Through The Ink of a PhD Scholar

phd scholar
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In the name of Fundamental Research not much has been done in India in comparison with European nations. The right to education was once traditionally confined to ‘one’ community in India which is a fact that also has contributed to great extent to the degradation of Education system.  Right from School education to the PhD; the education system in India has been facing some serious issues. The major issue is pseudo-intellectualism, suppression of creativity and discouraging approach of the old Dons of the University Departments. The major direct impact of the attitude of senior professors falls on PhD scholars registered under them. In India, it has been seen that majority of senior professors- the so called Dons of their departments are suffering from incurable disease of egoism, intellectual rigidity, hallucination and insecurity. The clashes that happen between PhD Students and their guides mostly happen due to number of reasons and ironically most of the time the reasons have no relation with the academics. The conflict of ideas is always welcome, but the imposition of ego by the Dons on their innocent kittens is absolutely nonsense, absurd, abnormal and against the principles of natural justice.

Most of the Professors in India are of the opinion that the relation between PhD scholar and his supervisor should be a continuation of ancient Guru-Shishya tradition wherein Shishya was required to ‘please’ the master to gain the knowledge by way of surrendering himself at his master’s holier-than-thou feet. Since my childhood I have been keeping serious kind of hatred about this Guru-Shishya tradition that reduces the status of Shishya-a disciple to that of a slave of his master. Let me get things straight- the discoveries of Research scholars are the results of their individual thinking, perspectives, understanding, approaches and outlooks which might be different from their supervisor’s and therefore exists independently that of their master’s fountain of wisdom. However, it is sad to see that most of the supervisors directly or indirectly attempt to influence the ‘discoveries’ and ‘expressions’ of their students which is nothing but mental harassment.

The unnecessary interference of one man in the thinking and intellectual reflections of the other creates a serious barrier in the research. The ideal job of research supervisor is to see whether technical requirements of the research has been fulfilled or not. He should be more concern with technicalities of data analysis (if familiar), plagiarism and presentation rather than the ‘expressions’ (by the way; some holier-than-thou PhD supervisors does not even know the difference between preface and introduction and their independent significance in thesis), ‘language’ and ‘conclusion’. The personal prejudices should play no role in guiding PhD student. Many a times it has been noticed that a guide with certain ideology or political-religious-racial affinity-ultra patriotism or grudges attempts to guide/direct his student with some pre-conceived notions. He attempts to load the mind of his student with his own ideas, understanding, ideals, influences and prejudices which is nothing but criminal attempts to plant loaded suggestions in the minds of research students when the outcome is already predicted. Where is the freedom then? Have PhD students simply reduced merely to the level of being puppets in the hands of their academic masters? Why it is that there is no intellectual freedom in India? Why it is that PhD scholars, Fellows, Post-Docs are judged strictly on the scale of individual/institutional prejudices, interests and ideologies? Why it is that writing ‘truth’ has become a crime in the academic world of India?

A system has to be changed. One supervisor with one little brain with all its complexities should have no right to decide the value of the thoughts of his student. Every PhD scholar should be given at least two main supervisors so that at least there would be some scope to explore multiple intellectual possibilities that researcher may want to demystify. Vice-Chancellor of university should have direct control over the PhD guides, a periodic progress reports should be demanded from them and also student feedback should be taken with regular intervals as to the behaviour, abilities and professionalism of supervisor. Every PhD thesis in India should be compulsorily sent to the experts in European Universities to have their say (it has been found that European Scholars have far more flexible, accommodative, less prejudiced, technical and practical approach to the research). Also, the notion of Guru-shishya relation should be buried deep in the sea-bed of Indian Ocean. This tradition has not done any good to the education system but gave birth to the ‘Ego’ and ‘superiority complex’ in the minds of senior professors and scientists.

There is one sad reality about the research world in India. New thought, new idea, new discovery, new possibility, new interpretation, new theory is seen with suspicion and jealousy. The syndicate of Academic Mafias is ever willing to discourage, crush and murder the soul of young mind.  However, there are some wise-old minds silently doing their work in their offices on their tables, lost in their laptops and books, they are the men of substance who gives wings of liberty and teach their students to fly without fear in the world of curiosity and possibilities. Such professors are rare. Such professors are rare who liberate their students from their own influences. Such people are the true devotees of knowledge. Knowledge demands nothing but freedom. There is so much to learn, so much to understand, so much to explore in this world. The daredevil jump into the vast ocean of knowledge is only possible when one gets the wings of liberty and courage. The Dons- the so called ‘THEKEDAARS’- THE BLIND CONTRACTORS of knowledge in the academic world cannot suppress the young minds from flourishing with all their glory and light. At this juncture it is pertinent to quote what Ayn Rand has written in ‘THE FOUNTAINHEAD’, she writes, “Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their own vision. Their goals differed, but they all had this in common: that the step was first, the road new, the vision unborrowed, and the response they received — hatred. The great creators — the thinkers, the artists, the scientists, the inventors — stood alone against the men of their time. Every great new thought was opposed. Every great new invention was denounced. The first motor was considered foolish. The airplane was considered impossible. The power loom was considered vicious. Anesthesia was considered sinful. But the men of unborrowed vision went ahead. They fought, they suffered and they paid. But they won.”

Research is a battle with possibilities. Let the possibilities be fearlessly challenged once and forever.

Aniruddha Vithal Babar,, D.H.R.L., LLM (International Law and Human Rights), M.A. (Political Science with specialization in International Relations and Conflict Studies), Former Advocate; Bombay High Court and independent researcher with interdisciplinary temperament. He has respectable hold on political and Socio-legal philosophy and thought with research interests include International law, Tribal Jurisprudence (with special emphasis on the development of Naga Jurisprudence), Applied Politics, Idea of justice, Peace & Conflict Studies, Northeast Studies, Subaltern Studies and Human Rights. Presently he is pursuing his PhD in the interdisciplinary fields of Law, Governance and Conflict Management at SSLG, JAIPUR NATIONAL UNIVERSITY. He may be contacted at [email protected])


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