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India is as much a land of religion as much as a land of degrees.Religious structures throng the nook and corner of its vast stretch. So does thousands of degree colleges. Temples in Varanasi, Betel shops in Patna, Momo stalls in Gangtok and Engineering colleges in many cities are prosperous business entities. The abundance is so significant in some cities that 7 out of 10 times a randomly tossed stone will hit an engineering college. The remaining three it would be a coaching centre.
If you happen to go to east Delhi your eyes can not miss large hoardings atop buildings which seem glued to each other. Many of those claim -10vi fail 12vi paas Karen, 12vi fail BA pass Karen.(Those who failed in 10th pass 12th , those who failed in 12th pass BA). This can not be chided away just as a prophecy but highlights the proficiency by which one can lay a claim to a degree . I never knew their means or success rate but their presence was a consolation and a dubious safeguard for my future.
In a startling similarity both education and religion in India is matter of affordability. A person is free to feel blessed by devoting a gilded chadar to a local dargah while another may find salvation by donating a gold chain to a deity. Similarly, one could comfortably pay his/her way to an engineering or medical degree through earmarked donation seats in pristine private colleges. One could, as well, enrol in a local government college and attend a convocation without ever attending a college lecture.(No offence to School of Open learnings). As far as possessing a degree is concerned, hard work has a substitute here.
People here are obsessed with their own religious adventurism and others mark sheets and degree certificates. Competition here is pervasive, sometimes just a door away . It is quite normal for an Indian mother to be more inquisitive in the marks of neighbour’s son than her own. Clever kids use the parents weakness to their advantage. They would reveal their low score in any subject with an even low score of a neighbourhood kid, the mother of whom is a strong contender of best mother in society. “The paper was really tough” they may suggest and the mother would happily buy that excuse as long as the score is more than Mrs Sharma’s kid. If Mrs Sharma’s child scored more then “he must have cheated in examination”.
The first lesson of statistics I learnt was from my mother. Her gloating eyes would scan and compare report cards of me and my friend as she deciphered the sum average of marks of all subjects. One could observe her dancing eyebrows over a backdrop of changing facial patterns from bloody red to serene pink as she screamed when my marks in a particular subject were less and smirked when I fared well than him. We two innocently sat beside revelling her free of cost light and sound theatrics .
So in a country obsessed with what-you-do syndrome, it is not surprising of our leaders to invest more time in altercation over each other degrees than on the future of several degree holders. Students here can happily remain idle even after postgraduation from prestigious institutions. Farmers holding a plough eyeing for rain clouds and students grabbing a degree waiting for job opportunities are a common sight here. Here, facebook.com and freshersworld.com share same window screen. The Hindu is read with same alacrity as is an Employment News. Opportunities? Oh, many. So much so that you can find an MA in economics honours brushing his shoulder with an uneducated labourer at many construction sites. A Ph.D. holder might still be aspiring to be a government peon. And an M.Tech degree holder might still be running against time to secure a job before he turns 30 and lands on the wrong side of eligibility criteria.
If a postgraduate from IIT Kanpur is willing to join a Group-C cadre in a government organisation, if due to the absence of adequate jobs another postgraduate from a government university has to restrict herself to household chores, if Ph.D. holders are showing up in clerical cadre examination then future of a nation is murkier than ever.
A debate over the genuineness of degree of an old political leader will never bother a young graduate. But finding a respectful job does. In a nation where a vast majority consider degree as an index of temperature than an educational certificate, there the leaders have an onus more than ordinary bickering. The least they can do is to refrain from such allegations and dutifully create an atmosphere of jobs lest the much hyped demographic dividend would be the demographic drawback of the nation.
Thankyou for reading.