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'Worshipful' SSLC pass

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Politics

Your next mayor will be from a newly carved out area of Bangalore — Shettihalli, North Bangalore. Sharadamma, 45, a first-time corporator and X standard pass, was chosen on Thursday as the city's mayor. The formal election will be held on Friday. This term has been reserved for woman from scheduled caste (SC).

Sharadamma is said to be gentle. But, sources close to Mr Ashoka, the minister backing her, said outgoing mayor S K Nataraj was from South Bangalore. This time, it was appropriate to give a chance to the other region in the city. This apart, Ashoka wanted to pay back to Shettihalli, which falls in Dasarahalli assembly segment, that shaped his formative days in political career.

For the full report in the ToI, click here.

And, below are the excerpts from a Mid-Day report (full report may be accessed here):

Many felt that Sharadamma could not handle the responsibility because of her limited educational background; besides, they felt that she was not articulate. Though Roopa has an edge over Sharadamma, the political equation seems to be in the former's favour. Sharadamma is backed by political heavyweights like R Ashok, minister for home and transport, while MLA Satish Reddy is throwing his weight behind Roopa.

"Sharadamma and Roopa are first-time councillors and are equally qualified. Most leaders were in favour of Roopa because of her better educational qualification and knowledge over issues relating to the city.

Although, the mayor's post calls for better exposure in terms of educational qualification and administration skills in order to match the requirement of a city like Bangalore, it has to be settled between the ladies because of the reservation.

"The city administration needs common sense rather than formal educational qualification. A poorly-educated person can also prove the best at administration, and this is the charm of democracy," said B V Ganesh, a BJP councillor.


When MiD DAY tried to call Sharadamma, her husband Ramanjaneya received the call and chose to answer on her behalf. "Usually husbands of women councillors attend to public interactions on their behalf, so I answered the call," he said. "I know it will be a tough fight between my wife and Roopa, but let me tell you, Sharadamma can mange the post well. However, we leave this to our leaders to decide," he added. He said he was also just an SSLC pass, but claimed to have a sound general knowledge.

The deputy mayor's post is reserved for backward class (category A) and B Somashekar (Shakabai Nagar), seen as a close associate of state BJP president K S Eswarappa and a fellow Kuruba, is tipped to take it over.

Out of 198 councilors, only 26 are graduates and 60 are not even matriculate. Over 25 have passed SSLC, while the rest hold qualifications like PUC, diplomas and Industrial Training (ITI)


Even at the cost of sounding elitist, I must say that all of the above makes for extremely depressing reading. In the first place, such people have got elected because of a faulty electoral system, whereby over 50% of eligible voters, on an average across constituencies, have been denied their voting rights because of an unprofessional and unfriendly registration procedure, and then, on top of it all, are these reservations along various lines, making for a total mockery of the entire process. How can anybody hope for any better level of governance with such people in key positions?

Now, rightly or wrongly, the country's electoral rules consider any adult citizen, who has been resident at an address for more than 6 months, eligible to vote in an election in the constituency in which the address falls. And, given today's turbulent economic and hence job market scenario, the system calls for facilitation of transfers across constituencies, not just within the state, but across the whole of the country, and speedily too. Very clearly, the archaic system currently in use by the SEC/ NIC combo is nowhere capable of that, and, consequently, we today have a scenario wherein huge swathes of the population remain deprived of their basic democratic rights.

Integration across the country will perhaps call for a link up with the UID project. Whatever, the job calls for far more professionalism than the capacities presently at the command of the SEC/ NIC combo, and therefore the urgent need for engaging companies like TCS (who have currently been entrusted the job of undertaking all the back-end work connected with issual of passports) to undertake it.

The rare good minister, Mr S Suresh Kumar, has appreciated this - check this. But, the others are happy retaining control through their stooges in order to pursue their vested interests. Mr Arvind Kejriwal, IAC (India Against Corruption) had stated that electoral reforms was their next priority. While Association for Democratic Reforms is doing a good job looking into the various acts of electoral malpractices (check this), the matter of having a professional agency preparing and maintaining the electoral list across the country has not received the necessary attention in desperately needs. Hopefully, IAC appreciates the need and pursue the matter to its logical end.

PS: And, can we dispense with the usage of anachronisms such as 'worshipful', belonging to the 'Raaj' era, when referring to anyone, however high his position, in today's world, please?

Muralidhar Rao

Comments

rackstar's picture

uneducated

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Uneducated people have equal right to live. Education hardly improves IQ of a person, and even educated people often do silly things. There is a training for first time MLAs or any other representatives about related laws and procedures which system is good enough. But in this case the problem is very short term for a mayor that is one year, this should be increased to minimum 2.5 years.

prithvi's picture

Mayor - is it a dummy post?

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I agree with rackstar that education does not guarantee that a persons IQ will improve but it definitely brings about more awareness. On a lighter vein,If she were to meet Bloomberg (mayor of New York), I wonder what topics will she discuss. We pride ourselves that Bangalore is a world class IT destination. Doesn’t this city need a person with some vision? If we had an educated mayor, it is more likely that he will have come across best practices in other cities. A city is major revenue source for the govt and hence in other developed cities ‘Mayor’ is a very important position. Mayor is more like a CEO. In our cities I don’t know how much importance is given to a ‘Mayor’.

Till about a year ago she was a housewife. I am not undermining capabilities of housewives or women. But can she become a CEO of any company. Now she is CEO of Bangalore Inc. She talks in very general terms. From what I see, I guess it will be one more year of no action. Hope she can prove me wrong.

I also agree with rackstar that a mayor’s term is too short. So I guess no mayor bothers about doing anything. So it also means that we can have anybody in that seat and it will not matter. Is there any way we prajegalu can fight to increase the term of a mayor and demand that only a person with city planning can become a mayor or do we have to accept that this as another pitfall in democracy?

murali772's picture

responses from HU members

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I had posted a link to this blog with a forwarding comment on Hasiru Usiru y-group. There were many responses, which is generally reflective of the thinking of the more vocal sections of this group, though I doubt the majority. My partcipation there is largely to provide the balance :))).

LS
I am aghast that you are making such assertions.  Besides being elitist, you are also condemning the due rights of women and depressed classes of our society. Thus you are gender insensitive, casteist and feudal too.  Moreover, you are also implying that an a SSLC pass cannot be a "worshipful" mayor (sarcasm duly recorded), and thus castigating those who have won through the due process of law merely because they do not conform with your sickeningly elitist standards (which you humbly admit).

Perhaps a good reading of progressive features of our Constitution and that of South Africa and the United States (now they fit your description of progressive countries, don't they?) would possibly educate you on the need to assist those who have been violently repressed and depressed for generations by caste, class, religion and race.

If you have a grouse against the electoral system, you cannot and should not project it as a liability on someone who has risen to political power despite oppressive social systems, that also denied economic and education rights to such millions in this country.  You are always free to raise this before the Election Commission or in the Courts.


Consider this: the most educated Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh, has paraded with impunity over some of the greatest economic and financial scams in our blessed country. Also consider this: amongst the most learned, eloquent and politically experienced Prime Minister's, A. B. Vajpayee, looked askance as Gujarat burned in communal hatred, which as recently revealed was under the supervision of the Chief Minister Narendra Modi. Further also consider this: Mukesh Ambani lives in one of the world's most expensive "homes" (if you can call a 60 floor gilted high rise disguised as 27 floors) consuming mongly Rs. 70 lakhs worth of electricity and enough water drawn from the municipality that could service the needs 500000 poor people, all so that his five member family can have a gala time.  Further, also consider the indisputable fact that most of the scamsters in the country are drawn from very elite backgrounds.  Clearly, education, or a superior caste or class, do not come as safeguards of our Constitution, humanity and our democracy.

I do support you on the need for competence in discharge of adminstrative, judicial, corporate and political power, but without making a superior caste/class (which you imply) and education as prerogatives.

Hope you can post this on savekoramangala (but what purpose will it serve if this is how an elitist enclave imagines the future of India... hope you and the list members don't mind my jibe at enclave thinking) and on an hopefully inclusive "praja" (if it can ever be one, given such thinking amongst its leadership).



VS
Mindsets like yours, which consider people to be inferior based on caste, education etc are also what cause issues like this -http://thedeathofmeritinindia.wordpress.com/2011/04/26/84/#more-84
Its a blog which documents all kinds of casteist oppression in institutions of higher education, including the kind which results in the ‘suicides’ of young and meritorious Dalit and Adivasi students. on what basis do you say people who are educated are better administrators? or that if someone comes from a reserved seat they are not good administrators? in fact someone like Sharadamma who is doubly vulnerable - on account of being a woman, and belonging to a oppressed community will know best the converns of those at the margins of society.

hotte thumbdavrgalla swamy hasivana kashta gottagodu..shoshitha vargadavrge gottirutte, shoshane andrenu antha..yaaro brahmanrige, shettruge, lingayatrigalla..

in that sense, Sharadamma is actually better qualified than several others maybe, she will know what it is to feel oppressed.

KRC
The views you relate in this email are truly shocking. You seem to be asking: how can Sharadamma from Shettihalli, a mere SSLC pass, be good enough to govern a "world-class city" like Bangalore?

To me, this is rather a refreshing reminder that even world-class cities like Bangalore have their share of Sharadammas, and our democracy, despite its flaws, has ways to ensure that these Sharadammas from Shettihalli can become Mayors of Bangalore. It is a happy thought and I rejoice in it.

True, I do worry that the Sharadammas will remain pawns of their husbands, and the husbands will remain pawns of R Ashok. But it does happen every once in a while that the women councillors break loose of their husbands' stranglehold and the scheduled caste minions break loose of the stranglehold of their political masters. We should hope the same for the sake of Sharadamma and Bangalore.


Perhaps then the city will try to understand the needs of the urban poor a little better. And believe you me, the biggest challenge facing cities today is that they don't understand what their citizens need. So it might be the case that Sharadamma is the best Mayor we could have had.

She would certainly do a better job than Municipal Commissioners like Dr. Subramanya or Mr. Bharatlal Meena.



MHR
The previous deputy mayor had a BE in electronics and communication ! can some one highlight his achievement in one year ? similarly manmohan and chidambaram are from Harvard and London School of Economics. we all know how some of the most foolish policies they have implemented . manmohan is the most unreachable and dull person for a country like india.

Indira Gandhi ,  went to England and sat for the University of Oxford entrance examination, but she failed,(src - wiki pedia). But Indira gandhi was the most decisive - reachable to masses all over india  - inspite of emergency and bad socialistic policies.

I feel Sharadamma will be reachable to all the sections of the community. Let us be open and speak to her. Let us take a delegation and give her some flowers and tell her abt the wrong things like cutting trees being done currently ! instead of rejecting her and feeling dejected - we should focus on how we can engage with her and also make sure she is not mislead by bureaucrats.

Also  she might be a pawn in the entire political setup , a person who says YES to whatever ministers want her to say YES TO.


I responded as below:
I wish to clarify that I am not against reservations per se. But, I am certainly against reservations for key positions like the Mayor, Dy Mayor, etc. As envisaged under the 74th amendment, the Mayor of a city is equivalent to the CM of a state, or the PM of a country, and we are supposed to be moving in that direction, which apparently even the HU members are supportive of. But, what is happening here clearly is the state MLA's imposing themselves on the city to perpetuate the status quo where they continue as the bosses, with the Mayorship being treated as an ornamental position to be 'enjoyed' by 10 of their chela's over a 5 yr period.

I do support you on the need for competence in discharge of adminstrative, judicial, corporate and political power, but without making a superior caste/class (which you imply) and education as prerogatives.

So, can you hope to gain the level of competence required without the necessary education? Whatever, the merits and de-merits of educated people occupying the positions of power can be another debate.

Hope you can post this on savekoramangala (but what purpose will it serve if this is how an elitist enclave imagines the future of India... hope you and the list members don't mind my jibe at enclave thinking) and on an hopefully inclusive "praja" (if it can ever be one, given such thinking amongst its leadership).

If you haven't still understood, "praja.in" is an open platform (with moderation being exercised only against misuse), and has no opinion of it's own, least of all of it's so-called leadership. And, it is the most inclusive platform compared to any. Even now, there's a response on Praja, more or less on the lines of the views expressed on HU. That the HU members want to remain within their comfort zones by limiting themselves to non-debates on this platform is another matter.

PS: Incidentally, today's papers say Sharadamma is a "SSLC fail"
 

Muralidhar Rao
psaram42's picture

Lack of education vs. appalling corruption

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It is not the issue of un-educated vs. educated but of good governance, with zero corruption.

There are enough experts knowing the job in various specialized engineering and management issues in respective departments of BBMP and others of the government / private etc. Good governance with zero corruption is what is needed. SSLC pass / failed is irrelevant.

By the way what are LS VS KRC MHR?

murali772's picture

why is anybody bothering to acquire education?

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If education doesn't make a difference, I wonder why people take the trouble of acquiring it at all, some even going abroad for the purpose.

@ Psaram - Those are the initials of the HU members who made the respective comments. Since they did not choose to put their comments on PRAJA, I thought I'll let them enjoy the privilege of anonimity here.

Muralidhar Rao
psaram42's picture

Education

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Good education is an asset as it helps you to make a lively hood.

The mayor is not there for her lively hood or to amass wealth by corrupt means. She is there to keep the corporation functioning optimally to attend to the cities basic needs and development, if any. All the necessary technical support is there in the governmental machinery at her beck and call.

Mayors are known as city Fathers. In this case she is supposed to take care of the citizens like a mother would of her children. Worshipful connotation comes because of this. 

sanjayv's picture

Education is part of larger qualification

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I am not sure what is so distasteful or elitist about pointing out a lack of education in this case.  For s position such as the Mayor of a city, especially one so large and complex as Bangalore, one would expect a person with suitable qualifications.  The Mayor has to be able to run the council meetings, interact with and supervise the bureaucracy.

What is the qualification of our Mayor to be.  Has she demonstrated sound administrative skills.  Has she demonstrated an ability to lead a council of politicians? Does she command their respect? From what I have read, none of these is there.  in such a situation, education is a measure of a persons ability to learn and grow in a new situation.

I wonder if the people who pooh, pooh the importance of education would pick an uneducated person over an educated person when interviewing for some position of importance to them.  I bet that the uneducated or less educated person would nolt stand a chance unless the resume hinted at a strong track record..

psaram42's picture

Indian Democracy

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There is no qualification standard prescribed for contesting or voting in elections in our country as of this date.  

Common sense is not the prerogative of only an educated person. 

"The city administration needs common sense rather than formal educational qualification. A poorly-educated person can also prove the best at administration, and this is the charm of democracy," said B V Ganesh, a BJP councilor. 

murali772's picture

let's not deviate

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Ananthram Sahibare'

The way you have put it, readers will be led to believe that that was my quote. Please do the necessary editing to make it clear that that's only an excerpt from the ToI report.

And, the talk here is not about prescribed qualifications. It's whether there's a better chance of an educated person performing compared to an uneducated person. Can there even be a debate on that? I would like to reproduce Dr Nelson Mandela's quote here in this connection - "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world".

Actually, if we had professionally managed electoral rolls, the need for which has been emphasised by none less than the Mr S Suresh Kumar, I expect we would have had a different profile of Corporators, more truly representative of the city's current profile.
 

Muralidhar Rao
psaram42's picture

Access to more information

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An educated person has only an access to more information which an uneducated person may not have. Accurate electoral rolls and compulsory voting are the prerequisites of a worthwhile democracy. S. Suresh Kumar is a cabinet minister in current BJP ministry of Karnataka. The article about this BJP politician is a stub in Wikipedia. Murali sir, you may like to contribute to the same please. 

sanjayv's picture

What is an education for?

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I am really amazed at the comments being posted in this thread.  Makes one question - what is an education for?  My fervent hope is that a child getting an education not only learns to read and write and do mathematics and so on.  An education and the process of getting an education which includes going to school, interacting with your firends and colleagues, the library facilities, the teachers and thoughts ne is exposed to really helps expose a child to the broad world and helps them think at a higher and more complex level.  Helps them become well rounded individuals.

An education should help people improve their innate ability and get more out of their real life experiences.  While I would not rule out the fact that a less educated person could outperform an educated person in certain areas, it is fair to say that on an average, an educated person is much better prepared to handle complex tasks.

Somehow, many people seems intent on arguing that questioning a person's capabilities based on the lack of educational credentials is a crime?! The HU arguments posted above by Murali are appaling.  The same people are not able to give one concrete evidence of the person in question having an accomplished track record qualifying her to be the head of Bangalore's city government.

I don't want the Mayorship to be in the hands of someone classified as someone who need not necessarily "not have potential".  Show me proof of capability and I do not care about education or sex or caste or whatever else. Period.

idontspam's picture

I agree with sanjayv, It is

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I agree with sanjayv, It is about vision & experience. Being in charge of a city like Bengaluru is not childs play, there has to be demonstrated ability to galvanize a messy apparatus into executing projects which show outcome. Is she capable of demonstrating such outcomes at any level? Does she have the ability to comprehend administative issues & make decisions on the fly? Going by the article here clearly this is not the case. We should be ashamed to be led by people with zero capability of showing us the way. I think she should step down herself & ask that an experienced hand take up the role. 

idontspam's picture

"Office? I am busy

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"Office? I am busy elsewhere... I might not come..." more...

dvsquare's picture

Bengalooru really needs a very experienced & aggresive leader

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In my opinion, we in bangalore need a very very experienced and a aggressive leader, so that he can come up with good plans and specifically execute those plans in a authoritative manner, and make sure we are able to make bangalore a good city. While BBMP still struggling with rains and monsoons, we are still unable to be ready to cope up with rains after spending such a huge amounts of money, this is not the way going forward.

What does this prove - "Office? I am busy elsewhere... I might not come..." ? What is this? Why she has to visit CM on her first day? Why she has to visit thos ministers who supported her? Why can't she come to office first day on time, and also greet her colleagues and also make sure that others also be present? How will she be able to penalize/prevent any BBMP workers to remain absend when she has been doing all these ? She has to answer to bangalore citizens.

Deepak

murali772's picture

The bane of HU

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The more vocal members of HU believe that, to be a tree lover, you necessarily have to be a Socialist. And with the membership comprising largely the youth, quite the idealistic type, these Socialists have found in this group a convenient and captive audience for their regular propagandising.

Now, some wise man had once said that "A young man who isn't a socialist hasn't got a heart; an old man who is a socialist hasn't got a head". And, unfortunately for this Socialist lot, who aren't all exactly young (but who perhaps have yet to grow up :))) ), there's this old coot, who refuses to let them get away with their propagandising, readily. And, therein lies the conflict.

There are more of these quotes on Socialism, which aptly describes the mindsets of these types, which will perhaps help get an understanding of where they generally come from:

  • For socialists, not just the wealth, but the guilt, must be redistributed.
  • Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it.
  • The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.
  • Socialism is workable only in heaven where it isn't needed, and in hell where they've got it.

The hypocricy of such mindsets become stark when you realise that the person who has expressed boundless joy over a backward class lady (even if SSLC failed) becoming Bengaluru's Mayor is currently doing his masters in a prestigeous institution in the US, presumably on a scholarship. What good can any education, even in the best of institutions, do when you are stuck on such a mindset?

Muralidhar Rao
prithvi's picture

Socialism is a failed concept

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Murali Sir,

You have given one of the best exsplainations for 'Socialism'. Very well said. Socialism is a failed concept and has been proved so.

I guess everybody should understand that in the name of equal opportunity we should not get 'Not Competent' people into very high positions. As one of the members pointed out, if our Mayor atleast had a track record in governance we could have over looked her LACK of education.

Nowadays even sports bodies have professionals running the show. Should we make Sharad Pawar's relative as the Captain of the Inidan Cricket team just because he is running BCCI. Why not have a quota for the position of  Cricket Captain also. We dont do that because all of us know that we will surely loose. Then why have a quota for high positions like Mayor etc.

 

rackstar's picture

social justice not socialism

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What i see in HU comments is "social justice", not "socialism". This social justice that some caste are suppressed is found only in india, by name of reservations or anti-discrimination or affirmative action as called elsewhere. Ambedkar did for reservation to last for 10 years but that is extended by 10 years ever since. I dont want to comment on that, and my previous comment said nothing about caste reservations, but i stick to my point that education is not so important.

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