Lal Bahadur Shastri lived his early years in poverty and reportedly used to swim across the ganges everyday, to reach school. He graduated from Kashi Vidyapeeth, Varanasi, thereby earning the title of Shastri.
Morarji Desai was born into a poor schoolteacher’s family, the oldest of eight children. After local schooling, he joined Wilson College, in Bombay, on a monthly scholarship of 10 rupees along with free boarding and lodging. He graduated in Physics in 1917.
Charan Singh was born into a poor peasant family. He earned a master’s degree in Arts and then acquired a degree in law.
I don’t know about you, but these were the heroes I was told about, during my childhood, to make me appreciate the facilities I was given and to strive harder.
Then came Manmohan Singh and I knew I had a success story to tell my children.
Manmohan Singh was born into a family of modest means, in a village where for the first 12 years of his life, he did not have the luxury of electricity, school, hospital or piped drinking water. He walked for miles every day to school, studying at night in the dim light of a kerosene lamp, because of which his eyesight suffered. He was and probably continues to be one of the most educated Premiers that any country has had, till date. Singh has famously said “I am what I am today because of my education”
Then came along Modi, boasting about the fact that he has not gone beyond High school and succeeded, inspite of that. He declared on May 20, 2014 “It is the power of our Constitution that a poor person belonging to a poor and deprived family is standing here today. This is the power of our Constitution and hallmark of our democratic elections that a common citizen can also reach this height. The BJP’s victory and somebody else’s loss is a point for debate later. Citizens have realised that this democratic setup can fulfill their aspirations. Their faith in democracy has strengthened further.”
Probably Modi hasnt been told but it isn’t the first time that a person from a lower/middle income family has graced our Parliament. But it is for the first time that mediocrity and lack of qualification or education has been thus celebrated with fanfare.
Hasn’t the country as a whole, always worshipped knowledge- Vidya? Tamso ma jyotirgamaya. Remember? But it is for the first time that intellectuals are being called ‘kutiya’ and ‘naxal’, even at their deathbed.
Isn’t our country a secular, democratic, socialist republic? But it’s for the first time that words like ‘liberal’ or ‘secular’ or ‘leftist’ are reason enough to lynch and murder you.
And it’s no surprise; the rot is from the top. With rioters, murderers and exortionists sitting at the top, cheering this army of uncouth goons, we are writing a horror story for the future generations. The BJP voters need to introspect and decide if these are the kind of people they want their children to grow up into. If not, they need to change their heroes. They are the ones who opened this box. This needs to be closed by them.
Credit: Celine Mary
Image Courtesy: ibtimes