Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Shameless seeking of doles from a US foundation and UK, the colonial looter

Shameless seeking of doles from a US foundation and UK, the colonial looter

Two documents are annexed:

Annex 1 Taking foreign help to set up world class university

Annex 2 Taking foreign help to set up a museum

Both documents bring out an issue which should be treated as a matter of shame for swarajya bharatam. Globalization is one thing but to lose swaabhimaan is quite another.

Treasuring and cherishing Hindu civilization heritage should be done with a lot of pride in the quest for satyam and assuring reinforcement of national identity. The tragedy of the polity we are in is that the polity has been mortgaged to foreign interests with little concern for setting goals for the state to reach great heights, for example, realizing India Vision 2020.

Prof. Chakrabarti has permitted me to publish his open letter to Ms. Ambika Soni. I feel proud that Prof. Chakrabarti has taken up the issue of what he calls, ‘one of the most crucial dimensions of our heritage’ in right earnest. I wish more would join his clarion call for an honest study of the heritage, without the claptrap of motivated, academic dishonesty of many in a gang called ‘indologists.’ with little academic credentials.

We had seen the spectacle of the Hon’ble PM of India going to UK to receive some honorary degree and lavishing praise on the erstwhile colonial regime, forgetting the economist lapel he wears and forgetting the colonial loot which occurred during that inglorious regime leading to the impoverishment of Hindusthana, genocide caused by Bengal famine and social upheavals by the divide-and-rule policies followed by the imperialists.

It is time for the politico-s ruling the state to start realizing that the nation is larger than mere bureaucratizing with mission-less institutions and at the minimum, we should stop seeking a few crumbs from a US foundation or from someone called Bill Rammell of United Kingdom.

What needs to be done is to make UK account for the colonial loot and pay up reparations to swarajya bharatam and to tell the US foundation: thanks for your benevolence, but we can do the Sarasvati Centre on our own.


Annex 1 Taking foreign help to set up world class university

Kolkata Telegraph, Issue Date: Wednesday , May 28 , 2008

India at foreign door for varsity - Appeal for help after half a century

Role Models: Institutes set up earlier with foreign help.

IIT Mumbai, USSR, 1958
IIT Madras, W. Germany, 1959
IIT Kanpur, US, 1959
IIT Delhi, UK 1961

New Delhi, May 27: India has asked Britain for financial and technical assistance to set up a new “world class” university (WCU), nearly half a century after it last asked for foreign help in starting a premier education institution.
Junior higher education minister Purandeswari Devi has also asked her British counterpart Bill Rammell for assistance in upgrading facilities and teaching standards at the Indian Institutes of Technology, government officials told The Telegraph.

No post-Independence central university — the WCUs will be run from New Delhi — has been set up with support from a foreign country.

Some of the older IITs — like those in Mumbai, Kanpur, Chennai and Delhi — were set up in the late 1950s and early 1960s with assistance from the USSR, Cold War rival US, West Germany and the UK.

The human resource development ministry’s latest call for help has come at a time when other developing countries — especially in Asia and Africa — are increasingly turning to India for assistance in improving their education system.

IIT Delhi is helping Nepal’s Tribhuvan University develop its engineering wing. IIT Mumbai is working with the Nelson Mandela Foundation — an NGO — to start a pan-African institute of excellence. It is also helping Cambodia and other Southeast Asian countries develop engineering schools.

Sources said Purandeswari told Rammell at a meeting in Delhi yesterday that India needed assistance in modernising teacher-training programmes in higher education.
Faculty support — a euphemism for greater participation of guest lecturers from the foreign country — was another request put forward by Purandeswari, the sources said, adding that she also dwelt on skill development — educating students for the job market — as a “key issue”.

Rammell is learnt to have told the minister that the UK was in the process of restructuring its own skill development process, and was willing to share its experiences.

The two ministers are expected to meet again in London on July 18 or 19.
The sources said India, at yesterday’s meeting, indicated its desire to firm up details of the plan before the end of the year. Higher education secretary R.P. Agrawal asked Rammell if the deal could be finalised by July, but the British minister evaded any commitment to a timeline.

“Since our academic session starts in July, we wanted an early conclusion to the talks,” an official said.

In March this year, education minister Arjun Singh had announced locations for 14 WCUs the Centre plans to set up during the eleventh plan.

The universities are set to come up in Bengal (Calcutta), Assam, Orissa, Bihar, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.

The universities will be controlled by the Centre but kept distinct from existing central universities, and will be nurtured to compete with institutions like Harvard and Cambridge.


Annex 2 Taking foreign help to set up a museum

24 April 2008
Mrs Ambika Soni
The Honourable Minister of Culture
Government of India
Shastri Bhavan
Delhi, India

Sub: the proposed Indus Centre under the aegis of the American Global Heritage Fund in Vadodara

Dear Mrs Soni,

As one of the seniormost academic archaeologists of the country, I would be failing in my duty both as a professional archaeologist and as an Indian citizen if I do not draw your attention to the implications of the proposal to establish a centre for the study of the Indus Civilization in Vadodara under the auspices of the Global Heritage Fund, an American organization .

The Indian members of its Senior Advisory Board comprise the following persons :

(1) Dr Kalpana Desai, Director of the Chhatrapati Sivaji Maharaj Vastu Samgrahalaya, Mumbai (also listed as the Project Director) ; (2)Shri Hasmukh Shah, a retired bureaucrat, (3) Shri Sunil Parekh, a former chairman of the Gujarat Confederation of Industries; (4) Dr Madhu Mehta, an architect in the Nirma University; (5)Dr Rumi Mistry, Technology Promotion Board, Vadodara, (6) Professor K K Bhan , an archaeology professor of the M.S,University of Baroda; and (7) Shri Nitin Desai of a financial firm.
As Dr Kalpana Desai heads a museum of national importance in Mumbai, which comes within the purview of your Ministry, and has been listed as the Project Director of the proposed centre, I would assume that the proposal has passed through the Ministry of Culture under your care.

The American members include, among others, Professor Mark Kenoyer of the Anthropology department of University of Michigan, Wisconsin, USA.

The main point to note in this list is that the Indian advisors have only one archaeologist’s name, i.e. of K K Bhan, and similarly, the American list has one archaeologist in the form of M Kenoyer. I further point out that Professor Kenoyer , who had Professor Bhan as his Indian collaborator in his study of the beads of Cambay, has excavated as a part of an American team at Harappa in Pakistan and is known in print to have declared Pakistan a secular country and the Koran as a text providing inspiration to look for (archaeological) ‘mounds’( “Archaeology”, March-June issue, 2002, pp. 19-21). I have also argued in one of my publications (“The Battle for Ancient India, an Essay in the Socio-politics of Indian Archaeology” , Delhi, 2008, Aryan Books International, p. 96) that he has tried to give a Pakistani angle to the study of the Indus Civilization by repeatedly calling it, wilfully and without any justification, “ Indus Valley Civilization”. The term implies that this civilization was primarily limited to the Indus valley which is in Pakistan and undermines the role of the hundreds of sites of this civilization that we have in our Panjab, Haryana, Gujarat and western Uttar Pradesh.

Thus the first major point I am making is that it would be impossible to argue that the proposed foreign-sponsored centre for the study of the Indus Civilization in Vadodara has any substantive academic credential.

The second point to be noted in this connection is that this proposed ‘Centre’ is the first foreign-funded archaeological institute in India, ostensibly to take care of one of the most crucial dimensions of our heritage. It has serious long-term implications, and before the authorities apparently decided to give it a green signal, the matter ought to have been discussed openly and threadbare in the country’s professional bodies and “Societies” of archaeology. Indian archaeologists ought to have been given the opportunity of voicing their opinion before the Government apparently decided to ‘outsource’ as important a segment of the Indian past as the Indus Civilization.

My third point in this connection is that the study of the past is related to a range of delicate issues, the most important of which is the nation's sense of identity based on that past. This sense of identity is subject to manipulations of all kinds. The way these manipulations take place, is, in fact, a matter of extensive enquiry as a sub-branch of Archaeology - "socio-politics of the past".

On the basis of my research in this field I can say that the study of India’s ancient past has never been an innocuous scholarly matter. It has always been accompanied by political sub-texts of various kinds. For instance, the politics of the study of the Indus Civilization has been discussed at length in my aforementioned publication (pp. 51-102).

This civilization has had a very rich and distinguished history of research in India, and in no way can a patriotic Indian like myself condone the idea of setting up a foreign-funded institute for the purpose.

The Government of India followed, till recently, a fairly consistent attitude which was commensurate with national interests regarding foreign participation in Indian archaeology. The policy seems to have been abandoned in recent years, although even now, all applications for foreign collaborations should be subject to close scrutiny by a separate review committee, taking into view a wide variety of professional issues, including the background and history of research and publication of the applicants.

I do hope, Madam, that you will kindly look into the proposal of setting up this foreign-sponsored institute in Vadodara in detail, remembering all the time that the study of the past is not as innocent as it appears on the surface.

With best regards,
Yours sincerely,

Dilip K Chakrabarti
Professor of South Asian Archaeology
Cambridge University, UK

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