“Pathania’s book is thoughtful, compelling and incisive. He mixes historical analysis with compelling story-telling ethnography that not only opens up an understanding of ongoing students’ activism but also helps us think through many current issues dealing with the changing character of higher education institutions”.

Professor William G. Tierney Professor Emeritus & Founding Director, Pullias Center for Higher Education, University of Southern California

This is an important contribution to understand the changing nature of cultural politics shaping new students’ movements in contemporary India”.

Professor Ghanshyam Shah, National Fellow, Indian Council for Social Sciences,

“Dr. Gaurav Pathania’s research opens up new vistas for scholars working in the area of students and youth movements in India. This book captures the changing nature of iconography, narratives and student’s organizations on the university campuses”

Professor Vivek Kumar, Chairperson, Centre for the Study of Social Systems, Jawaharlal Nehru University

Despite having outlawed the caste system and the concept of untouchability in 1947, caste identity remains a cornerstone of social, political and economic life in India. Like other social institutions, educational institutions are the reflection of caste prejudices and discrimination. The recent inclusion of lower castes through the reservation system (affirmative action) has changed the nature of higher education. Based on an ethnographic account of a university campus and students’ perceptions about caste issues, the authors suggest that the structure of higher education in India is designed in a manner that exacerbates, instead of ameliorates, tensions of class and caste. Using Bourdieu’s notion of cultural capital, the paper defines the existing campus culture as a ‘caste culture’. The text concludes that elite institutions do not yet guarantee the capability to overcome existing caste prejudices and stereotypes, regardless of structural attempts at reform.

Cultural Politics of Historically Marginalized Students, Critical Times, 3:3: 534-550 [Duke University Press]

Chapter  8
Privatization and shrinking free space in Indian higher education: Challenges for the inclusive knowledge society

Narender Thakur, Gaurav J. Pathania

Privatization in Indian public higher education has been expanding its size and scale through three methods: de jure privatization de facto privatization and private tuition and coaching. The University Grants Commission has adopted a critical path for privatization through ‘provision of market-autonomy’ to the colleges in the University of Delhi. Apart from being charged with double taxation, teachers are being treated as contractual labour under the neo-liberal reforms, the process of contractualization is a reality of de jure privatization but it is also promoted by the public higher educational institutions as a part of de facto privatization. With increasing de jure and de facto privatization, and expanding private coaching and tuition, there are challenges for equity and access for the non-affluent population due to expanded disparities between the lower and upper socio-economic strata of students. The role of welfare state in Indian higher education has declined under the agenda of neo-liberal economics.