India boasts itself as one of the largest democracies of the world. We have achieved remarkable feet by remaining a democratic country even after more than 70 years post independence. The country which was separated from us never saw a prime minister for full term. Dictatorship remained a constant feature of our eastern neighbor.
We cherish our democracy. One of our main features of our democracy is that we remained a vibrant republic. There are various experiments done in our system of governance. Some are, giving universal adult franchise to every citizen above certain age, treating women equal to men since inception, at least, in political realm, three tier system of governance etc. These innovations have helped us to become mature in our form of governance.
Few years back Rajasthan government also made some innovation. It barred people from contesting election in Urban and Local Bodies Bodiesn (ULB i.e. Gram Panchayat and Municipality) who didn’t had certain educational qualification. One more reason for their denial to contest elections was unavailability of toilets in their homes. This simply means that only those people who posses certain minimum educational qualification (10th or 12th in some cases) can contest an election and can become representative of the common mass.
At first it sounds awesome. Rationale behind electing an educated person can be many. Some of them would be:
**There is direct relationship between education and development. More educated person can introduce more reform and in turn, more development
**Educated leaders can handle the complex bureaucratic system much better.
** He would be aware of various initiatives which is benefitting people around the world and he can use it for development of its subject
**Running an institution involves following many rules, regulations and procedures. Educated people can perform this initiative much better
**India is still struggling with many prejudices, such as caste, creed, gender etc. Educated representative can bring reform in the society.
**Those who are educated at the helm would know the importance of education better and hence can make necessary condition for education of the society.
Benefits of educated person in leadership position can be long and unending. So it seems right to prevent the uneducated from ruling the society.
But recently a new Party has occupied the majority (with outside support from Independents and some small players) in Rajasthan assembly. They have issued Notification and scraped the law of this educational criteria. Now even an illiterate can Run and win election.
For many of the common citizens, this decision is baffling. Yet, those who scraped the previous law has some healthy arguments in favour for doing away with the previous law which disenfranchised uneducated members for contesting election. They gave the rationality that why uneducated people should not be debarred from contesting election
It’s against the spirit of democracy. Our constitution guarantees political equality. But, if we set criteria for contesting election based on educational qualification, then this will be a type of Discrimination.
It also takes away the right of people to elect representative according to their own will.
To run a government political and administrative acumen is more needed than educational qualification.
In many parts of rural areas more than 50% of the people are uneducated or not meeting the criteria set by the law. So they will be left out of the process.
It is discriminating against the marginalized section of society especially against women and backward section of society because the lack of education is much prevalent among them.
The purpose of Panchayti Raj Institution (PRIs) was to involve the general public directly in administrative process, because they know the ground reality more than other forms of government, hence they can reach to solution more effectively. But this disenfranchisement will defeat the purpose.
Last, but very significant argument was that if the people remained uneducated for more than 70 years even after the independence, it is not the failure of people, it’s the failure of the state. Hence why people should be punished for the failure of the state.
So, I presented the both aspects of the disenfranchising uneducated people from contesting election. At times, it seems both arguments hold their fort according to Perspective from which we see. But it is equally true that at one time only one set of law can be applied on any state or region.
I would like to know your opinion on this subject matter. What do you feel about “Should uneducated person be our leader”?
Shoot your valuable comments below and give your perspective in this regard.