Monday, 23 May 2016

Do Degrees Matter?

No. They don't. They have simply become the accepted currency of formal education. They tell us where an individual went to school, what he studied, and for how long. It's shorthand for ascertaining what the individual (supposedly) knows and his calibre.

You go to school, then you go to university, it is convention. But does it define education? No, it does not. While conventional education certainly has its place, it is not the only means through which one can become learned or experienced.

So why do we care if Prime Minister Modi is a conventionally educated man or not?

The short version is we should not, we should judge the individual based on his track record, his capabilities and his output. Not only that, but he is not legally required to be a graduate to hold office so it's moot anyway.

However this is just one side of this conversation. The real issue here is not whether his educational background qualifies him or not. The real issue is whether the Prime Minister of India has lied under oath. He has stated on a sworn affidavit that he holds. Master of Arts.

Let us put our loyalties aside for a minute and understand the gravity of the situation. When you declare something on an affidavit, you are pledging under oath to the courts of this country that the facts you declare are true to the best of your knowledge. It is sacred. It must be respected and the sanctity of oath must be upheld.

If it is a question of lying under oath then we must understand that this Prime Minister has made a mockery of our legal system. He must be held accountable. He absolutely must. For this system to work, even the greatest among us must bow to the law. We must hold every citizen to the same standard and we MUST put an end to giving people a free pass, no matter how small the transgression. The degree or lack thereof is trivial, what is grave and unforgivable is if our Prime Minister knowingly swore to a falsehood and thereafter has committed acts of forgery in an attempt to cover the falsehood.

The trouble this writer is having is in placing any trust in the degrees that have been produced now and let me make my case. I would like nothing more than for my faith to be restored in the Indian politician. I would truly like to believe that we as a country are still capable of producing great leaders, leaders with integrity and an unwavering moral compass, capable of steering this nation in the right direction. However, with every passing day my hopes are diminishing when I review the facts before me.

To begin with, Mr Modi has repeatedly changed his own story when interviewed at different times in his career. At times he was a simple high school pass, at times he holds an MA. If you ever ask me my educational background, my story would not change, it would be consistent. As I am sure would be the case for you. An absolute truth does not change, not ever. The sun rises in the east, the earth is a sphere (well almost), I was born in 1985, my dining table is wood. These are absolute truths of varying degrees of import, my story with regards to them cannot change. It is only when you begin to tell shades of truth or lies that the version is subject to change depending on convenience. Mr. Modi has not been consistent with his story, not with his education and not with his marital status, and that, my dear reader, should give us pause.

Now let us come to the documents that have been provided. Each document itself is rife with discrepancies. From not being available to suddenly being available, to having a questionable roll number and listing subjects that did not exist in that faculty.

These are questions I would like answered. Because if Prime Minister Modi could unequivocally dispel the fog surrounding his newly furnished degrees it would serve to ease our minds at least that he has not perjured himself or committed forgery.

At this juncture we must forsake political loyalties and instead be loyal to India. This means that we hold our elected leaders to the highest standards of integrity. I ask my readers to introspect. Are we really doing that right now?

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