BEING DIFFERENT debate last evening in Univ. of Delhi
There were 3 opponents stacked against me - sociologist, psychologist, political scientist. They were from JNU, Delhi U, CSDS. It was a very exciting event.
It was "attack mode" throughout the talks of two of them. I was then given a chance to give my response in the end. About 250 students attended. I felt they supported me and many came afterwards to talk to me and stay in touch.
I told the opponents that given the very short time allocated to me to respond (much less than their time to talk) I would only give overall points in response. But we must continue the debate in the interest of expanding everyone's knowledge, so I said that I wanted to set up some online mechanism where I would post my detailed response to them, and they would be able to post their rejoinders - sort of like the debate I held
with Vijay Prashad many years ago that some of you might recall. I asked students who wanted to know more about my response to write down their email addresses so they could also participate. Iam glad to say that over 200 students gave their email addresses to me.
So we have the makings of the potential for an exciting debate with Indian social sciences people - hopefully in a mutually respectful style. Fortunately, I had asked that the event be videotaoed, and it was, and that I receive the DVD which I hope to in a few days. ..."
Pradip's question to Rajiv and response:
I just wondered if there were any "gotcha" attempts made during the debates and how you handled them.
two of the discussants were gotcha from start to finish, one
explicit but the other trying to pretend to be "nuanced". But I thoroughly relished the opportunity to give it back and more than that the huge support from the students. Maybe they hate their profs but have no choice in order to do
well in exams etc.
Rajiv response to another commentator
| Atually the JNU prof of Political science was very much saying things in line with my uturn theory, and he was glad to hear me give a synopsis of my work and my next book on it. He was not at all a problem, and in fact very resonant. We|
could work together.
The CSDS sociologist has "tracked" me for a decade and I have had prior encounters but her criticisms were mainy behind my back and fuzzy. Now I have a clear, crisp 20 minute position paper by her on video - great for my purva
paksha of her.
The D.U psych prof was embarassed in front of his own class as the students applauded heavily after each of my rejoinders to him.
We must NOT abandon the students at these kinds of institutions - only the professors are the problems and they are desperate to replicate their mindset into the next gen.
Another response to Desikan:
While one does not feel like asking you to stretch yourself indefinitely, one
does hope that at some early future date you will be able to train a limited
number of Indian (not Indian American) students carefully selected to become
effective academics in India to take your message further in this country along
with whatever else they are able to acquire from others locally.
Like many obvious ideas, this one is an old one that has been
tried unsuccesfully many times.
A recent example is that after i gave a talk to some very enthusiastic diaspora youth at a camp there was enormous esire to help me. But as in 90% of the cases with indians, there is a big gap between such talk and delivery. One woman made a clear statement that she will volunteer to do what I had suggested be done, namely, to make a 45 minute Powerpoint slide prsentation for Breaking India. This would then used to train others to give talks on it rather than me. I took quality time from busy schedule to explain the whole idea to this person. It was promised by her to be done in a month. That was back in March/April. Nothing has happened since. I called several times and wrote emails to follow up, and was always given assurance that it was just a bit late. The person then "disappeared" from the scene, presumably embarassed at her failure, but lacking the integrity to say it to me so I dont wait.
There are numerous such stories on how our folks love to talk to feel importance. Some probably are sincere, but under estimate what is entailed. They have no experience n actually doing such serious stuff. I was also promised by 2 separate individuals that they would develop a 25-50 page summary of the book. Nothing got done.
There is also a syndrome that these "volunteers" are basically wanting to build up their own ego and status by "appropriating" what they can with minimum effort. This enables them to look smarter than the rest of the fools at most of these meetings of our "like minded leaders" - you know what I mean. They want to do quick surface cream skimming of what they can learn from me, and the talk of
wanting to help me is just plain bullshit to get me to pour out lots of ideas and spend time.
The corruption in Indians is so pervasive that it is more than financial corruption, but also a whole lack of work ethics and ethics in general. I find our so-called activists and other bombastic people among the most unreliable ones when it comes to hard delivery. Unless there is a high visibility for them in the process with little sacrifice.
On the other hand, here in India I have come across man persons who are delivering solid events for me at great cost of time, money etc for themselves. This is heartening. These are individuals I have never met before and they found
me rather than the other way around.