Atanu Dey On India's Development

Lynching is too good for them

| 19 Comments

There are some topics that make me see red. In that state, I cannot even think rationally, leave alone write coherently. I am so angry that this is not going to read well for sure. But this has to be said. Those who are ultimately responsible for the violence against the Indian students in Australia should not be lynched. Lynching would be too good for them. I am not talking about the red-necks and skinheads (or whatever their Australian equivalents are) who attack foreign students. I am talking of the Indian politicians and bureaucrats that have brought about the conditions that force Indians to go abroad looking for a decent education to places where they are viciously and mercilessly attacked.

But let’s get the facts first. There are 93,000 Indian students in Australia. Here, let me repeat what I wrote in a previous post recently:

About 350,000 foreign students study in Australia. India gets 8,000.

Adjusted for population size, relative to Australia, India gets 133 foreign students. That is not a typo. Let me spell it out: it is a hundred and thirty-three, not one hundred and thirty-three thousand. Australia get around three thousand times the number of students per capita compared to India. (India is approximately 60 times Australia’s population.)

How much do Indians spend in studying abroad? Estimates range from a conservative $5 billion to a generous $10 billion per year. That a humongous sum. Why do Indians go abroad to study? Because they are forced to. India does not have the colleges and universities for them. Why? Because the government does not allow free entry into the education system. It’s the Congress party with its Nehruvian licence-quota-permit-control raj. It makes them money. It helps them get votes by restricting supply and then doling out the limited supply to favored vote banks based on religion and caste. They — the people of the Congress party — make money while the country suffers huge losses.

What sort of losses? First, there are the obvious financial losses of the order of billions of dollars. And that too the expense is in foreign exchange. A sh*tload of stuff has to be exported out of India to earn the dollars that go to pay for the education abroad. Then there is the loss of human capital. Many students who study abroad — especially the most competent and talented — end up migrating to the developed countries such as the US and Australia. The estimated loss has to be in the tens of billions of dollars a year. Add to that the personal costs that students have to bear in xenophobic societies that they are forced to live in.

What are the root causes of all these losses? It is government policy. Who made the policy that has reduced India to this horribly dire straits? The party that has ruled India for practically all its existence as an independent country — the Congress party led by the Nehru-Gandhi family.

How can we be sure that it is the policy that is to blame and not some inherent characteristic of Indians that make it impossible for Indians to create and run educational institutions that will serve the needs of the citizens? I don’t know. It appears to me that Indians are fairly average as far as human standards go. They do well when they are given the opportunity. They can become artists and engineers, scientists and philosophers, dancers and carpenters as easily as anyone elsewhere in the world. They do well in practically all spheres of human endeavor anywhere they are in the world — except in India. So there’s something special about being in India that makes Indians end up in the bottom of the barrel.

Let’s get back to education. Do Indians have the money to pay for education? Certainly. See they privately spend billions of dollars in India and abroad to get an education. Even very poor people spend a significant amount on education. A recent study revealed that middle class families spend as much as a third of their household income on education. The demand is undeniably huge. And the supply is also undeniably meager. Just to get into those average (by international standards) engineering schools called the IITs, superhuman effort is required. Families spend years of income and undergo years of stress and worry for the 2 percent chance that the kid will get admission to an IIT.

So the ability and the willingness is there among Indians for education. One side of the market exists without a doubt. The other side of the market, the supply side, would have been there naturally but it is artificially constrained from operating. That is what policy does. That, we must never forget, is the policy that the Congress party has instituted from Nehru onwards to the most recent prime minister of India, Dr Manmohan Singh.

The bottom line is that India lacks a decent education system because the government has seen to it that the education system is as pathetic as it can possibly be. The system guarantees India’s backwardness and makes it pathetically poor but it enriches the people who run the government. The money extracted through the pathetic government-controlled education system ends up in foreign banks, and must account for at least a part of the reported $1.5 trillion stashed away in Swiss and other off-shore banks.

Manmohan Singh is an economist. He of all people should know the value of human resources and therefore education. That he fails in his job despite being an economist is the most blatant indication of his incompetence and general spinelessness. And talking of Manmohan Singh, the next time I read how decent he is, I am going to throw up. The man is as lacking in ethics and morality as the moon lacks oceans and forests. His is a barren landscape littered with sterile craters devoid of any humanity. That’s Dr Manmohan Singh for you.

And the next time I read that he was the architect of any economic reforms, I am going to blow a friggin’ fuse. It was his boss, Mr Narasimha Rao who gave the orders. Dr MM Singh follows orders. His present boss is not so smart as Mr Rao.

Do you know what the unspeakably pathetic specimen of the human species did about the attacks on the Indian students in Australia?

The attacks have been the discussion of talks at the highest levels of government. The Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed concern in a phone conversation with the Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd late on Friday.

Expressed concern? EXPRESSED CONCERN? How about covering your head in shame, you pathetic loser! I suppose you cannot lose sleep over this matter — losing sleep appears to be the limit of your abilities to do something about something — since that is already done for the families of Islamic terrorists.

But let’s be clear about one thing. Where is the outrage? I am not talking about the outrage on the matter of Australian attacks on Indian students. I am talking about the outrage that the population should feel about the disastrous condition of the education system that the Congress governments have brought about. Should the people not be literally dragging the unspeakable bunch of immoral greedy lousy cretins that rule the country on to the streets and flogging them to an inch of their lives?

Forget the outrage, the people actually go and elect them to run the country.

It’s all karma, neh?

  • vishu

    Agreed on all the matter related to education.
    Coming to racial attacks let there be some sense of proportion- five out of a lakh students, cannot be full fledged racial attacks.
    It is advisable not to watch Indian news channels as by watching them one will conclude that the world is coming to an end.

    Vishal

  • https://66.232.102.158/servlet/redirect.srv/s/p1/ Loknath

    Thanks Atanu for bringing this out in so clear words. I have been following your blog for over 4 years now and I must admit I read everything and anything related esp. to education (the other one being by Sam Pitroda). I now live and work in Frankfurt, Germany and I must say Indians make some of the best brains but still there is a differentiation, a part of which is self-induced and part of which is but obvious. Yes, Lyching wont help make things any better. e.g. in our own country Biharis in various colleges of Delhi University are a hateable lot but since their Lords are in the Govt. they have nothing to bother of practically for anything.A very close friend has this to say in the Mandal mess, the “leaders” were having booz and mutton biryani while their disciples were immolating themselves. For some deivilish reasons, the bastards in power were successful in depriving millions of people of education. It is this education and just education alone that would have put India amongst the top10 nations 2 decades back even with the same current population. I am begining to believe that the income from tuition fees constitute a major source of revenue for Australia (there are a few thousand agents and messiahs of Australian education in India) that cant be easily forgone and hence the immediate incestual reaction of both the PM’s. I fully agree with you.

  • tarang_72

    Atanu,

    I agree with your points on indian education system. But most of these students study abroad because they want to settle down in the respective countries and that is more important for them than education. In that context, just changing education system in india will not suffice. We would need overall development and improvement in life quality. From my CMU class, all the indians are still in US and struggling to get the GC where as almost all students from europe, south korea, taiwan, japan and singapore went back to their countries.

    Tarang

  • Vaidehi

    ” So there’s something special about being in India that makes Indians end up in the bottom of the barrel “.

    Indeed. As you wrote earlier , Indians in USA do well because they have a ” system that works “. Our atrociously clueless policy makers and corrupt leaders are to be blamed for all maladies. No point in blaming other countries around .

    The ” small details ” where God ( and the devil too ) is , are ignored with egregious apathy by those wielding power. India is at war with itself.

  • Vaidehi

    I concur with vishu. Racism is too strong a word and uncalled for. There are many fault lines and fissures among us the Indians , to start with. Nurtured assiduously by the politicians to capture power.

    The remedy has to start at home within India as Atanu says.

    Many incidents of students losing their eyes , limbs or lives due to the barbaric lynching by teachers , ragging , exams that drive students to commit suicide….none of these impact those in high places.

  • pankaj

    @ tarang
    i totally i agree with u 100%.

  • Kumar_N

    Atanu,

    Setting up more/better educational institutions alone is not going to solve the problem. A large number of middle class people decide to settle down in the West due to better quality of life.

    And there are no indications that the current political class has any interest in solving these issues.Education, unfortunately, is seen as a middle class issue. I mean, has any political party ever made education an election issue in India ? We may have to wait for the middle class to become the largest chunk in India’s population (expected to happen around 2025).

  • Vaidehi

    Under what ism would we put the lack of uniform civil code within India? That we Indians are united is a myth. When Saddam invaded Kuwait, Gujral ensured safe return of only influential punjabi businessmen. Keralite minister Unnikrishnan focussed exclusively on certain malayalis.This is just one instance.

  • anup

    I have a conspiracy theory about Indian media’s coverage of these attacks in Australia. I admit that this is far fetched.

    The theory based on an assumption (true for CNN-IBN, not sure to what extent is it true for others) that there are American interests in the Indian media companies. Amidst the recession, these interests want to stimulate the economy and hence want to tap into the huge market for foreign education in Australia amongst Indians.

    Get my theory? ;)

  • garib_ram

    This analysis is flawed. The basic assumption underlying the analysis is that Indian students go abroad after paying huge sums to get quality education. WRONG!!

    Indian students go abroad to settle down there. Student visa is only a ploy to get a foothold in that country. Creating our own world class institutions is not going to remedy this desperate rush.

  • rainbow1008

    agreeing with kumar, its the vote bank in which middle class does not count much.

  • anup

    garib,

    You are ignoring one of core implications of sad state of affairs in India (& not just the education industry). The Indian State is pathetic when it comes to building world class institutions (educational or otherwise) and it is this lack of institutions that force people to go elsewhere to fulfil their ambitions.

    Read this to understand how a poor country like China has built world class educational institutions. Also remember that Chinese students also go abroad to try and settle down in Western countries.

    http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2009/05/22/beijing-and-the-reality-of-international-competition/#more-4345

    You can now stop being an apologist for the Govt of India…!

  • npojha

    Ummm… what does this mean: “And that too the expense is in foreign exchange. A sh*tload of stuff has to be exported out of India to earn the dollars that go to pay for the education abroad”. This is the 1970s “precious foreign exchange” sort of language that makes even less sense now than it did back then.

    Yes, we need greater domestic supply of quality higher-education institution and allowing private investment is a key part of the solution.

    But the incoherent rant re MMS and Congress-I is irrelevant to the topic. Hamam mein sab nange hain.

    Nikhil Ojha

  • garib_ram

    “Read this to understand how a poor country like China has built world class educational institutions.”

    I would appreciate if you can point out where I said that India cannot build world class institutions.

    “Also remember that Chinese students also go abroad to try and settle down in Western countries.”

    Exactly. And it actually disproves article’s contention lack of educational opportunities forces Indian students to go abroad (and face racial attacks). Building a few Harvards is not the answer. Entire society needs to be rebuilt.

    “You can now stop being an apologist for the Govt of India…!’

    Thanks. I must compliment you on your uncanny ability to discover hidden realities.

  • anup

    garib,

    Either you read selectively (proof: your 1st post) OR want to claim ownership of the central argument being made in this piece (proof: your 2nd post)OR BOTH (1st post & 2nd post read together).

    I will illustrate the central argument (which I termed as the “core implications of sad state of affairs in India” in my 1st post)through a sequence diagram that simplifies the causal mechanism Defective leaders/misguided socialist ideology> Poor moral/social/economic/political values in the society> Weak & ineffective institutions> Flight of ambitious citizens to Western countries

    One could argue that a similar thing had happened in China but they have understood the problems of their communist ideology and arrested the decline starting 1978 and are increasingly producing world class institutions (& if you cannot see beyond educational institutions- I have already provided the link in my earlier post). Even as the Chinese build world class (educational) institutions, there are still people who prefer Western societies (for a whole host of reasons). Now are you saying that the Chinese should stop building those institutions they have built because human capital flight is inevitable?

    Mate, one doesn’t have to state their positions explicitly to understand where one is coming from. It’s sufficient for me to understand that you have rejected the core implications (of world class institutions (& not just educational institutions) highlighted in this piece initially and later made the case for the same. And for you having done that, my understanding of what you are doing is summarised in the initial lines of this post.

    Btw Atanu, I can’t seem to use the Intensedebates functionality.

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  • http://www.offstumped.in Jiggs

    Atanu…spot on, this country which gave the world education, sadly today is in such a state, that students have to go to far of places for education. Not that we cannot provide quality education, but the numerous quotas, the hurdles, the under paid faculty and stupid,nonsensical policies which have put us in such a situation.

    The youth of this country is the one which will take this country forward and this youth requires quality education which this government will not provide.

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