This minority problem is not small

September 12, 2017 by  
Filed under India, newsletter-india

India, September 12, 2017: Some two decades ago, I was approached by the management of a Christian college in Kerala to be its principal. I was told that there was none within the institution who fitted the bill. Being urged repeatedly, I felt inclined to help. I said to the intermediary, “Sure, I’ll come. But, there is one condition: no one shall interfere with appointments and admissions.”  All importunities stopped at once. The proposal vanished like a plume of smoke in the burst of a gust.

Why did I put forward this condition? I had been hearing angry denunciations that minority educational institutions, barring rare exceptions, were reeking with corruption. Posts and seats were being sold to those who could buy them at handsome prices. As one who stood and fought valorously for minority rights all my life, I felt betrayed and indignant.

Over the years the problem has got worse. It seems now to be the case that educational institutions are run by many a Christian denomination in Kerala largely for the huge unaccounted income they generate. It does not have to be argued that money extracted illicitly from candidates will not show up in audited statement of accounts! Of course, not every minority institution is corrupt; but it is certainly the case that many are. None should be.

The venality of selling posts for pelf upsets me as an educationist. Inasmuch as the educational cannot be isolated from the ethical, it is also an ethical issue; and should be so, for all who care for education.  This is the most insurmountable hindrance in the path of pursuing excellence, especially in higher education. Institutions cannot be Christian without a passionate commitment to this goal.  Minority rights are conferred on religious minorities in order that they may preserve their religious culture in the larger interest. It is a terrible disservice to the biblical faith, to the community, and to the country at large to corrupt this unique provision with greed. No one shall convince me that the right to practice corruption is basic to preserving the biblical faith, or that the interest of the community can be served through such malfeasance.

Kerala was a pioneer in education in the history of modern education in India. But the standard of education in the state has sunk so low that aspiring students seek educational asylum outside Kerala, as I had to do four decades ago. I regard myself as an educational refugee. Why did I have to be, when I could ill-afford it? I have been crying hoarse that minority educational rights are a sacred trust that the Constitution reposes in minority communities. By abusing them, the communities concerned activate the logic for their annulment. A community that proves itself to be a poor custodian of a special right will, and must, forfeit it. The Constitution of India envisages no right to corruption. The courts have warned repeatedly, “the right to administer is not the right to maladminister”. Education is a spiritual enterprise. Subtlety is the hallmark of the spiritual. A small thing can have disproportionate effect in this sphere.

The utterance of a single lie becomes a nightmare for those who are spiritually sensitive. The horrendously devastating effect of corruption on education needs to be called out.

Corruption kills work culture. It does not have to be argued that those who buy teaching jobs at exorbitant prices will lose all motivation to do their work conscientiously or in a responsible fashion. The awareness of having bribed one’s way into the sanctuary of education, makes such infiltrators an uneasy presence, a ponderous liability, in the learning environment. They linger in institutions, mostly to recover the investments made.

– new indian express

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