ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Why Do We Not Get Good Research-Students in Economics

CULTURAL underdevelopment cannot but accompany general social and economic underdevelopment. Colonialism or neo-colonialism cannot but affect the worlds of research and teaching. As such, the 'comprador' character of the social sciences in India is a matter that may be taken for granted and its various manifestations in the academic world are all too familiar to us. Yet what I encountered this summer at some of the premier British Universities in the midst of research students from the Indian subcontinent was something that was quite unexpected by me. Maybe I would not have been so struck by what I saw had I had more prior contacts with the academic world in the West at the time I made my visit. It happens that I have had no dealings with any University or any research institution outside India during an unbroken stretch of 18 years preceding this summer. I had occasions during a visit to some British Universities this summer to meet and chat with about a dozen or so students from this subcontinent (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka) who have got themselves registered for the PhD degrees of different British Universities. Most of them have chosen topics of research concerned with different aspects of economic development of his home country and I was favourably impressed by the social orientation of the interests of the young scholars as was revealed by their choice of problems. I was, however, utterly puzzled when I discovered that most of them seemed to be working under distressingly adverse conditions. They seemed to receive no guidance at all from any senior members of the the respective Faculties. The puzzle dissolved when it was pointed out to me that there were no senior members of faculty in those universities who had specialised in Indian developmental problems; for that matter in one or two of the universities I visited there was not even one member of the faculty who specialised in what has come to be called Development Economics.

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