We all saw it. He went on the stage to swear in as a part of the Ministry of the State of Bihar and failed to READ simple HINDI sentences. A state that was once the land of the learned and the wise, home to the biggest ever education hub, the Nalanda University is now going to be governed by illiterate and uneducated sons of a corrupt family known to keep the state underdeveloped in the clutches of Gunda Raj. There are moments like these when you see people like Tej Pratap who are barely educated and born into political families not only get elected, but also get big ministries to run.
This is when I wondered what IS the minimum educational qualification for someone to run in the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha elections or to be a part of the Legislative Assembly or Legislative Council for that matter? I went on the Election Commission of India’s website, and to my sad surprise, there was none. In fact, the EIC goes as far as to mention the below sentence in its Rule 7.4(iv) in the Handbook for Candidates / Qualifications and Disqualifications section.
If you are illiterate or unable to read the form the authorised person should read out the oath and ask you to repeat the same and thereafter take your thumb impression on the form.
Most of these rules were made around the time of independence whilst preparing the constitution which was any way an extremely strenuous job. These were the times when only 10% of Indians were literate, let alone educated. It was a legitimate consideration as to how are good leaders supposed to lead when they are fighting for the same community of which they were a part of and were deprived of education in the first place. But like many other rules, even this one should have come with an expiration date as well. I still understand if remote villages / panchayats or smaller constituencies consisting of Tribes or Backward Class in majority have this rule in place, but it certainly isn’t befitting for Cities, Towns, Zillas, Districts and State level bodies.
Politics and Government Policy making has undergone large scale changes. Any country would benefit more from a ministry comprising of departments run by professionals of the same field. The best example is the recently announced Canadian Cabinet, in which the Defence Minister is an Ex-Army, the Justice Minister is an Ex-prosecutor and so on. We cannot have people who cannot read and / or write decide the direction of the country in the age of internet. How are these uneducated people going to bring in the revolution we need in farming, agriculture, global warming? How is a person who was never formally taught that caste discrimination is a social evil, ever going to provide facilities to the backward groups?Now, I am not saying that the educated ones will definitely do all of the above, but the chances are obviously higher.
A formal education gives an all round exposure to a child, and increases the chances of her / him to be a morally responsible citizen regardless of their parents’ history. This education brings the child into the society and closer to the civic everyday problem. If anything, such education will 100% help a leader in the making. Since we know not every remote village gets the education it needs, the rule can apply only for constituencies with let’s say 10,000 voters. (Or any appropriate number based on the average number of people living in such underprivileged areas).
The question is how long till we change this rule? For the past 70 years, India has seen a drastic change as opposed to any other nation of this scale, size and diversity. Yet we think we can grow further and faster with rules that are older than half a century.
I think that it is high time the Election Commission should enforce minimum educational qualification. For starters, each and every candidate should be a graduate in any stream. Elected Official doing their jobs in Ministries is not a private affair with personal stakes of the founder / member. It is a public office responsible for crores of Indian lives. So the argument that leaders like Ambani were great yet lacked formal education is invalid. He (Ambani) did what he did on his own peril using his own money. The fact that he succeeded reflects his hard work, and maybe a little bit of luck. Such cases are literally one in a million and we cannot as a people and a country afford taking such chances. Hence, better safe than sorry, and get an #EducatedCandidate .
P.S. : Got a clip of the mockery of Indian Democracy for you to see:
Cover Image Source: PTI
Kshitij runs The Patil Post and Zetabyte Solutions Pvt. Ltd. - a web development company focussed on E-Commerce implementations. Loves to eat, sell, write and talk. He is an avid reader, an enthusiastic traveller and trekker at heart.
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
© 2015 - 2017 The Patil Post. All Rights Reserved. | Powered by Zetabyte Solutions Pvt. Ltd.