September 5th, 2011 10:02 EST
Over 35 Million Illiterate People in India While Nation Celebrates Teachers' Day
India, the largest democracy of the world with a unique cultural legacy dating back to thousands of years in the world history has more than 35 million, mostly women who still remain illiterate according to the census held in 2011. India is celebrating Teachers` Day today and it celebrated Literacy on 8th September, 2011 with leaders from different walks of life hailing the celebration least realizing that the largest democracy of the world which claims to be one of the greatest treasures of civilizations is placed at 134th place in the status of literacy rates.
This is the reflection of the attitude or in-depth of the understanding on the part of the political parties both in the government and in the opposition. More than the two-third of the countries of the world have their population less than 300 million.
India has the largest electorates` college in the world and around 50% of its population goes to the polls to elect their representatives. 80% of the people who vote during election come out of this class which is marked as illiterate even after having completed 64 years as independent nation. China got its freedom in 1949. Its literacy rate is nearly 95%. Russia and its old allies which formed USSR has literacy rate crossing 99%. The states which formed erstwhile Yugoslavia have their literacy rate above 98%. UK and Russia have reached the saturation point 100% whereas the countries in South and Latin America have crossed the literacy rate beyond 90%.
Interestingly South Africa has 88% rate of literacy whereas in Sri Lanka and some Arab countries have crossed the limit of 89%.
This message is urgent and important for all the intellectuals as well as the members of the civil society that political education to the people of this country like war against corruption, drugs, communalism or the like can only be communicated if the people can at least read and write. Any movement claiming to be a revolutionary step cannot be understood by the bulk of the population who cannot even read or write.
Any movement taken up by the middlemen in the urban cities shall not reach the depth or rural folk where you have got majority of the people illiterate. There is a law against marriage of minors punished with sentence. Still the marriages between minor children takes place in Amethi, Barielly and other areas which were represented by Shri Jawaharlal Nehru, Mrs. Indira Gandhi and other stalwarts. Rate of illiteracy in these areas is above 50% even today.
Do the politicians intend to keep their electorates illiterate for their political gains? If not the politicians owe and answer to the entire nation on this state of affairs.
The government has claimed that there was 9.2% rise in literacy rate from 2001 to 2011. Without admitting this claim, if it is accepted then it will take 30 more years to reach 100% rate in literacy where Russia and some other countries have reached. In 30 years population of India shall also jump from 1,210,193,422 (2011) to 1,500,000,000 (expected by 2021). Which would mean that the rate of literacy in India shall remain the same even after 30 years unless some pragmatic, scientific and revolutionary measures are adopted to ensure 100% literacy by 2020 at least. I had occasion to submit several projects in this regard to the respective governments which remained unnoticed and unattended.
All the revolutionary ideas, messages and programmes shall remain restricted to the media and the politicians` platforms unless 100% people in this country may grasp the new message against all evils in the interest of introducing an Ultimate Revolution where society shall be free from corruption, communalism, criminalization, violence, drugs and other social and economic evils. This needs a commitment to the cause of the people and the country.
By Bhim Singh
(Bhim Singh is Chairman, National Panthers Party, Member, National Integration Council & Sr. Attorney-at-Law, Post Law Graduate from London University)