Have you read/heard the news today? Not yet? Let me take you through the headlines:
Death, destruction and more death and destruction, only because a handful of people want to remake the world their way. History has been witness to the destruction and sorrow that has befallen innocent civilians every time attempt was made to remake the world. Once upon a time the East India Company set out to remake the world and it resulted in centuries of subjugation for us. When ‘Young Bosnia’ set out to remake the world, we had the World War 1 and of course who can forget the calamity that Hitler’s schemes brought on our world.
So for a moment let’s forget about remaking the world. Why remake something which is perfect. Just google some pictures, anything, the snowcapped Himalayas? Or the beachy Hawaii? The tropical Amazon? Or the Sahara? No? But you can’t say no to the Parisian romance or the Venetian Gondola can you? And if you are still not convinced there’s Hollywood for some blockbuster entertainment!!
So, the world aint so bad is it? Then why is there so much suffering? Why the discrimination? Why the War and the millions living in terror and hunger?
Rabindra Nath Tagore envisaged a world ‘Where the mind is without fear and the Head is held high’ but where is that place? May be its time not to remake, but to find that world of our aspirations and dreams. So where do you start looking?
Like the great poet Kabir said ‘Moko kaha dhunde bande, main to tere paas me’. The world we all aspire for lives in ‘us’. All that is needed is to help people realize it, to open their eyes and hearts, to broaden their minds and enrich their thinking. And how do you think we can do that? I think we all know the answer, by educating them.
Now if you Google literacy levels, it will tell you that 84% of the population over the age of 15 is literate. Now that’s an excellent number – 84%. Well NO! First of all this simply talks about literacy levels. The fact is there isn’t any parameter to measure the education levels. Of course there is you may say, there are statistics which say how many people are graduates, how many post graduates, doctorates, doctors so on and so forth. But is that what is meant by Education? Degrees earned with the hope of securing a better future for yourself and your immediate family (read 7 figure salaries).
Let us look beyond the myopic view of education that we have.
Let me start with the subject most of us dread, History. Is it not time to move beyond when WW1, WW2 happened and the reasons why they happened? Let’s talk about how they could have been avoided, why they should have been avoided. What is the current foreign policy, what would their foreign policy be to end war, in short, make them think, help them use the knowledge of the past to mold the future! Enough with the mugging of dates.
Let religious teaching begin in school and not at places of worships. Why should only a temple teach the Geeta, or the church teach the bible. Why not teach people about all religions and give them the freedom to choose a religion they want to practice. Imagine Hindu parents with a Muslim son and Christian daughter or vice versa because in the words of Muhammad Iqbal ‘Mazhab nahin sikhata aapas main bair rakhna’
Why limit science to testing a person’s knowledge of Chemical formulas or types of bones in the body or theory of relativity. Science is not in the pages of the text book, it is around us, help them use the knowledge to Invent, innovate, create and sustain the world for our future generations.
Last but not the least, my favorite, literature! Who decides what I should read and what I should not, literature is not about classics and dramas, it is about diverse views, about societal failings and achievements, it is about experiences, it is about courage, it is about the power that brings change. Let their thoughts flow, do not chain them down to right or wrong answers. When there aren’t any wrong answers to life, how can there be to literature. Open their eyes and heart to the beauty of diversity, to the voice of freedom, introduce them to the power of making informed choices!
The prime focus of every country should be to increase their spending on education, we spent enough on our defence and what was the result, deaths and war? This is the time to change the rules of the game, this is our chance to preserve this beautiful world of ours. It is time we empower each and every citizen of this world to stand up and say ‘My mind is without fear and I hold my head high because it’s my World of peace, my world of freedom and it is the World of my dreams.’
There it is, My World, Oops, Our World Remade!!