'national priorities'.

The circular dated March 13 reads: "All the Heads of the Department are hereby directed to convene the meeting of faculties and to prepare a shelf of projects to be taken for research study pertaining to their subject considering national priorities. The student can opt from the shelf of projects."

The circular also adds, "Discourage research in irrelevant areas. When fellows are being admitted for PhDs, the topic for PhDs should be in accordance to national priorities.

Allotting privilege topics to students should be dispensed with. Shocking? Is it not so? Can there be a circular like this to be sent to universities - seats of higher learning - in a really civilised society? Was the HRD Minister aware of the issuance of such a circular or not?

How would he not know when the university falls under his jurisdiction and command. National priorities should be researched, the circular says. A research itself should be the national priority. What to research and how to research should be left to the intellect of the student interested in doing it.

This is the danger with ultra-nationalism. Tomorrow a 'more loyal than king' Head of the Department might as well ask students not to research outer space but take up only 'Chandrayaan' as it is a national priority.

So, one might even be asked to stop research on modern warfare and rather study the wars fought in Ramayana and Mahabharata. A certain 'talk from the heart" could be the best bet for research and not farmers plight in this land.

This thought control attempts have been seen in the world in the not so distant past. There was a nationalistic ruler somewhere in the world who sought to impose

his own standards of curriculum because he suspected the professors' integrity as they belonged to a certain DNA.

University curriculums were strictly controlled so that they fitted in with his beliefs. There was a great emphasis placed on the country's achievements and any achievement made by an 'outsider' was either ignored or derided.

The Theory of Relativity was described as a certain plot to achieve world domination and reduce the original pure inhabitants to the level of slaves. A very few were prepared to speak out against such an approach as most, if not all, would have known what the consequences were.

Several eminent professors had to flee the country to escape intimidation and harassment and confinement. This particular university in question went ahead an issued a clarification later claiming it only meant that the topics for research should benefit economic, social and technological advancement of the nation and the society.

Agreed. Every research should benefit the society in one form or the other, be it in any field. But to say only 'those topics' should be allowed to be researched is plain ridicule. 'Tamaso ma jyotir gamaya".

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