Despite the claims of economic growth, social welfare schemes, the much publicized idea of having start-ups, incubation and innovation centers, the Chandrayaan and Manglayaan missions; one should not lose sight of the year 1990.
The year 1990 marks a watershed in the history of post – independent modern India for the reason that we as a Nation declared to the developed world that, we had collectively failed to
➢ govern our economy leading to near bankruptcy
➢create an industrial infrastructure that would not only create job employment opportunities to our formally educated class, but also ensure a sustained rate of growth of our economy
➢ develop such technologies, products and machines useful for
medical sciences and health care,
automation of manufacturing processes, and
gadgets for day to day use; etcetera, etcetera
➢ generate resources for institutionalizing such welfare schemes as would keep our huge mass of people – whom we had declared backward – under perpetual subjugation.
Therefore, WE – the educated class – as the torch bearers of our Nation invited all those economic giants in the developed world to lead us once again on to the path of enlightenment by, investing in our land, providing jobs to unemployed educated youth, creating basic infrastructures that would slowly, but steadily afford our middle class enjoy the life styles of the developed world.
The political leadership with the consent of the native industrialists and the bureaucrats offered India- her soil, her people, her resources, her honour- as the market place (the grand bazaar) for one and all of those who could bring in currency and they were given the freedom to engage the middle class in whatever way they wanted to and for facilitating that, rules and regulations were redrafted to suit the interests of investors. This was all done under the umbrella of ‘Globalization and Liberalization’ only to provide opaque cover to the failures on all fronts of the human endeavourin the bygone decades.
Cultural invasion too was allowed and the visual media started coming up with advertisements that belittled Indian culture.
After nearly 30 years of FDI regime, one does not come across any day to day use commodity that has an imprint of Indian Genius! This state can be termed as that of ‘Sustained Intellectual Dependence’. Add to this the efforts that are being made to intrude deep in to our social values, faiths and beliefs including food habits (!!); one can see a state of total subjugation (enslavement) evolving to siege the entire Indian societies.
Now, we want to challenge extant system of education. What are the impediments?
The fact of the matter is that all those who could not receive modern education; could not go beyond being clerks in their jobs because of low level of education; could not become ‘scientists’, engineers, technologists, lawyers, etc to engage themselves with the much exalted institutions of India, do think and are convinced that those associated with such institutions are very capable, brainy people responsible for advancements made by our Nation and hold them in the highest esteem so much so that if one engages them on the contributions made by such people whom they hold in high regard and inform them that fundamentally no such contributions have been made because every piece of engineering , technology is imported through collaborations; they look at you with contempt and come to the conclusion that information givers are useless and incapable people and hence they are belittling the achievements.
Added to the above is this eternal hope that through the mechanism of reservations their generation next shall also get a chance to step in to the world of modern India and are therefore happy to wait for their chance. If
one questions their hope they respond by saying that every change happens but slowly!
It is a matter of faith for a vast majority amongst them that their salvation lies only in attaining modern education.
The kind of aura that has been successfully built over the decades about the modern system of education has brainwashed them in to thinking that their Vidhya is only inferior to the other. There can be many reasons for this, but one that is most predominant is the kind of life styles the educated class enjoys in comparison to theirs.
Those engaged in farming, agriculture (commercial & non commercial crops), horticulture, sericulture, floriculture, animal husbandry; etc have more or less adopted modern ways and the left outs in their fraternity shall be surely sucked in to it. The GOI is likely to increase support to them so that they survive for sustainable industrial growth, it has been going on for decades.
The small entrepreneurs like, carpenters, potters, blacksmiths, masons, weavers, shopkeepers, silversmiths and goldsmiths, etc., have been marginalized, but some of the retail dealers have begun to wind up their shops only to get attached to Flipkart, Amazon, etc. Malls have replaced decentralized shopping bazaars and one may find them only in small towns and villages. Since the aim is to transform each village in to a small city that would have all the modern facilities at its level, the small time entrepreneurs will wind up with time and may be get jobs in Malls, etc.
For a 5 trillion economy (despite presently existing slump) the villages have to cease to exist for the investors to take charge. Starting with the locals will be employed as labourers; as clerks and taxi drivers, etc and as the school/college education picks up the generation next will get better employments in the industrialized small cities.
The concept of development as put in to the head of a common man (outside the boundaries of modern world) is that village is backward full of superstitious people and city is full of enlightened people and therefore the backwards can find salvation only if they part with their resources ( land etc) for transformation of their villages in to cities. The backwards are convinced!
The question is: How to counter this monstrous philosophy of life that ensures sustained intellectual dependence, in view of the above points! What kind of education system should be evolved that releases people from this intellectual dependence? Should the education be an integrated whole that combines all the dimensions of human life like, cultural, religious, economical and political, etc? Is there a need to redefine civilized society and then define the philosophy of education that would establish a civilized society?
If a new avtar of Lokvidya has to emerge for challenging the system of modern education then the above questions we need find answers for, including many more.
Start can be made at the proposed meeting in Varanasi; may be one full session can be allocated to it.
Mir Junaid is an alumni of Law School, Kashmir University. He is a writer, a social activist and president of Jammu Kashmir Workers Party.