I enjoy interviewing people. It all began during our fieldwork to a remote village in Maharashtra, called Honala. I was interviewing the Up- Sarpanch or deputy head of the village. While I was asking him about the political scenario of the village, I could not help being annoyed with his habit of spitting on the road every two minutes. Agitated, I pushed away the so-called questionnaire and attacked him, “What are your plans for the cleanliness of the village?” His reply only added to our fury. “None as yet”, the illiterate fellow said.
Case two was something that happened today. I reside in Chikuwadi, an area in Borivali west (Mumbai). We have this recreational park where we had this social gathering today. Our MP, Mr. Gopal Shetty and Mr. Vinod Tawde (Maharashtra state minister for primary, higher and technical education as well as medical education and culture) were the ‘esteemed chief guests’.
I was ardently listening to their speeches. Mr. Tawde started narrating the entire tale of what happened after he proposed Marathi films being screened in multiplexes during prime time and was apparently quite proud of it. While he was leaving, I could not resist myself. I asked him, “You’ve done your bit for Maharashtra’s culture. What are your plans for education in the state, since you are the education minister too?”
“At school level, we shall incorporate courses that raise emotional quotient of children; at college level, it is all okay”, came his curt reply; he then left from the scene. We very well know that even in best colleges of the city, students don’t attend college and teachers are not willing to teach either. When such fundamental problems exist in the creme de la creme, one can obviously predict the scenario in the mediocre colleges.
If the ministers do not realize the importance of bringing about radical changes in the system, who will? It is sad to see their nonchalance. Development and not votes should be their ultimate goal. When political leaders don’t care about changing the status quo, who will? They have the power; why do they misuse it or do not use it at all?
Will these questions, along with the one I asked the minister, always remain unanswered?