Quote of the week...please share your favourite line from Ayn Rand's writings

“Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one's values.”

Friday, August 7, 2009

Ayn Rand In Indian Universities?

An article published in the Times Higher Education website (click here for our page devoted to this article) gives a very good idea of just how popular Ayn Rand is becoming in American universities. The days when she was shunned by professors are long gone. Today her ideas are not only quoted in the media, applied in corporate boardrooms and debated in informal campus clubs, but they have actually made a dramatic entry into mainstream academia. Professors and students alike are curious about what she had to say about the art, literature, philosophy, politics and culture of our times. Even those teachers who don’t fully agree with her, according to the article, are realizing in ever growing numbers, that she is too important to ignore. Their attitude is something like, ‘I don’t completely agree with this, but I think you should know this.’ Wow!

The question we should ask is – when or how will this ever happen in India? If one was to consider the various humanities departments in The Delhi University as representative of the trends in Indian academia, officially Ayn Rand is still a bad word. The various syllabi (often antiquated in content) and the professors who teach them are most likely to behave as though she never existed. Her mention or the sight of one of her books in a student’s hands is met with a quick sideways glance or a very skeptical stare. Anti-Americanism is hot, Noam Chomsky is ‘the guru’, and the days of socialism and even communism haven’t evaporated yet. The sense that one gets in the celebrated ‘north campus’ in the Delhi University, apart from boredom, is that of resistance to change. DU, it seems, hasn’t changed much since the 80s. In these circumstances, I’m afraid, the prospects of Ayn Rand being taught officially in classrooms look very bleak.


  1. I've enjoyed your site's focus on Ayn Rand in India.

    I've taught philosophy here in the U.S. for 20 years now, and there is a small increase in Rand's exposure in higher education -- she appears more regularly in textbooks, there are more Objectivist professors, and more non-Objectivist professors are willing to include some coverage of her work.

    That has been a modest increase. It is possible that the rate of increase will improve, as in the last few years there have been more academic publications about her work, and as the recent financial crisis has spurred a dramatic rise on readership and discussion of her books.

    It's been slow going against much hostility, but I'm optimistic.

    All the best for your efforts in India.

  2. Thank you for your optimistic and encouraging post. We do take heart from the slow but steady progress of objectivism in the US universities. Would like to know more about how this is coming about? What kind of approach is necessary to take the first steps towards introducing Ayn Rand's ideas in to the academia Are there any lessons for us here in India?

    You being a witness to the changes taking place in the American academia, I hope you will continue to share your insights with us.

  3. A couple of months ago, Prof Stephen Hicks reviewed the increasing discussion on Ayn Rand's ideas, in a post on his web site, "The increasing(ly clear)relevance of Ayn Rand"

    The article has a number of very interesting links, including an analysis on the present financial crisis, by John Allison, Chairman of BB&T, a bank that has survived the crisis unscathed.