Only Graduates should be allowed to contest elections
– VGSoM, IIT Kharagpur Rebuttal
This is an article written as a rebuttal to IIT Kanpur’s opening arguments for the Great Indian B-School debate 24 hours earlier
phronêsis: practical wisdom
analphabetism/illiteracy: an inability to read
The author of the article “Battle #2 Only Graduates should be allowed to contest elections. - FOR” (http://insideiim.com/battle-2-only-graduates-should-be-allowed-to-contest-elections-we-say-why-not-iit-kanpur-for/) starts by listing some stats about the seat allocation in the Indian Parliament and posing a question about the dismal quality (read as illiterates/uneducated) of political representatives in Indian political system. He also links up the current situation (read as adverse) of country to these not-so-deserving political representatives. The argument presented by the author relies heavily on unverified assumptions and has a very extreme conclusion. The author fails to make logical connections between the evidence provided and ends up confusing the definition of uneducated/illiterates with a person who doesn’t own a graduation degree.
The not so Great Indian Political Landscape
1.2 Billion People, 545 seats in Lok Sabha, 245 seats in Rajya Sabha: Bunch of incapable, illiterate, visionless political representatives (well, most of them)
These are the facts that the authors consider relevant for the argument presented.
In the first paragraph of the article, they ask “Is it really necessary to always go for candidates with almost no qualification, and who are responsible for the current situation of the country in many ways?” If we continue further, we find a stat saying that 74.17% of the MPs in Lok Sabha are graduates. So factually, there are at least 3 times as many graduates as there are non-graduates in Lok Sabha and still the situation of Indian politics is not impressive. This according to author’s rationale proves that being a graduate has no impact on the state of politics in India.
Though we believe that education and not graduation is of utmost priority when it comes to leading a nation, giving a chance to less privileged strata of society is equally important. Out of a population of 1.2 Billion, there are merely 20 million graduates. So this is less than 20% of our population. So if we are to select from this limited pool, we wouldn’t be having a fair representation of the diversity in our population.
Aristotle concept of best constitution, “"All of the citizens will hold political office and possess private property because “one should call the city-state happy not by looking at a part of it but at all the citizens.” (VII.9.1329a22–3). Moreover, there will be a common system of education for all the citizens, because they share the same end (Pol. VIII.1)"”
Various quotes by Aristotle, Plato and Mandela have been cited in the article but the article fails to differentiate between education and graduation. There are a number of people who are educated, i.e. would have completed their higher secondary or would have done diplomas or would have enrolled in college but not been able to complete the degree due to monetary or other reasons but the article discounts the possibility of all such cases. Secondly, excerpts from Aristotle’s book have been quoted; however, the authors fails to recognize that Aristotle’s model of politics was based on the idea of best constitution in which every citizen has a right to equal education. Also, a close look at Aristotle’s quote tell us that Power should go to those who can make the biggest contribution towards creating and maintaining a society which promotes good life. So this implies if a non-graduate is capable and deserving, they should be in power.
Moving on, the article talks about education. Again, the author assumes a person to be illiterate if the person is not a graduate. This rationale represents a logical fallacy.
To talk about the highly qualified and the ones with PhDs: the last government that India had had highly qualified people who were graduates of prestigious universities in some of the most influential portfolios. Despite that, the functioning of the government was considered to be one of the worst. So just having quality education and training is not sufficient and we strongly believe that phronêsis takes precedence over qualification.
The honest , The deserving and The Pseudo Socialite (Masters of using a Veil)
Up next, the author agrees to the fact that there might be an uneducated but honest and dedicated citizen who wants to serve the society. They recommend that person should do so without entering politics. But why? Why the distinction? If a person is really honest and deserving, why rob him the opportunity just based on the educational qualification? It might be the case that the person might be from an economically underprivileged society and was unable to complete his education. In that case, is it fair to rob him/her of the opportunity to contest in elections? Also, if we are to proceed with this mentality, then it would be almost impossible for people from underprivileged societies to enter into politics as most of their income is lost in daily living.
The article also discusses the case of ‘Ramdev’ and ‘Anna Hazare’ , and the only image which comes to our mind is the biggest political influencers of Indian Political System (source of logic: Arvind Kejriwal and his dramatic win in Delhi)
To sum it all up, India in itself is a special case of a democratic republic. Before independence when India was on the brink of bifurcation it was anticipated that India would never be able to exist as a united country with a plethora of conflicting cultures forced to co-exist. And yet we have made 68 years of glorious history in spite of facing many turmoils from time to time. And the credit goes to the constitution framed by our leaders which allows representation of people in a fair manner. To quote an example from day to day life, you would rather prefer the services of an uneducated but experienced and known maid who belongs to your area/region to an educated, trained but unknown stranger? Probably, plainly because you know the work of the former and are able to relate to him/her. We would also like to point out a fact that we always forget that our MPs and politicians are the result of our decisions and are chosen amongst us. They are the service providers for us and we are responsible for directing them for the same.
This article is an entry for The Great Indian B-School debate
Team Quarks, VGSoM, IIT Kharagpur
Vamsi Krishna Manchi