destination india

Sunday, January 22, 2006

ignorance is bliss

On Republic day, the world will witness the newest faces of India and get a glimpse of her arsenal and a cross section of her Armed Forces. There will be colorful march-pasts, floats, cultural tableaus and a feeling of well being all around. We are right now in the middle of the 10th five year plan which has already been drawn up for the period 2002-2007. Out of curiosity I wanted to go back in time to compare how we embarked on the five year planning and what we have achieved over the past half century. I chanced upon the following – ‘ …… Literacy in India has made remarkable strides since Independence. This has been further confirmed by the recently declared provisional results of the Census 2001. The literacy rate has increased from 18.33% in 1951 to 65.38% in 2001. This is despite the fact that during the major part of the last five decades there has been exponential growth of the population at nearly 2% per annum. Some of the important highlights of Census 2001 are given below:……’ (read more)

It was nice to know about this. In a country where the largest of the states still believe in bonded labor and in superstition and in keeping alive the boiling cauldrons of caste conflict, the above information appears to be based on incorrect data. It seems in one of the states, the police have separate cooking facilities and dining rooms for different castes – the concerned Officers do not find this to be strange! Add to this the fact that in practically all metros, rag pickers and urchins abound, they accost you at street corners with their stocks of pan masala or garlands of flowers or newspapers or whatever they can lay their hands on to earn their one time meals. They live in huddles under flyovers or in the dark corners of railway platforms or on the railway over bridges or the subways. They have to struggle right from the day they are born till the day they pass away into oblivion and seldom get the time to understand what education is all about. A clarification on whether all of them have been covered in the illiterate category of 34.62% would be welcome.

The Government, on paper, tries its best to entice the children to come to school by dangling the baits of mid-day meals, and free education. There was even a jingle on Vividh Bharati some time back – ‘chalo, school chaley hum…’ In spite of such inducements, the final result is not up to expectations. The deprived continue to remain deprived – only, they provide a platform for others to climb the ladders of popularity and gain recognition as messiahs of the downtrodden! Celebrities meet up with them once in a while and the media goes gaga over the event – once the flashlights move away, darkness descends again to where it had always been dark. The following news report is interesting - Elementary education: Long way to go …….

Maintaining the ignorants in good humor has certain distinct advantages. When the battle cry is given to prove, once in five years, that Democracy thrives amidst the prevailing chaos in our country, this group of ignorants performs the balancing act. The visions of those who fought for our freedom lie shattered on the roadside.

An interesting blog on the subject of Education in India –


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