The sheer bad manners and exalted self-opinion babus of the Union HRD ministry entertain about themselves in spite of learning outcomes in government schools, colleges and universities across the country plumbing new lows, boggle the mind. To keep these worthies, cut-off from all reality in Indian education even as they formulate impractical policies in the warrens in Delhi’s Shastri Bhavan well-informed, for the past decade and more, your editor has been sending them complimentary copies ex officio, of this struggling publication at considerable expense and inconvenience.
Yet although occasionally one receives an acknowledgment with thanks from the PMO (prime minister’s office), not once have we received any acknowledgment, forget about thanks, from any HRD ministry babu. Therefore, when one learns that a ministry mandarin has been cast into the outer darkness, it’s difficult not to rejoice.
On October 15 under an order passed by the Union ministry of personnel, public grievances and pensions, Rina Ray, school education secretary, HRD, since May 2018, was peremptorily transferred to her parent cadre in an unspecified Union territory, i.e, the boondocks. According to monitors of Lutyens’ Delhi, Ray’s reversion from her senior HRD ministry position to her parent cadre is highly unusual. In the civil service, the tradition is to transfer IAS bureaucrats who incur the wrath of their political masters to some other minor ministry. According to the grapevine, Ray — a 1984 batch senior bureaucrat — was transferred overnight for sins of lese majeste to the high and mighty in the BJP/NDA government in New Delhi, where the politician-bureaucrat equation has been transformed into master-servant relationship.
Nevertheless, Ray’s banishment aroused no sympathy in the offices of this publication. That’s because for the past two years, in addition to mailing her complimentary copies of EW every month, your editors had been writing honeyed invitations for her to inaugurate and grace the EW India School Rankings Awards ceremony in Gurgaon, her backyard. Yet despite abject entreaties (to impress school leaders) via all media, we never received a line in acknowledgment of our solicitations. Little wonder that Ray’s humiliation elicits no sympathy at all in EW offices.
Quite the contrary.