The BJP has been trying its best to shed its Hindutva image for quite some time now. Sadly, the UPSC issue has again created a tripwire for the party as the arguments pertaining to the same have shifted from what the nation’s civil service needs to the continuing fight between Hindi and English.
The UPSC row started when agitators demanded the CSAT aptitude part of the UPSC examination scrapped off. The agitators had demanded the English language paper (based on Class X comprehension) be made easier while the ensuing interview would need to be conducted in other languages as well.
However, the real reason behind this agitation happens to be reasoning and mathematics rather than English in the UPSC examinations. Many experts claim that the agitators find it hard to answer questions related to these areas, but are too embarrassed to spell them out, because of which, they are shedding light on the language bias instead.
Even the government’s proposal to tweak the CSAT has not gone down well with the agitators who want the portion scrapped off the UPSC examinations completely. The protestors claim that the CSAT favors individuals from engineering and science backgrounds and so would be discriminatory against individuals from Humanities and rural areas.
The government’s proposal to treat the aptitude test as a mere qualifying paper with minimum scores could have got some respite. However, its next proposal to leave out English language scores when forming the preliminary merit list raised a hornet’s nest as South Indian candidates started protesting against the measure, claiming that it would favor North Indians.
The proposal has also raised heckles in South Indian parties like DMK, AIADMK and Trinamool which have pointed out that the BJP would always behave like a Hindi heartland party. As a result, a discussion about the civil services exams has boiled over to become a national debate on favored linguistics.
The UPSC would need to find out a way to deal with this issue soon before it snowballs into something bigger. While doing away with English completely would be out of the question, as at least a minimum proficiency would be needed in the bureaucracy, a more sensible solution would be to come up with post entrance English language courses so that every individual in the country would have an equal opportunity to take the UPSC exams.
The question of doing away with the CSAT portion of the UPSC exam has snowballed into a linguistic controversy of sorts. Instead of fighting between Hindi and English, one would need to opt for sensible solutions that would provide equal opportunities for individuals from every reach of the country attend the UPSC exams without worrying about regional or linguistic influences.