No innovation without tolerance, debate and challenge to authority and tradition: RBI governor Raghuram Rajan


NEW DELHI: In what is sure to be one of the most memorable convocation addresses in a long time, RBI governor Raghuram Rajan spoke up for tolerance, debate and encouraged students to “challenge all authority and tradition” at the Indian Institute of Technology – Delhi’s 46th convocation on Saturday.

He told students to “fight” to protect “the tradition of debate in an environment of respect and tolerance” and that, without this, there was no way to “keep the idea factory open.”

Rajan, in his brief address, argued that while India could “grow for a long time” simply by “catching up with the methods of the industrialized countries”, what it really needed to do was to find ways to get to the “production possibility frontier” as many of the software companies had done.

“New ideas, new methods of production, better logistics – these are what will lead to sustained economic growth…[and] economic growth through news ideas and production methods is what our professors and alums contribute to the nation,” he said.

“What does an educational institution or nation need to do to keep the idea factory open? The first essential is to foster competition in the market place for ideas. This means encouraging challenging to all authority and tradition even while acknowledging that the only way of dismissing any view is through empirical tests,” he said.

“What this rules out is anyone imposing a particular view or ideology simply because of their power. Instead all ideas should be scrutinized critically no matter whether they originate domestically or abroad, whether they matured over 1000s of years or a few minutes, whether they come from an untutored student or a world-famous professor.”

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