Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Friday, Jul 18, 2003

Port Info

Group Sites

Industry & Economy - Economy

Academics decry slur campaign against CDS

Our Bureau

We are alarmed to learn that simple association with foreign researchers has become grounds for maligning the integrity of organisations, institutions and individuals.

Thiruvananthapuram , July 17

A GROUP of well-known academics, led by Prof Noam Chomsky, has expressed concern over what it described as wholly unsubstantiated media reports calling the people's campaign for decentralised planning a "CIA plot."

The reports had sought to portray the Centre for Development Studies (CDS) here, an acclaimed seat of serious academic pursuits and research, as a conduit for sloshing foreign funds to "enact a charade of what answered to the description" of decentralised planning.

A statement released here and signed jointly by Prof Chomsky, Dr Robin Jeffrey (La Trobe University, Victoria, Australia), Prof Richard Franke (Montclair State University) and Prof Ashuthosh Varshney (University of Michigan), among others, said specific charges have been levelled against "foreign-funded" research projects and the integrity of noted research institutions and academics in Kerala and abroad has been questioned.

No evidence in support of these very serious accusations has been presented. "As academics from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds, countries and institutions, who all have a longstanding academic interest in Kerala, we are writing to express our alarm and dismay at these irresponsible accusations," the statement said.

Kerala's achievements in social development and its history of social movements have been an inspiration to progressive movements and scholars around the world. "We have all learned valuable lessons from our research here and we are grateful to our hosts and colleagues for their support and cooperation in our research work. We strongly believe that these intellectual exchanges and collaborative research projects have contributed to a greater understanding of the possibilities for equitable and just democratic development. The CDS has played a critical role in bringing Kerala's achievements to the attention of the international community and has established itself as one of the premier research institutions on development," the statement added.

The people's campaign represents one of the most radical experiments in deepening democracy. Objective and rigorous assessments of the impact of the campaign hold vitally important lessons for policymakers, academics and all those with an interest in building more participatory and equitable institutions for development.

"For these reasons, we are alarmed to learn that simple association with foreign researchers has become grounds for maligning the integrity of organisations, institutions and individuals. We are pained to learn that the professionalism and motives of such an accomplished scholar as Dr T.M. Thomas Isaac, who played a key role in designing and implementing the campaign, are being questioned simply because he has collaborated with many of us in legitimate academic research," the signatories said.

Preposterous accusations against the campaign and those who have studied it will undermine legitimate research endeavours and stifle open debate. The media has a responsibility to nurture and expand the public sphere, not to silence voices with baseless accusations of treasonous behaviour.

"We need more, not less, international exchange of ideas between those who support democratic, just and inclusive alternatives to today's whimsical models on development. It would be tragic indeed if Kerala's famously vibrant traditions of political and intellectual debate were to fall prey to these irresponsible and scurrilous accusations," the statement added.

Article E-Mail :: Comment :: Syndication

Stories in this Section
Call for indigenous R&D units

BPO jobs to grow at 32%: IDC survey
The dragon revs up for Indian market — Watch out for bikes & buses
AP Govt's liabilities doubled in 5 years: CAG
Academics decry slur campaign against CDS
Bengal CM protests PM's remarks
Crisil sees States' combined debt doubling by 2007
Blackwill sees more US funds flow in India
Crisil sees States' combined debt doubling by 2007
Free drugs needed to combat TB, says WHO report
Ex-Servicemen Health Scheme
Petrol pumps bounce back in Kochi, go dry in other places
New authority mooted to tackle spurious drugs
Essential Drugs List: The ball is in the Court
Priority loan status for securitisation deals — More credit for SSIs under study
Confusion over CAS continues
Govt unconvinced; seeks more details from Star News
Now, company secys join image building bandwagon
Private varsity set up in Chhattisgarh
Mahaveer Academy sets up varsity in Chhattisgarh
Want a new battery? You may have to return the old one
Lankan team visits FAPCCI
Insat 3E slated to be launched next month
StratCom exploring Indian markets for airships
Exhibition on disability next week
Simplify norms for starting SSI units, says Codissia
FICCI to hold meet on `development'
Thai Expo 2003
Hyderabad engagements
Seminar on medicinal plants
Jungle Lodges lures adventure tourists with river rafting

The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | The Hindu eBooks | Home |

Copyright 2003, The Hindu Business Line. Republication or redissemination of the contents of this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of The Hindu Business Line