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Sickness Within

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The illegal confinement and manhandling on Thursday of Union Minister Babul Supriyo at Jadavpur University by radicalised students of the Left reveals the sorry state of affairs in West Bengal. Even the Governor Jagdeep Dhankar, the Chancellor of the University, who went to ‘rescue’ Supriyo when it became evident that neither the police nor the university authorities were willing to take action against the hooliganism, had a hard time completing his ‘mission’. This is not the first time that this University has been in the news for all the wrong reasons, but quite obviously the political culture in the state indulges such behaviour and every party benefits from it. There is absolutely no concern about the impact it will have on the students’ future, particularly in a challenging economic environment. Such radicalised behaviour was introduced into student politics by the romanticised versions of Leftist revolution in the sixties. Of late, student outfits like the ABVP have also exploited the space to the full. Entire generations of politicians have made careers out of the ritualised genuflection before Marxist and Maoist ideological constructs designed to create a parasitic class that lives off the State. This has led to institutions like Jadavpur University, JNU, etc., becoming hotbeds of extremism, almost completely narrowing down academic pursuit to a self-serving and self- perpetuating cocoon. The students are the least to blame. In fact, they are the victims of lazy intellectualism that tests itself not by any objective criteria but by artificial self- defined standards. The focus, as is the case with every religion, is not on reality but on the depth of belief. And ‘believers’ they are, willing to be martyred for the ‘cause’; puppets of the manipulators who fill their ranks with psyches corrupted by low self-esteem. Wherever in the world they have managed to acquire state power, they have destroyed the economy, or transformed it into oligarchic capitalism. In India, this worship of mediocrity as a measure of ‘equality’, pedantry as achievement, has afflicted almost all the institutions of ‘learning’. Very few churn out students who can compete, not only within the Indian reality, but also on the global stage. It is not surprising the successes are mostly from disciplines that perforce have objective criteria, such as science, engineering, mathematics and medicine. A large part of the blame for having unemployable graduates and worthless degrees goes to this cancer in the system. All the students are left with, is the angst they display at their ritualised protests, supposedly against the ‘rotten system’ but actually against the success and meritocracy they cannot enjoy.