Commercialization and money-making?
It has been one full-term and the beginning of the second term! The education policy hasn’t been completed. We don’t want to sound shallow and by any means non-serious. Education is a tough field at any time. Education is as serious as you are and as comprehensive as your learning and perceptions. That is why education in the Encyclopedia Britannica (14th edition) covers nearly one hundred pages! Yes, education is as old as mankind. From Greek times to the present day. Anyway, right now, the BJP government has got a unique opportunity to refashion education policy as it thinks fit and start implementing at least some of its pet ideologies. As things stands, not much progress has been made in some of its critical segments – history, religion, politics, philosophy, sociology and related fields. It suits well to reshape Indian history in a new light.
We at the School Journal strongly believe that Indian history has to be revamped radically. Indian history has to be recast as to make Indians feels confident and not psychologically dependent as regards to how foreigners, invaders to others had come and inflicted some decisive battles, from the Mohammad Ghazni to Ahmad Shah Durrani and Babur to others. These series of big battles, in our view had created a national psychology of inferiority complex and the Indian mind even today is not fully a developed independent mind. We have to travel in Western Europe to see for ourselves how the average Western European citizen feels self-confident, self assured and he or she seem to us, Indians, so independent minded.
This naturally born independent mind is missing in India as I see it. I too learnt to cultivate myself, first at Santiniketan and later at Oxford, England. I can’t narrate my own evolution as a grown up as it is a long story. At Santiniketan, I learnt to appreciate Indian culture’s uniqueness, unique strengths, its old traditions, of course spiritualism which too is a great characteristic. From tradition come much of ancient Indian learning, its caste and religious traditions too. Buddha, in my understanding, is the first secular Indian thinker and sage and the early Hinduism too in its vast and comprehensive sense, with great deal of openness and tolerance has given sort of catholic broadness etc.
So at this age of globalization and much else in the secular world, I won’t go for an intolerant conception of a narrow and short-term based agenda-type Hindu creed. What such a narrow-focused Hindutva, propounded not even by scholars and thinkers but by a set of political persons, spokesmen and others who only help to stir up disharmony and discomfort.
We should not forget we live at a historic period of democracy and not look for divisive forces, be it religion or castes, but search for unity of mankind spread across the world, in almost all countries.
On my visits to European countries of past great many civilizations, Greece and Rome in particular, what impressed me were the solidity of the civilizations that are teaching us even today so many lessons. In Athens we saw of course, the Parthenon, the white marble structures where great thoughts sprouted. Down at the Acropolis grounds, at the Ancient Agora, the public ground which was a market place as well as a government secretariat, the earth on which Socrates walked, Plato and Aristotle, the many other spots where the extant structures even now stand, where they remind us how they conducted the democracy government.
You can’t but be exhilarated by the great foresight and a mentality to search for highest principles from which even now we struggle to find relevance for our own light. Athens is an education to the world! Athens is a school for the world. Liberty is a concept heard for the first time! The same voice we hear from the Roman Forum from Cicero. How to rule from Republican Senate?
Democracy is learnt through tough challenges. Oh, there is much to learn for modern man. Education is for man’s enlightenment. This should be the basic core of any education philosophy and policy. So, let us lay down the first principles of education and then proceed further. Indian education has been borrowing from outside all the time. The last were the British colonial masters! Now, at least after 70 odd years of freedom let us draw a system of education free from imitation. I am all for this mindset. Let we sit together and mull over what can really be done in education at all levels, also in such related fields like culture, sciences and other fields.