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RTE has driven education to the dogs

Recently in Bangalore, there was huge opposition to the BBMP's proposed rules for keeping pet dogs. And rightly so! These were draconian, arbitrary, ignored the reality of responsible pet owners who are in the huge majority, and seemed like the typical heavy babudom response to fix non existent problems. But consider if the rules were frames to be even more crazy:

  • Before getting a new pet, you had to get a no-objection certificate (NOC) from some government authority. To do this, you need to prove that the current population of pet dogs in your neighbourhood is not sufficient, and the neighbourhood needs more dogs.

  • In order to get or keep your dog, you need to have certain minimum facilities - let us say, 5 square meters per dog, at least one family member needs to be at home all the time to take care of at the dogs, and one person can take care of at most 2 dogs.

  • If you have a dog, or are getting a new dog, by law, you need to keep an extra dog as selected by a "transparent process". The government will decide which dog you'll get in addition to the one(s) you want. You pay for the upkeep out of your pocket, and the government will "reimburse" some amount it decides is the right amount.

Sounds crazy! But let's say the government made this even crazier:

  • For certain people - none of these rules apply. You can keep as many dogs as you like, in whatever space you like. Government rules don't apply to you via amendments to the constitution.

  • These special class of people belong to religions designated as "minority" by the Government. Yes, you read that right. A completely non-religious activity, like keeping a pet, has different privileges based on the person's religion.

  • A special central body determines which group can be designated a "minority". If you're a Hindu - tough nuts. You can never be part of this decision making group, by law. This body has absolue right to hand out certifications.

Perhaps you knew, perhaps not. But this religion based discrimination has been the in place in India via the terrible Right To Education (RTE) Act and 93rd constitutional amendment. This was done by the scheming mechanisms of the UPA government, and the constitutional amendment gives blanket protection from government interference to non-Hindus alone when it comes to running educational institutions.

We protested the proposed BBMP rules so vigorously and effectively - because the government was meddling in draconian ways in private lives, ignoring existing reality and penalising good citizens.

However, we are doing nothing about the the situation facing Hindu run educational institutions, which is far worse - the ridiculous imaginary rules I proposed above are a reality for Hindu run schools. It is clearly leading to a death of Hindu run schools, combined with a booming of minority run educational institutions. We have become so callous about ourselves and our culture, that we're willing to fight for our dogs, but not for the educational well-being and cultural future of our children! Shame on us.

PS: If you want to find out more, for outstanding commentary on RTE and other "Idea of India" thinking - where there is no uniformity of law, and identity drives what your legal rights are - please see @realitycheckind on twitter and their blog.