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Bihar's new health minister Tej Pratap Yadav is a school dropout
Interesting as it may sound but the new cabinet of Bihar which took charge on Friday includes Rashtriya Janta Dal supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav's 28-year old son Tej Pratap Yadav, who has been assigned the designation of the health minister, who ironically is a school dropout and not even a graduate.

It so happened that the newly appointed health minister fumbled twice during his oath taking and the Governor Ram Nath Kovind had to intervene and correct him. Tej while taking his oath repeatedly misread the word "apekshit" (expected) as "upekshit" (ignored). After two-minutes he made another mistake and the Governor had to correct him yet again.

Lalu's 26-year old younger son, Tejashwi Yadav who has been made the deputy chief minister is also a class 9 dropout. Apparently, the new cabinet has been formed by Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad Yadav, not keeping in mind the merits of the candidates but sticking to the age-old caste based model, which considers being born in a particular family the predominant factor for deserving a plum public post.

This is where perhaps the Indian Constitution has been unfair to common citizens like you and me by not fixing any criterion for educational qualification for entering politics. But, honestly I cannot blame the creators of the Constitution for this major flaw of allowing uneducated candidates into Indian politics. The times when the Indian Constitution was written were different. India had just achieved it's independence from the British after 200-years of depravation and neglect. India had a literacy rate of just 12 percent in 1947, making it virtually impossible to find highly educated people who could lead the country. There were only a handful of leaders like Nehru and Gandhi, who had the means and resources to receive education abroad, but otherwise it was unimaginable to find such educated leaders at the village level during those times.

But now, things have changed drastically. India as per the 2011 census has a literacy rate of 75 percent. So, I think it's high time that we amended our constitution to fix basic parameters of educational qualification for allowing perspective candidates into mainstream Indian politics. I do not wish to imply that a health minister should be a qualified MBBS, but at least a graduate, and definitely not a school dropout. Occupying a public post comes with its set of responsibilities, which I think an educated person is better equipped to handle in comparison to an uneducated leader.

Many would argue that since a leader is a representative of the people, his being educated should not be a matter of concern for people choosing him. But, then an elected leader who occupies an important public position also represents the country and its people abroad, and an under-qualified candidate may end up showing the entire country in poor light.

To point out precisely what I am trying to say, a few days ago on October 2, 2015 while speaking to reporters on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, former chief minister of Bihar and mother of Tejashwi and Tej Pratap Yadav, Rabri Devi instead of paying tributes to the father of the nation gave him her best wishes. Perhaps she is still unaware that Mahatma Gandhi was killed in 1948.

The most important point is that a leader should lead by example, so how can you expect a school dropout to become education minister and encourage the young generation to study. The youth would continue to remain under the presumption that if a school dropout can become a minister, why should they study? This would have a negative impact on the entire education system of the country on a long term basis.

A Politician in India can contest from two seats simultaneously, but you and I the common citizens can cast only a single vote. An Indian politician can contest elections and file his nomination with the Election Commission even from inside the jail, but we the common citizens cannot cast our votes while in jail and rather would never remain eligible for a normal government job for life after being convicted in a case. An Indian politician on the other hand has his options open for remaining on a public post even if he/she has criminal or civil cases pending against them. Their resignations come only after subsequent convictions or extreme pressure from the media and public.

Even while applying for the post of a clerk in a bank, the prerequisite for an ordinary citizen is that he should be at least a graduate, but the same is not applicable for becoming a politician. Almost all private and government recruitments including defence demand a physical or a written test, but unfortunately there is no such exam or test for becoming a political leader. Being born as a scion of a family like `Gandhi' or `Yadav' should be enough for ensuring freebies like free telephone and electricity for the entire lifetime, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi is perhaps the perfect example.

An ordinary citizen who does not represent an elite political family needs to be fit and perfectly abled to earn his living, but the same is not applicable to Indian politicians, who can remain on public posts, even if confined to a bed or a wheelchair. A fine example would be of Congress leader and former chief minister of Chhattisgarh Ajit Jogi, who remained an MP in the 14th Lok Sabha, in spite of being confined to a wheel chair after a road accident in 2004, which left him paralyzed.

They say that the Parliament or a state cabinet is a reflection of society, but I would not agree with that today after seeing the new Bihar cabinet, as even in relatively smaller cities of India, poor middle-class parents invest their life savings to educate their children, so that they can become successful in life, but politicians like Lalu seem to think otherwise and ignore educating their children. Modern India is an educated society now and even popular film actors insist upon educating their children before they join the film industry. Famous actor of today, John Abraham hold a Masters degrees in Economics, like many other popular Bollywood actors, so why should those who wish to lead the country and its people be allowed to remain uneducated?

Shouldn't a political leader who is beneficiary of facilities bought from public money be at least a graduate? Is India a democracy or a monarchy that Lalu's son automatically becomes his political successor, even though incapable? Please give your comments and support this movement as it is only the common citizens, you and I who can bring about a change in society and our political system.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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