Saturday, August 15, 2015

Ultimate solution to educational crisis

A religion focussed solely on education is the ultimate solution to end all the educational woes of our society. 

I recently finished watching Zeitgeist and reading the book Rise of Kali by Anand Neelkantan. What's prominent in both these intellectual discourses is that dominant people in the society fabricate the rules and ways of a religion to influence and manipulate the commoners.

Theists who lead life within the constraints of a religion follow anything that the priests/religious authorities put forth as the good code for life. Imagine a religion based purely on making the population rational thinkers set out to create a free and equal society. The followers of such a religion based on the ideals of democratic education would definitely solve problems in our education system.

If anything can save the doom of education then it is a strong blind faith that will make people believe in any tough way of life and fanatism that will fuel the minds with a craziness.

Saturday, August 8, 2015


There are days when I am simply at bliss and to my good fortune, these are frequent. Yesterday was one such day where I travelled to a serene place 100km away from Bengaluru. I waited for bus with this to accompany me:

For a stretch there was nothing but tranquil glimpses of paddy fields, coconut farms and the horizon adorned with a few bulges of hills. 

My work was to train 80+ teachers on the innovative use of low cost experiments for their teaching. The training room overlooked this scenery:

I witnessed pure joy of learning and curiosity when these adults immersed in building their own scientific toys.

I can daresay that even if two out of these 80+ classrooms empower kids to construct scientific toys on their own then my purpose is served!

I chance across many interesting conversations during my field visits and one such conversation took place yesterday when this lady proudly announced that her son, in spite of scoring 98% in 12th choose to study law for his undergrad opposing everyone in the family and she along with her husband supported his decision. Now this proud mother dreams of seeing her 16 year old daughter trace her brother's footsteps and choose anything of her choice and succeed at it.

Throughout the day I challenged 2 of them for their caste biases and strtongly encouraged women participants to not shy away from speaking out and held counsels with a few women regarding the status of women teachers in rural areas. The day ended with talking to a young man about his struggles in the metropolitan Bengaluru city while he earned a decent life for himself.


"I admire the achievements you have made in this young age, what caste do you belong to?"

"You carry yourself very confidently madam. Which caste do you belong to? I have a suitor for you"

"Madam I'm hailed as the most eligible bachelor of my village. When I get married, I want to look after my wife very well. I don't want her to take trouble by working outside house. Let her find peace in building my home."

"Yes, we all enjoy eating together. We are from caste A."

"My sister is more beautiful than me Akka. She is white!"

"My girlfriend dumped me because I couldn't earn more than 80k a month."

Should I stay contented at the outward nobility of all these people or burn with rage at the inherent casteism and sexism? My interactions with people from varied backgrounds has given me some patience to listen to everyone's stories but I still haven't gained the maturity to not judge what I think is blatantly wrong for the society. I have begun to engage each such individual who emanates sexism or casteism in a conversation. I adopt the process of enquiry with open ended questions. I like listening to the elaborate answers that people churn out. Just when they think I am convinced with their argument I throw another innocent question that contradicts their own belief.

I am sure that these mindless conversations with strangers will at least sow the seeds of transformation in at least few people's minds. Why do I even care to attempt engaging in such conversations?

I want a world where

  • I can move about people who wouldn't display sexism
  • Friendships are based on like mindedness and not just caste
  • People value merit more than status 
  • Girls can feel comfortable in their own skin no matter what color or texture it is
Will one person doing this deed bring about a difference? Yes. I strongly believe that humans are connected to and influenced by each other in a way we cannot comprehend. I believe that my humble attempts at establishing humanism and equality will create a positive vibe in a small part of our vast world and someone braver, kinder and more intelligent person will carry this forward. It is also true that I am fanning a flame of equality triggered by other great minds. Trying to contribute to a never ending intellectual quest for equality in my own way.