The “hidden hand” problem

I totally love how the teaching staff — or at least, a sizeable segment thereof — at JNU has backed the students during the ongoing controversy. I also love how they’ve entered into the spirit of things, and are taking time, through the lecture series, to discuss with students the various shades of nationalism.

I wish though that Professor Jayati Ghosh, one of their number, hadn’t done this:

That people from the outside were to a large extent responsible for the sloganeering of February 9 seems fairly evident judged by everything that is in the public domain. The events may even have been engineered — it wouldn’t be the first time.

But what Ms Ghosh does here is make a serious allegation based on nothing more than hearsay — which is precisely the kind of thing that happened with the students, so she should have been more than ordinarily aware of the dangers of retailing gossip as fact, and stoking passions that are already inflamed.