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The Crisis Within: On Knowledge and Education in India

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Nearly one in every twelve humans is a young Indian for whom meaningful education is of critical importance. A good education will not only help our youth get jobs and build fulfilling careers, it will also lead to the widening of our collective imagination and the shaping of the way we think; for all these reasons it ought to be an important concern of our time. Unfortunat Nearly one in every twelve humans is a young Indian for whom meaningful education is of critical importance. A good education will not only help our youth get jobs and build fulfilling careers, it will also lead to the widening of our collective imagination and the shaping of the way we think; for all these reasons it ought to be an important concern of our time. Unfortunately, this is not the case. There is a lack of infrastructure, adequate funding and genuine autonomy within educational institutions, departments within those institutions, and individuals who teach in those departments. And this is not all. There is also the question of the nature of knowledge that is relevant to our rapidly modernizing country that needs to be dealt with. If knowledge is the core of education and if education lays the very foundation of a nation, the author argues that it is of critical importance that the plight of educational institutions and the need to generate knowledge appropriate to India are addressed without any delay. Original and profound, this book offers a clear picture of the mistakes that have been committed in the past, confronts the present decline of knowledge and education in the country and offers a vision for the future.


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Nearly one in every twelve humans is a young Indian for whom meaningful education is of critical importance. A good education will not only help our youth get jobs and build fulfilling careers, it will also lead to the widening of our collective imagination and the shaping of the way we think; for all these reasons it ought to be an important concern of our time. Unfortunat Nearly one in every twelve humans is a young Indian for whom meaningful education is of critical importance. A good education will not only help our youth get jobs and build fulfilling careers, it will also lead to the widening of our collective imagination and the shaping of the way we think; for all these reasons it ought to be an important concern of our time. Unfortunately, this is not the case. There is a lack of infrastructure, adequate funding and genuine autonomy within educational institutions, departments within those institutions, and individuals who teach in those departments. And this is not all. There is also the question of the nature of knowledge that is relevant to our rapidly modernizing country that needs to be dealt with. If knowledge is the core of education and if education lays the very foundation of a nation, the author argues that it is of critical importance that the plight of educational institutions and the need to generate knowledge appropriate to India are addressed without any delay. Original and profound, this book offers a clear picture of the mistakes that have been committed in the past, confronts the present decline of knowledge and education in the country and offers a vision for the future.

30 review for The Crisis Within: On Knowledge and Education in India

  1. 5 out of 5

    Rishab Katoch

    This one was a frustrating read. The thesis of the book is interesting where it seeks analyze the problems with higher education in India. The author states that the reason why India is failing to produce modern, universal knowledge is threefold, all of which have a historical legacy that independent India hasn't been able to get rid of. First, division of society in various castes made Indian knowledge less comprehensive. Second, Indian knowledge traditions valued intuition over non subjective This one was a frustrating read. The thesis of the book is interesting where it seeks analyze the problems with higher education in India. The author states that the reason why India is failing to produce modern, universal knowledge is threefold, all of which have a historical legacy that independent India hasn't been able to get rid of. First, division of society in various castes made Indian knowledge less comprehensive. Second, Indian knowledge traditions valued intuition over non subjective universal knowledge. And lastly, the colonial experience brought into the Indian self-perception an effect of ‘cultural amnesia’ rendering impossible any meaningful and organic relation with the past. Further, when the colonizers sought to understand Indian society they studied canonized languages over non canonized ones resulting in the loss of that particular knowledge system. There are various other related topics that have been touched upon. The book is too meandering, verbose and incoherent for me.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Prathyush Parasuraman

    The book is a meditation, a collection of thoughts, which explains why it feels unedited, verbose, occasionally profound, but always meandering. It starts off with issues that the zeitgeist of education faces, but ends on a note that is as abstract as it is ideal. Without thinking of the economic consequences of the recommended thrust, Devy however lays out the north star, without fuss or pedantic detail. It dwells on generalized ideas of the past; talking about the idea of karma to rationalize The book is a meditation, a collection of thoughts, which explains why it feels unedited, verbose, occasionally profound, but always meandering. It starts off with issues that the zeitgeist of education faces, but ends on a note that is as abstract as it is ideal. Without thinking of the economic consequences of the recommended thrust, Devy however lays out the north star, without fuss or pedantic detail. It dwells on generalized ideas of the past; talking about the idea of karma to rationalize caste, the evolution of the formal arrangement of the transmission of education, concurrent with the change in knowledge, the generalized notion of ancient India's disinclination to producing universal knowledge, the Sphota theory of meaning (where knowledge is not dawned upon, but springs from... i.e. it is all within you, doesn't need to be imposed - intuition VS memory) and the aggregate of the margins being greater than the mainstream. It touches, teases, and bids farewell. It is 106 pages, and for the most part, it is trying to find itself - its narrative, its crux, its primary question. When it does, it is too late, but it doesn't matter, because the reader has mingled with the words, disentangling from its mess some semblance of coherence or meaning. In a sense, it is a standing metaphor for the education system itself.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Naman Muley

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Essential reading of 130 pages for anyone looking to participate in the education industry in India. Prof. Ganesh Devy takes a first principles approach to understanding how Indian Education industry got to where it is now. His passionate plea to the reader is to understand the difference between true pursuit of knowledge versus teaching 'current practices'. He insists that anyone partaking in the modern education industry with the aim of improving it must have context of why helping the top 5% o Essential reading of 130 pages for anyone looking to participate in the education industry in India. Prof. Ganesh Devy takes a first principles approach to understanding how Indian Education industry got to where it is now. His passionate plea to the reader is to understand the difference between true pursuit of knowledge versus teaching 'current practices'. He insists that anyone partaking in the modern education industry with the aim of improving it must have context of why helping the top 5% of Indian mainstream will be a suboptimal strategy to achieving true success. He, I felt, dives too deep into historical context but none the less drives home his point successfully to shed light on so many dimensions of learning that we miss when we refuse to learn from our own diverse cultures. My favorite line - "In light of the history of exclusion on India, the challenge before us is not just how to make our education inclusive but also how to make our knowledge inclusive" Disclosure - I was a student of Prof. Devy while at Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information Communication Technology where he ran a unique involuntary rural internship for all students to spend time in rural India and get that context in their ongoing ICT pursuits.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sandeep Mishra

    While otherwise a good book, 3 stars only because it dwells too much on the caste question. Drifts away sometimes, if you go by the title.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Pravin

  6. 5 out of 5

    Anuradha Shah

  7. 4 out of 5

    Smit Thakkar

  8. 4 out of 5

    abhijeet

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mini Shrinivasan

  10. 5 out of 5

    Dr.Madan Bhimsen Jadhav

  11. 4 out of 5

    Akshay Gadhave

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sadiq Kazi

  13. 4 out of 5

    PRAKHAR SRIVASTAVA

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lutalica

  15. 5 out of 5

    Mehul Shah

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kishan

  17. 5 out of 5

    Trunil

  18. 4 out of 5

    Saurabh Das

  19. 4 out of 5

    Rucha

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kunal Mangal

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tobit Chirayath

  22. 5 out of 5

    vidyasagar

  23. 4 out of 5

    Pranjal K

  24. 5 out of 5

    Girish Yadav

  25. 4 out of 5

    Satyaki Mitra

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sukhada Chaudhary

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ankur

  28. 5 out of 5

    Gaurab Dutta

  29. 4 out of 5

    Vikas Kapoor

  30. 4 out of 5

    Moh'd Nasser

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