We need rulers who read books, says Shourie

We need rulers who read books, says Shourie

There has been a steady and secular decline in the  quality of ‘people in public service’ who have no regard for scholarship, said former telecomm and IT minister and journalist Arun Shourie.

“There is a secular decline in the quality of persons in many professions, especially in the public service. Today there is no regard for scholars, there is a lack of restraining from interfering. People now look at institutions as potential parts of their empires and they have become not only anti-intellectual but anti-intellect. Therefore, it is important to stand up to them,” he said.

Shourie was speaking at the IISc almuni global conference in the City on Friday.He further said that there is a need to spend time in educating such people about things on the anvil.

“Rulers who read books, we don't have much of them. If there is any occasion to bring them here it should be done. They would have realised the contribution of IISc,” he said. However cheekily indicating that doing so could prove a danger as they would also want to bring even this institution under their grasp.

He said an institute should raise itself to such a level of excellence that nobody can raise a hand against it. There should be no interference from anybody in the affairs of any institutions. He also cautioned against ‘schizophrenic reaction’ to any government interference as sometimes it might be necessary owing to the rot in an institution.

In such cases, he advised for a need to ‘stand by the institution’ and to expunge the ‘rot within their own community’.

While asking IISc to not rest on its laurels and ‘benchmark itself in a sea of mediocrity’, he highlighted the grave phenomena of ‘excellence coming under assault and mediocrity becoming the standard’.

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