Through this article, I would like to draw the attention of readers once again to the recent incident in Assam whereby a senior teacher was seen to be rebuked by a certain politician during a Swachh Bharat Abhiyan event in the first week of May at Nagaon.
As per the video that went viral, it was seen that the moment the 75-yr-old teacher started speaking about the pathetic condition of roads, a visibly agitated Minister of State for Railways, Rajen Gohain stood up from his chair and blocked the mic in full public view. He also rebuked the teacher and said, “Why are you raising such issues? What benefits are you trying to draw? You have come with an ill-motive.” Gohain also told the teacher that if he had any complaint in this regard, he should have approached him in person.
Later, the teacher was seen to take his seat in a row behind the minister’s seat. When the reporters asked the minister if he would apologize to the senior teacher for rebuking him, the minister said, “Why should I?”
He was reportedly quoted as saying in an article in ‘The Scroll’, “If needed, I will quit politics. The teacher’s statement was so aggressive.”
Following this, widespread protests were held in Nagaon demanding an apology by the minister to the teacher but to no avail.
I wish to raise some questions in this regard:
A highly educated minister with a BA LLB degree (as per Wikipedia) showing such disrespect towards a senior teacher (almost 10 years older to him) – What kind of example is the minister setting to young students who are taught to respect teachers on the one hand, and openly rebuked and insulted by ministers on the other?
A minister who does not even have the patience and tolerance to listen to real facts and public grievances – of what use has his educational degree been if he has not learnt the art of courtesy and tolerance? And since when have ministers obtained the right to curtail the speech of a citizen, and that too one who was sharing the same platform?
Why the arrogance? Instead of telling the public that roads would soon be repaired, he resorted to curtail the voice of a common man and why – just because he is a minister?
Well, seems like he forgot that he is a minister to serve the people not to rule over them, for the era of kingship and the kingdom they ruled is far gone!
Silencing a 75-year-old respectable member of society in full public view, curtailing his freedom of speech and later refusing to even apologize – Wow, what an example you have set for our students and the future generation Mr Gohain. Kudos to you! I am certain that with a few more ministers like you, India’s future will be really bright.
The writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com