So far, we know only some murky details of the CBSE exam paper leaks; only with the passage of time, we will get to know the murkier details. But, as in most such instances, we will never get to know the murkiest details. This basically translates into the culprits, the guilty, going scot-free. Yes, some of those involved may have been arrested and some more may be arrested in the days to come but the real culprit(s) inevitably escapes. Now, who is the real culprit(s)? It is those at the helm of institutions ~ whether the CBSE, the SSC or banks ~ who have failed to administer and manage these institutions according to laid-down norms. It is those, whose capabilities do not match the responsibilities they have been entrusted with. It is those, whose value-systems do not commensurate with their educational degrees and official statuses. It is those whose loyalty to political dispensations at the helm of power overrides their loyalty to the Country and the Constitution. It is those, who have discarded their humanity in the quest for temporal rewards. Otherwise, how else do we explain the increasing system-failures in the country? And the systems-failures are enemies within that will destroy India more than any natural calamity and/or external attacks. Consider the fact that the CBSE, the SSC ~ indeed, all examination boards ~ hold the future of lakhs of young people in their hands. This is a trust that is far above and beyond mere responsibility ~ it is a higher mission of humanity that demands total dedication, commitment and integrity. Unfortunately, as we see daily, most responsibilities of the Government that swears by the Constitution somehow get distorted and turn into mere profession, a mere office ~ and worse still, a status to lord over the ordinary citizen. This also explains the continual under-developed status of our country. Yes, something is extremely rotten in our state of affairs and unless the rule of law is unhindered and allowed to prevail over all calculations and consideration ~ more imperatively, over all egotistical interests and agenda ~ the avalanche of systems-failures will bury India’s democratic and developmental credentials and we will join the ranks of Failed States. Nobody needs to be reminded of the increasing communal, political, economic, social and cultural turmoil that are increasingly roiling the national landscape. At least, we should have preserved the sanctity of childhood and of youth. The CBSE and SSC exam paper leaks are one of the worst violations of children’s human and constitutional rights ~ and so are all kinds of communal, political, economic, social and cultural turmoil that adversely impact on children and young people. How does the state and the Government plan to address and redress this very grave situation? We are very skilled at talking about our children’s future, which we equate with the future of our country. But at every point, we hinder their growth and development and at every juncture we fail to nurture them. It is bad enough that our education and health delivery systems are such a downer for our children, it is even worse that fears for their survival and future are their constant nightmares they are forced to live with. It is time for this country to stop politicizing human lives and issues of survival; it is time for this country to stop trampling on the rights and the dreams of children and young people, wherever they are. It is time for the country to pay undivided attention towards course correction. And if the powers-that-be cannot do this, which are their constitutional and moral obligations, then children shouldn’t be stopped from taking to the streets to speak their minds. It is incongruous that today children are out in the streets demanding their right to live, as indeed, all their human and constitutional rights, in two of the world’s largest democracy ~ India and the USA. This is not the failure of democracy ~ but the distortion of democracy by those who have appropriated all political, economic, social, and cultural powers, as their sole prerogatives. Never has democracy been more threatened. Never has it become more imperative to invigorate the vigilance over democracy than now.