No computers, no internet, no facebook and no twitter – without these high-tech means, how do you bring together an entire nation to march towards a change?.What the social activists did during the Indian freedom struggle to unite the entire country seems as an implausible task in this present day and age. But they believed, they fought and they won and we breathe freedom. Today, we are marching – but not against a foreigner but to fix the dire state of our corrupted political system.
Any law abiding citizen of India living to his/her due diligence would weep silently by seeing this list and is growing consistently. Be it the right to education for women to the recent RTI and RTE nothing was granted without a fight by the social/political activists. I feel that the activists are the pure catalysts in a society.They shout, scream, get beaten up;yet, they remain strong in their vision.All the struggle they take is for benefit of the entire nation.But I feel that all their struggle is taken for granted by many who do not even vote and be indifferent about the current state we are in. I get deeply hurt by the “Ram rules or Ravaan rules, it does not matter to me” attitude,especially if it is among the most educated people.
Have you heard about “Anna Hazare”, living Mahatma Gandhi. He is marching against corruption and also he has promised to fast unto death if the Prime Minister is not passing a stringent bill on Anti-Corruption.He is a simple man with no Swiss bank accounts. He lives in a temple.
Dandi March 2 is happening in a global level on March 26 2011. Please pass on the word around and support Anna and his team. We being part of the blog-sphere can write about it,tweet, display the banners in our facebook profiles and we can think about to spread this in all creative ways.
Please share your thoughts and let us play our small part of the big change.
September 8th – International Literacy Day..do you know that ? I did not, until 30 minutes ago.Wish the media could give some more attention to such important days which, I feel is the need of the hour than any other special days (mostly hyped up for commercial purposes to sell sweet little teddy bears and extra creamy dark chocolates).
If every child born in this world is assured to have a concrete education irrespective of its economic background – will this world not be a better place to live ?.That is the hope of all the activists and volunteers who work for this cause to take education to the bottom level.There are number of organizations and plethora of projects that need our support both in terms of time and funding.
Few months ago I got associated with “ASHA for education” to give my time , I was enthralled by the volunteers who diligently work to make a difference. Though I could not give my time as I thought , I am still part of their group and still learning from the wonderful spirited souls.So, on this International Literacy day I urge you to Work an Hour for children’s education.
An hour’s worth of your salary can touch and change a child’s future.Please spread the word. Thank you.
When my parents had to choose a school for their daughters their main criteria s were ..
1. Easy commute to the school
2. Affordable school fee.
3. The school to have classes from kindergarten to high school – They didn’t want to handle any admission hassles for next 14 years once they enrolled us in to the kindergarten.
And I ask them – “Any expectations you had for the school,that will shape/direct your daughter’s character and future”
They said – “We just wanted you to score well to get in to a good college and a finally a good job,marry and get settled” !!
How naive ,I say ???!!
At school,as per my observation,there were 3 different groups of students in a class.One ,the “elite group” – very bright and intelligent students,toppers in the class.The second group – the bottom level.Teachers attended the “elite” group because, if the students scored well in the state level exams,the school would ultimately get the fame and name.The second group got the attention for all obvious reasons because,they were not performing according to the set standards.This group’s interests were rarely discovered and accepted.
Third group – less attended group,(average)students who were in between the above 2 groups.Realistically,majority of the class would fall to this group.I belonged to this group both in school and in college.And I feel that the students in this 3rd group mostly thrive on their own with little help from the teachers and lack a sense of direction.Lot of potential goes untapped!.
During our school life not even at one single point,there was any kind of evaluation to check,how we as future citizens have evolved to face the life outside the school campus.Throughout,students were judged based only on Physics,Chemistry and Math scores.ART was neither a major part of the curriculum nor encouraged.In India,sadly,this holds true even now…
Finally,when I had to face the world all by myself – it was overwhelming.Honestly,I didn’t have the self-confidence (still don’t,at times!!).I felt that the boundary between student world and “real” world was strong and thick.It took some time to realize that the real world is more confusing,chaotic and has conflicting ideas.
But now,change is coming or rather slowly.Kiran Bir Sethi – founder of Riverside School,Ahmedabad says kids should take charge and that children should play a role in the community.
I am inspired and wish that her good work becomes contagious.
Now,tell me how was your schooling and how it helped you to evolve as a person(who you are now) and what did it(the system) fail to instill in you?Also how did you choose (or planning to choose) the school for you kid(s),What are your main expectations from the school and from the system as such.
Note:1.This post is definitely not to find fault with my parents or with my teachers.I am concerned about the grand-old “system” and its functioning.After all ,my parents and my teachers were themselves the victims of the system!.
2.Anyone from Ahmedabad,your thoughts on the Riverside School (if any).
Sunday,Pittsburgh downtown.Temperature was around 20 F.It was a cloudy winter evening.As I started feeling that urge to empty my bowl and also to get myself warm ,I had to step inside the first spotted Starbucks.Ordered my usual “extra hot” caramel macchiato and settled close to the big windows that were facing the street.
I noticed the attention-seeking teens giggling at one table ,then a lady with her earphones glued to the ears ,her eyes and neatly manicured hands playing with her iPhone.A man reading a book,the boys and girls at the counter helping the incoming customers.All minds were engrossed in their own way and finally I resigned to my world by simply drifting myself to watch the actions that unfolded in front of my eyes.
The entire coffee shop was awakened in to awareness by a loud knock …one more loud knock…by this time..all others turned towards the direction of the noise for a quick look and were back to their own world.I heard the yelling..”anyone inside”…one more knock on the restroom doors… no one answered..but the boy at the counter yelled back “the door is locked”.”Oh ya,I was last person who used the rest room,I locked it and the keys are with that boy”,I thought to myself.
The woman in thick coat,muddy boots,frizzy hair pouted.I don’t think if any one else had an eye contact with her, except me.I read her vulnerability through her doleful eyes,sipping my macchiato.She slowly dragged her overweight body and reached to an old man waiting outside the store,he looked equally fragile.Through the window I saw them waiting at the cross walk for the lights to turn green,holding hands together.
Another Starbucks, same caramel macchiato-when I sipped the next time,it didn’t feel right.I tasted again to check the sugar,caramel – everything was perfect.It just didn’t give me the warmth and I could not stop thinking about my folly of not helping the old woman to use the rest room.I simply could have made an extra purchase that day and should have got her the restroom keys.
Wish, I don’t miss my future opportunities….