The Idea of a Private University
Perhaps it is time one should write on the real idea behind a private university and prove that Newman and his ideas have actually gotten old. It is time to open our eyes and our hearts to try and understand the highly complex mechanism that is mushrooming faster than an empire, and accept it unconditionally because, come on, we know we want to confer degrees on as many first class citizens as we can. Private universities, at least some of them, have proven instrumental to the propagation of modern education, and as a result, today we cannot catch a break from meeting modern men at every corner, greeting us with their overwhelming handshakes and stunning us with their smartness which sometimes actually put the old timers to shame.
But who will dare to put forward this extraordinary idea of a private university? It has to be a man who has lost everything and has nothing to lose anymore—a man who dares to challenge the system being at the end of his wits, suffers the brunt of criticism on everyday basis without any qualm and at the end of a tiring day, somehow manages to utter 'duh' in style. After Cardinal Newman, such extraordinary a specimen is rare and so maybe this timely treatise will remain unwritten. And also one cannot hope much even if this, in fact, achieves the medal of an awe-inspiring logo of a prestigious publishing company, because after all, these days who cares about what is written by an author who is not a Facebook celebrity writer? We need an insider, a private university “tutor” to come forward and do us this favour. But what learned man would read things written by a private university tutor, “a jack of all trades” trying to realize his own writing from a different dimension titled “On Doing Everything” by Elvis Presley, the most acclaimed critic of all time? Which sane man will take such mammoth book seriously, written hastily, with Wikipedic erudition, by a private university tutor who in fact has little time to produce knowledge in the ample amount of office time he gets? Knowledge must be produced with hard labour, while private tutors, along with their infinite small tasks, just “do the thing” and voilà! Scholars at home who cook and braid locks at the same time!
It is yet unknown to all that the best of the best services can be expected from a private university tutor, and nothing more. Period.
I am quite sure that if anyone takes this responsibility to write the book, they will say that a tutor of a private university has superhuman power, thus making everyone else, from the universities that are public, second-class “service providers”—a shame, to the name “public” that is supposed to serve everyone every hour. There is nothing a private university tutor cannot do. Keep them after hours and they are there. Call them at dawn or on weekends, they will be the first to show up, all ups and about. There is nothing that can break their spirit. There is nothing that can frustrate them, be it the task of teaching an imbecile or a tremendous task given at 11:59 hour. Therefore, no possible eleventh hour frightens them. They are so well-trained and well-acquainted with systematic emergencies that the eleventh hour actually makes them yawn. They are fit to concentrate even inside a concentration camp (while on tightrope all the time) and are ready to compromise extra benefits for extra hours for purposes that are bigger than an individual or a group. If Nietzsche were alive today, he would have revised his concept of übermensch saying: the ideal superior man is he who fights to fit in, transcends his individual comfort to work, lives for others all the time, and upholds others' values compromising his own, for as a man who has conquered his ego and has risen above the petty concern of his prestige by undergoing trials that are just too many to write about, it does not matter to him whether he is being useful to others or being used by others, for it is more important that he should somehow survive in this cruel world. That is why helping others in any way possible is the least he can do to repay those who put food on his plate three times a day. The übermensch is mightily grateful. His voice is gentle and he is meek. Thus speaks the übermensch, and the übermensch is – a private university tutor.
But then again, with the red cape and the underwear gone, who will read the book that showcases stories about supermen whose superpower is expected to be both super-knowledge and efficient functionality in a private office that actually does not offer much privacy? And while with descriptions of such men the parameter of perfection will be set, will that not upset those who are always and already in their comfort zones? People will talk and it is obvious that other people will attest- a person who syncs so well with any system, a person who is a guardian, a mentor, a lecturer, a research supervisor, a published author, a critic, a tech-expert, an entrepreneur, an officer, an actor, a curator, a motivational speaker, a scholar, a presenter, a proofreader, a typist, an advertiser, an event manager, an examiner, an invigilator, a standup comedian, an editor, a creative free thinker, a member of several committees, a performer, a son, a daughter, a father, a mother, or a person who is a person with their own dreams and desires, is an unrealman, a private university tutor who will make the idea of a private university too idealistic and therefore inimitable.
Hisham M Nazer is Lecturer, Department of English, Varendra University.