Sulagna Chattopadhyay
Geography and You, New Delhi.

Well structured, holistic and fulfilling learning —is that even desirable? People for whom knowledge works, extending the halo beyond the self is painful. It is ironic that we have been ‘granted’ and have subsequently diligently followed a system of education by the very same people who have killed with ease many coloured people for merely seeking to learn. With so much blood on the proverbial hands of the euphemism—‘knowledge is power’ there is little doubt that each political regime plays out little charades to lead us to believe that India is turning into a humongous repository of an educated workforce—out to conquer the world. How else can you explain the chronic absenteeism of teachers, huge quality gaps in education, increasing cost of good education and more pertinently the plummeting devaluation of skills among young Indians? Surely, a forceful political will could have reversed or atleast arrested the spiraling divergence of access. Education is and will remain the holy grail—it is better that way, less knowledge, less understanding and lesser still the capacity to question. Status quoists can applaud.

If not education, the next best option to better one’s standard of living is perhaps vocational training. But, stigmatised and gender stereotyped, such courses appeal to few. In a country where each societal weave bears a snag, every vocation is judged against a checklist of class, caste, religion and more. India’s provincial world view, further impaired through faulty education, reveals a marked distaste towards dignity of labour. If mindsets need to change and the ‘hole in the bucket’ fixed, we must return to the basics—education. Yes, meaningful, critical, constructive education for all. 

 Happy reading!