One-line essay penned by Ruby Rai “Pranam Tulsidas ji” and political science is about cooking made me laugh despite myself on her innocence, her statement to the media that she just wanted to pass and not top reflects on how artless she is, even though she was caught cheating in state exams. There is an ingenuity about this 17-year-old girl, there is no running away from the fact that she is a culprit but there is still a simplicity that draws sympathy not wrath.
I agree with the government’s decision to arrest the man behind this scam and the Bihar School Examination Board Chairman and his wife, also an MLA. I also concurred with their call last year to put behind bars hundreds who were caught climbing a wall to help cheat students in school exams.
But what purpose does the arrest of Ruby Rai and four others serve now? Are they criminals or victims of a system which forced them to resort to base tactics such as cheating?
They were well aware of what they were doing but I refuse to believe that they had the means to contact the powerful master mind behind this scheme much less bribe and coax him. If at all, their parents must be incarcerated for teaching their children to adopt illegal methods including bribery.
The state government should recognize its failure that even after what happened in May of 2015 and after all the public mocking and flak they received, they failed to uproot the problem. If arrests of those families was a sufficient check then why did it not stop Ruby Rai and her likes? The mafia and goons who run these systematic rackets with the blessing of local MLAs and leaders need to be stopped and punished.
The society should be held culpable for exerting pressure on children to pass, excel and succeed despite their circumstances or rather oblivious of their situation in life. Why do we shame and blame those who cannot clear an academic hurdle? The tests of life are far more daunting than scoring marks.
I went to some of the best schools in Patna and Delhi and I can vouch that children cheat with impunity sometimes right under the nose of teachers. But the system, administrators and educators are more forgiving, and why? Because they are too prestigious to risk their reputation or families from which these kids hail are richer, better connected and known?
Teachers who molded Ruby should be taken into account for if she did not know what political science is about she has no business getting into Class XII in the first place. The HRD ministry must be incriminated and the methods it employs in hiring and recruiting teachers must be investigated.
Despite education now being a fundamental right how many villages and towns in remote India have functional schools? Amartya Sen in his well-researched “An Uncertain Glory” points out how acute absenteeism of teachers is despite some of them taking decent salaries home. It is them who deserve this censure.
Further the nature of the misdemenor should be given due consideration. When sinners in Nirbhaya rape case can be excused on the basis of their age then why are we crucifying Ruby Rai? Yes, her family has not given affidavit or made any statements with regards to her being a juvenile and let us assume she is not but how different is 17 from 18, what sudden enlightenment this girl would have attained in a gap of a few days or months? And who will take responsibility for her future? What will happen to her after her release? Will she emerge traumatized or scarred or emboldened? Will she then not need professional treatment, love and care instead of social isolation that will greet her.
Ruby is a girl (whose picture has gone viral) and lives in backward Vaishali in the less advanced state of Bihar. which school or college in our country will give her a second chance to prove herself? Which boy in patriarchal Bihar will marry her? If even he agrees how much more dowry will his parents demand given the apparent ‘blot’ on her character? How many media persons will remember this ‘infamous’ name? How many will write about her and continue to worry for her future? Perhaps none. Ruby Rai will soon be history and her infamy will be largely forgotten but not forgiven.
This quote from Les Miserables gives us much to reflect upon, “Teach the ignorant as much as you can; society is culpable in not providing a free education for all and it must answer for the night which it produces. If the soul is left in darkness sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but he who causes the darkness.” Hence I feel sorry for you Ruby, sorry for all that you had to undergo, sorry that you were plain unlucky to bear the brunt of this alone whereas each one of us is responsible for your plight.
By Twisha Twisha