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June 20, 2019

Academics and opinions

Newspost

 
June 20, 2019

This letter refers to the enlightening and scholarly article, 'Academic or Activist?' (TNS, June 16) by Haider Shahbaz, himself an academic. The main premise of the writer is that it is not just okay, but actually desirable for academics to have political opinions. As without political opinion and discussion, they would be passively transmitting facts and information to students.

As power always influences knowledge, critical analysis of power, and academics and students standing in solidarity with oppressed groups in very essential. Without such political activity, universities will only become places of regurgitation of ideologies formulated by groups holding power. The example of 20th century academics and students who stood against oppressive colonial power structures is a good example. Internationally also, authoritarian leaders like Bolsonara of Brazil and Modi of India have tried to prevent dissenting opinions from permeating in universities so that they became only anodyne places of passing on of officially certified facts and information.

Akbar Jan Marwat

Islamabad

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