Should we teach patriotism? Rich schools, or schools, urban schools, rural schools; Schools exist in isolation and what binds the Indian schools?
What minimum programme for Indian schools? Regional and language chauvinism had destroyed an Indian identity in the youth .We need some loud thinking, identify the regional politicians who divided the Indian mind and injected the new divisions of regions, castes and prejudices. Schools have to teach patriotism and a sense of Indian identity in every young man and young woman. A sense of secularism and a new sense of belonging to the larger world.
U.R.Ananthamurthy, the noted Kannada writer and thinker, in a recent interview says that the concept of Karnataka was never something that would make it an independent nation apart from India but a part of India. More significantly he notes that Kannada writers never imagined themselves as writing in a regional language but an Indian language. So, the great writers did, Kuvempu, Bendre, Sivarama Karanth and others. The great irony is that some of these who won the Jnanpith awards for writing in Kannada had their mother tongue other than Kannada! Bendre, Marathi, Masthi, Tamil!
But can we say the same thing or express the same sentiments in, say Tamil Nadu or Maharashtra? We can’t. C.N.Annadurai, the founder of the DMK, first advocated a separate State! Then, he abandoned but the damage he had done continued to blight the Tamil mind. Today, the very Dravidian politics revolves around an unspoken assumption of a separate Tamil nationhood. Given the sort of politicians who came after Anna, these politicians had taken the Tamil people to the lowest common denominator, be it patriotism or love of mother tongue or even certain minimum in political morals. The same Ananthamurthy says that Kanndigas now define themselves as Bangaloreans or more and more with a caste or a region and this is a great pity. But then this is the current trend in Indian education spread and growing awareness of the world.
Our education had lagged behind in its basic mission of creating the desired awareness of us as Indians. Also an Indianness needs to be cultivated as part of Indian education’s priorities. What was once considered as a purely innocent love for one’s language (Gandhi and Tagore made much of their love for their mother tongues, for instance) today had become a vicious weapon to inject poison in the minds of young minds. So, we see the spectacle of the author of the great Tamil classic, Thirukkural, his statue stands in Bangalore Ulsoor lake shore covered with a cloth!
The Tamil fanaticism had stirred the chauvinistic Kannadigas into retaliation! So, the language riots in some parts of India also had triggered for separate statehoods.
So, instead of Indians becoming more united or integrated we had lost sight of our past shames and once again falling prey to regional chauvinisms. Democracy, as we practice today, first under the BJP, now under the Congress-led coalition, is no guide to our internal dissensions. India has neither China’s dictatorship nor Russia’s past record.
India is weakened by its own regional supremes. Yes, we, in true patriotic fervour, have to name them all, expose their traitorous megalamanias!
This only the writers and poets and thinkers can do. They should be doing only this sort of things. In other countries the writers and thinkers are feared. There is a space for that in such societies. But not here in India. Even our famous NRIs, be they Nobel Prize winners or others who get all honours are cowards when they come to India. This is a national failing! A failing thinkers like Nirad Choudhary had exposed time and again. We are a subservient, servile people. Our thousand years of slavery had made us so. Caeser, Alexander and Napolean are Western heroes. So too Roussou or Voltaire. Inside India itself we see a cringing mentality on the part of so-called thinkers, writers and intellectuals.
We cringe for official favours and awards. There is no tradition of independent critics and independent intellectuals. Our education certainly should teach patriotism. Lately, there has been deterioration in education standards, not only in sciences. In teaching languages too.
Education today has become a boring routine. Our lives have to be re-energised through learning more languages, more time spent on extra-curricular education and cultural pursuits.