Looking ahead, from the Director`s pen

Academic organizations are a very unique kind of social institution - they are a curious combination of entities with a singular focus as well as plural perspectives.An institution of this kind is often found to be and abode of advanced learning with a particular focus, and at the same time, a confluence of many ideas, beliefs and theories. As a national institution of advanced research, CIIL combines in itself traits of both these types. As a versatile organ of the Department of Secondary and Higher Education of the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, CIIL -

  • assimilates and distributes the fruits of its research to all peer institutions.
  • Provides ready manpower to such efforts in research and development in the universities and institutions provided they share the interest of CIIL, and
  • house all varieties of thoughts, theories and practices in language sciences - often seemingly contradictory but each one having its own heritage and importance.

I strongly believe that academic institutions must be deeply embedded in their societies. Although universities were established in the medieval period to provide knoweldge and training in only a few major professions, by the 19th century they became creators of new knoweldge and began indulging in basic research. In the modern-day societies, academic bodies have become the most important social instituions in the complex process of knoweldge creation and distribution, and therefore, they stand at the center of our societies. These institutions have also taken on a political function in society in that they often serve as centers of socio-political thought, and train those who eventually become members of the social, political and literary elite.

Pages from a Kharosthi manuscript

The political economy of Higher Education shows that an important priority in the recent period has been to modernise our systems, which, unfortunately led to urbanisation of our space, leading to a quick rise of the middle class constituency and its strong desire to see avenues of upward mobility expanded. As the new urban middle class grew in power, they increasingly threw their weight behind educational reform, so that basic and secondary education has had, over the last few decades, a steady growth among the classes that could afford it. And, as their numbers grew, the supply of students who were capable of, and interested in, getting a higher education also grew. Ultimately this growing demand put pressure on all governments to expand all institutions of advanced education. But there has been very little realization that these institutions owe their rise to the common man and that it is: therefore, necessary to contribute to their welfare in as many ways as possible. The special efforts that CIIL has made in protecting, promoting and documenting our little known linguistic heritage by archiving 118 Indian languages, including 80 tribal languages, has been a step in that direction. The harnessing of higher education to the broader needs of national socio-cultural and economic development should be the focus of the present times.