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Sons of the soil

The video announcement of Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan that henceforth all state government jobs would go to the sons of the soil need not perhaps be taken too seriously. Such statements have been made in the past from time to time in various states and almost always they were meant to appease popular, public sentiment. It is like governments which cannot give jobs can announce that all jobs would be for the sons of the soil.

But two caveats need to be made. The worthy CM must be asked to define ‘son of the soil’. Will he accept people born in the state as sons of the soil or those who have grown up in the state, studied in the state and have been domiciled in the state for more than 10 years?

While it is almost certain that 95% or more of MP government employees are sons of the soil—and so would be the case in other states— such parochial and political statements serve very little purpose. Besides being violative of the Constitution, such a provision throws up another interesting conundrum. When the Governor, Chief Justice and Advisors can be from other states, why can’t doctors and teachers be from other states?

Only very foolish political leaders close their doors to talent from outside.

Ritu Vaid

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