THE NEW LEAM VIEWPOINT
Mr. Narendra Modi cannot take any credit for the success of 52 Muslim candidates in the UPSC examination.
We live in a society that has not yet emancipated itself from the colonial legacy–its celebration of ‘sarkari babus’, magistrates and police officers , and the symbolism of their administrative power. No wonder, the mythology of the UPSC continues; as it conducts a highly mechanized/intellectually insensitive examination, and selects the ‘lucky’ ones for the civil service (IAS/IPS/IRS brigade), the aspiring society becomes restless. With the claims of coaching centres, interviews of the ‘toppers’ in the magazines like the Competition Success Review, and inflated dowry rate in the marriage market, we witness the collective pathology confronting the middle class.
Yes, this time 52 Muslim candidates have cleared the UPSC examination. Is it a ‘secular’ victory? Is it their ability to master the technique of cracking the examination? Is it the drilling/training through which the coaching centres nurture the aspirants? No, Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi does not bother about all these. For him, the answer is simple–it is because of Mr. Narendra Modi–the all-pervading powerful Prime Minister–it has happened. Yes, Mr. Modi is a miracle man! He can assure election victory. He can assure ‘strategic strikes’. He can speak endlessly. No wonder, as the Minister believes (or is it pure sycophancy–the eternal human weakness to please the Emperor?) that it is because of Mr.Modi’s policy of ‘development with dignity’ that it has happened.
Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi is wrong. He is wrong for two reasons.
First, there is no ‘development with dignity’. Instead, what has happened is the systematic deterioration of the social dignity of the minorities. The constant attack on the Muslims (see Gurgaon–its hyper-modern ‘Hindu’ groups making it difficult for the Muslims to have their namaz prayers; see the ‘yogic’ Chief Minister in Uttar Pradesh–the way his ‘good governance’ normalizes hatred towards the Muslims; see the ghettoization and marginalization of the Muslim community in every part of the country) does by no means indicate that the Prime Minister is truly sincere about the material/psychic/cultural well being of the minorities.
Second, Mr. Navi’s urge to please Mr.Modi is tragic; it devalues the hard labour of these 52 successful candidates; it is not ‘charity’, it is their exam strategy that has enabled them to get through.
And finally, there is another thing that needs to be talked about the UPSC phenomenon. It is high time we stopped glamorizing it. To begin with, as a nation we should acquire the honest spirit to say that the job of a civil servant is just another job–say, the job of a film maker, the job of a journalist, the job of a historian, the job of a doctor. Society needs good artists, good teachers, good social activists, good healers. It is sad that because of our colonial/feudal legacy we continue to hierarchize occupations; and for us, a District Collector’s bungalow with ten constables protecting it; or the visible coercive power of an IPS officer is hypnotizing. We constantly devalue other important vocations.
Furthermore, there is nothing heroic about the UPSC examination. We ought to be frank. Here is an examination that has got nothing to do with the joy/ecstasy of learning. Every discipline is reduced into typical UPSC type of puzzles; and coaching centre material would replace the intensity of Romila Thapar’s history, Max Weber’s sociology and Immanuel Kant’s philosophy.
Even the everydayness of the world–its sports, cinema, political events, economic life, newspaper report–will be reduced into dull/life-negating ‘general studies’ paper to be memorized mechanically. Here is an examination that kill’s one’s moral/creative spirit. Those who succeed get a job; and most of them fail, and find themselves psychologically defeated, socially stigmatized and intellectually impoverished. Yes, the blooming business of coaching centres goes on; and the Ministers like Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi keep doing PRO exercise; and the large section of the aspirants pass through severe depression.
What else can we expect from those who in the name of ‘good governance’ turn everything into its opposite?