Javed Akhtar on society’s values! Society’s education perceptions and priorities

After going through the BJP education minister days it seems a springtime under Mr.Arjun Singh, the new HRD minister.
But poor Mr.Singh! Can he deliver on the promises of the government? We mean the education for all and the midday meals targets? We are not sure! The new minister had initiated some positive changes. Textbooks being revised, committees appointed, the much-neglected Education Advisory Board was convened and the boiled and the beautiful, the wise and the best gave their wisdom. Fine! Now, what is happening? We don’t have a DD to tell the latest programmes of the government. We don’t have the information from the ministry itself first. The newspapers in this country are after bigger games, they want to curry the favour of the big and mighty. That is one reason why they change sides so quickly. They, the Indian media is as good or as bad as any other media, say like the American media. There in the USA, we are also having politicians who care only for the privileged and rich.

Society’s values and prejudices, sociological changes, the way lives of the people, the classes, status changes, the very culture perceptions of what is right and wrong etc. affect the education perceptions and values.

Mr. Javed Akhtar, the leading Urdu poet and the Hindi cinema’s current lyricist par excellence was in Bangalore the other day and he expounded his views that have some relevance for education.

Society’s values and prejudices, sociological changes, the way lives of the people, the classes, status changes, the very culture perceptions of what is right and wrong etc. affect the education perceptions and values. Also the education priorities. Moral corruption is both a cause and an effect on what education is and what education is for. It is not possible to have callousness in society and great literature or movies. However exaggerated movies may be , they still mirror society and great literature or movies. However exaggerated movies may be, they still mirror society. This is more so for Tamil cinema and the Tamil society and politics. Where film profession had turned politics and the society’s value system thoroughly corrupted. Says Akhtar: “In the Eighties, our aesthetic sense took a nose-dive. You had the worst songs at a time when you had the worst kind of politics”. Now, we are talking of the bourgeous society. Education seems to be only for the urban articulators.

The government is now into office for quite sometime. But what impact it is making? In the education sector? Such questions come naturally. There are so many education priorities that cry for attention and urgent action. The Millennium Development Goals are supposed to give Indian education priorities a focus .Education for all is a noble goal. Halving poverty in the next decade is another such goal. What about the funds?
The point for educators is that we can’t simply take our routine school existence, teach, cram, exam etc. too seriously. So we have mould a society, our students and the their life afterwards light up only if we see society, India at a more engaged way. As activists and participants in the wider society and politics, culture and whatever be your specialised areas of activity and engagement!

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