Skip to main content

Educational qualification to fight polls, when top BJP leaders have 'dubious' degrees?

By Sandeep Pandey* 

The Sangh Parivar claims to be a cultural organization. Core supporters of its ideology are upper caste and/or the educated elite. Quite naturally it gives importance to education. It is opposed to caste based reservation in the name of honouring merit.
The irony is among the top leadership of Sangh Parivar or it affiliate organisations there are hardly any intelligent people. Both the Atal Behari Vajpayee and Narendra Modi governments were bereft of people, except the ones who could be counted on fingers of one hand, who were capable of filling the cabinet minister berths.
The Bhartiya Janata Party governments in Rajasthan in the past and the present one in Haryana has prescribed educational qualifications for contesting panchayat elections. With the highly publicized New Education Policy the BJP government purported to send out a message that it considered education important enough, except that it failed to convince what was ‘new’ in it.
Every now and then it does something in the field of education which triggers a controversy from banning events on educational campuses, attempts to rewrite history to appointment of controversial vice-chancellors. The educational qualifications of important leaders in the government like Narendra Modi and Smriti Irani are dubious. The Prime Minister says he didn’t attend classes as he had to devote time to the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh activities.
When the PM didn’t take his education seriously, and gives more importance to doing well in examinations through his ‘pariksha pe charcha’ rather than talking about the importance of process of education in developing an enlightened human being, it is no wonder that BJP government in Karnataka has allowed the ‘hijab’ controversy to escalate to a level that educational institutions had to be closed down.
In the Corona period the process of education at every level has been adversely impacted. To a large extent that was unavoidable. But the ‘hijab’ controversy is a making of the government. Senior BJP leaders have stoked the controversy.
Now when the schools and colleges have reopened, girls are not only being prevented from entering campuses but are being suspended and a lecturer had to resign not on the ground of any academic laxity but for putting on hijab. When non-academic issues dominate the academic ones on campuses then we know that education no longer remains a process of enlightenment. We are not going to produce intelligent human beings but only sectarian, bigoted individuals who would all the time be busybodies. What a waste of society’s and human resources.
Obviously, the Hindutva brigade is not interested in education irrespective of their public pronouncements. They are happy with the communal polarization taking place on educational campuses as it would help them in the electoral politics, which is their sole concern. They are not bothered about the country, society or the larger world. They often accuse human rights organisations or civil society for tarnishing country’s image abroad.
But who is to be blamed when the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom marks India as ‘Country of Particular Concern’ for worst violations of religious freedom for two consecutive years? The US Ambassador for International Religious Freedom, Rashad Hussain, has said that state of Karnataka should not determine permissibility of religious clothing.
If India’s reputation as a healthy democracy has taken a beating it is because of Hindutva organisations, including the party in power in the country, which have given a free hand to all kinds of disruptive elements, sometimes going to the extent of mindless violence and killing of others, who care very little about law or morality.
Apart from a minuscule percentage of bright people who are among the elite intellectuals in Indian and foreign universities most of our academia is sub-standard. Only about a tenth of all youth make it to college and only about half the children even cross class VIII stage.
A quarter of children never see the inside of school. Quality of education, again except in select schools, is so bad that majority of students have to resort to unfair means to complete the process of education, making it a farcical exercise. Rather than compete with each other for excellence students prefer to collaborate to scuttle the education system. Impersonation in examinations is just one example.
The Hindutva members could have chosen any of the abovementioned areas to work on to improve the quality of Indian education system. However, they are least bothered about education or its quality. They are only interested in education which promotes their ideology and would like to remove everything else from the curriculum because their sole agenda is polarization of society on religious lines which helps them electorally.
The politics of Hindutva is striking at the root of the process which has the capacity to produce thinking individuals who would undertake the task of society’s growth. They want to stifle all debate and discussion and want everybody to unquestioningly accept their ideology which is nothing but a dogma. Any society which doesn’t question cannot grow. Intimidation is used to quell any dissent.
Some of the best minds of our country are in jail in the case of Bhima-Koregaon conspiracy. Dedicated doctors like Kafeel Khan, who was struggling to save lives of children when Gorakhpur’s Medical College hospital ran out of Oxygen supply and senior doctors all deserted the patients, got jail and axe. 
The right wing government doesn’t respect internationally recognized intellectuals like Amartya Sen, Raghuram Rajan or Jean Dreze. In the name of skill development, the government is sabotaging the process of education and promoting mediocrity.
In such a scenario all talk of making India a Vishwaguru are hollow and specious. We are reducing the process of education to a meaningless exercise. Having destroyed our institutions we now want the foreign universities to open campuses in India and take care of our education. So, we are ready to make the process of building responsible human beings, a market commodity.
Education will become devoid of values and will merely serve political and market bosses. All this is being done by organisations claiming to stand for cultural nationalism. There has never been a more serious threat to our civilization in the history. India has shown resilience in surviving various external attacks but how will it stand this internal assault disguised as an ideological assertion?
---
*Magsaysay award winning social activist and academic, general Secretary of the Socialist Party (India)

Comments

Unknown said…
In our electoral democracy, it is very much surprising that education does not treat as a quality of leader from lower to upper houses. A just literate leader may be led the country. We are waiting for this. This is a fortune of this largest democracy. Here a ministerial port-folio heads a department like education where his/her qualification is dubious. Learned professors and education issues have to work under his/her guidance. Even after some days, he/she may be dropped from HRD/education to Textile Department. Leaders are masters of all trades. That'why, our country is lagging behind.
Today's education has lost its morality and creativity which our leaders always want. Further, virtual education priorities in the recent budget. World class virtual university is the prime goal. Later, we will be ready to practice everything in virtual mode.

TRENDING

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Examples of support to Hindu temples, scriptures, saints by 'Muslim' rulers galore

Siya Ram coin issued by Akbar By Bharat Dogra* At a time when the country as well as the world are passing through very difficult times leading to more urgent need for strengthening national unity for meeting several big challenges ahead, unfortunately disputes relating to religious places have been allowed to raise their ugly head once again. It is well-realized by now by many people that it is not historical facts but narrow considerations of political gain and spreading of fanatic ideas of intolerance which are behind such mischief, but due to the increasing threat of mob violence and patronage available at higher levels to groups spreading intolerance many people are reluctant to openly and fearlessly express their views. Hence there is urgent need for broad-based peace committees with wider social support to spread the message of communal harmony and to appeal against the dangers of spreading false messages regarding places of worship which can ultimate

This varsity succumbed to extra-academic mobocracy, 'ignored' Hindutva archives

By Shamsul Islam* Open letter to Sharda University vice-chancellor Sub: Discarding a Question on Linkages of Hindutva with Nazism/Fascism is blatant Academic Dishonesty! Dear Professor Sibaram Khara Saheb, Namaskaar! According to your esteemed University’s portal: “The name of University, 'Sharda' is synonymous to 'Goddess of knowledge and learning-Saraswati'. She is identified with 'veena', an Indian musical instrument and the ‘lotus’, where she resides. The lotus in our logo symbolizes the seat of learning that the University is created for.  "Variety of colours signify the variety of disciplines the university offers and the overlap between petals creating new colours demonstrate the ethos of collaboration between students and teachers of different programme, nationality, creed and colour working towards creating new knowledge…the University's cherished mission to provide education beyond boundaries and to facilitate the students and faculty to achie

Whither climate goal? Increasing reliance on coal 'likely to worsen' India's power crisis

By Shankar Sharma*  Recent news articles, How to shock-proof India’s power sector and Power minister points finger at states for worsening electricity crisis , have highlighted a few current problems for the ongoing power sector issues as in April 2022. However, there is a lot more to it than a few temporary solutions as indicated in the articles. It should also be emphasised that it is techno-economically impossible to completely shock-proof a highly complex and geographically wide-spread vast power network, such as the one in India, which is only getting more and more complex with the passage of each year due to some irrational policies/ practices in the sector. A business-as-usual (BAU) scenario, wherein more and more of conventional technology power plants, including coal power plants, will be added in the near future, will also necessitate the increased complexity in the integrated national grid, and as a result the instances of power shortage/ disruptions can only escalate for

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Dalit scholar's comment on Lord Shiva 'harming' Muslims, 'damaging' secular cause

Shahid Siddiqui, Bobby Naqvi By Our Representative   Bobby Naqvi, who is with the "Gulf News", and is a well-known name among Muslim intellectuals, strongly objecting to the social media post of Prof Ratan Lal, has said that "a big reason for majoritarian hatred against Muslims is irresponsible remarks by people like Prof Ratan Lal of Delhi University." In a Facebook comment , which has attracted paise, among others, from journaliat-politician Shahid Siddiqui, Naqvi said, "Their commentary on Hinduism and icons of Hinduism (while angering religious and liberal Hindus alike) also triggers a massive backlash against Muslims. When the likes of Prof Lal criticize Hinduism on social media, Hindus bring Islam and Islamic practices and ask 'what about this' or 'what about that'." Naqvi insists, "Muslims (without their fault) and Islam get caught in this crossfire between the so called Hindu liberal class and the religious Hindus. And the ult

Why there's strong likelihood India may resurrect its presence in Afghan capital

By Anand K Sahay* Since India evacuated its mission in Afghanistan once the Taliban re-took Kabul last August practically under American aegis, following what came to be called the Taliban’s Doha “negotiations” with the US, New Delhi is evidently doing a re-think. It is considered likely that an Indian representation will soon be restored in Kabul, even if this will be small and not at the level of ambassador. This is reflective of realistic thinking. Of course, there can be no question at present of according recognition to the Taliban regime. That is likely to happen when a broad consensus amongst the leading powers emerges. Currently the Taliban government is not helping its own cause of gaining world recognition- which will help it access overseas funds at a time when the country is in dire straits- by imposing severe restrictions on women and girls in serious violation of human rights. More basic is the issue that the Taliban regime is not considered r

Message to 'high caste' attackers? Dalit leader's daughter rides elephant in wedding march

By Our Representative  In what has been termed as “jumbo celebration”, a Gujarat Dalit rights leader belonging to Saurashtra region ensured that his daughter rides an elephant as part of wedding celebrations which took place in Vadhwan town of Surendranagar district. Natubhai Parmar, who shot into prominence for organising a unique protest against the notorious Una flogging incident in 2016, in which five Dalit boys were flogged as they allegedly slaughtered a cow. Belonging to the Rohit community, whose traditionally live by skinning dead cows, in 2016, Parmar reached Surendranagar district collector’s office with vehicles full of carcasses of cows asking him to organise them disposal of, declaring, his community had decided not to continue with the caste occupation, as it had been termed cow slaughter by saffron vigilantes. The decision to make his daughter ride the elephant, which he brought to Ahmedabad, was to send a message to members of the dominant castes, whose aggressive atta

Govt of India 'ignores' GMO regulation, 'overlooks' Constitutional process

Counterview Desk Dr Narasimha Reddy Donthi, independent public policy expert, in a letter to Nareshpal Gangwar, additional secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), New Delhi, has expressed “seriously concern” that a recent office memorandum (OM) has sought to exempt certain types of gene-edited plants from the country's genetically modified organism  (GMO) regulations, without any reason or basis or representation. Dr Reddy regretted, “Such a serious decision, with an impact scale of unimaginable proportions, in terms of time and ecology, is being pushed through an ordinary office memorandum”, insisting, “This is circumvention of the processes enshrined in Indian Constitution, which has defined democratic participation in matters of critical importance.” Stating that the exemption from regulation is a policy decision and has legal implications, he demanded immediate withdrawal the OM, insisting, the government should take a "strong stand again

Govt of India 'compromising' on mandate to regulate gene technologies, protect nature

Counterview Desk  In a letter sent to the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) and other related ministries and departments, the Coalition for a GM-Free India has raised "serious concern" over the guidelines notified for Genome Edited Organisms, in which major exemptions from regulations have been offered to certain categories of Genome Edited Organisms/Plants and products. A letter signed by Sridhar Radhakrishnan and Kapil Shah, co-convenors of the NGO network, addressed to Union Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change Bhupender Yadav, said, the Office Memorandum, dated May 17, 2022 of the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science & Technology about Safety Assessment Guidelines, which follows the Office Memorandum dated March 30, 2022 of the MoEFCC, said, the move "essentially amounts to entry of risky GMOs through the backdoor. Text : Coalition for a  GM-Free India is a national volunteer-driven platform of hundre