Battle #2 – CounterPunch by VGSoM, IIT Kharagpur – Only Graduates should be allowed to contest elections

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” ( 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.


History Revisited

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

Ishan Dogra

Vamsi Krishna Manchi




Debayan Roy

Quoting your third paragraph
“Though we believe______________________________diversity in our population”

I agree with your rationale that there should be equal representation, but to what extent.
You mean to say that since only 20 Million in this country are non graduates, hence for equal representation we need non graduates in our parliament.

Going by this logic of your, A percentage of our population are criminals, reseve seats for them to, a huge percentage is below BPL, are we reserving seats for them too? There is a long list. The point here is we should be able to choose the best 545 that would be able to lead our country. Because it is NOT SO that only an undergraduate can understand the pain of another undergraduate

Ishan Dogra

@Debayan Roy..
20 million GRADUATES(excluding Masters/PHDs) and not Non-Graduates…Secondly , I am still unable to understand the analogy you have used for rebuttal.Comparing a Non-Graduate to a Criminal is a little far fetched. We strongly believe that our representatives should have the highest qualification possible but what about the stratum of society that is not privileged enough to get the degrees from Harvard/Yale. To sum it all, a tea seller rightly said once, “It is Hard Work which matters and not Harvard”. But the the tea seller here was fortunate enough that he got a chance to compete his masters.

IIT Kanpur MBA

“Out of a population of 1.2 Billion, there are merely 20 million graduates”.

Please get your facts right. There were more than 37 million graduates in India as per the 2001 census. Although the same data for 2011 census seems unavailable, but we can be sure that the numbers would have increased manifold rather than decreasing by around 17 million.

It also means that we have a larger pool of graduate candidates from, much larger than cited 20 million!

IIT Kanpur MBA

EDIT – *It also means that we have a larger pool of graduate candidates to choose our leaders from, much larger than cited 20 million!

Also, there is a huge difference between choosing a maid and choosing a representative for our country. In the former case, you know the person personally, but in latter case, you have to trust their background and qualification, which would ultimately land up to their academic education; the more the better. 🙂
PS. Background is equally important, and we agree to that point upfront.

Ishan Dogra

Sometime it is better to skip the “reading between the lines” concept said a great man once….In our original article we had explicitly mentioned that we are referring to the 2010-11 All India Higher Education Survey report, since that was a final version and not the 2011 report since it was provisional report.Please go through the attached link and you might want to add up one more “edited comment” . (Refer page 22)

PS: Also our category of graduates just considered the guys who complete their UG degrees and are “graduates” not Master/PHDs ,etc (well…here was the part you could have read between the lines and inferred where the 20 million was coming from…)