Q&A with Prof Radhakrishna

Prof Radhakrishna, a candidate for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections from Bangalore South, responded to questions from Smart Vote.

He has both an MA & LLB and is the Principal of Seshadripuram College. Besides being an educationist, and founder and member of various educational foundations, societies and committees and has participated in JP and Navnirman movements during the Emergency. Age: 63 years; assets: Rs 2.25 crores; No Criminal Record.

Q. What are the top priorities of your constituency?

See, Bangalore South constituency consists of urban, purely urbane area, semi urban and part of rural pockets.  There are so many national projects, for the urban development. In that urban development projects, I would like to focus on, as I was coming to the point, telling you that these original villages, they require a lot of infrastructural development. That will be my focus.  Second focus will be, my real focus will be that I am an educationist basically.  40 years I have spent in education. It is a shocking that in this country, in the country itself that we have about 26-30% of the people who are illiterate. 30% illiterate means, it is about 30 crores.  When we were independent, we were 32 crores. And today 30 crores of the people are illiterate, out of which a big majority, 70-80% of the 30 crores are below 14 years. Our Sarva Shiksha Abyan etc, etc has not addressed this particular issue properly. And my fight will be to make education a fundamental right, not only education a fundamental right, functional education a fundamental right. What do you mean by functional education to be delivered. First standard, there is a 100% enrollment, but when they come to the third standard, there is a dropout.  As an educationist I would feel that there is a great academic deficit to this country. The real problem is this academic deficit.  What do I mean by academic deficit. The academic deficit is – a coherent, comprehensive deliverable policy we do not have.  Even if you have policy, mechanism we do not have. My first priority will be that, my constituency in particular, in the entire country in general. As a Bangalorian, I am concerned about this. One issue is that today we are living in an atmosphere of fear. Fear is reflected on several issues.  From traffic congestion, what is that fear, the fear is actually we cannot move freely in the road, the scare, the motorist also is scared. That is one fear. Another fear is the mismanagement, sometimes of the non-management of law and order issues.  People are scared of sending their children, going themselves to the religious places, to the public places, to the market, they are scared. And now who we depend on. We depend on the enforcement agents to give us protection, that is not enough.  In a healthy vibrant country, god willing that I plan there should be a conscientious citizenry also, organized groups of citizens that they address this particular issue.  My priority will be to tickle the conscience of people towards nation building.

Q. What is the most important contribution you have made to the public life?

Education and culture.  That is my major area.  I was a teacher for the last 40 years and I was the principal of Sheshadripuram College and Surana College and about a lakh of students I have touched them, what we call in Kannada, Sparsha. I have touched them when I say, they touched me. They are very great inspiration to me. My students are today spread all over the world, doing very good jobs and most of them in personal contact with me. And I have three generation children also I can say, my students, mother, daughter also is my student. That I have so many, father and son – like that and I am very proud of my students. And many students of mine have actually also forced me to contest this election.  In educational sector, Sheshadripuram College and Surana College I would say, in a very humble manner I would say that I have turned them around.  They were not very prestigious colleges, but today both of them are very, very prestigious colleges. It was possible because my students, my teachers, my management wholeheartedly cooperated with me.

Q. Could you share with us your most significant failure to date? What have you have learned from that experience?

One failure is that I always wanted to instill a sense of value system among people in the public life.  I do not think that there I have succeeded completely. Mahatma Gandhi, you know, every day, what he used to do, every evening he would write a diary – what is his failure. Next morning he will write the same diary, how he should correct. And greatly inspired by that diary and I also do the same thing.  Every evening night, before going to bed, I write what I should not have done and the next morning, I make a resolution what I should do.

Q. How will you be continuously available and accessible to the residents of your constituency?

I would like to see that my constituency has several areas of functionalities, education, culture, infrastructure, social activities, grievances. I also would like to tell you the visible Bangalore is net savvy – the visible Bangalore. But there is also invisible Bangalore. The invisible Bangalore, I will tell you, Bangalore South has got about 7 lakh mobiles and about 3 lakh landlines. That means mobiles are not internet connected. About 3 lakh landlines, I am sure not more than a lakh landlines are internet connected. Among 1 lakh internet connections, very conscientious people who actually are net savvy may be 50%. That is the visible Bangalore. But there is also an invisible Bangalore where rest of them need most of the time our traditional mode of communication. I would also rely on that. Not only online, I will rely on that.

Q. Corruption and terrorism are major concerns, as an MP, what do you think you can do? And what, specifically do you plan to do?

We had an organization called coalition against corruption and I was part of that organization. So many eminent citizens of Bangalore we tried to actually create modification to the system, how do we solve that corruption.  Corruption at the individual level is peripheral, corruption at the system level is real the issue. Unless you reform, I am very confident that the corruption in our country today it is eating our vitals, but we are going to solve it as a nation.  I compliment especially this tech savvy people. They are taking a big bleed in that, making everything transparent. Today electronic media has come and when people can study, an illiterate person can study the body language of a politician, they can study, it is not that easy to hide anything today, everything is seen. Today is a different world and systematic correction we would like to do, whether it is judiciary or the governance.  For example, there is a right to information act which is very big too. So at times, there is some misuse of that, I am happy to tell you the media is making use of that today.  They collect the information to RTI and RTI has become a functionally strong.

Q. So you will like to strengthen these things of?

I would like to strengthen RTI, I would like to strengthen central vigilance commission and the Lokayuktas every where and I would like to do my little this one, when I say I, I am stating very humbly. I am part of the whole big system, but I would like to bring conscience tickle up.

Q. What would you do for the current unemployment issues for the youth of the country and what is you stand on the issue of moral policing?

I have expressed it in several forums and I am totally against imposed moral policing by external agencies. If the people are so patriotic protecting our values, they should join the army and protect our borders, not going to the place and hit our children. And our children, I am also not actually permissiveness in life, but our children should be loved and addressed and talked-in.  The so called moral policing will create a fascist regime, it will create a fascist regime, it will mentally block us, it will make us pigmies, throughout the world, it started and therefore I am in elections today.  One of the reasons why I am in elections is because of that. Because you can study any country, which has become religiously fundamentalist including once good country Afghanistan, everybody started moral policing.

Q. So that is one of your main planks.

Main plank – moral policing.

Q. And what has made you get into these elections?

These are not moral policing, I am sorry, it is immoral policing.  Now today we talk about bubble, what you call the share market, why it happens. Basic person knowing basic economics literature, agriculture and manufacturing is the backbone of any economy. Service industry or a tertiary sector, the management sector comes out of manufacturing and agriculture and they are all complimentary to each other. Somewhere, take, what you call, following American situation, we have forgotten the manufacturing sector and agriculture sector.  In agriculture sector, when we became independent where 70% people were dependent, therefore we are poor. And minimum 30-25% of that 70% should be pulled out of agriculture sector, so that agriculture sector itself becomes stronger. And the pulled out people where should they go? They should either join the management sector or they should join the production sector.  In our country what has happened, because we blindly followed American policies, in that sector, we weakened totally this agriculture sector, we weakened the manufacturing sector and went to the tertiary sector.  To me, the entire process of all these things are corrective mechanism.  Unemployment is due to mismanagement, nonmanagement and wrong management of our economy.  Otherwise except people who are lazy, unwilling to work, the unemployment problem itself is not there. It is artificial creation.

Q. What is the message to the people of your constituency?

My message, let us be value best, let us be strong, let us go and vote whoever you like, but before voting, conscientiously let us vote.

Compiled with support of Smart Vote. Citizen Matters does not endorse any candidate or their opinions and the opinions of external websites linked to from here.

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