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Modi inspired the students with Mann Ki Baat. Can’t it reassure NEET-NET aspirants?

Higher up in the existing power structures, there is the Prime Minister of the country who is responsible.

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Candidates search for seats in their roll number before entering an exam center to appear for the UGC-NET exam, at AN College, Patna. The June 2024 UGC-NET exam has been canceled due to concerns over the integrity of the exam. A fresh examination will be scheduled and the CBI will investigate the matter, the education ministry said.

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The NEET-NET ‘scam’, as it gains traction, is turning out to be a real steam boiler – and that was expected. Because, every problem in the country that negatively affects the entire population and is duly exposed ends up becoming a political brawl. In the quagmire of political blame games, accusations and sweeping generalizations, the concerns of those affected are lost and they are left to the vagaries of what we might call “moral luck.”

For the exam, it doesn’t matter whether you have worked hard, very hard or not: it is all about being in the “right” place at the “right” time and that is “moral luck”. If you were morally lucky, you’re in, otherwise you’re out. And it is ironic to say the least, especially with regard to higher education which will produce doctors, engineers, teachers, researchers, skilled workers, that is to say, nation builders.

But who and why should we speak out and intervene in the face of such scams which disrupt the lives of young aspirants? And what are the reasons for remaining silent, if one chooses to do so?

If we take a “bottom-up” approach to this issue, then in power structures it is the public who must speak first. Fortunately, there is a part of society that sympathizes with those affected, raises its voice or fist in protest and tries to make a difference. They stand up for justice and their voices make a difference that is palpable and visible; in this case, heads started rolling and high-level committees were set up to investigate the scam.

But there are also those who are silent spectators – waiting and watching on the sidelines, either because such scams do not directly affect them, or because there is so much “political entertainment” that they do not know how to do. what to be seriously interested in. So much so that some of them have become pure skeptics, convinced that nothing will ever change. They certainly express their concerns within WhatsApp groups and engage in some investigative exercises, but quickly give up because they are convinced that their only voice will not be heard. Nothing will move these people and their silence is beyond limits.

Fortunately, the public outcry over the NEET-NET fiasco forced the next higher up in the power structure to speak up, i.e. the Minister of Education. First, a denial of any paper leak, a questioning of the entire incident, a justification of the grace points, then a complete reversal – an admission of failings in the face of public anger and beatings hardliners of the highest court in the country.

It flies in the face of common sense as to why more time could not have been given for logistical delays instead of grace points. This would have at least kept the playing field level! In this regard, both the omission and commission of the NTA decided the moral luck of the aspirants. Some were lucky, others were wronged.

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Higher up in the existing power structures, there is the Prime Minister of the country who is responsible. But as in the past, we have not yet heard from the honorable Prime Minister.

In the past, the Prime Minister has encouraged and inspired many aspirants with his Mann Ki Baat sessions before school exams. Although this is unusual, it is nonetheless appreciable. But why did he become maun (Hindi word meaning “calm”) in the NEET-NET scam? Not a word for the discouraged, almost disillusioned aspirants. And, ironically, he had referred to his predecessor in an unseemly manner by using the exact same word maun.

It is interesting to understand why a leader chooses to adopt a position of absolute silence. Everyone has the right to speak and the right to remain silent. On a personal basis, this should also be given to the Prime Minister of a country. But “rights,” as we all know, come with “duties,” and duties are defined in terms of the role voluntarily chosen by the individual.

An elected Prime Minister represents the political will of the nation. The role of the Prime Minister is to lead from the front. In this role, it is his duty (Raj Dharma) to act or speak to reassure the population of the nation in times of crisis and distress. There’s no escaping it.

However, when the Prime Minister chooses not to talk about the NEET-NET scam, then one can only speculate that perhaps there are other more important issues that require immediate attention or that this issue is insignificant and can be dealt with by others or later, or that speaking out would compromise other wider interests, himself or the ruling party.

On International Yoga Day, the country saw the Prime Minister lead a massive yoga session as students across the country protested. There is no denying that it was the Prime Minister who led the United Nations to declare June 21 as International Yoga Day, thereby putting India on the world map with this declaration. It is definitely a matter of pride for our nation and this day must be celebrated.

So it was no surprise to celebrate the day in style (including selfies from the event in Kashmir). But a word of reassurance for the distraught students was surely overdue and befitting one who was to lead from the front. Nothing has happened yet and we are waiting, honorable Prime Minister.

But as the saying goes, only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches. In the case concerned, this lot represents a significant number. Youth, from all sections of society, irrespective of caste, class and gender, constitute an important ‘vote bank’, and even if only votes count for politicians, they had better take some conscience, to express themselves and to assume their responsibilities.

The famous philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein said, although in a different context: what you cannot talk about, you must keep silent. In a context of political crisis, it seems that what is true is quite the opposite: “we cannot remain silent, we must speak out”.

(Dr. (Mrs.) Shashi Motilal (Retd.) Professor of Philosophy, Department of Philosophy, University of Delhi, India, received his PhD from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo, USA in 1986 She has been a Visiting Professor at the University of Akron, Ohio, USA and Carleton University, ON, Canada, TERI University, New Delhi and IIT/Delhi and IISP. , New Delhi This is an opinion article and the views expressed above are those of the author. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for it.)

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