Bharatiya Janata Party President Rajnath Singh has taken a few missteps. The first one was his unthinkingly parroting the line that education in the English language medium is a measure of retrogression when, whether any body likes it or not, it is now the universal lingua franca. This is something Hindu cowbelt politicians seem unable to grasp when the contrary proof is all around them. In the remotest villages of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh may be espied schools advertising themselves as “convents” named after some Saint or the other promising “English education”. It is an aspirational thing. why otherwise would the supposedly ‘samajwadi” (socialist) leader such as Mulayam Singh — whose English language skills are nonexistent, send his son Akhilesh (CM, UP) for further education to Australia? The people see competence in English language as passport to better life which all the socialists, including Sonia Gandhi and her Congress gang running the country, are determined to deny them by insisting pitiable education in any language at all local levels even as their own progeny go abroad for their academic degrees. Hopefully, Narendra Modi will have no truck with this kind of attitude and will go public with an educational scheme that will have local language as medium of instruction up to the junior school level, with English language as compulsory language, so that high school and education thereafter in the English medium is something these children can ease into. China is often cited as that great success story in retaining Mandarin, except Beijing finding itself hindered in the science and technology streams has fast-paced English language instruction even as India with a beneficent legacy of “English education” is out to destroy what remains of a once fairly strong education base.
The second wrong step of Rajnath’s is his intention to plead with the US authorities in Washington and elsewhere to ease up on the visa restrictions on the BJP standard-bearer Narendra Modi, so far denied him on account of pressure from human rights groups, spearheaded by many Indian minority organizations of NRIs in that country, for his non-role in the 2002 riots. Such pleading is the wrong tack to take for a party that expects to helm the next govt in Delhi. Indeed, if anything and for reasons of personal self-respect conflated with the nation’s, Narendra Modi should refuse to visit the US as Prime Minister other than for the customary annual trip to New York for the UN General Assembly meeting in October. It will signal Washington that it cannot treat an Indian leader with disdain and then expect him as the head of the Govt of India to forget such inexcusable behavior.