Normally 5th of September is celebrated as Teacher’s day in India when students thank their teachers for giving them lessons for life and lessons of life. It is birth anniversary of India’s first vice president Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. However, in Modi-fied India nothing can be normal. The game of politics is started on the auspicious occasion of Teacher’s day. Teacher’s day is to strengthen the relation of students and teachers but now one more party is added in this event and it is the Prime Minister. PM Narendra Modi decided to address students on this day and entire government is make the event ‘historic’. The Ministry of Human Resource Development released a circular saying:-

  • PM will address children on 5-Sept from 3pm to 4.45pm.
  • PM’s speech will be telecasted on all the channels of DD and radio stations.
  • Students should be in school from 2.30pm to 4.45pm.
  • Every school has to make necessary arrangements so that students can listen to PM. It may include generators, TV, set-top box, amplifier, etc.
  • All the expenditure will be paid from various funds created for student’s welfare and development of education institutions.
  • Principals of schools have to keep everyone in discipline when PM is addressing.
  • Government officers will examine the schools during PM’s speech to make sure that everything is according to the directions.
  • Schools are asked to submit a report on the arrangements made by the authorities and the number of students likely to attend the address.
  • A feedback would be taken immediately after the program on the number of children and number of schools who were able to view or listen to the Prime Minister’s address.
  • Any laxity in the arrangements shall be viewed seriously.

Now coming to the stage of debate, the first question arises is why PM is intended to address children on teacher’s day. Logically he should address teachers. The center’s circular has created hectic schedule for teachers and principals as all of them has to make preparations and arrangements for PM’s address. Even if HRD minister Smriti Irani said that it is a voluntary activity, the circular’s language speaks like it is not less than any order which is supposed to be obeyed strictly otherwise it will be viewed ‘seriously’. In addition, the time of PM’ address has caused more inconvenience to schools. Students and teachers are forced to stay in school for all the day.

There must not be any problem if PM wants to address his countrymen on any day but there must be a question that why anyone should be forced to listen to PM. Especially when Narendra Modi speaks almost every media channel gives live telecast, next day’s newspapers have Modi as headline, social media is captured by handles and pages doing live postings of Modi’s statements… Even after all these, Modi Sarkar thinks that people should be gathered at one place to listen his address. The million dollar question is why one must not miss PM’s speech or why one should listen to PM on given day, time and place. In case, if someone misses his speech or not willing to listen to that speech, what will happen? Will it cause any loss to the nation? Why funds created for up gradation of education institutes is utilized for PM’s speech? Does India remember any former prime minister who conducted such huge and tensed exercise his speeches? What made Govt. think that PM’s address is of maximum importance?

The priority for education sector is to provide education to every child, ensuring good quality of infrastructure in schools and not to make children listen PM’s speech. PM Narendra Modi in his election campaign speeches gave too much focus on how his govt. will increase spending on education but was it including spending on PM’s speech? However, one more thing to worry is the expected politicization of teacher’s day. Narendra Modi has a rare quality of politicize any event, be it his visit to Japan or his speech as CM on Independence Day, nothing has left away from his politics. Are we okay if our children are given political lessons by the name of teacher’s day address? If events like teacher’s day are going to be political opportunity for politicians then what not can be politicized!

If PM’s address needs so much preparation then what about President’s speeches! President of India is the first citizen of the nation and the person deserves greatest respect. President’s addresses should have a national holiday and mandatory telecast of his speeches for all the media channels; every single government officer should be inspecting the people whether they are listening to President or not; and at last, not listening to President shall be viewed ‘very seriously’.

Shall we consider this step of Modi Sarkar as an arrogance born by the victory and popularity? The country, especially young and first time voters voted for Modi with the aim to get brighter future. They were not told that the young generation will have to listen to PM whether they want to listen or don’t want to. Let’s hope that we are not entering to an age where one person will make one billion people do what he wants.