India is a caste/class society and there are gross inequalities.This shows up in our present education scenario.
More so when violence takes strange forms in our society.
See the Maharashtra Dalit issue violence and the W.Bengal Mamata Banerjee anti-development violence!
From W.Bengal to TN,from Assam to Maharashtra we see these new phenomena of OBC/creamy layer play up this politics of old and new identities.
Yes, every generation has its own education priorities.As I have understood and emphasised that this viewpoint depends upon how the particular generation has evolved, how the caste/ class structure of the society and politics opens up and also blocks children in school.
As per the latest statistics, 1.3 crore school-going age children in 6-14 years age group are outside the formal school system! More children are out of the schools in Bihar (31.76 lakh) UP (29.95 lakh), W.Bengal (12.13 lakh), M.P. (10.85 lakh) etc.
This is only one side of the story.The most obvious side.There is the denial of opportunities to SC/STs and OBcs.A latest NSSO report has it that W.Bengal,that bastion of Marxism for 30 years that for every 1000 people, the OBC and SC/ST had fared badly. For very 1000 people,414 STs,555 SCs,234 OBCs remain illiterates! In TN, the creamy layer of the OBC is the only dominant caste/class! 69% reservation only in this state of anti-Brahmanims, anti-Nroth, anti-Hindi! The result, this is also the sick state when it comes to political bankruptcy in terms of ideas and vision!
So, this generation, that is after sixty years of freedom has reached a stage. What are the dominant characteristics of this generation?Yes,the prevailing government perceptions are one thing.Poltiicians have become more clever,the democratic poltiics demands they cater to the prevailing prejudices and fantasies,so we talk of the 27% of quota for the OBCs in education and jobs,the creamy layer not to be touched,the votebank politics takes precedence over other considerations.
The creamy layer is nothing but the very powerful politicians who control the caste politics, they are the most powerful and they don’t want their own families left out of the quota!
So, the poor and the disadvantaged among the OBCs would always remain OBCs and left out! But who cares?
So,even in defiance of the Supreme Court injunctions the politicians carry on what they consider their own “vested interests”!
So, what to do?
The point I want to highlight is that India has lived through many generations, before and after Independence, and these generations carried on their own education priorities, education, jobs and much of the much-imagined middle class life and their own fantasies were lived through, many families prospered, many prestigious jobs, ICS, high court judges, Governors’and Vice-Roy’s Executive Councils defined the class and the social status of many of the India’s prominent families.
Even when Gandhi and his men were very active in the anti-British freedom movement, we have had very many Indian families, educated and even Westernized and they lived a cushy life under the benign blessings of the British government!
In 1801,under British colonial rule, as pointed out by R.C.Dutt and others, 45.5 per cent of India’s budget was spent on army,307.5 per cent on civil administration, of which 18.7 per cent on education,medical and scieitific depts.Today,in a state like TN,may be the same distortion takes place like budget is misused to spend on self-publicity,self promotion and rewaring the govt staff,teachers and mother vested interests! To the exclusion and criminal neglect of vital areas like education for all,health for all and protection of the weak and the disorganised labour and Dalits!
Yes, there is a point here. That point is that come what may, the rich and the middle class would choose to live as they want and as they see prestigious in their own times! Even today, the same social and cultural attitudes prevail! The rich, the industrial and the corporate classes co-operate with all types of governments, even the very worst types of governments that indulge in violence and many social cruelties and even blatant corruption and make their way in the world. This is true in Delhi, in Gujarat, in TN and W.B and in other states too. The same is true for the middle classes, the government servants, teachers and even the religious and the spiritual sects. They just don’t make any fuss over any principles whatever! They don’t even to have any developed cultural status and they don’t participate in what is becoming a more and more closed circle of a ruling class or turn vested interests! The typical Marxist terminology is simply out of date!
So, whatever we talk of the education goals today they are laudable in theory/ ideology/ policy but they don’t work on the ground. The ground level reality is made by the self-perpetuating, demogogic, caste and chauvinistic leaders and also at the Delhi level, the very same type of self-perpetuating bureaucratic structure and conditioned by the peculiar dynastic politics in an otherwise superficial democratic political setup.
No institution of the state today is it, parliament, judiciary or bureaucracy or the press or the political parties function in a strict Constituitionalist, transparent and open manner. There are vested interests within vested interests.
The very composition of the Cabinet, the very Congress ministers are a test case to prove the fact that no democratic principle is invoked in the selection of the persons concerned. So too the nomination of the Rajya Sabha members. So on and so forth.
So, the budgets are allotted not according to any enlightened principles of justice, social justice or equity.
So, in short, the education for all would remain a dream and a distant dream at that!
But we need not despair. That is the point I want to convey here.
In every generation there would be selfless pesons,idealists and intellectuals, artists and creative individuals,activists,NGOs and others and it is these people who would bring some lustre and meaning and purpose for the society to move forward.To have hope and optimism and the truth would prevail.That’s how the societies have moved froward,from generation to generation.
I had just now read a book, an old book,” The Autobiography of a German Rebel”(by one Toni Sender), a German girl of remarkable character. She reminded me of my own German young lady friend at Oxford. I was so gripped by the German character of this girl, who rebels against her family to move out to Frankfurt to study alone, then to Paris, again to learn more and she individually,singlehandedly,learnt French and economics and went to join the French Socialist party and then in 1914,when war broker out she founded herself stranded in France, the enemy territory and the book narrates her determination to play her own role in shaping the Socialist movement and I read from the first page to the last in one single sitting. Such was the idealism of this young lady.So, I wondered: there are idealists like this one person, even in my Oxford time, I met with such idealist youth, and so I believe that even today we would be having such youth amongst us. In this otherwise, criminalised political environment, where we find the most despicable characters in power, which don’t rise above their own narrow grooves, caste, religious bigotry, chauvinism, they all manage to keep the vast mass of people, even the so-called middle class, and the bourgeoisie, under their political control.
The Communists of India, the other regional chauvinists, the casteist,in Bengal,Maharashtra,TN and Bihar,they do so much damage in this time of so much knowledge and economic growth!
The point is that education sector today would become more comercialised,more corrupted,but there would be quantitative expansion in this generation.May be this expansion is much more welcome than the previous generations when there was less money to be allotted to education growth.
So,we have to have optimism and seek for our current idealistic heroes and heroines!And the intellectuals who can enlighten us the path ahead!