Showing posts from April, 2017

Why Am I Optimistic About New Universities in India?

University making in India is entering a new phase. The rushed expansion of the Higher Education system is perhaps over, with many of those new colleges and universities in crisis. There is a definitive shift in the regulatory environment: The unrestrained and often useless Distance Learning Study Centre business has been effectively shut down, the unregulated institutions have been challenged and there is greater clarity and order. However, university making in India has not stopped - there are new institutions being built and planned every day - and more and more serious philanthropists and entrepreneurs are entering the fray. I see these developments with some optimism, and believe that we are at an inflexion point, from which a new Higher Education system would emerge. This may be overtly optimistic and there are a number of things that can go wrong in India. For a start, we now have a nationalist turn, and the 'not-invented-here' syndrome has become all pervasive. Th

The Return Path: Making Reverse Migration Work

As much as we, expats, try to deny it, we are at an inflexion point. The great global wave of migration, that set off in the 90s and that many of us leave home and settle abroad, is beginning to ebb. And, this is not just about a Trump or a Theresa May, not just about some kinds of Visas becoming more difficult to obtain. This is as much about a cultural turn - street-level nastiness combined with resurgent national identities - that marks an ending, as well as a beginning, that we should take note of.  This isn't unprecedented - global movement of people always ebbs and flows - but this time, it appears to be the start of a long term trend, a reversal of opportunities driven by growth in the other side of the world. The emerging markets may have been a mixed bag in the past, but we are perhaps entering the phase of relatively closed economics, which would make the large markets - such as India or Indonesia - a great receptor of local innovation. And, even in the markets wher

History Essays: Nation As An Imagination and History of Italian Risorgimento

Introduction “Nationalism is a doctrine invented in Europe at the beginning of Nineteenth Century” is the opening statement of Elie Kedourie’s history of the idea of Nationalism. One may debate with the categorisation of Nationalism as a doctrine, its European origins and the dating of the idea to Nineteenth century, but its impact on creating a politics of a new kind, and that “nationalism is now obviously a worldwide phenomenon, vitally affecting both the material and intellectual development of modern civilisation” , is perhaps easier to agree with. However, it is perhaps also easy to be in agreement with Walter Bagehot, who reportedly said that nation is a phenomena we understand as long as we are not asked to explain it. The ubiquity of nation states, and the common acceptance of the idea of nationhood as the legitimate, and the only legitimate, principle of statehood, at least since the ‘Wilsonian Moment’ of Autumn 1918, somewhat obscure the contested nature of the histor

History Essays: Why Was Hitler Appointed Chancellor?

The ‘Why’ Question? Adolf Hitler was appointed the German Chancellor by President Von Hindenburg on 30th January 1933. This was an extraordinary turn of events. Previously, President Von Hindenburg consistently refused to appoint Hitler the Chancellor, despite the impressive electoral performance of NSDAP in July 1932, Hitler’s uncompromising demand of the Chancellor’s post and a repeat election in November 1932 which failed to break the deadlock. Explaining his refusal, Hindenburg wrote in a letter on 24th November, “a presidential cabinet led by you would develop necessarily into a party dictatorship with all its consequences for an extraordinary accentuation of the conflicts in the German people.” The question ‘why’ Hitler was appointed Chancellor, despite the President being acutely aware of what might follow, is therefore a significant one. The NSDAP had election successes throughout 1932, and was already the biggest single party in the Reichstag and various Landtags acros

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