Friday, May 06, 2016

Does PM's educational qualification matter?

Did Narendra Modi really study in the Delhi University for his graduation? Modi had declared in his election affidavits that he completed BA in Delhi University and MA in Gujarat University. The latter has confirmed that Modi had passed MA through Gujarat University, but could not confirm his BA degree.

There is no educational requirement in politics. There is no evidence that the educated ones have fared better or served better in politics. There are instances of uneducated leaders exhibiting salutary leadership skills. In Tamilnadu, K.Kamaraj has probably been the most successful Chief Minister so far in promoting alround development including in ensuring higher admissions and stayins in schools through the revolutionary midday meals scheme. He had vision which the more educated lacked.

We are more interested in knowing what the prime minister does than what he has studied. But Arvind Kejriwal has focused the country's attention on Modi's (lack of) connection with the Delhi University. The university has so far been unable to contradict Kejriwal's charge that Modi did not qualify in DU.

What is more disconcerting is that Modi has not spoken on the issue. If he had passed BA, all that he needs to do is to provide some verifiable evidence like Roll Number, Marks Sheet etc. His continuing reticence is neither strengthening his credibility nor enabling the controversy to die down.

If Modi had fibbed about his educational attainment, he would have violated the vishesa dharma relating to political leaders that they ought not to lie and mislead. The question is not whether the country has suffered any damage because of his alleged falsehood. Such mendacity will create grave doubts in people's minds about the credibility of his other claims and utterances.

If Modi had lied, what should he do now? He must quit the prime-ministership and prove that he is a better leader than Manmohan Singh who continued in his post despite popular outrage against his facilitation of various kinds of political skulduggery. True, Modi's lie (if it is proved to be one) is nothing compared to his predecessor's massive deception. If Modi sacrifices his post for what is obviously a non-venal act but nonetheless a misleading one, he would have established a healthy precedent and BJP's stock would rise.

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