Saturday, February 21, 2009

Is simply getting an education being educated?

Greetings Earthlings!

It's the season of farewells. Before your mind gets distracted towards all the people dying of Hepatitis in Gujarat, let me assure you the farewells I talk of here are safer and more fun too. I refer to the all the kids who have just finished attending their farewell parties at school.

When we turn 18, our Constitution allows us the right to vote. The perfect age, not so young anymore, neither too old. The golden age when everything is possible. Petty things like doubts, and low self-confidence usually crops up after we start ascending the stepping stones of life. When you are 18, you want to change the world, you want to make the world what it ought to be.

Most of us would agree to this panoramic view of life and it's myriad landscape. However, that is what I used to think. The events in the past few weeks and months has changed my thinking a little bit. I am forced to accept the brutal loss of innocence in kids today.

While I really understand that not all kids are alike, and where is there bad, good also exists. However, more than the existence of this negativity, its the extent of negativity in most kids that baffles me. Negativity is bound to exist in some form or the other in most of us. However, usually, it is very subdued in kids, as they are not yet fully exposed to the harshness of life. In most cases, this harshness or hardness would set in when one has to struggle to step up in life. Also, earlier, harshness or negativity in character was mostly attributed to poor children. Now, it is different. Kids from all backgrounds, races, countries, etc. have broken such bonds. Now all of them suffer at the hands of this innocence-less harshness.

This is my personal experience. Very recently, I while I was using public transportation, I happened to notice a bunch of noisy, rowdy kids. My initial thought was biased. But when I turned around to check who it was, it turned out they belonged to a good school. I was left agape. I narrated the incident to my mother, who is a teacher, she just commented that the condition was more or less same in most schools. It no longer matters which school you go to, most of these kids are all the same.

Moving on. Recently, there has been a spate of reports in newspapers and television about all kinds of kids getting in the news for all kinds of reasons. There are kids who are prioritizing work over studies. There are kids who kill friends for money. There are kids who molest kids younger than themselves. There are kids committing suicide for seemingly no apparent reason. There are kids who will go to Oscars tonight. And for finale, there is also a kid in UK who is already a father.
I don't really wish to get into intimate details about any of these incidents. It's the undercurrent that bothers me the most. Before I go any further, a thought - when India was in her Golden Days, one of the things that India was widely famous for, was her Universities. Scholars and seekers of knowledge poured in from all over the world to study at Nalanda and other existent universities at that time and age.
Apparently, between then and now, a lot has changed. Society has changed. Parents and teachers have changed. Students have changed. While I understand that change is the only constant thing, I regret some of the changes that I see in the social scenario around me. The Guru-Shishya parampara for which India used to be famous, is a rare commodity now. With the rapidly declining parampara, the ideal guru and the ideal shishya too are fast declining.
Now, before I you think I am procrastinating or that I am a hypocrite, pause and think. What I am talking about is the value system here. Life, society and education moves the way the society is moving. So, when you look at the bigger picture you realize, that it's not just in the education system. The sense of mutual respect that is usually expected from elders and kids is diminishing, and it's disappearing rather fast. And talking about the bigger picture, this loss can be experienced anywhere and everywhere imaginable.
And no, I don't expect Harishchandras or Eklavya's. But I sure do hope that I have the right to expect decent kids who respect their elders and those around them. I expect kids to behave themselves, and not like riot mongers. I expect kids to have ingrained values that will help secure the future of my country and this world.
A lot more kids are getting educated than they were 20 years ago, yet the standards and morals are worse than ever before. That is what made me wonder - is education enough? If education is not enough, then what is? Where have we erred? Can we still do something to change it?
The kids today are a pointer towards the future that we shall have 20 years from now. I surely do not want these blood-stained hands to rule my country.


  1. the kind of education schools r churning out definitely not what has the potential to convert a clay into a pot..the way Gurukuls used to.. it's just messing up young kids' minds with stuff they just can't relate to, but have to cram. i am as disheartened by our young generation as u are. kids today wear designer clothes, behave like adults, & their parents get pride in it. u know rashida.. i am totally hopeless..neither these kids nor their parents are realising that things should happen at right time, at right age. i m really surprised at this trend & see no future of India if it goes into these peoples hands.. they'll simply turn it into a second-hand america..

  2. Frankly speaking, I am expecting even worse. Somewhere all along, parents, teachers and society as a whole has failed. This failure will only manifest itself when things will be completely out of our hands.

    I still recall, how the ex-Education Minister, MM Joshi has been tampering with books. Moresoover, in schools, teachers have strict instructions not to hit kids, whereas kids are left free enough to do anything they please.

    I still hold by the adage : Spare the rod, spoil the child. Kids today get unlimited, unwanted and unasked for freedom at an age when they do not understand the meaning and implications of freedom. What good is that?


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