HRD Minister Smriti Irani is not a Graduate – SO WHAT?

Ajith Vijay Kumar

Smriti Irani should have seen it coming, given her meteoric rise from being a TV bahu to now taking over as the HRD minister, with cabinet rank, in the Narendra Modi government.

The Irani Express steam-rolled over `seniors`, among them some with bloated estimates of self worth, to emerge as a core member of the team chosen by the Prime Minister to deliver `Acche Din`.

The 38-year-old has reached the highest realm of political success where most netas fail to reach even after a life time of sycophancy and Smriti rode to the top with only hard work, her natural gift of gab as assets and, of course, some bit of luck.

While those within the BJP who have been overlooked for ministerial berths and others in the wider `Modi admirers` circle have a `valid` reason to feel envious of her as she has been rewarded by Modi and not them, but the signs of jealousy or even desperation shown by some others is despicable, to say the least.

Congress` rising star Ajay Maken fired the first shot by chiding Smriti on not being a graduate - leading to a heated debate on whether the HRD Minister should be a graduate, at least.

It is another matter that Maken himself is just a BA pass and has held high posts in Delhi as well as central government, without, even once, pondering whether he is capable of handling the fortunes of crores of people.

He has served as transport, power and tourism minister in government of Delhi, then as union minister of state for urban development, home affairs, youth affairs and sports in the UPA government, what qualification did he have to serve in the best interests of those ministries.

Maken should have at least remembered the spanking he got at the hands of his `cerebral` party colleague Mani Shankar Aiyar.

Aiyar had hit back at Ajay Maken, then sports minister, for accusing him of playing a role in the cost escalation of Commonwealth Games projects and questioned the authenticity of the letter he had written to Manmohan Singh in which he made the allegations.

"Firstly, we have to establish the authenticity of this letter. It contains words like `dichotomous` which I cannot believe that a BA Pass from Hansraj College would know. I don`t believe the authenticity of the letters that have been released to the press because there are such big words used in them that unless Mr Maken had a thesaurus by his side, I don`t believe that he wrote those letters," Aiyar had said.

While Aiyar`s retort reeks of an elitist mentality which believes that one has to be an alumnus of a fancy school or college to have any standing in life, the issue here is centric on Maken and his cheeky attack on Smriti.

While Smriti needs to come clean with honesty on the discrepancy in her poll affidavits. The 2004 affidavit said she had completed a Bachelor of Arts from Delhi university`s school of correspondence in 1996, her subsequent affidavits in 2011 and 2014 state her last education as Bachelor of Commerce Part-1, School of Open Learning (Correspondence), University of Delhi-1994 and her biodata in the Rajya Sabha website states: "Educated at Holy Child Auxilium, Delhi and School of Correspondence and Continuing Education, University of Delhi, Delhi", the central point of debate remains - she is not a graduate.

SO WHAT? How does it any manner imply that she can`t deliver as the HRD minister and what have all the “qualified” ministers in the UPA ministry achieve – 44 seats in the Lok Sabha after 10 years of uninterrupted rule!

Essentially, there is a big difference between University Education and Universal Education.
Having a clutch of degrees with no intellect to apply the learning is far worse a curse than striving to wade through the world with ones grit and determination to succeed in life.

The world has seen many stellar leaders like EMS Namboodiripad, Bill Gates and others, who could not get a college degree but made it big in life.

Smriti Irani has got the chance to prove her worth and given her feisty nature, the forced “realisation” that she lacks a college degree would have added to her resolve to prove her detractors wrong.

She will deliver....Let`s hope.