By Sumit Kumar:
The appointment of ex-cricketer Chetan Chauhan as the head of NIFT has created the inevitable uproar over the vitiation of institutions of high esteem by the appointment monopoly of the central government planting its ideological proponents at the chief posts of institutions of high credibility. This appointment monopoly during the BJP regime will put the credibility of these institutions at stake. It would be unfair or rather wrong to assume that Modi sycophants are ideologically bankrupt but having said that, I must also point out that appointing a cricketer as the head of an institution that specialises in Fashion Technology, is absolutely irrational and absurd.
Not that this is something new started in isolation by the NDA government. Instead, such tactics have been implemented by successive incumbent governments using appointments ranging from the governor of states to the chief of censor board to disseminate the public ideology. If it’s UPA in power, the country becomes Nehruvian, and when the NDA takes over, the country turns saffron. This pathetic politicisation has negated the very purpose for which our country’s institutions were created. Any institution in a democratic society becomes great only if it is adversarial to the current status-quo of the state. It is this contradictory stance of institutions that becomes the impetus for transformation and radical changes of the society. Last year, a whole group of intellectual-lobby was decrying the growing intolerance and restraining of freedom of speech in India. The fact is that we have suffered this restriction of ideas for decades and will continue to suffer unless we realise that the fundamental institutions that drive India’s minds must remain free from prejudice and bigotry.
Appointments should be done on merits and not on politics. Can a student who fails in Chemistry in 12th boards be admitted to an undergraduate course in Chemistry only if he believes in the moral principles of Dalton or Rutherford? Neutrality in appointment is imperative for the institutions to grow and flourish. Our former president Hon. A.P.J Abdul Kalam had envisioned India as a knowledge economy. But when the head of institutions themselves are illiterate about their subjects, we better take pity on the scenario. No political party will take up this cause. It is the youth and their voice which will have to rise against this discriminatory system. Petty politics in the working of National Institutions must come to an end. We have to espouse and fight for this cause until it breaks into a reality.