Crocodile Tears

Harasankar Adhikari

Very recently in a conclave organised by a private Hotel Management Institute of Kolkata on 'Challenges in Primary, Secondary and Professional Education', Mr Pranab Mukherjee, Hon'ble Former President of India bewailed about the poorer situation of India in higher education and research. He expressed statistically his dissatisfaction in relation to India's backwardness in higher education and research comparing to USA and China. As per the World Bank Report, 2014-15, number of researchers in India was very negligible (only 216 of one million population), while it was 8232 in USA and 1177 in China. He criticised that it was due to poor funding of governments (as per the share of GDP in education) comparing to these two countries. To overcome this situation, he expects future co-ordination between education institutions and industries. Private investment in higher education and research would be the right direction for improvement of this poorer situation. He also realises that joint initiatives of governments and private institutions would rebuild a healthy balance in higher education and research to make the country intellectually progressive.

This above valuable speech of Mr Mukherjee for his country is like crocodile tears. His speech reminds one that he is crying in vain. After retirement from all of his duties, is it a humour towards his political countrymen? About 5 decades of his career, Mr Mukherjee represented several prestigious and glorifying positions as diplomat, policy-makers, law & order authority of government and crisis manager in Indian politics. He chaired the portfolio of the Finance Minister in India, Vice Chairman of the Planning Commission of India and so forth from 1970's to very recent past of UPA-II. For last 5 decades he was most distinguished representative of the government or its opposition. Therefore, he was aware about the fact of the poorer situation of India in higher education and research. But he or his participating government had not taken any significant step for improvement of this in honouring to schedule rights in the Constitution. Even very recent past being the hon'ble President of India, he had no such step to influence the government for reformation of higher education and research through more fund allotment. Why did he not debate and agitate for this issue? He did not take any consultation with the government or in the parliament on this issue. Even he did not influence his Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, a true academician who was once the chairman of UGC as the Finance Minister of UPA-II for improvement of this situation.

All the fact rightly reminds the remarks of another distinguished personality Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, 'Every Indian advises others, but he/she never follows the same. It is chronic disease of Indians'.

Last of all, Indians are very unfortunate that their political leaders firstly think for their career and enjoy all benefits. They do less, but advise more for their countrymen for their betterment.

Vol. 50, No.45, May 13 - 19, 2018