The tendency to pull wool over others eyes has been present from time immemorial. I remember that some seven decades ago before I became a teenager, that we children of the valley did not have much to amuse us. We looked forward to the Shivaratri festival when a lot of pilgrims would come to Kathmandu for this religious function and we the denizens of the valley would look at them in wonder. After entering the valley these visitors entertained us with activities such as cobras swaying to the sound of music, the obedient monkey pair getting married as per the directions of the handlers, the slowly dancing Bhalu or the agile girl balancing on a taut rope with a stick held horizontal with her two hands. Then there were the engrossing magicians who would not only throw up and juggle solid balls in their hands but also produce a dozen or so from their mouths or was it stomachs? Of course these were the sleights of hand which have been much perfected over the years and enthralled thousands around the world. The Western or developed world had their illusionist such as Harry Houdini and David Copperfield of the nineteenth or twentieth century. We in these parts have not been enthralled by such eminent performers and still wait for such accomplished artistes to emerge from our midst to entertain us in the future.
The wish or longing to pull a fast one is a characteristic that is inherent in each of us. Some do it more often than others and is perhaps more in the educational field in an effort to get ahead. The first step in this undertaking is when one is gets a false certificate as proof of having completed school education or Class 12 pass. After crossing this hurdle many go on to jobs or higher studies.
There have always been checks on records submitted for getting into government service or for higher studies. During the Panchayat days and even now after Nepal became a Republic, that there have been periodic checks on the educational certificates submitted for employment or enrolment for further study. One recalls the voluntary resignations by some of the top brass in the three branches of armed forces of Nepal because of the lax appointment criteria of minimum standards, when there was a dearth of individuals enlisting for these services. What is even more disheartening now is the fact that many temporary teachers, agitating for employment withdrew their applications after hearing that enquiries regarding the genuineness of ISc certificates from educational institutions of Bihar were being undertaken.
This use of false certificates, mostly originating in Bihar in Nepali students has been going on for a long time. It is worth recalling that conditions in Bihar have varied tremendously during the last five decades. One hopes that things will now change drastically for the better. Our neighbours on the South are UP and Bihar and what is happening there is bound to influence conditions in Nepal. We have not only to accept this, but also anticipate what the future is likely to unfold for us. After all, like what some ‘Wise crack’ has pronounced, ‘Just as we cannot change our parents so also a country cannot change its neighbours.’
One reads periodically that some of the Nepali students who have gone to other foreign countries for study have subsequently been charged of having used false certificates for the same. As a result of this the Nepal Medical Council announced the cancellation of the registration of some doctors who it had previously licensed and registered. But such action is not just prevalent in Nepal only. Many years ago, the well circulated weekly magazine India Today had exposed a racket by some individuals in parts of India selling and providing certificates of medical qualifications. These could at that time be obtained at a price for those prepared to take the risk of practicing medicine as a ‘Quack’. Certificates of expertise in clinical areas are available in other countries of Asia too.
More disconcerting is a fact that has come to light recently. The Human Resources Development Minister Mr. Mahendra Nath Pandey in the Government of India announced recently in the Rajya Sabha that there are a total of twenty- three fake universities located in some of the provinces of India. Nine of these are in Uttar Pradesh, six in Delhi and two each in Odisha and West Bengal. One each in the states of Bihar, Karnataka, Kerala and Maharastra make up the total quoted. This list can be verified by consulting the website of the University Grants Commission: www.ugc.ac.in. These false institutions set up in India have been exploiting students who are striving to improve their job prospects. They have been defrauding and cheating students by making false pretences, claiming to be universities. Because of the proximity of India and the very fact that a large number of Nepali students go there to study, it is very likely that some may also have fallen for this educational scam.
For the rest of us in Nepal it seems that our politicians have perfected the art of fooling the people of Nepal since the dawn of democracy in 1951. Since that time onwards we have just had politics without any principles from those in this field. It is they of the various parties who have benefitted, as the people are baffled by their antics. One hopes that the current scenario of the country heading towards three elections during the coming ten months is not going to turn out to be a hoax.
The author writes fiction under the name of Mani Dixit. Website: www.hdixit.org.np. Twitter: @manidixithd