We should teach India’s place in the world! India is now an Independent country for over half a century. And yet what India we Indians all have as a country, as a people as an independent identity?
What our children, from the children at the nursery stage, at the high school stage, at the college and university stage, learn about in terms of accumulation of knowledge and morals and mental confidence? Of course, the English-medium education has taken hold of our minds, we as parents, we as educators, we as education policy makers. In the English medium and of course making room for some teaching and learning in our own mother tongues, Hindi-medium learning learning even in the Hindi speaking states had led up to a situation that these states are now considered educationally backward. We have to look around the world and see how countries and nations are progressing. UK is sticking to a combination of past strengths and present day strategies to survive on its past glories, more imagined than any real strengths. That is why we find UK tries to bluff, yes, that is the right word, its way through the world and more so through its former colonies by a combination of concern and utter self-centred national egotism.
Nobel Prize writer V.S.Naipaul says “there are no thinkers in India.” It’s a calamity that even with it’s billion people there are no thinkers in India.
Our English language connection makes us Indians particularly vulnerable to the blandishments of things British. Thus, we see our English-educated middle class is totally subjugated to the “brain-washing” of our entire belief systems, even today, after 68 years of Independence we refer to the British authorities or the new generation British expertise, be it Indian history or even to make our claims of so many areas of life that should be strictly Indian domain. So, we need a total revamp of our curriculum so that we Indians become at least experts in our own domain, be it Indian history or arts or sciences and literatures.
This is not so at the present time . Added to our mental slavery is the new genre of English writing by Indians. We cant quarrel with our talents finding expression in the English language but what is happening is that by such heavy promotion by fat advances and the award of prizes like Booker Prize and others, the British publishing industry had created a myth about the Indians writing the English language literature is something unprecedented. May be this is true or otherwise. But the point that Indian languages have a rich tradition and writing in Indian languages needs to be studied and promoted by government and educational agencies of giving India a literary education we can feel proud about. We have to have a classics-based Indian education plus a combination of modern Western (non-British) classical literature and languages so that Indians must get out of the Britain-centric education and literary values.
Indian education should become truly a globally-driven education volution. We are not sure how other nations, say, Japan, China and even Malaysia and Singapore are going about their education reforms. At least we hear about promoting Asian values. That is a change. We hear about Japan trying to write its own history objectively and there is the Japanese-Chinese tensions over Japanese history of recent periods.
In India we have to promote India as an independent cultural identity. To put it in one sentence, we have take Indian education from where Tagore had left it. There is no way we can forget his legacy. Our independent India’s education policies or reforms ,in our view, didn’t have that vision. We were ,to use a hackneyed word, tinkering with this or that aspect of what was essentially a colonial education model.
Now, the end result is and that is what we are driving at : we haven’t yet produced independent-minded citizens in this country. Even now an average educated Indian is not clear about what is his identity. Now, with globalisation and the IT industry boom, a whole generation of “educated” Indians are becoming tied to the second imperialism, cultural imperialism! So, before we are yet to discover our own Indian identity, we have been sampled by another cultural invasion. As a result, average educated Indians know more of foreign things than strictly a confidence in his or her own country. The task is arduous, an education that is strictly Indian in its intellectual and cultural inspiration needs work on many fronts.
One front we are engaged is the demolition of the superiority of the white skin! Can we make our children to believe in the country’s culture and civilization? We have to start somewhere. Let us start from here. Now! Let us first start to believe in ourselves! Is this a simple thing? We ask everyone of the teachers in this country!