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Kashmir Files: intellectual terrorism and teacher's 'responsibility' for nation building

By Arup Mitra*

What is a teacher supposed to do, particularly when we envisage the role in the context of nation building? Providing guidance on routine matters or being intensely informative is a general characteristic which will be beneficial for the students. Aristotle believed that human nature, habit and reason were important elements that needed to be cultivated in the educational process.
The indic tradition believes that teachers can ignite perfection in the students: this concept of perfection is not confined to the syllabus of a teaching programme; rather it encompasses aspects which contribute to the enlightenment of a student and more importantly, helps the student contribute to the growth and development of the society. Hence, what a teacher speaks and does beyond classroom teaching is also of great importance for the nation as a whole.
Half-baked knowledge, views formed on the basis of partially understood issues and the ambition of creating space for oneself can be more dangerous than the most devastating missiles that technology has given to the world because the latter will have to be applied by the human mind which a teacher can control and regulate fully.
The objective of personal gains and the ambition of securing prominence in the world on the basis of something which one has not assimilated, can ruin a civilisation. It is completely unforgivable when there is a deliberate attempt being made to offer a distorted picture and provoke the young mind for action. After all an educational institution is the centre of learning: this space is instrumental to creativity and growth.
Wrong doings and misguidance from the teachers give rise to a set of ideas which can prevail over the reality and will continue to spread in the future as the young mind learns fast and propagates with great rapidity. That is how new history is created, surviving generations and wiping out the truth.
After watching the movie “Kashmir Files”, one is convinced about the power that a teacher possesses. And when that power is systematically used to direct the young mind in a specific way, it is devastating; it is intellectual terrorism.
Intellect is a double-edged knife: every wrong doing can be justified in a meticulous manner and a teacher with the power of articulation can build a completely false notion in the mind of the students. Especially when such efforts are made knowingly and with a purpose, the benefit of doubt certainly cannot be discounted for.
Wrong doings and misguidance from the teachers give rise to a set of ideas which can prevail over the reality
The movie has resulted in huge political blame-game. The television channels are constantly engaged in political debates. But why is there no discussion on the teacher who provoked the students with incorrect narratives, as shown in the movie? If the allegation is not baseless, then there should be an enquiry committee against the person, and strong action must be undertaken.
After all, the educational institute which employs the person is a premier university in the country and the government must not let it pass. In the name of democracy, the academicians have no right to set up their own beliefs and pursue activities which are more heinous than organised crimes.
Social science research in the country has invited strong criticisms over the years precisely because of the lack of scientific research. In the name of qualitative research personal biases, preconceived notions and distorted facts have been presented systematically with great articulation. But we must remember that a set of well-selected words cannot be a substitute for a well-defined research methodology.
The entire gamut of social science research in the country must have to suffer the funding-cuts and undue criticisms because of a few story-tellers who think themselves be the authorities in research and teaching. It is high time that action must be initiated if “Kashmir Files” contains any truth regarding the irresponsible behaviour of a teacher.
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*Professor, Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi

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