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Cleaning Augean stables

Your cover story profiling ‘33 young rising stars of Indian education’ (EW March) was interesting and well-written. It’s very encouraging to learn that highly-educated professionals with degrees from the world’s best universities are returning to their motherland, and contributing to reviving Indian education. 

However I would have liked to read profiles of young entrepreneurs and educators doing their bit to improve rural education standards.

Arti Mistry
Delhi

 

 

Inspiring young leader

I was very happy to read the profile of Ryan Pinto, CEO of Ryan International Group of Institutions (RIGI), in ‘33 young rising stars of Indian education’ (EW March).

I have conversed with him and was impressed with his ability to connect with young people. While I did not study at a RIGI School, I have met him twice. On both occasions, he answered all my questions patiently and with clarity. His career advice was instrumental in my choosing a programme at IIT-Guwahati.

Srikanth Rathore
Mumbai


Auction bleeding PSEs

The special report on the Union Budget 2017-18 titled ‘Grudging provision for developing human capital’ (EW March) is brilliantly argued. It exposes the indifference of the BJP-NDA government — and of all previous governments — to the education and welfare of children. In its 2014 election manifesto, the BJP had promised to double spending on education to 6 percent of GDP. It has failed miserably in fulfilling this promise.

I wholeheartedly agree with your suggestion for a global auction of the country’s bleeding public sector enterprises (PSEs) including Air India, and for the proceeds to be invested in human capital development. Also your unique tabulation offering the government a roadmap to generate resources for education by cutting non-merit middle class subsidies and establishment expenditure, is practical and doable.

Please send a copy of the EW March issue to the prime, finance and HRD ministers.

Dhruv Mehta
Mumbai

 

Prejudiced review

I was surprised and disappointed to read in EducationWorld (February) such a prejudiced and unbalanced review of the equally prejudiced and unbalanced book An Era of Darkness by Shashi Tharoor. To condemn the British rulers of India as popinjays and cruel and greedy exploiters is as historically flawed as Tharoor’s economics. Britain sent its very best to rule India. There was a deep love and devotion of India among British civil servants. If not, how would so few of them, supported by a relatively tiny number of British troops (less than 100,000), have ruled 300 million Indians and won the loyalty and obedience of native sepoys? 

Unlike the author, the reviewer at least manages to suppress his revisionist cynicism so far as to make a feeble and apparently slightly embarrassed claim for the import of “the free press, rule of law, and the parliamentary system” (though oddly in this of all magazines he is silent on education). And what of the gift of what is the country’s only universal language that has become the main international language of the world, in which India, thanks to Britain, is now so well placed to become a great economic and political power?

As for the author’s economic illiteracy, the reviewer swallows it uncritically. Uniquely in imperial history from the dawn of civilization, the British Empire did not take the taxes it collected home. They were spent in and for India on the civil and military establishments, vast infrastructure projects, disaster relief, keeping the peace and fair administration of justice — all with a historically unique lack of corruption (an imported virtue that sadly India has proved unable to retain). 

It’s not surprising that the spurious research on which this book is based is American and that its blinkered author lives in that country. America has so prided itself on its mindless “four legs good, two legs bad” anti-imperialism since the end of the last World War that it has brought to almost none of the wretched countries in which it has made war any of the benefits that the British took to India and its colonies. 

Meira Lakshmi 
On e-mail

 

Corrigendum

In the Education Briefs story titled ‘NPSC’s 44th Convention’ (EW March), the names and details of the chief guest and speakers of the 2016 (instead of 2017) conference were inadvertently published. The chief guest of the 44th NPSC 2017 was Amitabh Kant, CEO of the NITI Aayog.

We regret the error and present the corrected version in this issue (p.26) — Editor 
 

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