July 19, 2007

To Fight for Autonomy

As I painfully opened my left eyelid and then my right one today morning, I had no idea that The Times of India was carrying a shocking piece of news titled, "For first time, govt to choose IIM directors." You can read the story here.

More than 12 hours later I am still in a state of shock. The institutions I have received my education from have all been autonomous bodies, something I always believed was the main reason behind their brilliance. Autonomy to me was always the greatest tribute to democracy.

For some reason, the concept of autonomy has always intrigued me. In my version of utopia, everyone does what is expected of them, is given the necessary power, authority and ownership to achieve the same. Everyone is ethical and the world moves on like a well oiled machine. To be very frank, I can not be held responsible for what I have become. I was in a school where the Vice Principal gave the House Council absolute freedom to fulfill our responsibilities. He trusted us and we never broke his trust. Don Bosco in those years was very close to the utopia that my yound mind was conjuring up at that moment. And perhaps for this reason, after I left school, three of my most memorable fights have been over autonomy.

It all began with a magazine which wanted no one to dictate it's voice. Later down south, it was for a Club which was the voice of Institution to the outside world and wanted to remain so. And finally, it was for an Academic Council that wanted the authorities to believe in its capabilities. But those are now dusty pages in my book of life.

Autonomy with responsibility. The search for my utopia continues.

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