People in India who have known me well for some time may have noted that I gradually stopped writing about politics after the 2019 elections. I have never voted in my life, which explains my interest (or the lack of it) in politics and my trust in India’s electoral system.
In 2013, a photo began circulating of a supposed bus station in Ahmedabad glorifying the Gujarat model of development, which got debunked in a day or two. It sent alarm bells ringing through my head since only a few days ago, my dad was espousing Modi as the strong leader that India needed back then. There was no need to use the photo of a bus station in China and try to pass it off as one in Gujarat if the Gujarat model was true by any measure.
That is when I started taking an interest in politics, eventually writing about it. I wrote for 5 years trying to expose all the misinformation and propaganda, hoping that it would help people make better choices during the 2019 elections. I stuck to writing in spite of being ridiculed by my school and college classmates, and even my ex-colleagues; facing a good amount of ridicule on social media. However, we chose to continue to stay blinded and fooled.
All I have cared about is governance and administration, largely because I have worked on projects in my jobs, and I know how critical management and governance are for the success of every project. Those who are in positions of responsibility and who can influence people can do all the theatrics they want, and flirt with propaganda after governance and administration. Ironically, if they focus on governance and administration, they would have no time for theatrics and propaganda unless all they want to do is keep distracting and misleading people.
Everything that has happened in the last 7 years has converged to the situation created by the pandemic today. India’s economy never really recovered from the devastation caused by the Demonetization fiasco in 2016. The pandemic is merely an infected mole on a tumor. What the pandemic has unraveled is the depth of ignorance that exists in our society. There was a report of a political leader claiming that pouring lemon juice into our nostrils will help protect us from the COVID-19 infection, and a school teacher who had no other health issues died after trying it. People are getting infected with black fungus after they believed in the misinformation that lying in cow dung and cow urine can protect them from the Coronavirus. The comments below are just the icing on the cake.
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan says demand for more #vaccines from states ‘arouses narrow political passion’ among masses that ‘harms whole-of-government approach’ to tackle pandemic
— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) May 13, 2021
India is in dire need of education before vaccination. The virus of ignorance is far more deadly than all the viruses in nature. However, education is also complicated in India. Many Indians I know who vouched for the Gujarat model are educated, and are living abroad in the some of most developed countries of the world. Almost all of them are maintaining stoic silence now.
Education is supposed to engender the ability of critical thinking in us. Education helps us apply our rationale and logic and ask questions. However, education in India is closely linked to jobs, which in turn is linked to money and social status. An education system that does nothing for the growth of critical thinking is useless and a waste of time. The country is learning many hard lessons now, and I hope all the miseries that people are suffering now will lead to the rise of a stronger and wiser India.
This article was originally published here.