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Chapter 34: The Power of Nothingness

When I was a student, one defeated chief minister of the state was fighting for the vice-chancellorship against a professor who was in every way capable of being a vice-chancellor but had no influence, no pull: out of three hundred votes he got only twenty-five.

I was in his favor just because he was not a politician; he was purely an educationist and a profound thinker. I went to every professor who was going to vote and told them, “This is a question of deciding between politics and education.”

They said, “We understand, but we are sorry because our promotions are due, and there is so much political pressure from the present chief minister.” He has promised this minister who is fighting for election as the vice-chancellor that if he does not fight for chief ministership again, he can have a very respected place in the university. And seeing the situation, his old age - he is becoming senile - he thought this is better. After all the troubles of politics, now in the end of his life he can live peacefully in a university.”

I said, “Don’t vote for him. If you vote for him, that means this university is dead.”

But two hundred and seventy-five professors voted for him. And I had met each single professor and they all said, “You are right, but we have to look after our own position.”

So make it a rule that no politician can be a vice-chancellor. Keep education pure, without politics; politics is poison.

The universities should be teaching, as far as possible, the latest discoveries, the latest literature, the latest poetry, the latest in everything. What they are doing is thirty years, forty years old. It takes time for people to become well known, but the universities should be sensitive enough: each year there are new novels, new music, new dances, that should become part of the curriculum. Universities have to remain always up to date, not lagging behind the world.

My feeling is they are lagging behind in everything, and the reason is that the professors were taught thirty years before - and whatever they have been taught is what they are teaching. That’s why India is unable to produce great scientists, great mathematicians, great philosophers. Greatness has disappeared from that country. Where the greatest geniuses have been born, suddenly there are no great people. The reason is the whole education system is lagging behind, far behind.

So only one university in one state, and choose the best. And there should be a special examination for the professors - just the ordinary educational degree is not enough, because they are going to do something for which they are not prepared.

I have seen professors lecturing - nervous, perspiring; they have never spoken in their life. They may have been good at the examinations but that is a totally different matter. They are so afraid facing a class.and if there is somebody who knows more than them, then they are so embarrassed.

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