Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Does Educated Young India Get Attracted towards Educational Qualification of Candidates?

Now that enough introspection and analysis have been done, it’s time for BJP to take corrective actions and work effectively towards improving the confidence of the people. It might not be possible to come up with a single antibiotic for all the headache, stomach pain and body ache at the same time. And by any chance if someone comes up with any such single-shot-solution that will surely be another grave mistake to apply it. Corrective measures are meant to be staggered and modified from time to time in order to account for all possible feedbacks. Faster the feedback mechanism, faster would be the settling time for the corrective measures.


Failures are the pillars of success. It’s good to fail and learn. That way the arrogance and the adamance of the success can be controlled to a great extent. But at the same time success shouldn’t be looked down. It’s always a good think to find out what all factors lead to a success. In the context of the recent election it’s not a bad thing to identify some aspects that might have helped the Congress to win more seats than BJP.


One of the aspects, as pointed out several times, is indeed the projection of youth by the Congress. Besides that there’s also one important thing that people may be overlooking. Doesn’t the election throw some light on the hypothesis that the educational background of candidates might have played a greater role than any other election in the past?


It’s not that highly educated people never took part in election in the past. Also education is not just measured by some professional degrees - otherwise Rabindranath Tagore can’t be considered educated at all. But that can be taken as an exception. As a general rule qualification is indeed a good measure of education and learning. Going by that standard this election did have some highly qualified people and most of them have won decisively.


Starting from Manmohan Singh (Cambridge), Jayaram Ramesh (IIT), Prithviraj Chauhan (BITS Pilani), Shashi Tharoor (UN) to S M Krishna, Kapil Sibal and many others there have been a platter of technical expertise from various domains ranging from engineering, to economics to law and International Relations. Most of these people are from Congress.


To top all these there are also a few personalities like Montek Singh and Shyam Pitrada, who are not directly associated with politics but are no less involved with the Congress machinery.


For the millions of first time voters, most of whom are not illiterates, such credentials might have played a great role in creating a perception that Congress is better ‘qualified’ to run the government. Such a perception may or may not be true always, but at the end of the end it’s this perception that might have turned the wheels in favour of Congress.


Even though a rational person may be against dynastic politics but still the suaveness and external polish of many second generation (and fourth generation in one case) young politicians did tilt the public sentiments in favour of dynasty because the alternative in many cases were just no match for the sophistication of the heirs of the chairs.


Does that mean that more educated the youth of India would be more and more they would prefer the sophistication and suaveness and polish rather than a rustic down to earth true worker? It might be too premature to come to any conclusion like this.


Whatever be the case even the most techno savvy person would prefer a half naked Gandhi, devoid of any popular perception of sophistication, against the impeccably dressed and eloquent and suave Jinnah.


So when there is indeed some basis for the hypothesis that qualification of candidates may have helped Congress this time, but at the same time it’s not the only criteria for winnability. People did see ground work also apart from qualification. That’s why Captain Gopinath could get only 18000 votes in perhaps the most techno savvy and hi-tech constituency of India – that’s Bangalore South – against BJP’s Ananth Kumar, who defeated not only Gopinath but also another US returned and educated young turk from Congress.


I’d like to conclude by saying that a safe bet is to field candidates with really good educational background and also strong track record of developmental services.


Mamata Banerjee won’t have won so much this time had she not had Derek O’Brian, one of the most popular personalities among the elite Calcuttans, a well educated and popular singer – Kabir Suman – who had revolutionized modern Bengali songs some two decades ago, a very successful doctor like Kakali Ghosh Dastidar and few others from corporate sectors also – most of whom had fought and won this election. Mamata played a very safe game this time by attracting the elite and highly educated people from various spectrum of society.


This indeed is a good thing to think about for BJP. One of the major reasons for the unparalleled popularity of Atal Behari Vajpayee among the youth of 90s is off course his literary sense and poetic style of oratory. People used to wait for Vajpayee to speak because every time they expected some new expression and new words hitherto unheard to most vernacular unaware English educated youth. The educated people used to get attracted to his diction of words and impeccable knowledge of literature and language – something a rarity in politics. By the same logic the next generation youth of the 2000s getting attracted to Cambridge, Harvard, United Nations and IIT may not be a fluke.

1 comment:

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