A university is a place where new ideas germinate, strike roots and grow tall and sturdy. It is a unique space, which covers the entire universe of knowledge. It is a place where creative minds converge, interact with each other and construct visions of new realities. Established notions of truth are challenged in the pursuit of knowledge.
To be able to do all this, universities have to be autonomous spaces. They are diverse in their design and organization, reflecting the unique historical and socio-cultural settings in which they have grown. This diversity reflects the organic links that they have with their surroundings, which are not only physical but cultural as well. Through research and teaching, they create, evaluate and bring about advances in knowledge and culture. The principle of moral and intellectual autonomy from political authority and economic power is ingrained in the very idea of the university. This autonomy ensures freedom in research and training and it is expected that the governments and the society would respect this fundamental principle. Teaching and research have to be inseparable, because the task of the university is not only to impart knowledge to young people but also to give them opportunities to create their own knowledge. Active and constant engagement with the young minds and hearts of the society also implies that the universities are to serve the society as a whole, and in order to achieve this, considerable investment in continuing education is essential.
The slow but increasing democratization of higher education in India has meant that the university is no longer the preserve of the children of the elite, or of the educated / professional middle-class. As more youngsters from a different segment of society enter the universities, they look at higher education as a means to transcend the class barriers. Consequently, university education is no longer viewed as a good in itself, but also as the stepping-stone into a higher orbit of the job market, where the student expects a concrete monetary return, and consequently in this perception, the university of today is expected to be in tune with the emerging needs of the society. Even so, graduates should be sufficiently exposed to interdisciplinary experiences, which can sustain them when the demands of a particular job market changes.