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“Universities require constant infusion of resources to maintain and upgrade their facilities, resources and technologies. State funding for the same has been dwindling over the years and is irregular. Universities are expected to raise their own resources” – Report of the Committee to Advice on Renovation and Rejuvenation of Higher Education[i]
The state investment in higher education is becoming lesser in India over the years (Govt of India 2009, FICCI 2011, 2014). Citing this as a reason, the government asks the universities to raise its own resources for financing various kinds of its expenditure. These different reports sounds like a dilemma that Barr observes, “the greater the public sector subsidy to the higher education the greater the pressure on the sector not to grow…. So that funding on higher education should not rely excessively on any one source” (Barr 1993). In addition to this, various studies shows that state financing on higher education is not increasing adequately (Tilak 1988). Simultaneously there is an increasing focus on the market’s capability to look after the demands of the sector. An alternative way of resource mobilization through public-private partnership is also getting importance. The above quoted Committee Report is excellent evidence in order to see the changing paradigms of general view on financing on higher education. This makes the underlying question of who needs to finance higher education get more and more complex.
The controversy over the role of government in providing education to its subjects is not new. Adam Smith and Classicists believed and propagated that an ideal state policy should not interfere in the individual’s freedom to follow his self-interest in the best possible way that he could (Prakash & chowdhury 1994). The entire structure of classical economic thought was based on laissez faire, which consigned the minimal role to government in social affaires and management of the economy, assumed that the individual is expected to know what is good for her/is living. In those times education was outside the provision of market mechanism, it was so because the sector did not offer any opportunities of either trade or profit. Education was provided exclusively by religious organisations, private trusts or individuals to people but not universally (universal provision of education is a twentieth century phenomena).
Along with the growth of economic activities in the period of post-industrialisation, the inequalities in income and wealth increased which shackled the relevance and impact of laissez faire principles on state policies (Prakash & chowdhury 1994). Governments started to interfere in economic activities (this led to the growth of public finance which deals with government’s role in economic affairs). The maximization of wealth and output was replaced by the maximum number of people. Empowerment of poor and equality in all levels became the guiding principles of government. Functions of government shifted from protective to promotional roles (Prakash & chowdhury 1994). But controversies accompanied; it was about the relative advantages and disadvantages of provision of different goods and services between market mechanism and non-market mechanism (here the public provision).
For a long period of time, it was considered that the state is supposed to provide free and qualitative education at all levels. It ensured the educational attainment of those who cannot afford it otherwise. Minimum education, in general, promises improvements in standard of living and reduction in differences between haves and have-nots. Education is considered as an instrument for upward economic and social mobility (Khadria 1998). “In all countries in the world, however, education is a heavily subsidised product” (Breton 1974). Similarly high subsidies were provided for education in India. According to the documents of 1994-95, Central government subsidies on education constituted 5.6 per cent of the total Central subsidies. In addition to this about one-fourth of state government’s subsidies are on education (Govt of India 1997).
But it never meant that private participation in the provision of education is not called for in India. There was always an active and parallel education system existed in private sector. The education sector of India had an annual expenditure of about Rs. 70,000 million (Tilak 1988) and it is growing rapidly. Private interests will be genuinely active and vital in this huge potential market. In addition to the direct private initiatives in education, they were actively supported by government funding and such private aided educational system was very wide and active here. In some parts of the country their presence is much more than that of government institutions.
In the area of higher education the state had a much active role. In the post-independent period higher education expanded here with a vast state patronage (Tilak 2008). But in 1980’s as part of the restructuring of the economy with neo-liberal policies the importance of higher education in the state’s investment priorities was reduced. The international institutions like WTO, GATS etc influenced this change in government policies. As far as government stood aside from providing increasing demands of this sector, the market showed great interest to fill the gap; which was tolerated by new policy initiatives.
As mentioned previously private mechanism for provision of education was not a new concept in India. But private education through subsidized government funding was entirely different from private education through pure market mechanism (Tilak 2008). The later depended completely on fee paid by students for their existence. This was a new trend (public higher education is not free in India generally. Other than those of backward communities, students are paying fee which is highly subsidized for their higher studies here).
As mentioned before there is an increasing debate on the role of government in the provision of education especially higher education. Elementary education is considered more or less a responsibility of government everywhere[ii]. The growth of private sector as an alternative to finance education was a catalyst in this dilemma. Economists and policy makers, increasingly, started to believe in the ability and efficiency of private sector in providing the needs of education sector (Levin 1987). Along with the controversy over the nature of financing higher education, theoretical explanations regarding the nature of higher education gradually changed. Such explanations are very vital to the issue because nature of the commodity or service is a determining factor in the perspectives on it. Conventionally we considered higher education as a public good. Now it is increasingly considered as not a public good but more as a private good. Here we are analysing such trends in economics of higher education.
Nature of goods:
The distinction of commodities into different goods, like private and public, is arising from the debate on efficient allocation of resources (Musgrave and Musgrave 1984). In Economics goods and services are generally classified into public and private goods. But in addition to this division, there are various concepts like merit and non-merit goods, quasi-public goods, mixed goods, ambitious goods etc. The division of goods into such categories is to determine the efficient way of allocating resources for their production and to determine the fixation of price.
A general economic explanation of the type of goods that requires public provision remained vague until Sidwich’s and Pigou’s works came out in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (Mureiko 1989). They made important contributions on the ideas of Adam Smith. Adam Smith advocated for the public provision of three types of goods namely national defense, the administration of justice & public works and institutions. But Smith stops himself from explaining the theoretical discussions of why these three types of public goods should be publicly provided. Sidwick and Pigou introduced and analysed the concept of the ‘free rider’ as an integral part of the public good character[iii] (Mureiko 1989). According to Sidwick and Pigou a good must be publicly provided when it can be consumed by persons from whom payment cannot be collected; if not free riders can consume goods at little or no cost to themselves and destroy the incentives for private provision (Smith & Sidwick 1989).
Conventionally we considered that higher education as a public cum merit good which merits it for subsidies. But along with the wide application of neo-liberal policies on each and every part of the economy for wider marketisation; economic concepts on the nature of higher education also starts to change. Now it is all the time more considered not as a public good but more as a private good. Along with this some other concepts of economic goods, as mentioned above, which not gained too much attention in relation to higher education, now receives considerable attention from policy levels. In this context it is highly necessary to revisit on the economic nature of higher education theoretically.
Before doing so we can try to develop a structure of the education market. Like any other commodity, there is a demand and supply side for education. The students are demanding education. On the other side it is supplied either by state run institutions or by private institutions. Recently, due to the influence of neo-liberalism on policy level, there are self financing institutions in public higher education sector in addition to the conventional or ordinary state aided institutions. Private sector consists of both aided and unaided institutions. Unaided private sector or pure private investment in higher education is because of either profit expectations or philanthropic reasons. In general, profit-aimed private investment is dominating by the private sector of higher education. This is because we cannot expect a continuous and large scale investment in the sector only due to philanthropic reasons. The above explained structure is drawn below.
Now we can attempt to explain the different kinds of goods that are discussed in the literature.
- Public goods:
In simple words public goods are goods that would not be provided in a market system because firms would not be able to adequately charge for them due to the existence of two particular characteristics namely non-rivalrousness and non-excludability.
Samuelson explains public good as a good such that each person’s consumption of it is equal to the total supply of the good. According to the definition if X is the total supply of the public good and Xi is the ‘i’th person’s consumption then Xi = X. But for a private good, total amount of supply will be equal to the sum of the individual consumptions. Instead of public goods he used the term “collective consumption goods” which was defined as “one which all enjoy in common in the sense that each individual’s consumption of such a good leads to no subtraction from any other individual’s consumption of that good” (Samuelson 1954). There are two essential characteristics in this definition. Firstly, no member of a community in which the good is produced can be prevented from consuming or enjoying the good and secondly each member’s consumption of the good, once provided, does not subtract from the supply available to other member’s consumption. The first character is referring to non-excludability and the second one is referring to non-rivalrousness or jointness of supply (Starret 1989).
Breton observes that according to Samuelson, the objective benefits of a public good enjoyed by a particular individual are independent of the benefits enjoyed by others. For Breton it is the technological property of public goods (Breton 1965).
Bowen defined public good as goods not divisible into units that can be unique possession of individuals (Bowen 1974). Olson defines public goods as “a common, collective, or public good is here defined as any good such that, if any person Xi in a group X1,…,Xi,….Xn consumes it, it can not feasibly be withheld from the others in that group” (Olson 1977).
According to Oakland “public goods are not used up in the process of consumption by any one individual; they are capable of being ’consumed equally’ by all” (Oakland 1969). Public goods are able to enter simultaneously into the utility function of all individuals in the community. He further observes that for public goods alternative uses of the good are perfect substitutes in consumption for all individuals. It should be noted that public goods does not exhibit substitution among individual utilities. It is because the distribution or pattern of individual utilities is independent of the allocation of a public good. In contrast to this the allocation of private goods among alternative uses affects the distribution of individual utilities; so that private goods exhibit substitution among individual utilities (Oakland 1969).
Alternative uses of a public good are depending upon the nature of the good itself. For some public goods the alternative uses will correspond to its locational patterns. For example highways, bridges and light houses. For some other public goods the alternatives will be the same as those for private goods; educational services can be allocated to consumers in many different ways. There are so many other competing uses, too, existing for public goods. From all these competing uses, we can say that a public good has the characteristic that an individual’s utility depends only upon the total quantity produced and not upon its composition (Oakland 1969).
The four criteria given in the following defining a public good (Hart & Cowhey 1977). They are,
- Joint supply: We can say that a good is in joint supply if
its provision to one individual does not reduce the amount of benefits provided
to others by an equal amount. For example a large park can be consumed
concurrently by many individuals without diminishing the enjoyment of others.
- Non-excludability: It means that it is not feasible to exclude any individual from consuming the good. Thus, even though an individual does not contribute to the costs of the supply he may still consume the good. Once people realize public goods are available or non-excludable, there will be no incentive in them to reveal their true preferences (Mureiko 1989). When it is impossible for the supplier to exclude potential consumers from the consumption of a public good, it implies that marketing costs are infinite and therefore the non-marketing strategies should be employed (Head, John G & Shoup 1969).
- Indivisibility of benefits: Benefits of consumption are indivisible when it is not possible to assign fractural shares of the total benefit to individual consumers based on their share of consumption (Head, John G & Shoup 1969). This is due to consumption externalities i.e. one’s consumption is affected by someone else consumption (Oakland 1969).
“Externality exists whenever an output of one economic agent appears as an input in the consumption or production vector of another economic agent without any compensation being paid by either party” (Holtermann 1972). Consumption externalities arise due to two reasons. One is whenever an individual consider in determining the value of a particular good both the overall distribution of consumption as well as their own consumption. For example an individual may feel benefitted from the provision of immunization in his neighborhood even if he does not directly consume himself any unit of it. The other reason is related to the nature of the good i.e. there can be indivisibility of benefit because it is hard to determine what their share of consumption actually in the case of a road or bridge (Hart & Cowhey 1977).
- Impossibility of appropriation: Absence of property rights lead to the publicness of a good. A good is impossible (difficult) to appropriate if it is impossible (difficult) to establish the ownership of the good. There may be two reasons for the difficulty to establish the individual ownership of a good – either because it is owned by no one or because it is owned collectively like oceans.
In determining a public good we can add the following too in addition to the four criteria that we discussed above.
- Degree of commonality: In contrast to
private goods, consumption of a public good by one individual does not diminish
the quantity that can be consumed by other consumers. Therefore public good
stand at the opposite pole of private good with respect to its degree of
commonality (Musgrave 1969). The public goods can be enjoyed by the community
as a whole, whereas the former can be enjoyed only by those in possession of
- Non-rivalry in consumption: Non-rivalrousness means the partaking of the consumption benefits by one person does not reduce the benefits derived by all others. It is an extension of joint supply. It is completely absent for public goods. For private goods consumption is characterized by perfect rivalry (Oakland 1969). Public goods permit joint consumption.
- Sharing groups: In developing a theory of clubs Buchanan observes that the optimal sharing group for a public good includes an infinitely large number of consumers (Buchanan 1965).
It should be noted that all these criteria are interdependent of each other.
- Private goods
The case of private goods is just opposite to that of public goods. We already examined public goods in detail; so the characteristics of private goods can be summarized as follows.
- Exclusion is possible in the case of
private goods (here exclusion refers to price exclusion). Consumption takes
place when an individual pay for a commodity and those who does not pay for the
commodity is excluded from the consumption of that commodity.
- Private goods are characterized by rivalry in consumption. Here one individual’s consumption reduces the benefits enjoyed by all others.
- Benefits of consumption of a private good are divisible among consumers. When a particular consumer consumes a commodity, the benefits out of that consumption are applicable only to him and it is deriving from those units of consumption only.
- Private goods enjoy property rights. This ability of private goods leads to exclusion in consumption.
- A private good is consumed by a finite number of individuals generally one consumption unit i.e. one individual or one family.
- Private goods are not possible to supply jointly.
3. Merit goods
It is difficult to define merit goods in one or two sentences. In rough words we can define merit goods as those goods that would be under provided in a free market system. It is argued that market fails to respect social ethos and community feeling (Chattopadhyay 2009). In the other side individual choices may be limited in market due to various reasons like information asymmetry, incapability of individuals to take rational decisions etc. At such situations in order to implement effective individual choices the larger society (i.e. the government) interferes.
Merit goods can be public or private but they are more closely connected with public goods. Merit goods are under provided in the market due to lack of property rights, non-excludability and non-rivalrousness in consumption etc. Public goods enjoy more or less the same characteristics. We know that price exclusion is not impossible but the problem is to decide when exclusion is economic. Exclusion is very expensive in the case of merit and public goods. In the case of such commodities market provision will be inadequate which requires government intervention.
Market mechanism is considered only about the private costs and benefits and not about public costs and benefits. A private producer may not be interested to produce a commodity which is giving less private benefit and more public benefits. One of the characteristics of a merit good is its ability to produce a high proportion of public (external) benefits (it should be noted that benefits here refer not only to economic benefits). We know that public goods also create a lot of external benefits.
4. Quasi-public good
Quasi-public goods or mixed goods can be defined roughly as those goods which have primary beneficiaries but generate externalities in the society. So there are collective as well as primary benefits but primary beneficiaries gets more benefits (i.e. direct benefits) than others. Chattopadhyay defines quasi-public good as “essentially a private good with positive externalities which accrue to the society as a whole” (Chattopadhyay 2009).
5. Joint goods
The concept of joint goods which was developed by Oakland shares some of the features of both private and public goods. A joint good has the property that a given output can be allocated among alternative uses, at least one of which generates joint consumption and such that not all individuals are indifferent between all users (Oakland 1969).
6. Ambiguous goods
According to Head & Shoup some services are there which will not come under the category of public or private good. These services any more efficiently provided under either market or non-market mechanism depending on both the following;
- On how disposable income is distributed.
- On how infra-marginal costs are being shared with respect to the service inconsideration.
Such a service can be termed as an ambiguous type of good (Head and Shoup 1969).
7. Club goods
Buchanan developed the concept of club goods in his “An Economic Theory of Clubs” (Buchanan 1965). Club goods are “those goods and services, the consumption of which involves some ‘publicness’, where the optimal sharing group is more than one person or family, but smaller than an infinitely large number” (the range of ‘publicness’ is finite) or club goods are those goods available for consumption to the whole membership unit of which the particular referred individual is a member. The concept of club goods will be relevant only if exclusion is possible (Buchanan 1965).
8. External goods
The commodities which exert external effects on other economic agents can be called external outputs or external goods. They are produced jointly with the commercial or internal output of the firm in fixed or in variable proportions. Determining a commodity as an internal good or as an external good depends entirely on compensation is paid or received for its consumption or not (Holtermann 1972).
There is no detailed literature available on joint goods, ambiguous goods and club goods. But joint goods are more similar to mixed or quasi-public goods. Ambiguous goods too are related to quasi-public goods. Details of club goods are not available to scrutinize its relationship with other variables.
Economic nature of higher education
Higher education was considered as a public cum merit good which deserves substantial government financial support. It is because the social benefits of higher education exceed its private benefits. That means the benefits of higher education is not only equipping the individual but also the entire society: benefits of higher education are indivisible.
The externalities created by higher education sector are numerous. The most significant contribution is the creation of qualified and trained teachers for primary education which is accepted as a public good universally (Khadria 1998). Higher education leads to creation of knowledge (Morginson 2007). Creation of knowledge is not an end in itself; it is the base of all other social mobility and empowerment. Higher education produces goods like literacy and common culture. Higher education significantly influences Research & Development activities.
Higher education creates external benefits to a wide range of activities. When the benefits created by higher education are indivisible, it will be difficult to calculate the individual share of benefits. The externalities are difficult to calculate here because of two reasons. Firstly an individual recipient of higher education while accounting his own consumption cannot accurately calculate the different sources of his knowledge. We cannot hire knowledge from a single source. Secondly an institution for higher education for particular recipient is more than of a class room, a teacher, a library or a lab etc but it is an amalgamation of all these things. It is not only one person approaching these facilities. While these facilities are consumed by different individuals, they are getting enriched by the latter’s contributions.
The nature of benefits of higher education is non-excludable. The output of higher education is produced not for a single purchaser. Appropriation is difficult here. For example a lecture delivered by a Professor can be attended by more than one individual. Even if a particular individual does not participate in the discussion he can still consume the product. Non-excludability exists due to the absence of appropriation in the sector.
Non-excludability refers to absence of property rights. It is difficult to appropriate products of higher education. Even if knowledge in the form of texts, equations etc are patented, in a competitive world it will soon become open to all. Other than this, the knowledge is a composite product contributed by different individuals at different times; hence appropriation of property rights over knowledge has its own restrictions.
Non-exclusion exists in higher education because their consumption is characterised by non-rivalrousness. When you are benefitted by a lecture given by a Professor, it does not lead to an equal decline of such a benefit to anybody else; everybody is receiving the benefits of higher education without reducing the benefits derived by all others. This character of higher education is an extension of joint supply.
We can say that the benefits of higher education are jointly supplied because in this sector provision of benefits to one individual does not reduce the amount of benefits provided to others by an equal amount.
But in contrast to the case of public goods, higher education does not fulfill the criteria of degree of commonality and infinite number of consumers. First of all higher education cannot be enjoyed by the community as a whole. It can be provided to only those who have eligibility and willingness to enter the sector. Secondly there are a finite number of people who will use a higher education product (for example the number of people who will go through the book of Constitution of India in a university library). Apart from these two conditions we can argue that higher education is a public product.
Higher education can be considered as a merit good too. One reason is that the sector is able to produce a high proportion of public benefits. Higher education is widely considered as a public cum merit good.
Higher education can be considered as an experience good (Teixeira 2009). It means that true assessment of higher education’s quality by the students is possible only when they consume the good; only during the process of consumption they will experience the good.
Higher education also produces positional goods or individualized status benefits. These goods are obtained by students. Admission to elite universities ensures students with opportunities to secure superior income and social standing.
Higher education cannot be considered as a private good. First of all property rights are not possible to impose on higher education sector. Secondly a product of higher education sector cannot consume wholly by one consumer. The benefits out of consumption of higher education are not divisible. Higher education is characterized by non-rivalry in consumption. Exclusion is impossible in the consumption of higher education. Finally higher education cannot be supplied individually.
“…higher education is regarded aptly as a ‘quasi-public good’….” (Tilak 1993) Here the argument is higher education is providing more benefits to the recipient. That means the direct or primary beneficiaries are in a better position than indirect beneficiaries. “Individual benefits increase by increasing levels of education” (Tilak 1993). Lack of higher education can be a barrier in making career choices, job entry and promotions (Nauriyal and Bhalla 2004). Getting higher education is increasing the individual status. So that claims of higher education to be viewed as a quasi or semi public good is not weak.
Higher education is a social relation not only between the students and institutions but also between the creators of knowledge and beneficiaries of knowledge. A market, in what ever better form, cannot replace such a relationship. A market is concerned with prices and those commodities and services which are not completely fit into the structure of price system, whatever the reasons are, cannot be provided efficiently with its mechanism. Public provision of higher education may have its own disadvantages but instead of strengthening it we cannot afford to dismantle the sector for quasi-markets or private markets. As like as public goods are provided more efficiently through non-marketing mechanism, it can argue that higher education can be provided more better in a quasi-market structure if its is a quasi-public good. Even though higher education can be considered as a quasi-public good, as some economists argue, we cannot agree with that because it is the government policies that formulates the ultimate nature of any commodity.
solutions for higher education are not a viable option considering the
bureaucratic structure and imperfections in the capital market. Considering the
sector in par with private good is again suicidal. Higher education is a public
cum merit good. So that government intervention not only as a facilitator but
also as a provider is essential for the sector. If not those who cannot afford
it otherwise will suffer.
[i] Report of the Committee to Advice on Renovation and Rejuvenation of Higher Education, Government of India, 2009.
[ii] For instance the Report of Government Subsidies in India 1997 recommended elementary education to be provided free. The same Report recommends to stop all subsidies on the provision of tertiary education.
[iii] A free rider is one who consumes valuable goods at little or no expense to himself.
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Holtermann, S.E (1972). ‘Externalities and Public Goods’, Economica, New Series, Vol 39, No 153 (Feb.).
Khadria, Binod (1998). ‘Missing the Wood for the Trees: the Dangers of Following a Segregated Perspective of Education’, University News, 36(24).
Levin, Henry. M (1987). ‘Education as a Public and Private Good’, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Vol. 6, No.4, Privatisation: Theory and Practice (Summer).
Morginson, Simon (2007). ‘The Public/Private Divide in Higher Education: A Global Revision’, Higher Education.
Mureiko, William R (1989). ‘A Public Good Approach to Calculating Reasonable Fees Under Attorney Fee Shifting Statutes’, Duke Law Journal, Vol.1989, No.2(April).
Musgrave, Richard A & Musgrave, Peggy (1984). ‘Public Finance in Theory and Practice’, McGraw-Hill Book Company, New Delhi.
Nauriyal, D.K. & Bhalla, Sanjeev (2004). ‘Higher Education in the New Millennium: The Need for a Paradigm Shift’, Journal of Educational Planning and Administration, Vol XVIII No 3.
Oakland, William H (1969). ‘Joint Goods’, Economica, New Series, Vol 36, No 143(Aug).
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Prakash, shri & chowdhury, Sumitra (1994). ‘Expenditure on Education: Theory, Models and Growth’, NIEPA, New Delhi.
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Tilak, J.B.G. (2008). ‘Transition from Higher Education as a Public Good to Higher Education as a Private Good: the Saga of Indian Experience’, Journal of Asian Public Policy, Vol I, No.2.
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Kalinga Asian Athletic Championship: Rise of New Champions – Razeena Kuzhimandapathil & Praveen PilasseryAugust 12th, 2017
22nd Asian Athletic championship held at Kalinga stadium, Bhubaneswar, Orissa from 6th to 9th July remarked the emergence of India as a new sports power. 41 nations with around 560 athletes competed this years championship. China was the unquestionable giant of the championship so far. Since the commencement of the Championship in 1973, China crowned it 17 times.. But now India won twelve gold, five silver and twelve bronze and declared as winners pushing China to the second place. Kazakhisthan won eight medals and reached third place.
There were many notable performances from Indian battalion. The shocking surprise created by Ms. P U Cithra in 1500m is a striking example of this. Archana Yadav’s gold in 800m is another feather in cap for the host nation. India won gold after 17 years in javelin throw through Chopra. Mohammed Anas won gold in 400m. Lakshmanan won gold in both 5000m and 10000m. India won gold in both 4x400m relay men and women. At the same time it is unfortunate that Manpreet Kaur failed in doping tests after winning gold in short-put.
The history of Asian Athletic Championship can be traced to 1950s even though the idea took more than two decades to realize. It is the efforts of Sardar Umrao Singh ensured the flagging off biennial championship in Marikina, Philipines in 1973. It was Japan that won the first championship. Japan continued its first position till 1981 but later China captured that position till now except 2011 Kobe, Japan. The championship was in political controversy in 1977 as it not allowed Israel to not participate; hence the championship did not happen in that year. But the controversy not stopped there. The International Association of Athletic Federation de-promoted the status of AAC; hence all editions between 1979 to1989 were named as ‘Asian Track and Field Meeting’.
Winning of ‘Kalinga war’ will be a watermark. Indian sports can be distinguished as pre-Kalinga era and post-Kalinga era now. The voyage of India at Kalinga will be an inspiration to other developing and neighboring countries as well as to the younger generation here. If state can support the sports field, by coordinating private resources too, India can show similar performances in other championships too. But winning an Asian Athletic championship does not mean that we are ready to conquer Olympics. For that we need to break many social and economic taboos i.e. we need a sports culture.
Culture point out to the positive attitude and approach towards sports. In a country where physical fitness is neither aimed nor appreciated, it will be impossible to have a popular sports culture. In India, sports is only an extra-curricular or additional to the main course. In schools, where seeds of such a culture can be planted effectively, sports is gradually going out of syllabus. Existing periods of PT (physical education) will be either compensated for lost periods of other subjects or used for cultural activities. Play grounds are replaced by new class room buildings. Public grounds are prioritized for exhibitions and carnivals against sports. In a society where half of the population is not even expected to move body parts publicly, what kind of sports culture can be created? The social structure of the society is also posing a threat. Caste discrimination not allows different caste people to play together. Women, which constitute half of the population, have several restrictions to do sports. Women are burdened with dress code to time restrictions. Safety and security of public spaces is another concern. Availability and accessibility of adequate training facilities at every corner of nation is another serious matter. If proper facilities are arranged Indian women can perform like jewels; there are sufficient number names shout here like Sakshi Malick, Mithali Raj, P T Usha etc.
Bureaucrats have a vital role. Almost all who enter jobs in sports quota are never motivated to continue in fields. For availing leave they need to approach several officers, at the end they will give up sports only. Employers must ensure a cordial atmosphere and encouraging ambience in offices for physical training. In yester years different teams of Kerala Police, FACT, SBT, Air India etc were active and in news but now it is either disappeared or breathing like a skeleton. All these teams must be re-created soon.
Money is necessary for advanced level training as well as exposing young ones to sports. Sports is a skill that need to be acquired through rigorous years of practice which makes money as the essential factor. Usually one sportsperson’s career will end in his late twenties. Security of later life is definitely a concern of such people. Career recruitment from field is essential. Providing fiscal incentives in the form of tax exemptions for earnings from sports or reduction in import duties on expensive sports equipment are relevant to consider. The crux is that India is ready; athletes proved that in Kalinga. Now the nation must respond proactively.
The only international sports tournament that India wins is SAF games because other participants of the tournament are very poor in their achievements in sports. It is Pakisthan, Afganisthan, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmer, Sri Lanka and Maldives participate in SAF Games other than India. These nations are not capable of challenging India in most of items (China is not invited to attend it because of India’s interests; plus China is not a member of SAARC).
There is a belief in Orissa that olive turtles will bring luck. Mascot of the championship this time was ‘Olly turtle’ but it may be true that winning a tournament of such a high scale cannot be simply a matter of luck. Beating the sports giant, China is definitely the result of talent, training and planning. The championship proved that India is capable of winning international championships other than cricket and wrestling. The only other international sports tournament that India won recently South Asian Games 2016 bagging 308 medals. The 188 gold medals won by India is almost four times the combined gold houl by the rest of the participants. Pakisthan, Afganisthan, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmer, Sri Lanka and Maldives also participated in SAF Games. These nations could not challenge India in most of the events.
India had a dismal record in international tournaments like Olympics, Asian Games, World Athletic Meet etc. Those countries which are either less populated or least developed are making more medals in these tournaments than India. In such a context, achievements of Indian youngsters at Kalinga are particularly important. It is for the first time, India outperformed everyone else particularly China. It is true that China expected to be champions but everyone under estimated the growing trained sports talent of Indian youngsters. Let us hope, Kalinga Asian Athletic Championship mark history as the rise of India as the new champions of Sports.
Arrest of Jignesh Mevani, Kanhaiya Kumar and Reshma Patel reminds us the emergency period from 1975 to 1977. The three were arrested on 12th July, the first anniversary of the Una lynchings from Mehsana (Gujarat) as they decided to continue the Azadi Kooch (Mehsana to Dhanera yatra). The Azadi Kooch (freedom march), is called upon by Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch (RDAM) led by dalit leader, Jignesh Mevani. The State Home ministry earlier denied permission for conducting the march as they were ‘concerned’ about law and order issues. But the real reason behind the denial is the fear of BJP about the united political mobilization of marginalised classes at the local level. Unity of the depressed is always scaring to the elite representatives. For BJP, the poor and the discriminated are their political tool and keeping them alike is their requirement to continue in power.
Una is a watermark in the history of India’s people’s movement. It is in July 11th, 2016 seven dalit youth were beaten up by Gau Rakshak activists. They beat them with iron rods and sticks, and tied to a car to march through the town. They were attacked by accusing of slaughtering a cow. But the truth was that they were skinning a dead cow. The youth belonged to dalit community who traditionally earn their livelihood by disposing off carcasses. They collect skin from dead cows. But when Hinduthwa politics started to demonstrate violent campaigns in order to capitalize identity politics, they focused dalits similar to Muslims. Vashram Sarvaiya, one of the victims of Una lynchings, said “Dalits are the new Muslims in Gujarat. The Gau Rakshaks treat us like Muslims”. In the name of cow, Gau Rakshaks became criminals. For them cow is just a mask in order to express their aggressiveness. Several complaints were raised against cow protectors from all corners of the nation, but the Mighty Ruling Apparatus were lenient, as expected, towards such protectors.
But there is a limit for any sufferings. The oppressed anger bursted like a volcano The political equations of Gujarat, particularly in local levels, started to turn against BJP from then. The rise of Jignesh Mevani, the leader of Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch gave a strong foundation for this change. Jignesh called for natural alliance of Dalits and Marxists with his slogan ‘Jai Bheem Lal Salaam’. This encouraged many activists to reconsider their approach on dalit-marxist joint space. Jignesh collaborated with several subaltern movements in India. Association with activists like Kanhaiya Kumar gave impressive evidence for a new kind of politics.
Hence as expected rightwing brigade became defensive. Communal politics have nothing else to offer other than their communal menu. They ‘dined’ beef, ayodhya, bharat mata, anti-national and western culture more lavishly and strongly. They received rewarding tips for that in recent elections too; but simultaneously they became aware of the truth that such gimmicks will not deliver positive results for long. If it has to, the downtrodden should continue to be as such . For that they should not get political education; they should not get mobilized for real issues; they must be wrongly-informed about issues and politics. Subaltern People’s movements in which people get mobilized without any party banner is a threat to right wing politics; hence they will do all possible attempts to sabotage the rise. The irony is that the same party has leaders justifying such cow vigilante. Raja Singh, the MLA from Telangana, was the one publicly supported these criminals and walked free. He was in the news recently for asking people (of a particular religion) to demonstrate Gujarat Model in Baduria of West Bengal.
Police denied permission to hold the anniversary march from 12th July citing law and order issues. But Jignesh and others were determined to go forward. The arrest of Jignesh, Kannaya and Reshma are not incidental but as per the political script of BJP. But they slip the historical fact that no people’s movement had ever defunct for the lack of leaders, it would evolve and strengthen further to achieve their goals.
We condemn the inhuman act of killing a 15yr old child for his religion. Yes, the boy named Junaid was a Muslim. He got killed on 22nd June on a Delhi-Mathura passenger train between Okhla and Asoti while hundreds of fellow passengers watched blindly. The killers accused him and his fellow five others (including his brother) for their religion. The widespread protest over the murder forced the ‘Leaders of State’ to respond after a calculated silence of seven days. It is unfortunate that these ‘Leaders’ share the same social mindset of those who killed Junaid; belongs to the same institution that nourishes communalism; leads the Hindu state agenda and champions the communal politics.
It is the evidence of the recently set communal mindset in the Indian society. Even though clashes between different religions existed for long, the rise of BJP over last three decades gave an impulse to worsen it. Winning in elections gave a wide spread acceptance to their communal arguments in general public. A substantial section of middle class Hindu believers gradually compromised with Hindhutwa. Now, Hindus (particularly from upper middle class) are increasingly expected/started to support BJP and its allies. They gradually accepted Hindu way of living by promoting and practicing vegetarianism, yoga, hindu rituals etc. But more dangerous is their changing mindset towards ‘the others’. For them Muslims became rapists, plunders, barbarians, terrorists, anti-nationals and what not. Targeting Muslims and those criticizing Hindhutwa became a political mission for the supporters. Akhlack, Kaushik, Ayoob, Asgar – they all were its victims. But NONE OF THESE ACTS WERE NOT IN MY NAME, not in our name but they were their communal criminal acts. Those who used religion as an identity to distinguish people are communalists; they do not belong to me. Junaid and Ayoob are my brothers and they are not killed in my name.
Not In The Name Of My Religion:
My religion is how my ancestors lived in this land for thousands of years. My religion accommodated all who questioned, attacked and criticized it. My religion teaches acceptance, love, respect and patience; but not communalism. My religion is not the one which destroys temples or mosques. My religion is not the one to lynch individuals for their belief. My religion is not the one which asks to rape woman if she eats meat. My religion is not the one which call for massacring people for they are Muslims or Sikhs. My religion is not the one which demand killing people for taking beef. My religion is not the which hijacks elections with communal cards. MY RELIGION IS HINDUISM AND IT IS NOT BELONGING TO THOSE WHO KILLED JUNAID.
Not In The Name Of My Country:
Despite many pluralistic limitations, our country believed in tolerance, secularism, democracy and unity within diversity. We may have many clashes with our neighbours but never hesitant to reach out when they are in need of us. We celebrated our festivals not by making hollow remarks on platforms like Iftar, Deepavali or Sabarmati ashram but by inviting each others in those occasions to celebrate togetherness by sharing the meals. We never traumatized anyone in the name of religion but we lived together harmoniously. The country that kills people for glorifying cow is not my country. The country that kills a 16 year for purifying a religion is not my country. The country that kills farmers because they lost their harvests due to state policies is not my country. The country that hangs individuals for satisfying public outcry is not my country. The country that distinguishes people on the basis of religion is not my country. INDIA IS MY COUNTRY AND IT IS NOT BELONGING TO ANY KIND OF COMMUNALISTS WHO KILLS JUNAIDS.
But Junaid, my brother, we are equally responsible for your tragic plight. We are responsible because we let our brother killed when we are against communalism. We are criminals because we let our younger ones think communally. We are guilty even when we protest against communal lynching because we let our public spaces inaccessible to human beings because they believe in another religion. We are culprits because we were divided in our ideologies about humanity, approach to progress, definitions of revolution, programme against exploitation and many other reasons . Carrying the pain of guilty, we firmly believe that, it is nothing but ANTI-NATIONAL as well as ANTI-RELIGIOUS as well as ANTI-HUMAN to become silent when someone assassinate a young boy for the reason being a Muslim.
It is unfortunate that Vishal Tandon who is a well-known queer artist and activist committed suicide when his contributions started getting recognized by the public. He was a research scholar at Centre of Women Studies at Hyderabad University. His research was about “Muslim Masculinities in Crisis: A Queer Reading of Hindi Films”. No doubt that it is a challenging topic; but research on this area is highly demanding too. Vishal belongs to Belgaum district of Karnataka. On 1st July, Saturday afternoon around 3.30 pm he jumped from the 14th floor of his flat named Aparna Sarovar in Nallagandla. On the basis of evidences, it is possible that he was under ‘extreme stress’. An e-mail he sent before committing suicide noted that he was completely insecure about his future. Insecurity about career can be expected to be the prime reason behind his death.
Why our public spaces are inaccessible as well as insecure for many of its participants? Why the numbers of suicides happening in our universities increase recently? The truth is that our universities are discriminatory towards and hence inaccessible for the weaker. The weaker in terms of religion, caste, gender, language and all others plus emotion too. He is the latest victim to show that our state and society did just nothing other than doing paper works and verbal exercises in order to ensure justice at public spaces. The university officials already took the excuse that the university had nothing to do with this ‘murder’ but they forget that our entire society is answerable to each crime happening here. it is not the first instance happening in our universities. Why our renowned institutions fail to address emotional stigmas of its members?
Institutions of higher education are not different from the others. These institutions fail to create the expected metamorphosis in a student who carry the ill thoughts and limitations into institutions. It is the collective consciousness of universities which changes the outlook and approach of its members. But it is just unfortunate that most of our universities neither have any such progressive vision nor any mechanism to develop it. Our universities unfortunately act like coaching institutes for career options, instead of organic production of knowledge. Hence those who fail to fix into such equations have to either compromise or leave such spaces.
A university cannot mechanically approach its subjects through attendance, certificates etc. It should be able to observe, note, understand, approach, communicate and resolve any issues that it’s subjects goes through. There should be mechanisms in order to ensure such facilities and functions effectively. We cannot forget that research scholars and students in general are subjected to exploitation by their guides through continuous evaluation. Pleasing guides and teachers makes students highly stressed often.
We cannot accuse mobile phones and globalization which makes personal relationships weak and hollow here anymore. It is not accusations but solutions required for better living.
Universities are expected to create and maintain CASH (for gender justice), Equal Opportunity Office (for creating socially conducive atmosphere), representative unions, placement cells, translation cells, counseling centres etc. They are not luxuries but fundamental to create an organic, progressive, democratic university. Creation and effective working of such facilities can make our universities safe and secure than before.
After planting acacia (an alien species to our natural grasslands and forests) since 1950s, now the officials has started to discourage planting it (at least) in reserve forests. This is, definitely, a welcome move. Even though these plantations created sufficient negative impacts in our environment, such a move by realizing the reality is nothing but a developmental activity in the right direction. According to official records (of those states where Western Ghats pass through) lacks of acres of public land is already covered under acacia in addition to new proposed private areas. Considering fast growth, sturdy trunks and minimum maintenance, profitability in timber business and external funding, forests departments in different states overwhelmingly supported this alien species for afforestation in the past. But we believe that the present ban of acacia in public land alone cannot address the issue completely.
There is a political economy of acacia which helped in its growth. Timber has an extensive market in India and it is giving rich dividends too. It was the 1845 legislature gave the green signal to replace natural forests with mono-culture plants which later gave space for plantations of rubber, teak, eucalyptus, acacia etc in a tremendous speed. Plywood and furniture industries are the biggest buyers of timber in addition for firewood purposes.
For commercial purposes like timber industry acacia is best suited. Market is run by expectations of profit. Acacia is easy to plant, saplings are cheap, costless to maintain, no threat of cattle grazing, quick growth and strong wood. Acacia is richly profitable in market whereas other native species have low survival rate, poor germination and expensive maintenance. In the beginning it was state funding led to their plantation and later external agencies like World Bank. Now considering the expensive cultivation, only with sufficient availability of funds for other native species we can minimize the presence of acacia.
There is an ecological point of view too. Every plant has a natural environment and they can contribute environmental disasters if planted elsewhere. Acacia is one of the best plants for arid regions like Australia. But in India particularly around tropical Western Ghats it will behave like a landmine. Acacia is naturally made to exploit water as much as possible if not it cannot survive in water short arid regions. Plus it reduces the fertility of soil. Soil fertility is created by the presence of micro-organisms in soil for which water and other bio-degradable elements are required. It is provided by leaves and other parts of plants. Presence of phenolic and lignin in acacia leaves are high which makes they slow in decaying. In the next stage these components makes soil more acidic which destroys other micro organisms. More worrying is the colonizing nature of this tree. A mature tree will disperse their seeds even to farthest location through wind. Thus acacia ensure the destruction of local eco systems. If one acacia is there in the vicinity, no other species will survive in the entire area within some years; thatswhy it became the dominant invasive tree species in the world ecology.
But mere cutting down of existing ones and zero plantation of new acacia saplings will not restore the ecology. The long plantation of such species of trees restructured the soil and water tables against natural vegetation. It is taking thousands of years’ natural process in order to evolve a particular vegetation in a locality. When that order is suddenly destroyed (by monoculture plantations or dams or alien species) it will take a long time for nature to cure it. Thus high level political decisions must be taken with sufficient economic back up in order to restore our natural ecology as like as the case of eliminating landmines from earth.
The whole issue points out to the poor research works we conduct in our nation. Acacia was planted in different states as different government supported projects with internal and external funding. By 1990s itself various studies found the ecological threats of such alien species and monoculture plantations but neither forest nor other departments gave any importance to this. But due to increasing public awareness and resultant outrage they forced to take such steps at present. Let it continue. Remember not only an alien species like eucalyptus and pine but monoculture plantations (not forests), too, poses a threat to our bio-diversity as well as environment. As celebrating another environmental day, we must realize how valuable was our natural plants; hence our environmental protests should not end with elimination of acacia.
My young brothers and sisters, it is not just the beginning of an ordinary month but June is special. It is revolutionary in thoughts. It is rebelistic in blood. It is romantic with rain. It is brave like Che Guvera and Birsa Munda. It is hope in the darkness with Santhal rebellion. It is river of hope with nature’s day and it is remainder of eternal vigilance with national emergency. Yes, June is special for all of us.
In these days of dictatorships in many Asian, African and Latin American countries, Che can’t become just a memory or a statue or a t-shirt emblem. No, he can’t. He is the thundering voice of a voiceless society. When Batista’s soul remains here, Che can’t chained in graves. Birsa is reborned as many. Now we call him in many names. Some call him Jignesh, some call him Shehla. Some call him Kanhaiya, Ajayan, Irom or Binayak …. His uncompromising guerrilla warfare in the forests of Bihar against mighty Britishers were incomparable in these days of starwars. He never scared to look at the eyes of opponents. Unfortunately, the academic India never studied Birsa with required importance. He is not even in the text books of many states here; that shows the Brahmanical discrimination against subaltern heroes in our yester times.
This June is covered in the blood of thousands of students who were massacred by communist China’s bullets. These youngsters were not violent. They not even had a nail cutter when gathered at Tiananmen Square in June 1989. What they had was bright and progressive thoughts about an egalitarian society. They believed that their OWN government will address their demands with a reason. But they were wrong. Dictatorship and state supremacy are not strange to communism too. The state killed its people.
The June of 1975 witnessed the biggest democracy of the world becoming the slave of state power – AGAIN. Once by outsiders and this time by its own elected government. Remember – history repeats rather as a tragedy. My friends never forget those who lost their lives in that state dictated emergency & never forgive those who reasoned with it.
Environment day is not another date in calendar. We need trees and rivers. Planting a tree is nothing but development. Reviving a river is the biggest revolution. Make our environment more greenish. Make more streams. These plantations are not for us but for our grand children. Give them clean air and water, shades of leaves and sound of birds than bullets, castes and borders. Give them love, not religions.
India lost two of its prime ministers (in addition to many others) due to terrorism. We may have disagreements with government on number of issues; but that does not stop us to say loudly that we are against terrorism. We are living in a time where states rather directly support (or to be precisely sponsor) terrorist activities in order to gain in bargaining. There is a wide spread but efficiently knitted social, political, cultural or other multiple supporting mechanisms in order to (at least) weaken those efforts against terrorism; hence nothing but eternal vigilance of public should make a decisive move in this direction.
But we must agree that this area is grey as well as flippery. Those referred as Kashmiri terrorists by Indian officials are independent activists for Pakisthan. When Pakisthan refer those movements in Baluchisthan as terrorism, India Government address it as independence movement. We saw the same in Tamil Elam movements in Sri Lanka. We can see this contradictory arguments world over historically. It is better that no governments financially or strategically interfere in other country’s issues. Every nation has much to do for their own people. Taking sides in such matters are only going to cost much beyond any calculations in the long run. Remember that those who are approaching you as the ENEMY of their ENEMY for their OWN AGENDA will definitely SEEK SUPPORT of YOUR ENEMY against you tomorrow. Any independence movements should be people’s movements and not group’s isolated initiatives; and people’s movements will be funded by common people themselves. It is better to consider Indian independence movement led by Gandhiji as a model for such efforts.
It is important to remember that those who are sponsoring you not for genuine reasons are simply going to loot you in the future. All nations have calculations and it is not political but economic reasons drive nation’s interests in other nations issues. History has sufficient examples to support this.
But it is not only about transborder terrorism. Including India, many nations are facing internal armed struggles. We condemn them too. Democracy has many limitations; it is weak in several conditions. We must agree but that should not stop us from improvising its potential to address contemporary issues. It is the suitable structure, developed so far, in order to address common people’s collective issues. Armed struggle is neither an alternative not a viable option to democracy.
But state can’t terrorise its own people too. The concept of federal states, without individual regions consent, is nothing but farce. A nation becomes big not when its size enlarges but only when its people wholeheartedly get united; not when armed forces become most efficient but when its common people command peace and harmony to everyone else; not when its borders get fortified but when it opens its universities, play grounds and valleys open for people world over and when others care for your nation. Wars and armed struggles are realities of past; they can’t become the guiding principle of present and vision of the future. People of the world must come together now to raise their brains against terrorism and to strengthen democracy.
“There are still wonders left in this world”. Yes, even though embarrassing, it is believable. Zealandia is expected to be recognized as a continent soon. The claim for recognition is demanded by some geographers of New Zealand who are studying about the ocean floor around New Zealand for more than twenty years. Their claims were published in the latest February-March edition of Geographical Society of America Today (GSA Today), which is considered as one of the most reputed research journals in the field of geosciences (or earth science which is studying about planet earth) published by Geographical Society of America founded in 1888. Nick Mortimer, the leading scientist of the team published the article along with his colleagues with all the necessary home worked details for their claim.
The landmass is nothing newly discovered as it was there for lakhs of years but never had any sufficient data to recognize as a separate continent but considered only as part of Australia. Zealandia is on the right side of Australia when we are looking on a map. The name ‘Zealandia’ is given by Bruce Luyendyk in 1995. It has New Caledonia on the northern side, Auckland and Campbell islands on south, Lord Howe Island on the west and Chathams on the east. The present New Zealand which is so far a part of continent Australia is part of Zealandia now. New Zealand as well as New Candelia is the biggest land masses of this continent that is standing above water as 94% of this Zealandia is submerged in water now. Hence you can doubt how such a place on earth can be called a continent. Well there are some fundamental conditions for terming a landmass as continent. They are 1)the landmass should be higher than ocean floor 2) it must have larger stock of siliceous igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks 3) comparing to surrounding ocean floor, it must have a thicker crust and 4) the land mass should be large enough (but how much large is not defined). But the challenge in front of GNS scientists is different – so far there is no internationally recognized agency to confirm status of continents, it is only through academic discourses such a feather can be given to Zealandia.
Remember, Zealandia is not newly discovered but now claimed to be a continent because many under sea geographical features related to the land mass is added to our knowledge. It is as like as discovering new features of continent Mauritius under sea which helped the Witwatersrand University researchers to prove that there is a hidden continent called Mauritia. It was in 2006, International Astronomical Union demoted Pluto from planet to dwarf planet citing that a ‘planet should not be surrounded by objects of similar size and characteristics’ after discovering ‘details’. But, in 2014, IAU planet definition committee chairperson Owen Gingerich (Science historian, Harvard University) argued that a planet is a culturally defined word that changes over time; hence Pluto should be recognized as a planet. This is the case with Mesentery (a part of human body proposed for organ status) too. Medical experts knew Mesentery as a tissue between intestines and abdomen. Now with the help of latest microscopic studies it was proved that mesentery is an independent organ.
It is equally important to understand the power politics behind geographical identities too. Or otherwise we must assert that continents are identified not only from geographical conditions, but political equations play an equally important role. If not it will be Eurasia (the term used for referring Asia and Europe together) at present. Anyway we can expect that Zealandia will be ranked as the 8th continent in our primary class text books soon.