सोमवार, 28 फ़रवरी 2011

Document on Tribal Question

An important question for the democratic movement is the position of the
tribal people in our society and the problems that they face. According to the
1991 census, 8.08% of the total population in India are tribal and they are
76.8 million (this figure would have gone up in the 2001 census). These
eight crore adivasis consist of some of the most oppressed and exploited
sections of our society. A large number of them are part of the proletariat
working in mines, plantations and as contract labour. They also constitute an
important section of the landless rural poor.
The updated Programme of the CPI(M) talking about the tribal people states:
"The Adivasi and tribal people who constitute seven crores of the
population, are victims of brutal capitalist and semi-feudal exploitation.
Their lands are alienated from them, the right to forests denied and they are a
source of cheap and bonded labour for the contractors and landlords. In
some states there are compact areas inhabited by tribal people who have
their own distinct languages and culture. The tribal people have been roused
to new consciousness to defend their rights for advancement while
preserving their identity and culture. Due to the threat to their identity and
very existence and the callous policies of the bourgeois-landlord rulers,
separatist tendencies have grown among some sections of the tribal people.
Regional autonomy for protecting their rights in the areas which are
contiguous and where they are in a majority is a democratic and just
demand. The capitalist-landlord-contractor nexus constantly seeks to disrupt
their traditional solidarity with some concessions to their leadership, denies
their legitimate rights and suppresses them with brutal force" (Para 5.6)
It is with this perspective that we must look at the tribal question. The main
problems affecting the tribal people are:
1. Land and their alienation from it
2. Forests and their access to it
3. Largescale displacement due to development projects
4. Status of women
5. Social Oppression
6. Lack of Educational Facilities
7. Language and culture
8. Autonomy and Constitutional safeguards
The Indian State, since independence, adopted a flawed approach to the
tribal people. The Nehruvian notion being that the tribal people have a
unique culture which should be preserved while bringing about the
economic modernisation of tribal societies. Economy and culture were seen
as two separate and different realms. Therefore, it was not understood that
changes in the material life would necessarily bring about changes in the
cultural life of the tribal people.
From the colonial period, the productive capacities of the tribal economy
were destroyed because of the land and forest policies and their knowledge
base was marginalised and destroyed. Most of the tribal people had thus to
resort to unskilled labour for a livelihood and as they could not survive on
this, they were made dependent on the welfarism of the State. The
industrialisation in the post-independent period has heightened the pattern of
industrial use of national resources of the tribal areas which results in an
unequal exchange between the tribal and other areas.
Since successive governments refused to recognise this process which
began under colonial rule, they concentrated more on welfare measures
rather than on building up constructive and productive economic activity in
the tribal areas. The bourgeois-landlord policies have resulted in a system
where tribal people just provide cheap labour and raw materials to the rest of
society. Deprived of modern education, they are unable to have access to
better jobs as compared with the other sections of society.
The CPI(M) views the development of the tribal people as a process not
separate from, but inter-dependent with that of the non-tribal people. The
productive capacities of the tribal people must be developed and tribal
knowledge and skills must be upgraded in order to enhance their social and
economic status.
1. Land & Their Alienation
Traditionally in tribal society, land was not a commodity for sale. There was
no concept of private property in land in most tribal communities.
The process of separating the tribal people from their land originated in
colonial times and their right to ownership of the forests they lived in was
never recognised. The introduction of the land revenue and money economy
began this process. The first tribal revolts took place against this colonial
exploitation. The first laws to protect the tribal land were passed after this
unrest, such as the Chotanagpur Tenancy Act.
However, with capitalist development being stepped up, a continuous
process of land alienation of the tribals has taken place. Laws have been
ineffective. Through legal manipulation and other fraudulent means
largescale transfer of tribal land has taken place to non-tribal people. This is
a problem common to all tribal areas except some states in the North-East.
The laws enacted for protection of the tribal lands in the scheduled areas
under the Fifth schedule of the constitution have not prevented alienation of
tribal lands and largescale transfers. The loopholes in the laws, the
connivance of the bureaucracy and the political authorities have subverted
whatever legal safeguards existing.
Non-tribals are taking over tribal lands through methods such as mortgages,
lease agreements, benami transfers, false title deeds in collusion with
revenue officials, by marriage to tribal women or holding land in the name
of their (bonded) tribal agricultural labourers.
Our basic demand is for restoration of the land so alienated, to the tribal
people. They should have access to credit and technology. Science and
technology should be used to develop a sustainable model of agriculture in
tribal areas.
In this connection also comes the problem of jhum cultivation (slash and
burn) which is undertaken by the tribal people. One quarter of the tribal
people in the country have been doing this form of cultivation. The steps to
shift them away from the jhum cultivation must be done in such a manner as
to help them adjust to settled cultivation or sufficient rehabilitation in other
Land Reforms
To meet the demand for land, a central question is to implement land
reforms and ensure the distribution of surplus lands to the landless adivasi
families. In West Bengal under the Left Front government, distribution of
surplus land to the extent of 11 lakh acres had taken place to 25 lakh
families. Of this, nearly 5 lakh families are from the tribal people. In Tripura
too, landless tribal households have benefitted from land reform. Further
7000 acres of land alienated from tribals were restored to them by the Left
Front government. Since then, there has been no alienation of tribal land.
The struggle to restore land alienated from the tribal people by illegal means
must be pursued. The existing laws to protect tribal lands from alienation
must be modified to plug loopholes. Firm action should be taken to check
fraudulent means of transferring land with the collusion of the bureaucracy.
While conducting such a struggle both to tighten laws and to ensure their
implications, we should also work out concrete measures to maintain the
unity of the tribal-non-tribal peasants wherever conflicts arise. Small nontribal
peasant settlers on tribal lands should be given equivalent land
elsewhere, or differentiation can be made between the bigger and smaller
land holdings illegally acquired. But the principle that the tribal people must
be restored the lands illegally transferred must be upheld.
2. Forests and their access to it
A big section of the tribal people have been traditionally living in the forests
and their life and work is intimately connected with the forest. The forest
laws have ruptured the organic link between the forest and the life of the
adivasis. One of the tragic aspects of tribal life has been the alienation of the
tribal people from their traditional habitat. Forests no longer belong to them
but to the forest officials and contractors.
The disappearance of the forests and the degeneration of green cover is not
because of the tribal people but because of the rapacious nexus of
contractors-forest officials and ruling class politicians. The plunder of the
forests and the cutting down of trees has been one of the inexorable features
of capitalist development.
The Forest Act and its latest version, the Forest Conservation (Amendment)
Act of 1988 treats the adivasis as interlopers and encroachers in the forests,
rather than as an integral part of the forest environment. The degraded forest
land is also not accessible to the tribal people. The deprivation of access to
the forest and the tyrannical rule of the forest guards-bureaucratic nexus has
led to tribal people not getting nutritious food which is their traditional diet
and the sundering of their traditional way of life with all its social and
cultural consequences.
Restoring the tribals access to forests is an important issue which we must
fight for. Further, the minor forest produce which provide livelihood for the
tribal people must be available for the tribals and they must own it.
Cooperatives for marketing such produce have to be run by the government
in cooperation with the tribals. Steps must be taken to protect the indigenous
tribal knowledge of plants and their uses.
3. Largescale displacement due to development projects
According to an estimate, 15% of the tribal population have been displaced
or affected by development projects. The uprooting of the tribal people from
their homes and habitat for building dams and other industrial development
projects has been one of the shocking scandals of post-independent India. It
is a fact that we have not paid sufficient attention to this problem.
Providing monetary compensation has not been of much use. Not only was it
inadequate, but the tribal people given lumpsum amounts of money could
not use it properly. They were left with nothing in a short period of time.
Even to make claims for alternative land they had no records of their
ownership or titles in many cases.
The rehabilitation projects were flawed as the tribal people were put in areas
which had no similarity with the habitat they were used to. They were given
often rocky or barren land. Displacement has meant that the evacuated tribal
people are driven to take up back-breaking jobs as construction labour
working in brick kilns and other forms of labour in the unorganised sector.
Our Party must insist that in every case of displacement which cannot be
avoided for essential development, a full and comprehensive rehabilitation
package must be put in place and implemented before the project actually
begins. The norms for such a package would need not just monetary
compensation but an approach which takes into account all the needs of the
displaced tribal people including their cultural requirements.
4. Status of women
By and large in tribal communities the status of women has been better than
in caste Hindu society. This is reflected in the higher ratio of women to men
in the population. Women in many tribal communities have equal status and
rights in property. Women in many tribal communities are active in
economic and social life. But these positive aspects have also got eroded
with the penetration of bourgeois and semi-feudal values of the dominant
society. The impact of these values and the media is now marked among the
younger generation too.
Dowry instead of bride price and fall in the status of women is a result of
these trends. With the increasing proletarianisation and divorce from their
natural habitat, women are subjected to much more hard work such as
fetching water or collecting firewood from great distances. Adivasi women
who go into the forests to gather firewood and forest produce are constantly
subject to sexual harassment by forest guards.
A serious problem faced by tribal women is the sexual exploitation by
contractors, landlords, bureaucrats and those who hold power in mainstream
society. We must be able to address all these issues. We must stand for
preservation and encouragement of equal status of women which exist in
various spheres. We must oppose any retrograde practices against women
which are either traditional, or, which have crept in. Against sexual
exploitation of women also we must be able to build organised resistance.
5. Social Oppression
One of the worst features of socio-economic development under capitalism
in India is the brutal exploitation of the tribal people. The traditional social
forms of tribal life have broken down in the relentless march of capitalism,
the cash nexus and the impact of the policies of bourgeois-landlord State.
The old collective forms of tribal life with egalitarian features has been
smashed by the capitalist and feudal onslaught. With no means of
production, without the social and educational skills to face modern society,
with the uprooting of their tribal social system, the tribal people have been
subjected to ruthless exploitation by landlords, contractors and petty
bureaucrats. In many cases, the adivasis work in serf like conditions. Large
number of adivasis migrate from their homes to other areas and states to eke
out a meagre livelihood. During this seasonal migration, they are bereft of
any protection or benefits of minimum wages and labour laws. Bonded
labour also prevails in many parts involving tribal labour. Protection given
to scheduled castes and scheduled tribes under various laws are generally
unavailable to the tribal people in the remote areas and they have no voice
because they are not organised.
Impact of Liberalisation Policies
In the past one decade, the impact of liberalisation policies has been
particularly severe on the tribal people. Firstly, the curtailment of the public
distribution system and cutting of state of State funds for social sector have
badly hit the tribal people. In the tribal areas in remote hilly and forest
regions, the vulnerability of tribal people to hunger and starvation has
tremendously increased with the collapse of the PDS. Most tribal people
deprived of their traditional means of livelihood, land and forests, were
totally dependent on cheap food through the PDS schemes. Reports of
deaths due to hunger and malnutrition emanate mainly from the tribal areas,
whether it be in Orissa, Maharashtra, Chattisgarh or Rajasthan.
Secondly, the deregulation and privatisation of mining and mineral sector is
leading to the corporate sector both Indian and foreign entering this area
which is mainly in the tribal regions. Already in Orissa, Jharkhand and
Chattisgarh, the setting up of new projects to mine bauxite and other
minerals has led to tribal people losing their lands. Their protests are met
with brutal police repression. The trend of displacing the adivasi people for
industrial projects is getting heightened. The State and the bureaucracy is not
willing to adhere to the Samata judgement of the Supreme Court which has
declared that in the scheduled areas (under Fifth Schedule), private
industries or state enterprises cannot be set up without the consent of the
adivasi people and such projects must be undertaken through cooperatives of
tribal people.
Thirdly, the health and educational facilities provided by the State has
deteriorated with the cutbacks in State expenditure and drive for
privatisation. Unlike, other sectors, ordinary tribal people cannot avail of the
more costly private education and medical facilities.
One of the major problems for the tribal people is the exploitation by money
lenders. Once they get into the bondage of usury they are reduced to the
plight of serfs. This bondage is the most degrading aspect of adivasi life
Going against the whole trend of liberalisation we must fight for sufficient
credit to be provided to adivasis through cooperatives and bank loans so that
the scourge of usury can be contained.
The State cannot abandon its responsibility towards development of
infrastructure and fulfilling basic needs such as education and health in the
tribal areas. The State's role is especially important as the tribal areas have
the least number of roads and public transport, higher illiteracy and special
problems of mortality and endemic diseases exist than in other areas.
Thus, the policies pursued by successive bourgeois-landlord governments
and their all-round exploitation has led to a total alienation and a crisis in
their identity. It is this threat to their identity which has a political dimension
and at the root of the demand for a separate set up and protection.
The Communists should be able to see the deeper socio-economic
phenomenon by which these most vulnerable communities are driven to
demand a separate and distinctive position as against the dominant Hinducaste
6. Lack of Education Facilities
During British rule there was no systematic plan to provide for education to
the tribal communities except the work undertaken by the Christian
missionary organisations. In independent India, despite various plans for
imparting education, the reality is that the bulk of the adivasi community
except in certain North Eastern states are outside the ambit of the formal
education system. Even today in some areas whatever little educational
facilities exist are provided by Christian organisations. Such neglect of
education has led to the highest percentage of illiterates among the Adivasis
and scheduled tribes.
7. Language and culture
The threat to the identity of the tribal communities has brought the question
of their linguistic and cultural identity to the fore. The bourgeois-landlord
State in India has paid no attention whatsoever to fostering their distinctive
identity, culture and traditions except for bureaucratic exercises in
promoting what is called as tribal folk culture.
There are major languages of the tribal people like Santhali and Bodo. Such
languages must be given proper recognition including listing in the eight
schedule of the Constitution. The Alchiki script is recognised by the West
Bengal government. The Kokborok language is officially recognised by the
Tripura state government. Similarly, efforts by tribal communities to
develop their languages must be supported even when their numbers are
As far as the cultural aspect is concerned, the positive aspects of the
traditional tribal culture particularly their egalitarian and collective ethos
must be protected and encouraged. There are, ofcourse, certain regressive
social practices in some parts which cannot be upheld as protection of tribal
culture. Whether it is witch-hunting, or polygamy or depriving women of
certain rights or superstitious practices and so on -- in all such cases, our
work among the tribal people should inculcate consciousness to fight such
practices from within the community.
8. Autonomy and Constitutional safeguards
The question of protection of identity and the interests of tribal people has
led to various movements in the last two-three decades. This has assumed
the demand for separate states such as Jharkhand or Bodoland. Our Party
stand has been that where tribal people live in contiguous areas and
constitute the majority or the substantial section of the population, there
should be regional autonomy provided. The CPI(M) pioneered the
development of the Tripura Tribal Autonomous District Council in this
regard. The present powers given to the autonomous councils under the
Sixth Schedule of the Constitution should be amended so that adequate
powers may be devolved to them for the development of the autonomous
areas. The question of providing for regional autonomy structures has to be
popularised in all areas where found necessary to counter the separatist
demands which break the bonds between the tribal and non-tribal people.
North-Eastern Region
The tribal peoples who inhabit the north-eastern region have a social,
economic and cultural environment distinct from that of the adivasis in the
rest of India. In all the north-eastern hill states (except Tripura and
Manipur), the tribal people are in a majority. In states like Nagaland,
Mizoram and Meghalaya, Christians constitute the dominant population.
Unlike the tribal people in Central India, they are not subject to the ruthless
exploitation of contractors, landlords and capitalists. The problems in the
North-east are different. It is also more complex. There are a large number
of tribal communities with distinct ethnic and social features. In some areas,
there are inter-tribal conflicts. The entire tribal people suffer from the effects
of the bourgeois-landlord rule from Delhi. Some of the common problems
are the policy of neglect, failure to develop the region economically and
insensitivity to the aspirations of the peoples of the region. An entrenched
system has developed whereby a narrow elite section has profitted from the
Central financial assistance and the diversion of development funds. Such a
corrupt ruling class, which is highly opportunist, has been nurtured from
among the tribal people also over the decades.
In this background of discontent and thwarted aspirations, separatist feelings
have grown and strengthened. The efforts to suppress separatism and
insurgencies, devoid of a democratic perspective to effect all-round
development of the region and failure to give due recognition to the
nationality and cultural diversities have led to a situation of stalemate. The
imperialist agencies have been using such a situation to fan separatist
demands and ethnic-based conflicts. The tribal people's problems are
therefore integrally connected with resolving the problems of political
economy of the entire north-east. Only by fashioning of a federal,
decentralised set-up with genuine autonomy for minority groups can the
diverse aspirations connected with identity, language and culture be met.
The RSS & Hindutva Gameplan
In the recent years, the RSS has stepped up its work in the tribal areas. It
seeks to counter the influence of the Church and Christian institutions.
Through its front, the Vanavasi Kalyan Parishad, the RSS seeks to
"hinduise" the tribal people who have their own religious beliefs and
practices including native worship and animistic beliefs. The sinister plan is
to inculcate Hindu chauvinist ideas including the caste system. This is
motivated by the aim of putting Christian and non-Christian adivasis against
each other. Such trends have been seen in parts of Orissa, Jharkhand and
other places.
The RSS wants to coopt the adivasis into its brahmanical Hindutva fold. It
refuses to recognise the tribal people as "adivasis" which means original
people and terms them as "vanavasis" which confines the tribal people solely
to the forests. By this, they negate history. Many of the adivasis today are
descendants of those who were driven out of the fertile plains into the hills
and forests by successive wave of settlers centuries ago. But the RSS seeks
to impose the upper-caste Hindi order by relegating tribal people to
The nature of institutions run by the RSS outfits poses a serious challenge to
the secular democratic forces. The Party should take steps to work among
the tribal people to counter the RSS influence politically and ideologically.
The CPI(M) has to foster the unity of the tribal and non-tribal people and
counter the divisive forces. In certain areas, particularly in the north-east,
some of the Church groups are fostering separatist tendencies with the
sectarian aim of consolidating their religious influence. This is being used
for divisive purposes and weakens national unity.
Unity of All Toiling Sections
The CPI(M) while taking up the special problems of the tribal people, will
also work for forging bonds of solidarity between the tribal and non-tribal
working people. Within tribal communities also class differentiation is
taking place. The CPI(M) stands firmly for the cause of the toiling tribal
people and establishing their unity with the rural poor of the non-tribal
sections. The exploitation of the tribals by the semi-feudal and bourgeois
classes cannot be fought back successfully without the broad unity of the
oppressed of the tribal and non-tribal sections.
For the CPI(M), the tribal question is not just a question of protection of
ethnic identity or defending the rights of a significant minority. It is also a
class question. There are millions of tribal people who are the landless rural
poor, the semi-proletariat or the working class. They constitute an important
part of the proletariat in India. We have to organise them to fight for their
rights as workers, agricultural labour and poor peasants. This can be done
successfully by building the common movement alongwith the working
people of the non-tribal sections. At the same time, we have to emphasise
their special problems of alienation from their land, of their access to forests
and its produce, of ending the brutal exploitation of the bourgeois-landlord
classes and the contractors and protection of their identity, language and
For this, wherever necessary, we must to set up mass organisations of the
tribal people, a platform which can voice their specific demands and link
them up to the general democratic movement. At the same time, we must
ensure their participation in class and mass movements.
A Tribal People's Charter
The charter of demands for a better life for the tribal people should consist
of the following:
1. Stop alienation of land belonging to the tribal people; plug loopholes in
existing laws and take steps to restore land illegally transferred from
adivasis. Register land records for tribal lands. In scheduled areas under
Fifth Schedule, adhere to the Samata judgement of Supreme Court regarding
use of land for industrial and commercial purposes.
2. Takeover surplus lands above ceiling and distribute them to landless
adivasis along with other landless families. Provide irrigation facilities in
remote tribal areas.
3. Amend the Forest Act in such a manner as to recognise the rights of
adivasi forest dwellers to access and use of forests. People's participation in
forests through community management should be introduced.
4. Forest produce must be accessible to forest dwellers and neighbourhood
adivasi communities. The tyranny of forest guards must end. For marketing
forest produce, cooperative efforts which are not bureaucratically managed
but of the adivasis as producers of forest goods should be set-up.
5. No project industrial or developmental can be undertaken where
displacement occurs without a comprehensive and sustainable rehabilitation
package. Such a scheme must be put in place before any displacement or
work on the project begins.
6. Women should have equal rights in land and other communal resources.
Campaign to end practices degrading women's status must be carried out.
The practice of dowry infiltrating tribal society must be countered. Practices
such as witchcraft must be combated.
7. Provision of drinking water in remote hamlets must be a priority for
ending hardships to tribal women in this regard. Sexual harassment by forest
guards of adivasi women who go to forests for gathering produce and
firewood must be strictly punished. Tribal developmental schemes should
pay adequate attention for employment for adivasi women. Protection for
women at work sites from sexual exploitation.
8. Enforce protection against money-lending/usury which exploits adivasis.
Bonded labour and exploitation of adivasi men and women by contravening
all labour laws must be effectively checked. Strict implementation of
atrocities on adivasis under the Prevention of Atrocities on SC & ST Act.
9. The public distribution system should be revamped so that all tribal areas
are covered with fair price shops and cooperatives. Instead of BPL cards, all
tribal areas scheduled and non-scheduled must be covered by a universal
system where all tribal families get foodgrains and other essential
commodities at a subsidised rate.
10. Special composite educational programmes for tribal students should be
promoted by the Central Government and all the state governments.
Arrangements for setting up of schools in the tribal dominated areas with
provision of vocational training and hostel facilities for the tribal youth
should be undertaken.
11. Implementation of reservation of ST quotas in all categories of
employment and education. Curb issuance of bogus ST certificates to nontribals.
Special allocation for public health facilities and setting up of
primary health centres in the remote tribal areas.
12. Tribal languages and scripts should be recognised and developed.
Santhali and Bodo should be included in the eighth schedule of the
Constitution. Oppose moves to eliminate indigenous cultural traditions,
which foster collective consciousness and egalitarianism. Campaign against
social evils, which are intensifying among the youth by penetration of
bourgeois values of commercialisation, and degenerate sex and violence
purveyed through the media. Foster cultural expression and creative folk arts
based on the rich cultural forms of tribal communities.
13. Strictly, enforce constitutional safeguards for the scheduled tribes.
Provision of autonomy under the Sixth schedule should be strengthened by
amending the schedule. Extend provisions of Autonomous District Council
to other states where compact, majority tribal areas exist. Under Fifth
schedule, provide for democratic participation in the Tribes Advisory
Council with elected representatives from lower units. Formulate effective
laws to protect tribal rights in scheduled areas.

the S-band spectrum deal

The Business Line-Hindu newspapers have exposed the S-band spectrum deal involving the ISRO Company Antrix and a private company, Devas Multimedia. By this agreement, the private company was to get access to high quality spectrum of 70 MHz through the launching of two custom-made satellites. The presumptive loss of revenue to the government would have been atleast Rs. 2 lakh crores.
Faced with this exposure, the UPA government has resorted to the now familiar pattern when confronted with largescale scams and corruption. It has sought to underplay the extent of wrongdoing, claim that the agreement has not been implemented and obfuscate the issues involved.
A number of questions remain unanswered in this affair which falls under the purview of the Department of Space, which is directly under the Prime Minister. How is it that the Cabinet gave clearance for launching the first satellite in December 2005 which is meant solely for the purpose of the private company? Why the agreement was not cancelled when the contract was found to be inappropriate and the Space Commission wanted it annulled in July 2010? Why is it that the government did not act even after the Additional Solicitor General had recommended that the termination of the agreement be a Government decision?
The latest decision by the Prime Minister to constitute a two-member committee to “review” the agreement is highly questionable. What is the necessity for a “review” when already the contract has been found to be unjustified and needs to be annulled? The persons appointed – a former Cabinet Secretary and a member of the Space Commission –were both involved in the processing of the deal. The intention seems to be to keep this as an in-house matter.
The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) demands an independent time-bound high-level enquiry by a retired judge of the Supreme Court.
There are media reports of the obstructions faced by the Comptroller and Auditor General in examining the contract. The CAG should be able to examine fully all the relevant papers regarding the agreement.
The people of the country will not be satisfied till all the facts about this dubious deal are uncovered and the guilty brought to book.

अभिव्यजना के अनुपम शायर

फिराक गोरखपुरी 'गालिब' और 'असगर' गोंडवी की भाति 'फैज' ने भी बहुत कम लिखा है। उनके केवल तीन छोटे-छोटे कविता-सग्रह नक्शे-फरियादी, दस्तेसबा और जिंदानामा है। 'गालिब' और असगर की तरह 'फैज' ने भी अपने कलाम में बहुत काट-छाटकर उसे प्रकाशित किया है। इसीलिए उनकी जो कविता है, वह बोलती हुई है, जो पक्ति है, वह पत्थर की लकीर बन जाती है। उनकी दृष्टि स्पष्टत: सामाजिक है किन्तु उनकी चेतना भावना के उद्रेक तक ही सीमित नहीं,उसमें बौद्धिकता और भावुकता के उचित सामजस्य के आधार पर बड़ी गहराई पैदा हो गई है और इसी विशेषता ने उनकी कविता को राजनीतिक अथवा सामाजिक प्रचार होने से बचा लिया है। 'फैज' की अभिव्यजना की विशेषता उनका भावनात्मक यथार्थवाद है। सीधे-सादे शब्दों में- केवल ध्वनियों के कलापूर्ण सामजस्य और भावना के अनुरूप उचित शब्दों के प्रयोग के आधार पर- वे अद्वितीय प्रभाव पैदा कर देते है। उपमाओं तथा अन्य अलकारों का प्रयोग वे या तो करते ही नहीं या फिर नई उपमाएं और नए शब्द-विन्यास इस खूबी के साथ गढ़ते है कि अभिव्यजना में सिर्फ नवीनता ही नहीं पैदा होती बल्कि आने वाली पीढि़यों के लिए नए रास्ते खुल जाते है। आधुनिक कवियों में शायद 'फैज' ने ही उर्दू को सबसे अधिक अभिव्यजना-शक्ति प्रदान की है। उदाहरण के लिए उनकी एक छोटी नज्म तन्हाई दी जा रही है-
फिर कोई आया, दिले-जार! नहीं, कोई नहीं
राह रौ होगा, कहीं और चला जाएगा
ढल चुकी रात, बिखरने लगा तारों का गुबार
लड़खड़ाने लगे ऐवानों में ख्वाबीदा चराग
सो गई रास्ता तक-तक के हर इक राह गुजार
अजनबी खाक ने धुंधला दिए कदमों के सुराग
गुल करो शमएं, बढ़ा दो मैं-ओ-मीना-ओ-अयाग
अपने बेख्वाब किवाड़ों को मुकफ्फल कर लो
अब यहा कोई नहीं, कोई नहीं आएगा!

फैज की दो कालजयी नज्में

तेरा गम है, तो गमे-दहर का झगड़ा क्या है?
तेरी सूरत से है आलम में बहारों को सबात
तेरी आखों के सिवा दुनिया में रखा क्या है
तू जो मिल जाए तो तकदीर नगूं हो जाए
यों न था, मैंने फकत चाहा था, यों हो जाए
और भी दुख है जमाने में मुहब्बत के सिवा
राहतें और भी है वस्ल की राहत के सिवा
अनगिनत सदियों के तारीक बहेमाना तिलिस्म!
रेशम व इतलस व कमखाब में बनवाए हुए
जा-ब-जा बिकते हुए, कूचा व बाजार में जिस्म खाक में लुथड़े हुए,खून में नहलाए हुए
जिस्म निकले हुए अमराज के तन्नूरों से
पीप बहती हुई गलते हुए नासूरों से
लौट जाती है, इधर को भी नजर क्या कीजे
अब भी दिलकश है तेरा हुस्न, मगर क्या कीजे
और भी दुख है जमाने में मुहब्बत के सिवा
राहतें और भी है वस्ल की राहत के सिवा
बोल, कि लब अब आजाद है तेरे
बोल, जबा अब तक तेरी है
तेरा सुतवा जिस्म है तेरा
बोल, कि जा अब तक तेरी है
देख कि आहगर की टुका में
तुंद है शोले, सुर्ख है आहन
खुलने लगे कुफलों के दहाने
फैला हर इक जंजीर का दामन
बोल, यह थोड़ा वक्त बहुत है
जिस्म व जबा की मौत से पहले
बोल, कि सच जिंदा है अब तक
बोल, जो कुछ कहना है, कह ले

फैज अहमद फैज

फैज अहमद फैज सक्षिप्त सफरनामा

फैज अहमद खा- जो बाद में 'फैज' नाम से जाने-माने गए- का जन्म 13 फरवरी 1911 को सियालकोट में हुआ। मा का नाम सुलताना फातिमा। पिता चौधरी सुलतान मुहम्मद खा सियाल कोट के मशहूर बैरिस्टर रहे। शिक्षा की शुरुआत अरबी-फारसी से हुई। बाद में अंग्रेजी व अरबी में एम.ए. किया। अमृतसर व लाहौर में अध्यापन किया। 1942 में ब्रिटिश इंडियन आर्मी ज्वाइन की। 1947 में जब फौज से इस्तीफा देकर लाहौर गए, तब वे वहा कर्नल थे और उन्हें एम.बी.ई. का खिताब मिल चुका था।
-1941 में एलिस जॉर्ज- जो बाद में एलिस फैज कहलाईं और जिनका नाम फैज की वालिदा ने कुलसूम रख दिया था- से शादी की। इस अंग्रेज महिला के साथ उनका निकाह शेख अब्दुल्लाह ने पढ़वाया था।
-1951 में पाकिस्तान की हुकूमत ने उन्हें तख्ता पलट की साजिश के आरोप में गिरफ्तार किया। 1958 में सेफ्टी एक्ट के तहत उन्हें दोबारा गिरफ्तार किया गया।
-फैज 'अदबे लतीफ', 'पाकिस्तान टाइम्स' और 'इमरोज' के अलावा अफ्रो-एशियाई लेखक सघ के मुख पत्र 'लोटस' के सपादक रहे। वे ऐसे पहले एशियाई शायर थे जिन्हें लेनिन पुरस्कार दिया गया। मरणोपरात पाकिस्तान के सर्वोच्च नागरिक सम्मान से भी सम्मानित किया गया।
-पहला काव्य सग्रह 'नक्शे फरियादी' 1911 में प्रकाशित हुआ। उसके बाद 'दस्ते सबा', 'जिंदानामा', 'दस्ते-तहे-सग', 'सर-ए-वादी-ए-सीना', 'शामे शहरे यारा', 'मेरे दिल, मेरे मुसाफिर' नाम से उनके कई अन्य सग्रह आए। 'मीजान', 'सलीबें मेरे दरीचे में', 'सफरनामा क्यूबा' आदि उनकी ख्यात, बहुपठित गद्य रचनाएं हैं। कम लोग ही जानते होंगे कि फैज ने एक दौर में 'तमाशा मेरे आगे', 'साप की छतरी', 'प्राइवेट सैक्रेटरी' जैसे स्तरीय नाटक रेडियो के लिए लिखे। या यह कि 'जागो हुआ सवेरा' और 'दूर है सुख का गाव' नाम वाली फिल्मों के लिए उन्होंने गीत और सवाद भी लिखे।
-20 नवबर, 1984 की दोपहर में फैज अहमद ने इस दुनिया से विदा ली।

Education Policy: An Agenda for Resistance The Marxist, XXVI 2, April–June 2010

Kapil Sibal, the Human Resource Development Minister of the UPAII
government, by all counts, is candid. His assertions may sound
boastful – but no one can fault him for not stating the objectives of his
government and his ministry with clarity. He has declared with a rare
matter-of-factness that he intends to do to the education sector exactly
what his Prime Minister had done to the Indian economy in the early
There is no need to go into the specifics of what Dr. Manmohan
Singh had done to our national economy. It has been widely discussed
and understood. Indian economy was aligned in the most
unambiguous manner with the process of neo-liberal globalization.
It has replicated in the clearest form what has happened elsewhere
through such a paradigm shift. Intensification of sharp inequalities –
accentuation of poverty – ‘jobless’ growth – privatization of public
assets – are all those unmistakable features which characterize Indian
economy today.
But, let us come back to Kapil Sibal and his grandiose plans for
taking Indian education forward. After having announced
immediately after assuming office, the agenda for the first 100 days of
the government, he has embarked on a plethora of policy
pronouncements and proposed legislative actions.
Primarily, he has clearly spelt out the policy direction of his
government. For the first time, the HRD ministry has come out with
a public-private-partnership (PPP) policy. Through several legislative
proposals, he has also clearly laid out the direction towards further
commercialization and privatization of the educational process. And
lest there be, any form of resistance to this policy course, he has
abandoned any veneer of nicety of ‘cooperative federalism’ and
launched a most direct and overt assault on hitherto existing practices
and conventions which have been guided by the requirements of
constitutionally ordained contours of Centre-State relations.
To the present government, the question is very simple. Not only
will neo-liberal policies be pursued in education as in the case of
economy from the nineties through the instrumentality of facilitating
private and commercial interests which, invariably, will jeopardize
the right of the aam aadmi to access education at all levels, but every
possible effort to resist such an offensive will be legally snuffed out.
Therefore, longstanding rights and autonomy enjoyed by the states
and other democratic structures of educational governance like elected
university Senates and Syndicates, State Higher Education Councils
and State School Boards will be unambiguously disempowered.
A proper comprehension of what is going on is extremely
important. That this is not any subjective misguided display of over
enthusiasm but a clear-cut expression of the class priorities of the
present Indian ruling classes in this juncture of further integrating
India in the overarching project of neo-liberal globalization – is a
necessary conclusion that has to be assimilated. But for such an
understanding, the resistance to this obnoxious process cannot be
Marxists have never seen education and its evolution as divorced from
the fundamentals of the class society. Therefore, education can never
be treated as mere dissemination of instructions and knowledge for
the overall advancement of the human society. Apart from a process of
transmitting skills and knowledge, education throughout the
protracted history of class societies have served as a powerful tool to
Education Policy
forge a consciousness aimed at perpetuating the class rule specific to
that stage of development of the class society. Education, indeed, has
been a powerful component of the ‘ideological apparatus’ which has
served the objective of securing the cultural and intellectual hegemony
of the ruling classes.
Explaining this, Marx and Engels observed: “The ideas of the
ruling class are in every epoch, the ruling ideas: i.e., the class which is the
ruling material force of society is at the same time its ruling intellectual
force. The class which has the means of material production at its disposal,
consequently also controls the means of mental production, so that the
ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are on the whole
subject to it. The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of
the dominant material relations; dominant material relations grasped as
ideas: hence of the relations which made the one class the ruling one, and
therefore, the ideas of its dominance. The individuals composing the ruling
class possess among other things, consciousness, and therefore, think. In so
far, therefore, as they rule as a class and determine the extent and compass of
an historical epoch, it is self-evident that they do this in its whole range,
hence among other things, rule also as thinkers, as producers of ideas, and
regulate the production and distribution of the ideas of their age; thus
their ideas’ are the ruling ideas of the epoch”.
In pre-capitalist societies, the approach of the ruling classes was
quite direct. They simply excluded the broad masses from the process
of education and kept it confined to the ruling elite through ‘home
education’. Given the low levels of productive capacities of such
societies and the consequent limited requirements of manpower
suited such a blatant policy of exclusion. The experience of Greek
institutions or the Indian Gurukuls are prime examples of such an
exclusionary course. And, how cruel that could mean is amply
demonstrated through the mythological anecdotes of Ekalavya and
The situation, however, altered with the advent of capitalism.
With the tremendous development of the productive forces and the
requirements of a mass social production necessitated the need for
imparting some minimum level of education and training. The early
capitalist society, of course, was slow in realizing these new
requirements. Therefore, in the primitive days of capitalist
development, the advances in education were excruciatingly tardy
and halting.
Chronicling such a situation, the early revolutionary, Mikhail
Bakunin, wrote on July 31, 1869 in L’Egalite – “That is the fact that all
of the intelligentsia, all of the great applications of science to the purpose of
industry, trade and to the life of society in general have thus far profited no
one, save the privileged classes and the power of the State, that timeless
champion of all political and social iniquity. Never, not once, have they
brought any benefit to the masses of the people”.
Still later, another eminent Marxist, Sylvia Pankhurst, wrote in a
pamphlet in 1918 quoting extensively from the Report of the Royal
Commission into “The Employment and Condition of children in
Mines and Manufacturers” presented in 1848 retelling the
heartrending accounts of poor under-aged, malnourished children
of British miners’ families. She captured the inhumanity of early
capitalism as to how all instructions were limited to the Sunday classes
mostly restricted to the scriptures which hardly enabled these hapless
children to become confident of overcoming their circumstances.
However, as much as Marx and Engels asserted in Communist
Manifesto : “Not only has the bourgeoisie forced the weapons that bring
death unto itself. It has called into existence the men who are to build these
weapons – the modern working class – the proletarians”. They further
observed that the bourgeoisie “furnishes the proletariats with weapons
to fight” them. The struggle for education – a universal education –
has remained as an inseparable agenda for the proletariat to steel
themselves in their class battle to topple capitalism. At the same time,
the proletariat has also fought for expanding that universal right for
other exploited sections for the establishment of democracy.
Marx and Engels have mocked at the pretensions of capitalism to
restrict the access to education: “But, you say, we destroy the most
hallowed of relations, when we replace ‘home education’ by social.
“And your education! Is not that also social, and determined by the
social conditions under which you educate, by the intervention direct or
indirect, of society, by means of schools & c.? The Communists have not
invented the intervention of society in education; they do but seek to alter
the character of that intervention, and to rescue education from the influence
of the ruling class.”
Thus, the course for us has been charted by the pioneers. The
struggle for the universal right of education for the masses will be an
essential element of our struggle to establish democracy and equality.
Education Policy
It will, however, be shaped by the ‘concrete’ conditions of the ‘concrete’
situation with a view to defend past gains, consolidate them and try to
forge ahead fending off fresh assaults.
There has been a great degree of unanimity over the broad features of
development of education in the colonial period, save except our
Prime Minister when he exclaimed in his infamous observation in
his alma mater – Oxford University – that the British rule in India
had made positive contributions in the development of a structure of
administration and the human resources required for this purpose.
That the British viewed education as an instrument to consolidate
their colonial rule is clear from the manner that they approached the
subject from the days of Warren Hastings and Jonathan Duncan
established the Calcutta Madrassa and the Banaras Sanskrit College
in the fag end of the 18th century. With changes over the years to
systematize the educational structure starting with the Wood’s
dispatch often regarded as ‘Magna Carta’ of British education in India
to the establishment of universities in Bombay, Calcutta and Madras
in 1857, the effort was always to restrict the education to the elite. The
philosophy was so succinctly articulated by Lord Macaulay in 1835
who observed ‘we want to create a class of Indians who will pursue
the interest of the Her Majesty’s Government – sharing our thinking
but brown in the colour of their skin’.
But, as Marx has pointed out, the attempt at restrictive
development by which the ruling classes attempt to secure their
hegemony gives rise to contradictions which eventually leads to the
strengthening of a process which is quite the opposite. Colonial India
has been no exception. Young educated Indians broke down the
barriers of their often elitist circumstances to become part of the
struggle for national emancipation and end of the colonial rule.
And, thus, in the crucible of our independence movement itself,
the struggle for universal right to education broke out. Gopalkrishna
Gokhale moved the proposal in Imperial Legislative Council on
March 18, 1910 to provide for ‘free and compulsory primary
education’ in India. Sessions of Indian National Congress also adopted
resolutions for realizing right to education for the masses and the
commensurate allocation of financial resources by the government to
ensure this. The bourgeois leadership of the national movement was
very clear that moving away from the restrictive policies of the colonial
rule, right to education was an important war cry to rally millions of
Indians – especially young men and women in the struggle to secure
their support and participation.
In the wake of independence, India faced a daunting challenge.
Commenting on the nature of those challenges, the Swedish economist
and sociologist Dr.Gunnar Myrdal in his seminal three volume book
Asian Drama-An Inquiry into the Poverty of Nations observes: “From a
development point of view, the purpose of education must be to rationalize
attitudes as well as to impart knowledge and skills. In the South Asian
countries, which have largely been stagnant for a long time and where
attitudes antagonistic to development have taken firm root and become
institutionalized, the changing of attitudes requires far greater emphasis
than in the developed countries, where attitudes are already more rational,
and are adjusted to permit further rapid progress. This is one of several
reasons why educational reformers in South Asia have to guard against a
tendency to adopt uncritically the educational practices and policies of the
Western countries.”
However, the post-colonial developments have shown that the
post-independent ruling classes – the bourgeois-landlord regime
have not moved away from the fundamental premise of restricting
education and not transforming it into a universal right.
It is true that the requirements of developing capitalism
independently which the international historical conjuncture offered,
the government did talk of expanding university and secondary and
technical education. To address the requirement they constituted,
commissions under the chairmanship of Dr. Radhakrishnan and
Lakshmanaswami Mudaliar respectively. There were also certain
faltering efforts to create the scientific and technical manpower needed
for pursuing the path of capitalist development. However, the question
of universalizing the educational rights always remained a distant
dream. And, in any case, the contradictions inherent in the path of
capitalist development particularly arising out of the failure to
eliminate feudalism drew the economy into a phase of crisis in the
mid-sixties. There was a considerable degree of disenchantment
among the young people over the failure of the economy to absorb
Education Policy
them in the economy productively after passing out from the college
and the universities.
It is not a chance coincidence that the vision of a modern
developed and educated society outlined by the most comprehensive
report till now – that headed by Prof. D. S. Kothari -did spell out an
appropriate conception. The Kothari Commission pointed out : “The
children of the masses are compelled to receive sub-standard
education…while the economically privileged parents are able to `buy’
good education for their children…By segregating their children, such
privileged parents prevent them from sharing the life and experience of the
children of the poor and coming into contact with the realities of
life…There is thus segregation in education itself – the minority of private,
fee-charging, better schools meetings the needs of the upper class and the
vast bulk of free, publicly maintained, but poor schools being utilized by
the rest. What is worse, this segregation is increasing and tending to widen
the gulf between the classes and the masses.”
The Kothari Commission did not limit itself to pious assertions.
It concretely recommended that at least 6 per cent of the GDP be
spent on education. But the failure of the Indian ruling classes as in
other areas of national life is in an equal degree glaring in the sphere
of education as well. And, therefore, Kothari Commission’s
recommendations continue to remain a pipedream for millions of
Indian families who remain excluded from the educational process.
And, India continues to be the home to the largest number of illiterates
in the world.
The process of education and the government policies saw a sharp
‘U’ turn with the 1986 New Education Policy of the Rajiv Gandhi
government. The government officially abandoned the idea of
universalizing education and restricting the design of the structure
of education system to produce the limited manpower required for
its narrowly premised export led growth strategy. The policy statement
pointed out that not only is a large section of our educated youth –
unemployed but, in fact, they are ‘unemployable’. Therefore, the
government’s funds and other resources should be focused on
educating and developing the ‘employable’ manpower. Thus came
the regime of Navodaya Vidyalayas and Centres of Excellence in the
sphere of higher education.
Summing up the updated Programme of the CPI (M) in 2000
pointed out: “The Constitution of Republic of India which was adopted
in 1950 had laid down a set of directive principles to be followed by the
State. These include ….right to education and provision of free and
compulsory education for children. ... None of these principles had been
realised in practice. The glaring gap between the constitution’s precepts
and the practice of the bourgeois rulers is a scathing indictment of the
bourgeois-landlord system instituted after independence.” (Para 2.37)
The nineties saw the emergence of the ‘bold new initiatives’ of the
economic reforms in India. The paradigm saw a quantum change. It
was a complete new direction. The government shed the pretensions
of being accountable for the education of the masses. It started claiming
that the government did not have the resources to provide for the
education of its entire citizens. Seeds were sown in the 1986 – now it
blossomed in a more hospitable environment. Henceforth, the private
sector would play a much larger role in the funding of education
particularly at the level of higher education.
Oblivious of the commitments that India has made to the
international community in being signatory to the ‘Education for
All’ in Alma Ata Conference or the UN-sponsored ‘Millennium
Development Goals’, the government did not fight shy of
relinquishing the responsibilities of educational development to
predatory market forces. The result of such a course of development
is for all to see. Gradually slipping among the nations of the world,
India has now come to occupy the 132nd position among 177 nations
in the ranking with respect to human development – a truly laudable
achievement for the claimant of an ‘economic superpower’ status!
And, this is true to the spirit of neo-liberalism. The government
is bent on facilitating the growth of private sector – a philosophy of
‘education for profit’ over the principle of ‘education as a right’.
A Brazilian economist, Alfredo Saad-Filho, in describing neoliberalism
points out: “Neoliberalism combines an accumulation strategy,
a mode of social and economic reproduction and a mode of exploitation
and social domination based on the systematic use of state power to impose,
under the ideological veil of non-intervention, a hegemonic project of
recomposition of the rule of capital in all areas of social life”. Filho’s
Education Policy
observations could not be more representative of the paradigm which
has dictated the process of educational development in the last two
There are, of course, certain differences in the sphere of school
education and higher education. Although there has been very little
commensurate sense of responsibility displayed in terms of financial
resources allocated for school education of which we will talk about
In 1994, World Bank came out with a study, Higher education:
Lessons of Experience. It provided the argument for pushing neo-liberal
prescriptions particularly in higher education. The document
construed higher education as a ‘non-merit good’ as opposed to the
school education which was viewed as a ‘merit good’. It asserted that
those who pursued higher education benefited individually and the
community only benefits marginally, therefore, it stands to logic that
the government should not squander its scarce resources for
promoting higher education. The implicit conclusion pointed
towards a direction of privatization and commercialization of higher
education divorcing it from school education.
That such an approach is completely lopsided and unsustainable
is quite evident. It overlooks the dynamic relationship between school
and higher education. And, the teachers required for school education
are essentially those who have to come out with the appropriate level
of proficiency from institutions of higher learning itself. Historically
in a phase of development when the country has to move forward on
the back of a scientific technological revolution-driven development
trajectory, the essential knowledge for cutting edge technology in
frontier areas cannot but be accessed without a strong structure of
higher education. So either way, the governments cannot relinquish
their responsibility towards higher education.
Wiser by the experience of the futility of its earlier approach,
World Bank has now started singing the new tune – coming out with
a new study entitled ‘Creating Knowledge Societies’ in 2002. The new
document advocates quality education for all at all levels at least
formally embracing a model of inclusive approach to higher
But formal statements or perceptions apart that the government’s
signature tune continues to remain the neo-liberal precept of profit
over people’ are clear from the preferences of the government .The
Prime Minister has pointed out that the Eleventh Plan essentially
will be a National Education Plan. In January 2010, Kapil Sibal
claimed that: “India needs $ 400 billion of investment in education over
the next decade.” The much acclaimed National Education Plan has
allocated Rs. 84,743 crores. If a similar trend for allocation continues
for the Twelfth Plan as well, we can expect to have Rs. 2, 00,000 crores
in the education sector for the ongoing decades starting with the
Eleventh Plan. But the HRD Minister’s requirement is ten times
more. Who will provide these resources?
An indication is contained in the Eleventh Plan document itself
where the Planning Commission wants to provide ‘necessary enabling
framework to attract private investment and public-private
partnership in HTE (Higher and Technical Education) sector’;
therefore, the public-private partnership policy of the HRD ministry.
The reason for the quantum jump of 19 per cent gross budgetary
support for the Eleventh Plan over 7.7 per cent in the Tenth Plan
does become quite clear. The allocation for HTE has been raised
nine-fold from Rs. 9,600 crores in the Tenth Plan to Rs. 84,963 crore
in the current Plan. This is to create 16 central universities, 14 world
class central universities, 370 colleges in lower GER (Gross Enrolment
Ratio) districts, 8 IITs, 7 IIMs, 10 NITs, 20 IIITs, 5 IISER, 2 SPS and
50 centres for training and research in frontier areas. The Planning
Commission has estimated that a total of Rs. 2,52,260 crores would be
required for implementation of these projects. So, there will be a
resource gap of Rs. 2.22 lakh crores. Together with this, another Rs. 1
lakh crores will be required for setting up 200 new universities during
Eleventh Plan which adds up to a resource gap of Rs. 3.22 lakh crores.
The story becomes interesting! Only 8 per cent of HTE sector
expenditure will be through public investment while 92 per cent will
be accounted for by the private sector. The quantum jump in the plan
allocation is to lure the private entrepreneurs with public funds and
public assets.
Actually, the direction of education policy in India had already
started displaying a private sector-driven course. So far as school
education is concerned, in 1979, of the 5, 80,040 schools in the country,
only 7.9 per cent or 45,780 were in the private sector. But in 2007, this
has jumped up to 18.8 per cent. Of the total 11, 96,663 schools in the
country, 2, 25,691 are in the private sector.
Education Policy
The trend of privately run institutions in higher education is, of
course, more pronounced. Of the 271 medical colleges in the country,
133 are in the private sector. During these two decades of neo-liberal
reforms, 106 deemed universities have been created – all of them in
the private sector. Significantly, the Yashpal Committee appointed by
Kapil Sibal himself had recommended closing down most of these.
In 2007, according to HRD ministry, we had 4894 professional
institutions for imparting education in engineering, MBA, pharmacy
etc. We also had 2102 institutions for conferring diploma in these
branches. Roughly 50 per cent of these institutions are in the private
The consequence is for all to see.
The NSSO data for 2003 for GER in higher education shows
that 13.2 per cent of the population has access in the age group of 18
to 23, in the case of poor, it is a meager 2.43 per cent, for SC 5 per cent,
ST 7.5 per cent and Muslim minority 8.2 per cent. There is also an
adverse urban-rural and male-female divide. There have been several
reports chronicling the economic and social discrimination which
impacts the present education system at different levels. The Sachhar
Committee which went into the study on the status of education and
employment of Muslim minorities has come out with a very disturbing
picture. While there is an increasing clamour for greater degree of
social justice – there is no doubt that the private corporate driven
commercialization of the education process will further accentuate
disparities because private institutions do not require compliance
with the established provisions of reservation. And, that is not to speak
of the wide variation between the poor and the non-poor in terms of
access. This is the balancesheet of neo-liberal policy direction in our
In determining the direction of policies shaping education in India
is not a mere physical question and is not only influenced by financial
allocations. As we have already seen, it is as much about institutional
and legislative changes. So it is not surprising that Kapil Sibal’s new
‘war cry’ of introducing neo-liberal policy shifts in the sphere of
education would be spearheaded by legislative measures. Within a
very short while, we are witnessing a plethora of legislative proposals
initiated by the HRD Ministry. These require some examination to
grasp the essence of their intent and direction.
While there have been no real effort in the post colonial period by
successive Indian independent governments to mark a complete break
with the colonial legacy and construct a truly egalitarian education
system for the masses, it will be equally true that democratic struggles
have taken place to impact relevant policies in the sphere of education.
One such issue is the right to education. That the right to education
should be a fundamental right was an idea which was enshrined in
the Directive Principles to the State in the Constitution. However,
this idea largely remained conspicuous by its non-translation. In a
landmark judgement, the Supreme Court in 1993 in the
Unnikrishnan case pronounced that henceforth education has to be
recognized as a fundamental right. In a relentless battle to convert
this judicial order in the Constitutional provision, the forces for
universalisation succeeded and in 1997, this became a provision
through the 86th amendment. But the operationalisation of this
provision in terms of a national Right to Education (RTE) enactment
had to wait till 2009. During the tenure of the UPA-I, the law could
not be passed because of sharp differences over the pattern of sharing
of financial responsibility towards its implementation. There were
other policy issues as well, covering issues like provision for children
below six years of age, children with special needs and so on and so
The present slew of legislative initiatives had started with the
RTE enactment. There has been a general welcome for the RTE law
but now the approach of the government threatens its implementation
and realization.
One of the fundamental objectives -the government bearing the
full funding responsibility for its implementation -remains far from
being achieved in the confines of the present law. The law does not
rule out educational institutions set-up for profit [Section 2. n. (iv)].
Push Bhargava, an erstwhile Vice-Chairman of the National
Knowledge Commission has argued that, “the model Rules and
Regulations (R&R) for the RTE Act say in Section 11.1.b that a school
run for profit by any individual, group or association of individuals or
any other persons, shall not receive recognition from the government.
However, this Section will not be binding on the States as it is not a part of
Education Policy
the Act. If the Government of India were serious about the issue, it should
have made this a part of the RTE Act.”
That the concept of unencumbered right to education in the
spirit of the Supreme Court judgement and the 86th amendment is
not being accepted by the government by allowing such private
institutions. As we have pointed out that already the percentage of
private schools among the total schools in the country are increasing
at a rapid pace and the principle of profit is inherently exclusionary.
The ceiling of 25 per cent of poor students in private unaided
institutions as per provisions of the Act can be circumvented by the
management by charging under heads which are not covered by the
provisions of the Act or the rules and regulations governing the Act.
The other problem is that the Act does not cover children studying
from IX to the XIIth Std. The world over the concept of right to
education covers compulsory universal education for 12 years in
school. Therefore, the Act and its R & R stands in glaring contrast to
this internationally accepted reality.
The other rather surmountable problem of funding RTE would
be argued later which bring into sharp focus the Centre-State question.
Among the other legislations proposed and at different stages of
enactment which have provoked raging controversy are the Foreign
Education Institution (FEI) and the Higher Education and Research
(HER) Bills.
The FEI Bill smacks of a colonial mindset. The expectation that
our requirements of both quantitative and qualitative expansion and
enhancement of higher education cannot be met without intervention
of foreign universities and institutions completely betrays the
government’s sense of misrepresentation of the ground reality. That
India’s low GER at the higher education level is largely due to the
lack of financial resources available with the students attempting to
access higher education. As we have already pointed out that 92 per
cent of the funds required for the projected expansion of higher and
technical education during the Eleventh Plan period is expected to
come from the private sector comprehensively defeats the objective of
the expansion given the levels of financial disempowerment of those
who remain excluded.
Therefore, the main issue here is one of finding adequate nonprofit
resources for funding the expansion of our higher education.
To expect that foreign universities and FEPs will fill this void is to try
and hoodwink the people. It is, therefore, not without reason that
opposition is galvanising to this proposed legislation. Sometime back,
even the mainstream media newspaper Times of India after surveying
the experience of countries like Singapore, Israel, Gulf countries and
China have come to the inescapable conclusion that FEIs cannot
mitigate the requirements of the expansion of our higher education
Speaking in an interview, Director of the Centre for International
Higher Education of Boston College has observed: “Historically,
branch campuses do not absolve many students. India will have to provide
the access that India needs. It cannot rely on foreign universities to do that.”
The Indian-born Chemistry Nobel laureate and the present professor
and researcher of Cambridge University, Dr. Venkatesh Ramakrishnan,
sharply castigated the move to set-up branches of foreign universities
in India. The current move of the government also appears to overlook
the current financial reality which hamstrings the existence of reputed
universities even in the West. Both Oxford and Cambridge which
have been running on endowment funds have come to face fund
crunch. Dr. N. V. Varghese, in a paper for the International Institute
for Educational Planning under UNESCO entitled, `Globalisation,
economic crisis and national strategies for higher education development’
had cited the severe financial crunch faced by the Korean universities
to the point of collapse during the East Asian financial crisis.
In fact, the conclusions of the Varghese’s paper sum up a
comprehensive critique of the government’s legislative intention: “The
unplanned and unregulated expansion of higher education may lead to
the creation of new inequalities and the accentuation of existing ones. This
is all the more so when there are multiple private and cross-border providers.
There is a risk of stratification of students based on their fee-paying capacity.
Given the high fee structures, only those from a better economic background
will be able to enroll in cross-border and private institutions. This may
lead to two types of imbalances in the growth of higher education. First,
there are increasing inequalities of access to education and later to
employment. Second, there are regional imbalances. Many of the private
and cross-border education institutions are located in urban areas.
Contrary to the general belief that these institutions are absorbing excess
Education Policy
demand, they may in fact be increasing the access options of those who
already have access to higher education”.
And the paper further argues: “for state intervention in higher
education rather than leaving the sector mainly to the markets. State
intervention with funding support is the ideal situation. In the absence of
the possibility of full public funding for higher education development,
the state may better target its limited resources to disadvantaged groups
and to specific subject areas to improve overall equity in higher education.
However, the lack of resources at the disposal of the government should
not be a reason for it to be absent from the sector. Even when the state
cannot provide funding support, it still has an important role in planning
and regulating the system”.
Pretensions apart, the government’s real intention lies elsewhere.
In 1993-94, the total expenditure for education globally was to the
tune of $ 1 trillion or Rs. 48 lakh crores. Such a huge amount of
finances could not conceivably remain outside the operational reach
of global corporates. That is why education had to be part of the
GATS negotiation under WTO. United States alone exports $ 10
billion of educational services. In this sphere, it earns a surplus of $ 8
billion. Therefore, our elaborate higher education sector with
1,16,00,000 students, 5,00,05,000 university and college teachers with
a network of 480 universities and post-graduate institutions of higher
learning and 21,677 colleges involve an annual expenditure of Rs.
1,63,356 crores. How can such a huge education ‘market’ remain
insulated from global education corporates? This is why the advocates
of neo-liberalism are candid: “The opening up is directly related to
India’s WTO commitment rather than any great desire to clear the mess in
higher education”. (Time of India, March 21, 2010)
The HER Bill is a clear instrument to legitimize an institutional
arrangement for facilitating this trajectory. The HER Bill which is
now the second draft for setting up of an apex super regulator which
will do away with all hitherto existing regulators for various sectors of
higher education save except medical and agricultural education.
The attempt is to convince the nation that merely bringing together
all the regulatory agencies under a single head, the quality of higher
education can be enhanced.
Ironically, the government is trying to do this by claiming that
they are doing so on the basis of recommendations made by the Yashpal
Committee. But the fact is the holistic vision of the Yashpal Committee
on Higher Education had recognized autonomy as an important
ingredient of excellence. It wanted to reinforce universities with ample
self-regulatory powers and allow the academic community with
fulsome autonomy on academic matters. It also suggested greater
flexibility to students for horizontal entry into institutions of choice;
and, a great degree of interdisciplinary integration. However, this
vision has been completely subverted and subsumed by the ‘education
for profit model’ suggested earlier by the National Knowledge
Commission headed by Sam Pitroda. Therefore, today, we are straddled
with a legislation which proposes to completely centralize the
regulatory and policy functions of higher education in a small sevenmember
apex body with hardly any accountability and to be
handpicked by the panel which will be virtually dominated by the
government and the ruling party. The autonomy of the state
governments enjoyed in terms of creating higher education structures
in the state will be made redundant. Obviously, such a structure will
be mainly used to push the obnoxious designs of education for profit
promoted by private – both domestic and foreign- education
providing corporates. It is true that the existing regulators in the sphere
of higher education like UGC or AICTE do have their lacuna.
Renovating them in keeping with the requirements of decentralization
and academic autonomy is a pressing prerequisite for taking forward
the cause of a genuine democratic educational reform. But the present
proposed legislation is proceeding in a completely opposite direction.
There are other Bills as well – the Prohibition of Unfair Practices
in Technical, Medical Institutions and Universities Bill, 2009 and
National Authority for Registration in Accreditation of Higher
Education Institutions Bill. During the past, especially in the last two
decades, the mushrooming growth of private institutions earning
huge sums as capitation fees had come to be seen as major challenges.
The burdens of capitation fee had led to indebtedness of poor and
middle class parents and incidents of students of such institutions
driven to a point of desperation committing suicides had been widely
reported. There was a widespread need felt for exercising social and
regulatory control over such institutions. At the instance of the Left,
Arjun Singh, the then HRD Minister, initiated a legislative exercise
Education Policy
for an “Admission and Fee Structure in Private Aided and Unaided
Professional, Educational Institution’s Regulation 2007, UGC Bill”.
The current initiative is clearly aimed at killing that earlier initiative.
Now the government proposes to legitimize capitation fee by allowing
the managements to get away with collection of high fees only if they
are notified in the public domain in the institution’s website. Such
open encouragement to enshrine the practice of `education for profit’
in our Statute Books is seen to be believed!
The creation of a National Accreditation Authority and
compulsory accreditation for all educational institutions on the basis
of compliance with a certain given stipulation is also an exercise in
centralization. It is putting the cart before the horse! The challenge in
India today is not to secure accreditation but to overcome the
challenges of physical and manpower infrastructure at a minimum
level that could ensure the delivery of quality education. Accreditation
comes only after that – as a means to ensure monitoring and
certification of that achievement. It is obvious that such an authority
unrelated to the ground reality can actually lead to the disbanding of
struggling community efforts to establish educational institutions in
poor and excluded neighbourhoods.


About The Book:
While Marx and Engeis wrote detailed critiques of capitalism, they could only suggest the bare outlines of what socialism as the order of society supplanting capitalism could be like. Lenin built on these ideas and the experience of the working-class movement to develop notions of the ways in which a transitional regime based on the worker–peasant alliance could open the path to socialism. Stalin guided the construction of socialism in ‘one country’ (Russia), and analysed the problems faced by socialism once established. Mao Zedong critically reviewed the experiences of the Soviet Union in socialist construction, and insisted that one must grapple with and resolve various contradictions within socialist society that he went on to define. The writings of these major figures of the Communist movement form an important storehouse of ideas, both theoretical and practical, on socialism. These are of exceptional importance today, when the world economic crisis of 2008–09 has brought on the agenda the question of replacement of capitalism by a more just system all over the world.
The editor of this volume, Irfan Habib, has contributed an explanatory essay placed in the Appendix, setting out the problems of socialism as analysed by leading Marxist theoreticians and economists, and checked with the actual experience of socialist countries.
Irfan Habib is Professor Emeritus of History at the Aligarh Muslim University.
Aligarh Historians Society, the co-publisher of the volume, is dedicated to the cause of promoting the scientific method in history and resisting communal and chauvinistic interpretations.

Congratulations to the People of Egypt

warm greetings and congratulations to the people of Egypt and particularly the youth for the brilliant success of their historic 18 day struggle against the despotic ruler Hosni Mubarak, which finally forced him to quit office. It hopes that the people’s aspirations for a just and democratic order, for constitutional changes, lifting of emergency and establishment of a Government through free and fair elections will be met without delay.