It’s well established that British rule over India began with the victory of Robert Clive, manager of a trading outpost (‘factory’) of the East India Company in the Battle of Plassey (1757). At Plassey 3,000 Brit and Indian troops hired to provide security to the factory, defeated the 50,000-strong army of Siraj-ud-Daula, Nawab of Bengal. This improbable victory was enabled by the treachery of Mir Jafar, a celebrated General of the Nawab’s army. Like dragons teeth, a million Mir Jafars are sprouting in post-independence India.
This lament is provoked by the lack of gratitude and cooperation from leaders of all the great estates of the realm, experienced by your editor. Rightly or wrongly your editor believes that QEFA (quality education for all) is the essential precondition of national (not merely middle class) development. Yet despite EW established as India’s #1 education news publication of 22 years vintage, neither PM Modi nor any BJP Union education minister has conceded an interview to explain complex education legislation. Ditto numerous vice chancellors of publicly-funded universities including IISc, IITs, IIMs.
However Mir Jafars are most pervasive in India Inc. Despite your correspondent in previous avatars as founding-editor of Business India and Businessworld having played a major role in freeing India Inc from the chains of licence-permit-control raj and the ceiling on managerial remuneration, few corporate leaders have extended a helping hand by way of interview, funding offer, advertising or even corporate subscription.
Two months ago, your editor wrote personalised letters to the chairmen/CEOs of India’s Top 100 companies to subscribe one copy of EW (Rs.1,700 per annum) for display in their reception rooms to spread awareness of our Quality Education for All (QEFA) mission. There’s not been a single response to date. It’s difficult to believe that leaders of India’s Top 100 companies can’t discern the connection between QEFA and national prosperity. Without one billion high quality human resources the PM’s $30 trillion GDP target by 2047 is doomed to failure. A root cause is that Mir Jafars are multiplying.