15 C
New Delhi
Sunday 17 November 2019
Views Articles Strange Choice For HRD

Strange Choice For HRD

She could have been given some portfolio other than the HRD. What does Irani know of the shortcomings of the education sector? In what direction does she wish to lead India's student population?

-

- Advertisment -

Subscribe to our newsletter

You will get all our latest news and articles via email when you subscribe

The email despatches will be non-commercial in nature
Disputes, if any, subject to jurisdiction in New Delhi

A degree-wise uneducated person can be a brilliant human resource development minister, provided she felt disturbed enough by the system that precluded her higher education, and then she spent her life in a movement that looked for ways to remove the roadblocks so that other students under similar circumstances do not meet the same fate. We get no such indication from Smriti Zubin Irani’s past.

We do not know what led her to working as a waitress and cleaner in McDonald’s, but a general profiling of such boys and girls suggests they look for some quick bucks as pocket money rather than try to pull their families out of financial misery. Poverty-stricken families do not send their wards to beauty pageants either. One who finds herself on the ramp or a studio in the late teens or early youth takes a conscious decision of leaving formal education mid-way. So we do not have the sob story of a girl who laments the fact that she had to drop out of college after higher secondary education followed by BCom Part 1.

Irani’s social service and dedication to the BJP are commendable, of course. She did deserve a ministry if Narendra Modi’s promise of a new India were to be taken seriously. That she is a woman and the youngest one in the Cabinet lot pleases us all the more.

She must be sensitised to the problems of the entertainment industry. MPs like Paresh Rawal and she could have been in the Ministry/Department of Culture and addressed the issues of theatre, television and cinema. Or, based on the creditworthy work that she has done for her NGO “People for Change”, which provides drinking water to the poor in remote areas, she could have been given the charge of rural development or water resources. If she has performed well as vice-president of her party’s Maharashtra youth wing, national secretary, all India president of the BJP’s women’s wing and Rajya Sabha member, the organisational capability she displayed made her worthy of a higher organisational responsibility. She could have made a good MoS under Rajnath Singh in the Home Ministry. Or she could manage parliamentary affairs…

Why HRD? What does Irani know of the shortcomings of the education sector? In what direction does she wish to lead India’s student population? Bureaucrats, as ‘experts’ of the field, will at the most give her feasibility reports. Babus do not make policies; they do not give the nation a direction. And most advices she would get are of hygiene factors like number and condition of school buildings, status of teachers’ attendance, uniform availability, mid-day meal etc. What about the curricula? What about the method of teaching? What about creating an environment where even dropouts excel, making the act of dropping out of school a worthwhile experiment not caused by economic constraint?

Importantly, an ‘untested’ Modi being made Gujarat’s chief minister in 2001 is a bad analogy. He had been thoroughly tested as in-charge of several States. He pulled out the BJP from wretched situations wherever he was given the charge. He tolerated conspiracy of his colleagues in his home State and stayed a disciplined party worker waiting for better times to arrive. These are organisational skills, and chief ministership was a promotion in the same ‘department’, so to speak. Education has never been Irani’s department per se.

There is hope, though. Modi has been a modernist in the RSS fold. He can combine the Sangh’s fascination of reviving India’s glory in mathematics, agriculture, textiles, medicine, astronomy etc with the modern world’s focus on R&D, innovation, intellectual property rights and individual brilliance. As in Gujarat, if he remains the show stopper at the Centre, directing ministers including newbies, whose individual performance dim in comparison to the supreme leader’s stewardship, Indian education can scale new heights even with Irani as the minister. Mind you, the new NDA Government’s thrust on economic revival will be incomplete without the country’s educational institutions supplying the industries with adequate and qualified human resource. Along the lines of Modi’s mantra of ‘minimum government, maximum governance’, the prime minister may merge the HRD Ministry with that for Science & Technology for a seamless transition for students of the science stream. It is the stress on science education and scientific tools’ innovation, first before the World Wars and then after it lost to the Soviet Union in conquering space first, that propelled the United States to the top before it started throwing its weight around on the global scene. I am sure Modi envisages a rise of India as a world leader. Without education followed by scientific excellence, it is impossible. Make sure HRD Minister Smriti Irani takes us there.

Surajit Dasgupta
Surajit Dasgupta
The founder of सिर्फ़ News has been a science correspondent in The Statesman, senior editor in The Pioneer, special correspondent in Money Life and columnist in various newspapers and magazines, writing in English as well as Hindi. He was the national affairs editor of Swarajya, 2014-16. He worked with Hindusthan Samachar in 2017. He was the first chief editor of Sirf News and is now back at the helm after a stint as the desk head of MyNation of the Asianet group. He is a mathematician by training with interests in academic pursuits of science, linguistics and history. He advocates individual liberty and a free market in a manner that is politically feasible. His hobbies include Hindi film music and classical poetry in Bengali, English, French, Hindi and Urdu.

Leave a Reply

Opinion

Anil Ambani: From Status Of Tycoon To Insolvency

Study the career of Anil Ambani, and you will get a classic case of decisions you ought not take as a businessman and time you better utilise

तवलीन सिंह, यह कैसा स्वाभिमान?

‘जिस मोदी सरकार का पांच साल सपोर्ट किया उसी ने मेरे बेटे को देश निकाला दे दिया,’ तवलीन सिंह ने लिखा। क्या आपने किसी क़ीमत के बदले समर्थन किया?

Rafale: One Embarrassment, One Snub For Opposition

Supreme Court accepts Rahul Gandhi's apology for attributing to it his allegation, rejects the review petition challenging the Rafale verdict

Guru Nanak Jayanti: What First Sikh Guru Taught

While Guru Nanak urged people to 'nām japo, kirat karo, vand chhako', he stood for several values while he also fought various social evils

Muhammed Who Inconvenienced Muslims

Archaeologist KK Muhammed had earlier got on the nerves of the leftist intelligentsia for exposing their nexus with Islamic extremists
- Advertisement -

Elsewhere

Dalit worker in Punjab succumbs to barbaric attack

The attackers thrashed Jagmel Singh, a construction worker and Dalit, with rods, plucked his flesh with pliers and forced him to drink urine

Sabarimala reopens to find a jittery communist govt in Kerala

Kadakampally Surendran, Kerala Minister for Cooperation, Tourism and Devaswom, has made it clear Sabarimala is no place for a revolution

तवलीन सिंह, यह कैसा स्वाभिमान?

‘जिस मोदी सरकार का पांच साल सपोर्ट किया उसी ने मेरे बेटे को देश निकाला दे दिया,’ तवलीन सिंह ने लिखा। क्या आपने किसी क़ीमत के बदले समर्थन किया?

Telecom companies may get relief in payment of arrears

Vodafone-Idea and Airtel, which have more than 70 crore subscribers, have reported huge losses in the quarter ending September

Salaries to all on one fixed day of the month: Modi’s latest

The prime minister is overseeing the drafting of the bill to ensure private sector employers do not hold up salaries indefinitely or arbitrarily

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you

For fearless journalism

%d bloggers like this: