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Social and political Values and Systems in India.

Education in India – ‘Ancient’ and ‘Modern’

‘Neti’ ’Neti’ …. “learning is a never-ending process and the sources of knowledge are countless.”

“A little knowledge that acts is worth more than much knowledge that is inactive. … Knowledge, the object of knowledge and application of the knowledge – all the three are equally important for motivating to take a wise action.” Khalil Gibran

 In India, illiteracy of a large number of people has turned the visions of ‘Education for All’ into empty dreams. Especially, population explosion has put a heavy pressure on its available infra-structure. According to 2011 census, literacy-rate has gone only up to 74% from 65%. For males it has risen to 82% from 75%, for females to 65% from 54%. About 20% of its population is still illiterate. In absolute number, the figure of illiterates is alarming. No nation can afford to have a large number of its population to remain illiterate, ignorant and unskilled.

Education and the masses – In ancient India, education was confined within a very small section of Indian society. It was not so much because of discrimination that a large number of common people were debarred or denied access to education, as it was due to the following reasons –

• Method to educate – In the past, because of the method of education, education remained confined within a very small section of the society. In absence of any written material, priestly schools in India had devised a most remarkable and effective system of transferring knowledge to succeeding generations in form of hymns. They restricted it only to those, who possessed brilliant feats of memory and capability to keep its extreme sanctity.

•Use of Symbolic language – Symbolic language was in use to express thoughts, customs and institutions. The purpose was perhaps to make it easier for human mind to remember. It gave everything in the society a sacrament, religious and sacrosanct, but not in a narrow sense. Shiva–Shakti stood for Divine masculine-feminine union, four elements of nature –”Om” stood for the sound of creation, “Trishul” for trinity, “Lotus” for balance, “Venus star” for creativity, “Sacrifice” for an offering to gods, “Purush and prakriti” for ideal man-woman relationship, “Som ras” as a symbol of divine bliss etc. In ‘Upnishads’, Hindu epics and ‘Geeta’, there are many examples of the use of symbolic language.

Modern Indian society has lost the mindset to understand the true meaning of this symbolic language. Some educated persons gave in their self interest gave its lessons an imaginative, mysterious, mystic or divine shape. Such as it is being criticized vehemently by some sections of society saying of ‘Purush-Sukta’ of ‘Veda’ that four parts of ‘Chaturvrna’ have been born from the body of Creative Deity, from his head, arms, thighs and feet. These are symbolic expressions. It expresses a divine reality. Its sense is that ‘Brahmans’ were men of knowledge, ‘Kshatriyas’ the men of power, ‘Vaishyas’ the producer and ‘Shudras’ the service persons supporting the other three.

•Neti-Neti – There was infinite scope of development. Nothing was supposed to be final. Neti-Neti was the principle foe quest of knowledge.

Why masses remained away from formal education – Reason of poverty of large number of people was not discrimination. Primarily, because ‘Vedas’, ‘Smritis’, ’Sutras’, and ‘Upnishads’, are in Sanskrit. Secondly masses were busy in their hereditary/traditional occupations. Skills were learnt more on job under the training and guidance of people already on the job/occupation. For attaining more skills or furthering their future prospects masses did not depend on formal education, certificates/degrees/diplomas or on formal centres of education and training i.e. schools/colleges.

•The manner, in which hereditary occupational knowledge and skills were transferred, was through practice and experience; not through formal classroom lectures, which often kills originality and verve of people.

The system led society to have more production, economic efficiency and specialization in various areas of activities like spinning, weaving, pottery making, bead making, seal making, terra-cotta, handicrafts, brick-laying, metal work etc.

•Still, illiterate masses got the benefit of the knowledge of learned Sages and ‘Munies’. On the basis of their scholarly researches and experiences, the sages prescribed certain guidelines in the form of rituals to be followed by common men.

Education in Ancient India Education a private concern – Education in ancient India was a private concern. Occasional grants was given from state, private charitable institutions and pupils. The tutor supplemented his income by performing professional duties of the priest. 

Educational institutions of repute – Many travellers, among whom most famous are Magasthenes (a Greek ambassador arrived at Patliputra in 302 BC), Fa-hien, Hiuen Tsang and I-Tsang threw much light on Indian values and systems. Holy places like ‘Taxila’, ‘Ayodhya’, ‘Banaras’, ‘Amaravati’, ‘Mathura’,’Nasik’ or ‘Kanchi’ and capitals of kingdoms like ‘Patilputra’, ‘Valabhi’, ‘Ujjayani’ and ‘Padmavati’ were famous centers of education. ‘Valabhi’ in Gujarat and ‘Vikramshila’ in Bihar were famous centers of learning. In south India centers of learning were known as ‘Ghatikas’. Most famous centers of learning were the monastic colleges mostly founded by ‘Budhists’. Students flocked from far off places. 

Universities in ancient India – Few of most important universities of ancient India were ‘Taxila’ (being the first university of world established in Seventh century B.C.),’Vikramshila’ University and ‘Nalanda’ University (built in 4 A.D). Huan Tsang in his records mentioned the university of ‘Taxila’ to be at par with ‘Nalanda’ and ‘Vikramshila’ Universities. These institutions were considered to be the best Universities of its times in the subcontinent and an honor to ancient Indian educational system. 

Takshila’ University – ‘Takshila’ University was famous for medical studies. ‘Varanasi’ was famous for religious teachings. In the South, ‘Kanchi’ was famous for its studies while the ‘Vallabhi’ University was no less. There was a galaxy of eminent teachers like ‘Panini’ – a well known Guru of grammer, ‘Kautilya’ – the minister of Chandragupta Maurya and ‘Charaka’ – a medical teacher of repute. 

Nalanda university – Nalanda was the epitome of such centers. It attracted students not just from India, but also from the entire South Asia. It was an international University. Scholars of different castes, creeds, and races hailing from India, China, Japan, Korea, Java, Sumatra, Tibet, Mongolia and Bokhara came here for higher/advanced studies. The teachers often attracted students from far and wide. It had eight colleges, one of it having four storied building and around 10,000 students and teachers on its roll cards. It was one of the earliest examples of residential cum learning complex. It is a matter of pride for India that Nalanda University reopens nearly 800 years after this premier ancient education institution was destroyed. It has started its first academic session now in September 2014. 

Technical education – Technical education was usually imparted in the family itself, as most of the professions were hereditary. Sometimes artisans took students as apprentices. 

Steps to pass on knowledge – Knowledge was passed on orally from one generation to another in ancient India. Education involved three basic processes, one, which included ‘Sravana’ (stage of acquiring knowledge of ‘Shrutis’ by listening). Two, ‘Manana’ (meaning pupils to think, analyze themselves about what they heard, assimilate the lessons taught by their teacher and make their own inferences,) and three ‘Nidhyasana (meaning comprehension of truth and and apply/use it into real life).

Method – Students were taught particular texts at home of teacher. It was learnt by rote, enunciation and pronunciation were particularly taken care of. Students were supposed to lead a strictly regulated life. Aims of learning were faith, retention of knowledge, progeny, wealth, longevity and immortality.

Besides gurukuls (domestic schools) there were specialized agencies, discussions or conferences arranged by the kings. Women freely participated in these conferences. There were ‘Parishads’ for advanced studies. There were wandering scholars, Charrakas, who spread education in the country.

Education and women – Women enjoyed freedom, respect and honour. According to Manu “where women are honoured, the gods rejoice, where they are not respected, all actions become futile.” In ancient India women were given equal right to education and teaching. Women seers like ‘Gayetri’ or ‘Maitreyi’ were prominent participants in educational debates and proceedings of ‘Parishads’ (Assemblies).

It was mostly the Brahmins followed by Kshatriyas that received education at the gurukuls, while boys from the lower castes learnt their family trade from their fathers.

No bar on Individuals from humblest origin – There was no bar on any one to get education. Individuals from humblest origin were highly educated and were respected in Indian society as great achievers. Vashishtha, the principal of conservative school of Brahmanism, was the son of Uravshi, a prostitute. Vishwamitra, the quintessence of Vedic Brahmanism and maker of Gayatri Mantra, was a Kshatriya. Aitreya, after whom sacramental part of Rig-Veda is named as Aitreya Brahamana, was the son from a non-Aryan wife of a Brahman sage. Vyasa of Mahabharata fame was the son of a fish-woman. Balmiki, an untouchable according to present standards and the original author of Ramayana, is highly respected all over India.

“An ocean of knowledge in a jar” – Ancient Indian philosophy and Vedic literature contained “an ocean of knowledge in a jar.” It was supposed to be a magnificent example of scientific division and orderly arrangement of rules, in a few words, in different branches of human knowledge, covering almost all the aspects of life, be it phonetics, arts, literature, medicine, polity, metrics, law, philosophy, astrology or astronomy. It spoke of everything- on staying healthy, social evils, improving concentration and tenets of behavior, which are relevant even today.

‘Rituals’ – The substance of the knowledge, learning and research work of Rishis-Munies (sages and saints) was put in the form of rituals for the benefit of common-men. Certain practices/guidelines were shaped in the form of rituals by intellectuals and prescribed for the benefit of commom- men. These rituals and guidelines inspired people to lead a harmonious and healthy life.

Spot out Gems – With a rational mind, raising it from ignorance, one can understand the greatness of Vedic literature. A knowledgeable person can spot gems from this ocean of knowledge; pick them up and leave like worthless pebbles the undesired, obsolete elements developed into the system with passage of time.

Revival of ancient knowledge – During second half of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century, Swami Vivekanand, Rama Krishna Mission and Theosophical Society of India tried to familiarize the Western World, too, to the charm and graciousness of the ancient gold mine of knowledge, which had inspired not only Indians, but foreigners as well. Intellectuals from various countries have translated it in their own languages and reinterpreted it for a rational mind.

Education during medieval times – As India progressed from ancient to medieval, its education system deteriorated. Medieval age began with Rajput culture and ended with Indo-Muslim contacts. Society was marked as conventional society. The grip of conventionalism weakened the society and led to darkness, corruption, anarchy and failure. Various factors were responsible for the degradation of such an efficient and most ancient education system of the world.

Modern education system before Independence – Modern education system was implanted by British rulers. Before the advent of British in India, education system was private one. In 1835, Lord Macauley introduced modern education in India. It was the introduction of Wood’s dispatch of 1854, known as Magna Carta of Indian education that laid the foundation of present system of education and changed the scenario. The main purpose of it was to prepare Indian Clerks for running local administration. Under it the means of school educations were vernacular languages, while the higher education was granted in English only.

British government started giving funds to indigenous schools in need of help and slowly some of the schools became government aided.

Reasons for introducing modern education – Finding it too costly and perhaps practically impossible to import enough Englishmen to man the large and increasing number of subordinate or lower posts in administration, British rulers planned of educating Indians in such a way that they “should through western education get Anglicized in terms of both cultural and intellectual attainments”. Lord Macauley clearly said that, “we must at present do our best to form a class, who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern; a class of persons, Indians in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals and in intellect.”

Welcoming modern education – The atmosphere was completely ready for Lord Macauley to lay the foundation of modern education in India by 1835. Missionaries and their supporters as well as National leaders, intellectuals and Reformers not only welcomed but exerted pressure on the company to encourage and promote western education in India. Missionaries believed that modern education would lead the people to adopt Christianity. Humanitarians, intellectuals and nationalist leaders considered modern education “the key to the treasures of scientific and democratic thought of the modern West” and the best remedy for social, political and economic ills of the country.

Outcome of modern education – In 1844 through an Declaration knowledge of English was made compulsory for Government employment. The traditional Indian system of education gradually withered away for the lack of official support. The government made English medium schools very popular. English as Official language alienated the masses from the educated Indians.

Modern education created new employment opportunities. Many traditional occupations became obsolete. In near absence of industrial, commercial or social service activity, people in India were forced to depend on modern education and Government jobs for their respectful earning.

Modernization of occupations and industrialization processes increased role of formal education and training for furthering future prospects of people.

The universities at Calcutta, Bombay and Madras were started in 1837 and higher education spread rapidly thereafter. For scientific and technical education, only three Medical Colleges one each at Calcutta, Bombay and Madras was established by 1857. There was only one good engineering college at Roorkee.

Modern education produced National leaders, intellectuals and reformers – Modern education not only produced persons to fill the lower levels of administration, as desired by the rulers, but also produced national leaders, intellectuals and reformers like Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Dadabhai Naoroji, Ferozeshah Mehta, Gokhale, Gandhi, Jinnah, Ambedkar, Tilak, Lala Lajpat Rai, Moti Lal Nehru, Jawahar Lal Nehru, Subhash Chandra Bose, Patel and many more. They took upon themselves the responsibility to build a modern, open, plural, culturally rich, prosperous and powerful India out of a fragmented, poverty stricken, superstitious, weak, indifferent, backward and inward looking society. In short , they believed that –

•Western literature and philosophy would give Indians the understanding of liberal, scientific, democratic and humanitarian ideas thought of Western World.

•It would make Indians aware of the real issues hampering the progress of Indian society.

•Modern education would improve the life of common men and conquer ignorance, hunger, poverty and disease.

•It would open the key to the treasures of Scientific and Democratic thought of Western World.

•Principles of Democracy would spread rapidly across the nation and finish imperialism and tyranny.

•It would remedy many social, political and economic ills of the nation.

Brahmins ahead of others – Initially, it was an impoverished group of Brahmin and caste Hindus in search of livelihood, who desired to live with dignity and honor opted for modern education. The reason of poverty of Brahmin community was gradual displacement from their source of income after decline in financial status of their patrons – Princes and Zamindars, appalling poverty of Brahmins compelled them to opt for modern education.

Sir Alfred Croft, Director of Public Instruction in Bengal wrote to Rev. J. Johnston in 1881, “We know well that any considerable increase in the fees paid by college students would compel many to withdraw. It seems not to be fully understood… how poor the middle classes that flock to our colleges really are. Half the students live from hand to mouth…. And yet though, far behind in point of wealth, they correspond to, and are in fact the only representative of our professional classes at home, and the pressure on them for the means of subsistence is so great, that they must either be educated or go to wall.”

Their poverty gets confirmed by a study done to examine the annual income of the guarantors of 1271 Brahmin Students enrolled at Ferguson College, Pune from 1885 to 1895. According to it, 76% of the Chitpavan Brahmins guarantors belonged to the low or medium income groups. Similarly of the 277 Deshastha Brahmin guarantors, 70% came from low or medium groups.

Brahmins being natural learners and pursuers of knowledge utilized new type of employment opportunities created with introduction of modern education in 1835. They were quick and far ahead of other communities to grasp almost all the opportunities in these spheres. Their long tradition and undisputed role in the field of knowledge and learning, their intelligence, sincerity and hard work helped them even after independence to secure important places in the modern society.

Why masses deprived of modern education – Except for a few, masses could not avail the advantage of formal modern education. Relentless effort of missionaries and reformers could educate a very small number of people. Reasons being:

•Modern education was very costly and, therefore, unaffordable by the masses.

•Masses did not see any immediate use of education. It was more important for them to work and arrange two square meals day.

•The emphasis was on English medium education system.

Introduction of modern education, served double purpose for British rulers – Introduction of modern education had served double purpose for the British rulers. They got the credit for the amelioration of the Indian society. And at the same time, through it, they devised a unique method of distribution of power. They kept balance of power and prolonged their rule in India by keeping the natives busy in their in-fights.

Impact of modern education – The second half of the nineteenth century saw the impact of modern education on the minds of Indians as under: –

1.Christian missionaries brainwashed many people especially the poor by preaching and educating them and developed in their minds a complex about the primitiveness of Indian society, influenced them towards the alien culture and then converted them into Christianity. With the help of British rulers, Christian missionaries and religious minded Westerners like William Webberforce or Charles Grant, they succeeded in converting many persons into Christianity.

2.National leaders, social reformers, educated people and intellectuals welcomed rationality and other good features of Modern English education. They also got alarmed at divisive policies of the rulers. It led them to lead the national movement. They understood the real issues hampering the progress of Indian society.

3. Emergence of organizations aiming at social reforms – Organizations aiming at social reforms had purely an economic and social thrust. They fought against social evils caused by ignorance, superstitions or irrationality like untouchability and inhuman treatment to women, Sati, Polygamy, child marriage, and many others prevalent at that time. Emphasis was laid on education and science. They criticized the mumbo-jumbo of rituals and superstitions created by some selfish people to entangle the ignorant and poor masses.

4.Reformers got alarmed at the erosion of Indian Culture. Organizations (like Brahma Samaj founded by Raja Ram Mohan Roy (1828) in Bengal, Prarthana Samaj in Maharashtra (1867), Arya Samaj (1875) founded by Swami Dayanand in Northern India, Rama Krishna Mission, Theosophical Society of India (1879), Dev Samaj in Lahore and Servants of India society) interpreted religion rationally and advised people to remain firmly rooted to the Indian Culture and not get swayed away by the glamor and materialism of alien culture.

5.‘Back to Vedas’-Therefore, they organized people, held conferences, published articles and undertook internal reform efforts through Sanskritization. They gave a call for “Back to Vedas” and advised people to set free Hinduism from all degenerate features.

It was not the Hindu principles, but the practices, which went wrong. Swami Vivekanand, who founded the Rama Krishna Mission, had said ,’It is we, who are responsible for our degeneration.’ …. “Each nation like each individual has a theme in this life, which is its center, the principle note, around which every other note comes to form the harmony. If any nation attempts to throw off its national vitality, the direction, which has become its own through the transmission of centuries, nation dies.”

Divisible policies of the rulers – The destructive character of repressive policies of British rulers lit the fire and gave birth to national movement. Many national leaders and intellectuals got alarmed at the divisible policies of the rulers. They realized the impact of British racial discrimination in the areas of education and jobs and their repressive policies elsewhere. They realized the impact of British racial discrimination. Economic loot, political subjugation, assertion of lordly superiority over the subject on the ground of race, assumption of a haughty exclusiveness, persistent insulting and supercilious behavior towards all Indians, exclusion of Indians from all places of authority and responsibility and denial of their capacity for self-governance united Indians against British rule.

After Independence – After independence, even relentless effort of reformers, government and NGO’S only a small could educate a very small number of people especially from amongst backwards. Masses could not avail the benefit of modern/formal education. It is not so much because of resistance from caste Hindus, as for other reasons.

Reasons for not succeeding in ‘educating all’ – It is falsely accused and propagated by some intellectuals, leaders, reformers with vested interests and supporters of Reservation/Affirmative Action Policy that privileged upper castes have taken advantage of modern education to establish or reinforce its traditional dominance. They prevented lower castes from getting educated or promoting their status in modern society.

However, as modern history points out, on the contrary, it was mainly impoverished group amongst Brahmin and caste Hindus opting for modern education, who were in search of livelihood. They looked upon modern education as means to earn their living respectfully. Therefore, when modern education was introduced, they, opted for costly Western Education and devoted their scarce resources on it. Costly nature of modern education prevented general masses to avail the benefit of modern education.

Reasons for illiteracy of a large number of people are many.

  1. Costly nature of modern education – Quality education is still very costly for common men and, therefore, unaffordable for masses. Costly nature has tended to make it a monopoly of the richer classes and city dwellers.
  2. Population explosion – Population explosion has put a heavy pressure on available. There has been insufficient infrastructure.
  3. There is lack of quality education and training systems in government or government aided institutions.
  4. Masses do not see any immediate use of education. It still is more important for the poor people to work and arrange two square meals a day.
  5. Standard of education depending on medium of education

Importance of English language in modern world – The language of majority of people is Hindi. However, stress on English medium education and English language is more than it was before independence. After Hindi, English language is being spoken especially by educated Indians, mostly belonging to upper echelons of the society. Increasing importance of English has alienated further the masses from educated ones.

With the changed scenario due to globalization, liberalization and revolution in Information Technology, English has been accepted internationally as a means of communication. Therefore, learning English language has become necessary to get a space in international world. Education through foreign medium is a difficult task. Earlier English medium had already put undue strain upon the nerves of the Indian students.

Short-comings of present education system – There are some deficiencies in the present Education system, some of which have been inherited from the British. There are many internal as well as external many pressures on the system, because of which quality of education suffers. External pressures – Externally, recent social changes and larger political turmoil have affected adversely the whole atmosphere. Some changes took place in the recent past in the character, role and inter-relationship of the six main constituent of the national elites – the political executive, the legislators, the businessmen, the organized workers, the surplus farmers and the bureaucrats.

Narrow loyalties, sectional interests and sub-cultures Narrow loyalties, sectional interests and sub-cultures like favoritism, nepotism and corruption have fast become an accepted way of life. Result is that communal, regional and caste conflicts and unhealthy competition between different sections for power and pelf are increasing every day.

Powerful lobbies desire to have exclusive hold on scarce resources of the nation. Few persons and groups, who have the power in their hands and who control almost every walk of national life are working to deny justice to common men. The reflection of all these social evils is found in the educational system as well.

External pressures on system of education – Externally, recent social changes and larger political turmoil have affected adversely the whole atmosphere like –

  1. Some changes took place in the recent past in the character, role and inter-relationship of the six main constituent of the national elites – the political executive, the legislators, the businessmen, the organized workers, the surplus farmers and the bureaucrats.
  2. Narrow loyalties, sectional interests and sub-cultures like – favoritism, nepotism and corruption have fast become an accepted way of life. Result is that communal, regional and caste conflicts and unhealthy competition between different sections for power and pelf are increasing every day.
  3. Powerful lobbies desire to have exclusive hold on scarce resources of the nation. Few persons and groups, who have the power in their hands and who control almost every walk of national life are working to deny justice to common men. The reflection of all these social evils is found in the educational system as well. 

Internal pressures – Based on colonized British Grammar School type education has made Indian students crammer, imitators and unfit them for original work and thought. It has not taught them to have pride in their surroundings. The more they get modern education, the farther they are moved away from their surroundings and at the end of their educational career, they become estranged from their surroundings. They are loosing their natural character, because they are getting away from their traditional aspirations and values in preference to the western materialism. Alienation of modern generations from their roots and culture alarmed Gandhiji and he said, “My real education began after I had forgotten all that I had learned at School”.

Erosion of Indian culture – Modern education has disassociating Indian people from their traditional way of learning, classical roots and knowledge. With it have faded Indian values, philosophies and traditions, which had taught Indians the spirit of tolerance and firm belief in the principle, ‘Live and let live’ has always been the part of Indian ethos. Indians believe in ‘Vasudhaiva Kutambkam’ – the whole world is one family. C. Rajgopalachari had said, “If there is honesty in India today, any hospitality, any charity— any aversion to evil, any love to be good, it is due to whatever remains of the old faith and the old culture”. Tolerance, truth, Ahimsa, peace and non-aggression are the hallmark of Indian culture.

What should be the limit of tolerance – The people in India endure injustice and unfairness until they are pushed right up to the wall. Many times in the past, Indians had accepted oppression and exploitation without much protest, while such situations would have led to bloody revolutions elsewhere in the world. Even today, the people are tolerating the corruption, scams, scandals and criminal activities developed in political sphere, as well as inefficiency seeped deeply in administration without much protest. People needs to be taught not to tolerate injustice and raise their voice against it peacefully.

Influence of West Present education system has given rise to a group of Indian intelligentsia, who follow in a big way social, political, economic norms of western world and their way of living. They vehemently denounce culture, character and social value system of India. They regards the culture of the land as indefensible, responsible for creating many discriminatory social values. The number of such people is increasing. The more its number of such persons grows, especially amongst Indian intelligentsia, the more intolerant, people would become.

Influence on modern youth – A drastic change is visible in the values, behavior and etiquette of a new educated neo- rich youth of elitist class, which has emerged especially in Metros. Their life style and value system are being gradually replaced by the Western ones. They want to enjoy pleasures of modern life at any cost without any restriction. They are more conscious of their rights and want to enjoy life fully in any possible way without any bondage. They do not like any restriction/comment on their behavior or way of life. Loosening grip of social bondage and observances have made many of them selfish, self-willed and arrogant.

Some of them have become so intolerant and aggressive, that they out-rightly discard all social norms and etiquette. Their thinking and value systems are quite different from the older ones. Most of them generally regard Indian value system as rubbish and its epics as irrelevant. They set their own rules. Their yardstick of smartness is interest in stock exchanges, glamor, pubs, parties, discos or late night culture, which gives rise to many kinds of social problems. With growing cult of materialism and consumerism, finer values of life are disappearing fast. Lust for material gains, comforts, craze for luxurious and glamorous life style has made them so insensitive that they hardly feel anything about the hardships and agonies of the ‘have-nots’. Friendship/relationship prospers only if these cost-effective. Otherwise people do not hesitate in showing their helplessness due to lack of time or energy.

The persons, who readily help people in need are considered fools in modern society. Objective of education? Gaining mere knowledge is not the purpose of learning. As Khalil Gibran has said, a little knowledge that acts is worth more than much knowledge that is inactive. Also, one whose knowledge is confined to books can not use his knowledge wealth when the need for them arises.

Conclusion – Knowledge, the object of knowledge and application of the knowledge, all the three are equally important for motivating to take a wise action. Pursuit of material success is important and is super-most objective in the minds of young students. But it should not make them selfish and intolerant to others. They should not drift rudderless without sense of direction. Academic background, career and good earning is important in life for happiness and satisfaction. But they forget that more important is living a quality of life, humanity, compassion and self discipline for enjoying life fully.

Once more, India needs to be made a hub of knowledge creation. It will be a big blunder, if it fails to do it now. India’s massive human resource needs to be cultivated through sound system of education and training to get out of the rut of mediocrity. The system of education and learning should be such that it could the faculties of human beings ‘in proper manner towards proper objectives, channelize the desires and energies of Indian people towards proper objectives and right activities. Discipline and productivity are necessary for education.

Amalgamate Indian Culture with western Mechanism – Eastern part of the world surpasses the West by no small measure on issues of culture-starting from Egypt and moving eastward through Mesopotamia, Indian sub-continent, China and south east Asia. Indian culture has been kept, alive even after thousands of years, despite of being hit continuously by outsiders. When it comes to advancement in knowledge and science, it is the West that has led the world. Looking at the mechanism of expansionism and spreading out, the west has always had the upper hand. Otherwise how could a nation of a handful travel the world over and thrust its imperialism on it. A segment of this group, by sheer hard work and patience, threw the imperial mechanism overboard and built up a nation, living in which is a dream of every young person.

In short – The above discussion throws up following important issues –

In short, the above discussion throws up following important issues –

  1. Importance of knowledge in education can not be denied. Purpose of education has unfortunately been misunderstood to mean acquiring as much academic knowledge as possible, leading towards award of degrees. But equally important is inculcating skills in all the vocations according to aptitude of different individuals through practical training for overall development of nation. Training in different vocations should be given when minds of individuals are still in formative stage. Training, along with sound education system becomes necessary for applying knowledge in real life.
  2. There is no doubt that modern education has given to India the key to the treasures of scientific and modern democratic thought. It is the West that has led the world in advancement in technology and science. It opened up the doors for liberal and rational thinking. It widened the mental horizons of Indian intelligentsia during nineteenth century. However, somewhere it got derailed and now the system of education at all the stages, from preliminary through secondary right up-to the college stage makes mind just a store-house of knowledge and discourages creative thinking.
  3. India surpasses the west by no small measure in matter culture. It is one of the oldest living culture in the whole world, despite hit after hit on it in the past during alien rule.
  4. For building an ideal structure for education, an amalgamation of eastern culture and western methods, liberal thinking and advancement in science and technology of the West would be the best for future generations. would be the best.
  5. The world is now a global village. Thanks to revolution in areas of information, communications technology and travel apparatus. It will be good if the forces of both – culture and systems – could be combined and a charter of an ideal education blueprint could be evolved for future generations. Why not we combine the forces of both these, Culture and Mechanics, and evolve a charter of an ideal education blueprint for our future generations. Technology advances have brought us to a stage where every concept is an option! Why not cash upon it.

June 14, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Wisdom, empowerment and Enlightenment

Wisdom, empowerment and Enlightenment

“Knowledge is power. Information is liberating” Kofi Annan

“Knowing others, is intelligence, knowing yourself is true wisdom”.
And
“Mastering others is strength, mastering yourself is true power.” Lao Tzu

Introduction – Everybody desires to be empowered enough to lead a happy, peaceful and comfortable life-style. But very few understand, how to manage it? More than empowerment, enlightenment is more necessary, because it is quite difficult to move on towards the right path. Wisdom keeps human mind away from confusion and always guides what to do, when to do and how to do.

One should be empowered enough to enjoy material success and fulfil all worldly desires. If  desires are suppressed, one day it may erupt like a volcano and create troubles. But simultaneously, it is also necessary to keep a balance between desires and righteousness and then move forward to achieve the desired dreams in a positive way. It is wisdom, discipline and self-restraint, that keeps an individual away from  negative forces. Knowledge is necessary for giving deeds or actions its due meaning, direction and value. Ignorance is considered to be leading to futile efforts destroying sense of direction.

Enlightenment – Hindu philosophy believes that the whole world of activities is a result of complex intermixing of three basic qualities of human nature – goodness (Satwa), Passion (Rajas) and dullness (Tamas). `Goodness is associated with purity, peace and knowledge; `Passion with comfort and action; and `Tamas with ignorance, sloth, sleep and carelessness. These qualities determine the tendencies, potentialities, limitations, traits and character of individuals and gave them direction for action. `Adharma (immoral behavior), Alasya (laziness) and Agyan (ignorance) are responsible for negative behavior like becoming victims of evils, unhappiness and miseries.

Hinduism shows a high regard for knowledge, wisdom, virtues, characters and will power. According to Hindu philosophy, senses are superior to body, mind is superior to senses and knowledge/wisdom/intellect is superior to mind. Bhagwat Gita’ suggests that human action/deed needs to be combined with wisdom/intellect for enlightenment and empowerment.

Empowerment – Meaning of empowerment and approach to be empowered differ from person to person and place to place. As Toffler says, there are three main sources of power – ‘knowledge, wealth, and muscle’. In a way, ‘empowerment is an inter-play of all these variables. During ancient times in agricultural societies, power was mainly based on force. After Industrial Revolution, wealth has become the source of power and in present times, due to revolutionary developments in information technology, empowerment basically needs knowledge.

Power achieved through money or force is short-lived. It can never lead to sustainable development of the poor and needy people. In agricultural society, power was based on force, in industrial societies on wealth and now in present information -technology period, it is based on knowledge. long long ago, even Chanakya also believed that knowledge is wealth. Knowledge was his greatest weapon, strength, asset and power through which he created emperors like Chandragupta Maurya and Ashoka.

It is difficult for a person of weak mind to resist temptations. Materialism influences weak minds easily and they become its victims. The desire to enjoy sensual pleasures and be happy in an easier way,  pushes people towards materialistic world. The desire to build  their comfort-zone without much efforts incites them to hold enough economic and political power in their hands, so that they can do what they want.

Positive and negative energies – There are choices before human beings to follow the path of positive thinking or opt for negative mindset. Developing positive attitude/thinking is not an easy task. For attaining it, one needs tremendous perseverance, hard work, and dedication and determination/will power.

Style of thinking and working of people with positive or negative attitude differs very much from each other. People having positive attitude are empowered in its true sense. Positive energies develops the mind, enlarges the vision, enlightens and guides a person to take wise actions with using one’s intellect.or wisdom. Wisdom/intellect needs to be developed to make mind and deeds rational. A mind governed by wisdom makes a person calm and content. 

Negative mindset – Negative mindset makes mind weak. Actions taken with weak mind is bridled with suspicion, lust and desires – mainly depending on emotions, impulses, hatred, greed and selfishness. It, quite often leads to agitation/aggression and discontentment.

Role of wisdom in empowerment – It is a reality that it is wisdom that empowers a human being and enlightens his/her path. Wisdom can be achieved:

  1. Through reflection, which is the noblest;
  2. Through imitation, which is easiest and
  3. By experiencing, which is the bitterest.”

Role of empowerment – ‘Empowerment’ or sharing of power has become a keyword of the modern political world. In politics, everything revolves around the world ’empowerment’.

Problems created by over-emphasizing ‘empowerment – Following are some of the problems –

  • Split in society – Recently, focus on empowerment has created split in society. The attention of the people on empowerment has given rise to the pursuance of sectional interests.
  • Encouragement to sectional interests over national interests – In the name of ‘empowerment’, various pressure groups are encouraged by the authorities to pursue their own sectional interests. Almost all the political parties make different kinds of promises to ‘empower’ the upcoming or deprived groups. They do not even hesitate to adopt such populist/paternalistic policies, which are against the national interest in a long run.
  • Means to grab the political power – Present day politicians care for knowledge only up-to the extent, so far as it enhances their chances of entering into the corridors of ‘power’ and control the levers of authority.
  • Rat race – Attitude to be ‘one up’ does not encourage healthy competition. Rather it pushes individuals/groups towards ‘rat-race’, pulls others down and care only for ‘I, my and me”.
  • Increasing corruption and manipulation – With this sole mission in their mind, most of the upcoming politicians concentrate on amassing more and more wealth/empires to buy muscle-power and conscience of common man. They concentrate their efforts/energies to acquire as much money as they can by hook or crook. There is no limit to their greed. The only mission is to hold so much economic and political power in their hands, so that they could lead a luxurious life-style on tax-payers money and whenever they or their supporters are caught doing something wrong, they can get away easily.
  • The word ‘empowerment’ exclusive not inclusive in nature – Empowerment, by nature is ‘exclusive’, which separates individuals/different sections of society starts a cut-throat competition amongst different individuals/sections of society/nations. The word ‘Empowerment’ generates excessive desire in individuals to establish their superiority/authority over others, so that they can control the destiny of others.

True Knowledge necessary for enlightenment – For enlightenment, acquisition of true knowledge is necessary. It is knowledge, which inculcates in a person, qualities like self-confidence, self-reliance, self-discipline, self-control and self-respect.

Sound education necessary for enlightenment as well as empowerment – True knowledge inculcates positive attitude, which ultimately leads towards happiness and prosperity. Wisdom depends on knowledge. Sound education is necessary to make people knowledgeable.

 Negative mindset – People with negative mind-set care about knowledge only up-to the extent, that enhances their chances of entering into the corridors of ‘power’, get control over levers of authority and over the destiny of masses. They concentrate on amassing wealth/empires to buy muscle-power and conscience of poor people.

Role of enlightenment in a democracy – It is said that democracy must be built through open  societies that share information. When there is information, there is enlightenment. When there is debate, there are solutions. When there is no sharing of right information, public remains ignorant and unresponsive. Then there is no accountability and abuse of power and corruption grows.

In many developing and underdeveloped democratic countries, politicians and political parties are generally not much interested in giving right information to the public or in maintaining law and order intact in the country. They are more interested in propaganda, creation of vote banks and grabbing power, to become PM (Prime Minister), CM (Chief Minister), DM  (District Magistrates) and GM (General Manager) by hook or crook and thus accessing more  space  in the corridor of power. It facilitates politicians to hold the reigns of state authority, to get control over the treasury of the nation, as well as over the destiny of masses/common men.

Many superficial measures have been taken by the government or other organizations (governmental or NGOs) to help and empower poor and underprivileged sections of society. So far, it has not yielded desired results. Why, because superficial measure or action can never empower a person or section of society.

The enforced measures of empowerment leads to conflicts. It is just like ‘Rob the Peter and give it to Paul’. The efforts for empowerment should be from within – be it an individual, a group within a society, a society or a nation. One’s own efforts and intellect can empower a person in its true sense and guide him how to apply his knowledge gainfully. Lack of intellect leads a person to vices like egoism, superiority/inferiority complex etc.. In addition, it creates many more problems. Only intellect can control human mind and lead it towards Enlightenment. When intellect becomes weak, negative thinking and irrationality take over..

How to become empowered – Lao Tzu says “Mastering others is strength, mastering yourself is true power.” True empowerment can be achieved not through holding political power or access/entry/influence in the corridors of authority/power, but through ‘Enlightenment’/true wisdom’.

Emphasis only on empowerment leads to rat race – Present day’s scenario more emphasis is given to “Empowerment” without understanding what ‘empowerment’ really means and how to make people really empowered. Such an approach has led to a rat race between different sections of society for being one-up by hook or crook.

Too much emphasis on the word ‘empowerment’ incites/agitates the minds of people and generates negative energy in them. It has done irreparable loss to the society and given rise to different kinds of problems.

‘Empowerment’ of ‘Haves-nots – Almost all the societies are divided into two sections – ‘haves’ and ‘haves-not’. There is unrest in the minds of ‘Haves-not’. They also desire and naturally so, to lead a peaceful and comfortable life-style. Modern politicians allure poor by talking too much about ‘empowerment’. They are not concerned so much about the advancement of poor section of society, as about creating vote-banks necessary for holding the reigns of state authority/power.

False promises to allure poor masses – In the modern materialistic and consumerist world, everyday many new gadgets are coming in the market every-day, which makes the life more comfortable. But for majority of people, it is difficult to afford it. Many a times, it becomes difficult for the poor people or persons with weak minds to resist the temptations. False promises of present day politicians attract such persons easily.

Enlightenment ‘inclusive’ by nature – Enlightenment develops respect for positive attitude, right knowledge and respect for truth and ethical values. It teaches people ‘United we stand, divided we fall’. It inculcates in people an attitude to work for common good, to support each other and move forward together. It guides people to keep their ‘ego’ under control. The only way to control it lies within each human being.

Acceptance for others – Enlightenment tells people to be respectful to others knowledge. Access to knowledge through sound system of education is the basic right of every human being. As Jyotirao Phule has said “Lack of ‘Education’ leads to lack of ‘Wisdom’; which leads to lack of ‘Morals’; which leads to lack of ‘Progress’; which leads to lack of ‘Money’; ‘which leads to ‘Oppression’ of vulnerable classes.”

Conclusion – ‘Enlightenment, not empowerment, is the real source of power’. ‘Enlightenment’ through self-introspect can only lead to sustainable development and true ‘empowerment’, not through extraneous/artificially/superficially imposed measures. Focus on ‘empowerment’ by superficial means quite often leads to negative attitude. ‘Enlightenment’ through right kind of knowledge makes people intelligent, generates positive energies in them and leads to their sustainable development.

Resist temptations? – For making mind strong enough to resist temptations, one has to raise the level of consciousness. Human mind has three dimensions – conscious, sub-conscious and super-conscious mind. Once the conscious mind is regulated, sub-conscious and super-conscious state of mind automatically gets controlled.
Conscience is always guided by intellect. Intellect automatically develops the inherent potential of individuals and keeps them away from lust and greed. Only ‘intellect’, knowledge, education and positive attitude of enlightened persons can make them so powerful that they can contribute to make a difference for betterment and not to indulge themselves in sinful activities for their self-interest. It would ultimately bring in prosperity and transform the whole society.

June 9, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Discrimination, caste system and Reservation Policy of Modern India

         “There can be no reason or rhyme/justification for irrational acts by irrational people.”

Introduction

National policies and plans can not be formulated on the basis of irrational acts by a few irrational people. Also it would not be right to blame the whole system or a society for their irresponsible acts. It is not desirable to pass on comments based on half cooked information, half a truth, partial or incomplete knowledge, which could be harmful for the whole society. Many a times, irresponsible acts of some irrational and cynic persons create misunderstandings.

Issue

Quite often, caste system has been criticized as being highly discriminatory. The British rulers had condemned the Caste system strongly before the Independence. Now many political parties, many intellectuals Dalit activists and their leaders have joined them. They are born, educated and brought-up in an atmosphere, which is deeply influenced by rhymes and reasons of western societies.

Needs an analysis

Blaming caste system for all discriminatory practices or suggesting bringing to an end a well established and accepted system in the name of discrimination, needs to be given a second thought. For understanding the problem, answer of the following questions with an impartial, rational, sensitive and perceptive mindset is required – 

  • Are really the practices and values of caste-system problematic and complicated? 
  • Is it the caste-system, which is responsible for discrimination and exploitation of weaker/ unprivileged sections of society?
  • What is the position of different castes as it exists presently in ground realities?

Reality is much deeper than what is seen on the surface. One should not form an opinion or take a decision without analyzing rationally the whole scenario. Many misconceptions have been spread around about caste-system of India and its nature by vested interests of certain people during the last few centuries.  

Discrimination everywhere

Discrimination in one form or other exists in all the social, political and economic systems/institutions, whether it is big or small allover the world in some form or the other. It exists even within as small an institution as a family. Vulnerable individuals or weaker sections of society have always become an easy prey for discrimination. Within a family, vulnerable family members like children, old or widowed parents, poor relatives or unemployed youth become an easy prey of discrimination. And in a society, poor, illiterate and ignorant people usually become victims of exploitation.

Intolerance reason behind discrimination

Usually, in every society, differences in behavior, character, education, language, way of life, culture, social background create a distance between two individuals or groups. Resistance to tolerate, adapt or appreciate each other widens the distance. Some become so aggressive that they openly abuse or oppress others. In order to be one up, either they let down others or try to control their destiny by adopting discriminatory practices. And in this rat-race, stronger always wins and weaker suffers.

Grounds for discrimination

In every society and a nation there exists numerous identities based on factors like race, class, caste, religion, gender, language or region. Craving for more power – muscle, money or political – of some individuals or groups tends people to adopt discriminatory practices. Discriminatory practices work on whims and fancies/likes and dislikes of strong persons. Controlling the destiny of others satisfies their ego and serves their interests.

Racism and Western World

Racism is a much more serious problem than caste in matter of discrimination, as it is based on the color of the skin, which can not be hidden. Societies in Western World are divided sharply into four water-tight compartments. “Whites” at the top of social hierarchy, then comes Yellows (Japanese, Chinese or Philippines) followed by “Browns” (Indians, Pakistanis and people from other South-Eastern nations and at the bottom “Blacks”. The western world is witnessing a rise in white supremacist movements. Last two categories have always been humiliated. They have to struggle to get suitable jobs according to their qualifications. They are forced to work for less money, accused for snatching jobs from “whites” and having slavish mentality.

Treatment to Indian students in western nations

Every year, on an average 430,000 odd Indian students go to Western nations for further studies. Recently in Australia, Indians, Pakistanis along with Vietnamese students of middle-class background are being targeted, racially abused, insulted, ridiculed and assaulted physically now and then by Whites. They take bank loans, borrow money and pass through many difficulties to get a degree from foreign university. Life is not easy for them in any way. They have to work very hard to fund their education there.

Despite everything the exodus of students from upper castes continues because due to reverse discrimination policies, they are being treated as second rate citizens in their own country. It is an anomaly that Western society, where discrimination on racial grounds has always been a part of life (only it is being highlighted by media now), wants to reform India.

Caste system and British rulers

In the past, British rulers in India, while laying foundation of democratic institutions of India, started many discriminatory practices. In order to keep balance of power and counter Brahmins hold on Indian society passed some discriminatory Acts like Act of 1919 (Minto Morely Reforms)or Communal Award of 1932.Till 1947, they kept their railway compartments, waiting rooms, parks, clubs, hotels, places of other entertainment and residences segregated.

Two aspects of caste system have amazed the British rulers in the past –

  • influence of Caste system on Indian society; 
  • Reluctance of its people to convert into other religions, on the ground that all religions are valid.  

Dalit Activists and caste system

Dalit Activists criticize caste system vehemently and hold it responsible for keeping 750 million Hindus – dalits, tribals and other backward classes – poor, “subjugated, discriminated against and humiliated.” “Technologies for human survival …. were all developed by lower castes”, but “upper castes took away the fruits of their labour and invention.” “In the hearts of the oppressed castes, there is anger and hatred.” ‘Social-justice’ demands their emancipation by ending all kind of discrimination.

There are two options: “either complete equality to Dalit Bahujan communities or their conversion into other religions.” Such comments of Dalit Activists and political leaders arouse emotional sentiments of poor masses, generate venom in their heart and create a feeling of ‘otherness’.

According to Pr. Kancha Ilaiah, an activist, complete equality means –

  • Embracing all lower castes,
  • Eating with them,
  • Treating them as their equal, and
  • An end to the allegation that they are merit-deficient.

Inspite of all such comments, it is the lower segment of society, which is sticking strongly to its caste-identities. 

India and ‘Caste’ as a ‘System’

Caste is a very old and indigenous system, conceptualized, developed and practiced exclusively in India. It is difficult for the western world to understand its role – past or present – in Indian society or because of its complete localization and unfamiliarity to see it in its totality.

Strong features of ‘caste-system’

The strength of caste system has been proved by the following facts:

  • Despite centuries of foreign rule over 75% of Indian population remains Hindu and have strong feelings for caste-system.
  • Had caste system become obsolete, it would have given place to other system.
  • Caste system has influenced all other communities living in India.

Following are the strong features of ‘caste’ as a system –

  • Assimilation of different social groups without conversion– In the past, caste assimilated numerous social groups – immigrants, locals, tribal, professionals or others into its mainstream without any conversion. It assigned each incoming new group a separate caste identity and made them its integral part in due course of time.
  • This way, neither it disturbed its existing internal social order nor prevented new groups to join the mainstream. It did not annihilate their faith, way of living, internal order, customs, culture or language. Instead, it gave them freedom to prosper according to their internal rhythm.
  • Caste regarded as a natural institution by Hindus – Indian society regards family, extended family, Kula, Caste and religion as fundamental social institutions. An individual is a natural member of a family, which is a unit of an extended family, extended family of Kula, Kula of a tribe (Vish) – and a tribe of a Jana of Jati (Caste). Caste is second only to the family in widening a person’s social radius and in getting importance in his/her private and occupational life.
  • Equal status to all within a caste – All the members within a caste enjoy equal social status vise-a-vise other castes. Caste values, beliefs, prejudices, injunctions as well as distortions of reality become an indivisible part of a person’s psyche and conscience. They share moments of joy and sorrow.
  • It is a common sense that a person’s relation with his own caste-members is closer than with those belonging to other castes. Internalized caste norms define an individual role in the society. A person feels good and loved, when he lives up to these norms, and anxious and guilty, when he transgresses them.
  • Caste, providing social security and stability – Earlier, instead of government, elders of each caste (having sense of belonging, not a desire to exercise authority) used to take care of maintaining discipline within the caste and helped its destitute/helpless members. Caste provided to all its members social security and stability. Even as today, it does so in rural areas. Each caste still maintains its own rules, regulations, customs, and way of life and controls the conduct of its members. It encourages self-discipline, conscious, self-control, and self-direction.
  • Castes as a series of vertical parallels – The key, to understand the caste system, is not in seeing it as a framework of hierarchical layers of social order, each fitting neatly below the other, as pointed out by census operations done during imperial rule, but as a series of vertical parallels. Each caste is an independent entity, with its own hierarchy, based either on a tribal identity or an occupational identity.
  • Inter-dependence an integral part of caste system – In ancient and medieval India, all people living in a village or city were bound together by economic and social ties. All castes living in a local area, whether high or low, had a strong bond of mutual dependence, caring, sharing and supporting each other in fulfilling different kind of needs. There was hardly any room for any section of society to consider itself, as being placed in greater or lesser disadvantageous position with reference to another. Concept of forwards or backwards or feeling of exploitation of lower strata by upper castes was almost non-existent at that time. Industrialization and modernization have changed the scene.

Critics on caste system 

Some people blame Caste system for its being ‘discriminatory’ in nature. They say, it serves the interests of “haves “and enhances the agonies of “have-nots”. But it is an anomaly, that still it is only the ‘have-nots’, who cling more tightly to their caste identities today.

Caste system has been criticized for –

  • Giving importance to birth -_Caste system has been alleged for giving rise to disparities in the society, because it gives importance to birth in determining social status of a person. But same is the position in Western world also, where wealth determines social status. Wealth is also acquired through birth. There also exists a sharp distinction between the Aristocratic/elite society and common man.

Critics claim that for centuries in the past and even at present, people born in lower castes have been suppressed or oppressed by people belonging to upper castes. Upper castes are accountable and punishable for the miseries of lower caste. They should make reparations for the sins/historical wrong done by their ancestors.

How far this allegation and its remedy is correct? Justice ‘Social, economic and political’ never allows punishing somebody else for the crimes committed by others.

  • No access to education – It is alleged that upper castes has kept its monopoly on education to reinforce its traditional dominance and prevented lower castes from getting educated. When British rulers allowed legally admission to all irrespective of caste or creed in government schools, higher castes opposed admission of the children belonging to lower strata.

It is only a half truth. British rulers did not bother much about mass education. It was not so much because of discrimination, that backward castes were debarred or denied access to education, as for –

Modern education system was very costly and therefore, unaffordable by masses. The costly nature of education tended to make it a monopoly of the richer classes and city dwellers. 

  • The medium of instruction was a foreign language – English.
  • Lower-castes did see any immediate use of education. It was more important for them to work and arrange two square meals day rather than spending on education.

However, an impoverished group caste Hindus in search of livelihood looked upon modern education as means to earn their living respectfully and devoted their scarce resources on it.

The relentless effort of missionaries and the reformers could educate a very small number of people from lower-castes.

  • Ranking

In the past, ranking of different social groups was done on some principles. Self-discipline, hygiene, cleanliness, morality, knowledge, spirituality of different social groups i.e. castes and usefulness of their work to the society as a whole were the considerations, which determined the social, economic or political status of a group in society vise-a vise others. Higher a caste, purer it was considered, and greater were the self-restrictions on its behavior through rituals.

  • Mobility 

Mobility of individuals from one caste to another was restricted in the past. But upward mobility of a group in the social scale was though difficult, but not impossible. Ancient India had allowed upward mobility of a caste through good deeds – by adopting more orthodox practices, cleaner habits, self-discipline and observance of rituals or the position of a caste could be improved. This way, lower-castes were encouraged to follow discipline in life.

Now different castes prefer to be called backwards. They are racing to get a tag of backward castes, so that they can avail the benefits of quota fixed for backward castes in jobs an.

  • Wealth – Doors for honor or wealth were always open to deserving individuals/groups of any caste. History is the proof that even the lowest rank attained even sovereignty in India such as Maratha Kings, who fought their way up-to the throne against Mohammedan and commanded respect of all Indians. From fourteenth to the eighteenth century, soldiers came from all strata of society including the lowest in the ritual term. There was no discrimination in the recruitment and treatment of soldiers on caste basis. Rajput status was given to soldiers.
  • Occupation

Critics of Caste system allege that there was no freedom/choice to individuals in matter of occupation in the past. They were forced people to employ themselves in hereditary occupations. This allegation is not wholly truth.

In ancient Europe and Asia also, occupations were not only hereditary, but also limited it to be followed by specific classes only. It was considered natural and convenient for a person to do a job, which he knew, the knowledge of which, he acquired in a natural way.

  • Changes brought in by Industrial revolution

It was the industrial revolution, which had changed the trend. Now total aversion of modern youth from their traditional occupation has rendered millions unemployed or underemployed or confused about what they want to do. They waste their time, energy and efforts in search of white collared jobs rather than pursuing jobs, which suits to their knowledge, aptitude and qualifications. There is more job-satisfaction, happiness, success or contentment in doing a job, one knows well rather than in stepping on someone else’s toes.

Sir John Shore, who was Governor General of India during 1793-1798, observed that there was considerable latitude in matter of work in India. Among many castes, it was constantly found that one brother pursuing hereditary vocation and another entering army. HT Colebrooke also confirms it, “It may be received as a general maxim that occupation appointed for each tribe is entitled merely to a preference. Every profession, with few exceptions, was open to every description of persons and the discouragement arising from religious prejudices is not greater than what exists in Great Britain from the effects of Municipal and Corporate laws.”

  • Alternative ideologies to provide breathing space

In the past, whenever rigidities and discriminatory practices of society in the name of caste system suffocated Indian society, there arose alternative ideologies or styles of life, which gave people breathing space. Rise of Buddhism in Ancient India, Sufi tradition of Islam and Bhakti movement of Hindus in medieval India (around 10th century), and reform movements of 19th and 20th centuries taught sympathetic attitude towards lesser human beings, brotherly love for each other and fellowship, love and respect all human beings irrespective of caste or creed and rejected practice of elaborate rituals and caste pretensions.

Modern India

Most of the allegations against caste system, which were there in the past, can not be justified now in modern India. Process of modernization, industrialization, spread of education and growing awareness among masses have already brought to an end slowly but steadily many of the discriminatory practices of Caste system. It has become more liberal and less restrictive in all walks of life. Castes no longer enjoy legal or religious sanctions. Expulsion from castes means little, while earlier it meant complete social ostracism. Old style of authority and power exercised by caste-elders has already diminished. Restrictions or interactions between different castes arising due to considerations for purity and pollution are fading away from public life even from rural areas. Traditional barriers on marriage, hereditary occupations and commonality are loosing its importance.

Constitution of India

Preamble of the Indian Constitution promises to secure to all its citizens: JUSTICE, social, economic and political; LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship; EQUALITY of status and of opportunity; and to promote among them all FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation. Article 15 of the Constitution prohibits any kind of discrimination on grounds of caste, race, religion, gender or place of birth; Article 16 gives equality of opportunity in matter of public employment, Article 338 creates National commission for Scheduled Castes to safeguard their interests etc.

Legislations for equal opportunities

A number of amendments in the Constitution and legislation have been passed to remove the disabilities of backward people. Untouchability has been declared a crime. Bonded labor is abolished by law. Civil Rights Act, 1955, aims to eliminate injustice against weaker sections. Amendment to Prevention of Atrocities Act (SCT) 1989 provides for stern punishments for offenses committed against SCT by Upper Castes. Special Courts, under SCT Act, have been established for punishing officials, if found guilty. Still, there is no respite from discriminatory practices. Why?

Reasons for the miseries of downtrodden

There are many reasons, why people do not get respite from discriminatory practices. There is no denial of the fact that with the passage of time, and for a long time, living under alien rule, caste system had developed many deformities. The system became too rigid to keep its identity continuing. Still it is not so much because of the caste-system, but because of bad politics and poor governance, that millions of people have still to suffer discrimination and exploitation in modern India. Some of the causes are as following –

  • Emergence of Political Identities

During their imperial rule, the British had divided the Indian society into five major groups, giving each one an independent political identity based on the political power and the amount of wealth, they hold. The water-tight compartmentalization of Indian society had been done by Censuses during British rule into Minorities, Scheduled Castes, now popularly known as Dalits or SCs, Scheduled Tribes (STs), Other Backward castes (OBCs) and Higher Castes.

  • Political compartmentalization of Indian society

Modern Indian society has been polarized on caste and communal basis into following unbridgeable sections – Upper castes, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled tribes, Other Backward Class and Minorities. Stratification of Indian society has been done in most insensitive manner for the purpose of balancing the power. It has become a bye-word for Indian politicians.

  • Poor execution of rules and regulations

Indian society is sharply divided into two broad divisions- “haves” and “have-nots”. The most important factors responsible for disparities are present-day-politics, irrational and corrupt ways of pursuing the paternal policies of the government at cetral and State levels and government’s failure to address real issues.

  • Use of ‘Caste’ as the most powerful tool to create vote-banks

 ‘Caste’ has become for the present-day political leaders as the easiest and most powerful tool to sway public emotionally and to create a larger vote bank. It may be called ossification of caste-system fallen into the hands of power brokers and vote guzzlers.

  • Priority to abstract issues in order to divert public attention

Day in and day out, public attention is being diverted from real issues and public sentiments are aroused by floating in political world abstract issues like discrimination, social justice, affirmative action/reservations, secularism. Sectional interests are being promoted on caste basis. Real issues like mass-scale illiteracy, poverty, unemployment, inflation, deteriorated law and order situation, increasing violence or general coarsening of moral fiber of the Indian society are pushed into the background.

  • Centralization of control systems

There is complete centralization of control systems in the hands of a few individuals, families and groups irrespective of castes or creed. They have enough money, muscle and political power plus and the support of criminals.  They are flourishing day by day and control almost all the national resources. They enjoy life at cost of tax-payers. This very small section of society virtually controls the destiny of millions. They have a say in almost every walk of national life.

  • Corruption

Corruption has become a major/perennial impediment to implement various developmental schemes. Ignorance and pessimist attitude of masses makes corrupt persons bold. Once the public raises its voice against arbitrary behavior/actions of powerful lobby, all discrimination and malpractices would get automatically controlled.

  • Aversion form human, moral or traditional values

Aversion of people from human, moral or traditional values has aggravated the problem. The total concentration of educated people is on pursuit of money and materialistic pleasures by hook or crook. Favoritism, in-discipline, violence, corruption, and chase of materialism based on ruthless competition have given sharp rise to disparities and discrimination. It leads to cut-throat competition and creates rift amongst different groups. Political expediency and opportunism has made sectional forces more assertive/aggressive in attitude and vocal about their rights but ignores duties.

  • Reconcile the claims of growth with the claims of equity

It is one of the big challenges for the government to reconcile the claims of growth with the claims of equity. Compassion, sensitivity, equality or fraternity can not be imposed or enforced by any outside agency or authority. Such a step may prove to be a cause of social unrest. It has to be in-built in the social economic and political system of a country through education and awareness – education, which is the source of knowledge and power; and awareness, which comes from availability of information.

  • Narrow loyalties of caste and religion

Narrow loyalties of caste and religion are encouraged generating sub-cultures like caste-ism, favoritism, and lure for easy money, nepotism, parochialism, communalism, regionalism, bigoted sentiments and irresponsible comments, spreading in-discipline in the society. The rising aspirations and demands of people, with the spread of education and awareness, has created added problem for the government.

  • Discriminatory measures taken by the Government

In Independent India, Governments at centre and the provinces are continuously thrusting upon the public many discriminatory/lofty/populist rules, regulations and policies in the name of helping “poor masses”. Common men especially belonging to upper castes feel threatened, helpless and suffer from discriminatory policies of the government. Protective policies and laws can neither convert an iniquitous Society into an equitable one, nor does it help in any way the vulnerable, oppressed and submerged masses.

Most of measures taken by the Governmental authorities touch the problems superficially at its periphery only. Most of the solutions pursued by the government are totally unrelated to day to day problems of common man in real life. Instead of benefiting or helping the poor, on one hand such developmental programs increase corruption, and on the other it encourages lethargy, agitation and attitude to depend on authorities for each and everything.

Reservation policy’ as a tool to end discrimination

Successive governments both at the centre and provinces are trying to tackle problem of discrimination and disparity by openly favouring policies of ‘reverse discrimination’, which give more importance to distribute power on pro-rata basis by fixing quota. The sustainable development of submerged sections can be achieved by providing quality of education to everybody and making people aware of different opportunities available to them.

Reservation policy can hardly be able to bring in desired transformation in the society. In a democratic country, discrimination anywhere or in any form – be it positive or negative – is the most objectionable thing. The problem of discrimination or disparities can not be tackled by fixing up quotas or by adopting the path of reverse discrimination or treating a few sections of society more than equals by entitling them for preferential treatment by the governmental agencies in different spheres of life.

Political leaders of various political parties desire to fix up quotas in all governmental institutions for different sections of society on pro-rata basis. Such a demand is based on negative exhortations. The government’s policy of Reservation in jobs and education has resulted in a tough competition amongst various castes to demand a lower status, so that they can also avail more concessions and facilities.

Under-currents of caste politics have made the government incapable to solve the burning national issues. It has made to maintain law and order difficult. Inter-caste and intra-caste, inter-community and intra-community and inter-tribal and intra-tribal conflicts are increasing day by day in order to get more space in the corridors of power.

Meaning of ‘No Discrimination’

‘No discrimination’ does not mean sharing power equally. Everybody can not be accommodated in power echelons especially in India having a population of more than thousand million people. It means a harmonious partnership between people belonging to different sections of society and the authorities responsible for governance. Governance should be done on the basis of mutual help, mutual respect and mutual trust. Governance is a continuing process, through which conflicting interests and diverse needs of all the people are looked-after and a cooperative action is taken.

Pathetic condition of upper castes belonging to poor and middle class

Middle class has always been the backbone of society. Now the voice of upright and honest people belonging to middle class is being continuously throttled mercilessly. They are being punished for following sincerely family-planning norms, which has decreased their numbers. In present day vote-bank politics based on game of numbers, it is very easy now for the pursuers of political power to sideline them.

Lower castes more tenacious about their caste-identity

Today lower castes, which are more tenacious about their caste than the higher, could be easily swayed emotionally in the name of caste-based reservations. Reservations Policy has given the ‘backwards’ an identity as a composite and powerful political pressure group. They have grouped together and increased their numerical strength. It has helped them to emerge as a powerful and assertive pressure group and unite, organize and fight vigorously for the seats of power.

A large number of educated people of so-called ‘Backward-castes’ have already entered into the corridors of power and are occupying important places, exercising authority. Dalits and Muslims are being wooed with vigor by all major national political parties. Even Naxalite groups find in Dalits an allies, as most of their action squads are formed of Harijans. No political party could dare to annoy them. All concede to their demands openly or discreetly.

The transformation of untouchables into Harijans, Depressed class and now Dalits is a classic example, where a fraction of society is increasingly distancing itself from the mainstream and establishing firmly its separate identity. The organized intolerance of some groups due to over-consciousness about their separate identity has grown out of proportions now, perpetuating agitation and violence. They desire a complete hold on political power plus protection of those laws and policies indefinitely, which were started sixty years ago for enabling them to join the mainstream. They want to have a cake and eat it too, but without much effort or blending their ways. 

Conclusion

It is a matter of shame that after giving so much constitutional and government protection to weaker sections, incidents of discrimination keep on increasing. Instead of over-looking the interests of the whole society or whole of the nation, it is desirable that law-implementing machinery should get tough on perpetrators of injustice. Discriminatory practices or oppression of weaker sections of society is unacceptable to the whole of humanity.

Instead of blaming an invisible institution (caste-system) for discrimination, deep wisdom and honesty of purpose is needed to find out right methods and courage to strive for it sincerely.

So-called ‘Backward castes’ need to understand the spirit of Indian Constitution and try to adapt thinking, culture and life-style of the mainstream of the nation. Otherwise, there will always be cultural rifts, both in their lives and minds, threatening the unity of the nation from time to time.

Today, when the whole world is reeling between economic depression and and terrorism, people expect from the government to bring in change in economic situation and in fight against terrorism. Hate, jealousy, anxiety or fear leads to violence and give rise to wars, riots, antagonisms and class or caste conflicts.

After-effects of the great economic depression of 2008 has brought many social and economic changes and aggravated the problems for present government. The GDP growth has fallen there, business investment has dipped alarmingly. Unemployment has risen.

Therefore, Government needs to be very careful, while planning for measures – developmental or punitive – to be taken. The needs and aspirations of the people as a whole should be taken care of by the government, not of any specific section of the society.

Present atmosphere demands to resolve sensibly the differences and clashes of interests peacefully with rational thinking and understanding for each other. For a change, India needs collective nation building efforts of both the authorities and the public with a sense of justice, commitment to the nation, understanding for each other and consciousness about duties along with rights.

Winding up

Following steps could to be taken to bring to an end discrimination of any kind –

  • First of all, government should find out root causes of discrimination and deprivation,
  • Government should identify without bias vulnerable groups, which are discriminated against by the present modern society. It should not be on the basis of caste.
  • Identify the special needs or problems of each group separately,
  • Accordingly plan about the measures to be taken to protect the interests of vulnerable individuals.
  • Well meaning judicious laws, which could directly improve day today life of common men, should be carefully legislated.
  • Such laws should not remain only on papers but have to be executed/implemented in real life for dealing with social injustice effectively.
  • To give relief to ‘Have-nots’, the way out is to tackle effectively local crimes against common man whether in rural or urban areas and improve law and order position.
  • The money meant for the development purposes should actually be spent for which it is intended i.e. the betterment of submerged sections of society.
  • Power generally rests with physical strength, wealth and knowledge. Knowledge brings in both physical strength and wealth. Therefore, stress on knowledge through ‘education for all’ should be the top priority for the government for empowerment of weaker sections, which are victims of discrimination.
  • Widespread human rights violations should be stopped by punishing the culprits.
  • It is necessary to put honest and right persons at crucial positions. There are very few people, who have the knowledge/understanding what to do, how to do and when to do;

A strong political will and courage is needed to bring to an end caste-ism and with it all kinds of discriminatory attitudes, repressive laws and practices. For the prosperity of the nation and tension-free/stress-free life of common man, as suggested by First Backward class Commission’s Chairman Kaka Kalelkar in mid fifties, “National solidarity in a democratic set up demands Government to recognize only two ends – the individual at one end and the nation as a whole at the other. Nothing should be encouraged to organize itself in between these two ends to the detriment of the freedom of the individual and solidarity of the nation. All communal and denominational organizations and groupings of lesser and narrower units have to be watched carefully, so that they do not jeopardize the national solidarity and do not weaken the efforts of the nation to serve the various elements in the body politic with equity. Mutual help, mutual respect and mutual trust are the touchstone, on which all communal and denominational activities will be tested.”

May 29, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Policy of Reservations in government jobs

         

“Authority without wisdom is like a heavy axe without an edge”

Ann

“Work is worship. There is no substitute for hard-work”

INTRODUCTION ­

Biggest experiment of Twentieth century – Policy of Reservations in government jobs is one of the biggest experiments in the history of Twentieth Century. It is a very sensitive issue. It was started to uplift the submerged sections of Indian society, to protect their rights and to overcome the cumulative disparities of power, wealth and culture existed among various sections of society. From its very nature, the policy is discriminatory and exclusive. It empowers state authorities to give preference to one or more groups in the society to exclusion of others and encroach on domain of right to ‘equality to all’. Of late, it has become a source of considerable controversy, as it also involves emotional feelings of right-conscious people.

“Reservation in Government services” – Reservations in government services involves two contradictory principles – one, the principle of “Efficiency in administration” and the other the principle of “Social justice”. Reservation Policy aims at improving the lot of backward sections of society and empowering them for a better future. For a successful administration the keynote is efficiency, which means right people on right positions at right time.

An efficient administration can provide convenience to the public at large, and attain the developmental and welfare goals of the nation within time and cost parameters. It could secure maximum results with minimum labour and resources. However, Reservation policy suggests, as understood by Indian authorities, to appoint less- qualified persons on the crucial positions of power structure by relaxing the standards and fixing up a separate quota for each of its weaker sections.

Issues

The question arises, is it possible to find out a way, which can keep a balance between the two contradictory principles? Is it not desirable to make weaker sections strong and eligible first and then facilitate their entry into such services of the nation? How can a capable and confident team from amongst vast majority of backward people be prepared to shoulder responsibilities of administration judiciously?

What is Reservation Policy

Dictionary meaning of Reservations – According to the “New Webster Dictionary”, reservation means “Keeping aside something for some specific purpose.” In the Indian context, Reservation Policy refers to a situation, wherein to uplift the sub-merged section of society, some jobs and other facilities are especially reserved in various institutions/organizations, so that they could be brought back into the national main-stream.

Historical background

Social systems and values in India – Hindu society was classified in four functional groups known as “Varna” – the Brahmins to preach, the Kshatriyas to rule and defend the community, the Vaishyas to carryon the business and the Shudras to do the menial jobs for the society as a whole. Ancient Indian society was dominated by Hindu community. It had produced an excellent culture. Though there existed no political entity as an Independent Nation-State except for a brief period, but its culture had bound the people of this peninsula for ages from one end to the other. The system worked well for a long time. So much and so, that India was known as ‘Sone ki Chiriya’ ( A Bird of Gold)

Developed deformity with passage of time – In ancient India, numerous social groups came to India in waves at different points of time and desired to join the mainstream. All of them were assimilated into it without any conversion by giving each one a different caste name. It gave rise to the caste-system.

Then Turks, Afghans and Mughals continuously invaded India. Earlier, they drained out the wealth of the nation to foreign lands. But afterwards, they conquered and made India their homeland. There had been alien rule in the country for centuries, first of Mughals rule and then of British. As time passed, there developed many distortions. The society got divided into innumerable castes and sub-castes within each of four Varnas. Disparity and inequality grew amongst them with the passage of time.

Pathetic condition of Shudras and untouchables – By the beginning of twentieth century, the most pathetic condition was that of Shudras. They were illiterate and economically deprived. There was discrimination against the Shudras in every sphere of life, from living to work to social status. Worst of all was the position of “Untouchability”.

Reformative movements of nineteenth and twentieth centuries – From time to time, nationalist leaders and social reformers tried to remove the inequality and injustice prevalent in the society. At times, the lower caste people themselves rebelled against prejudices. Efforts to uplift them and eliminate all forms of exploitation started with the emergence of Reformative movements during the end of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth century like Arya Samaj initiated by Swami Dayanand, or “Achutodhar” by Gandhiji.

Intelligentsia of that period gave serious thought to the problem and conveyed the message that the inequality in the society should be finished. It was also impressed upon the masses that “Abhava” (Scarcity), “Agyan” (Ignorance), “Annyaya” (Injustice), and “Alasya” (Laziness) were the sources of all the evils prevalent in the society.

Concurrently, the British government in India chose to help the weaker section of the society by opening up the doors of education for all and bestowing upon them some special concessions and preferences through the policy of fixing up Quotas (former form of  ‘Reservation policy’) for different communities in the later half of the Nineteenth century.

Start of ‘Quota system’ in India

Deprivation no longer acceptable in modern world – Various revolutions like the French revolution, Bolshevik revolution, Industrial revolution and other contemporary developments during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries made the people alert and aware of their rights. Misery, ignorance and economic deprivation, which were ear liar accepted as one’s lot, were no longer acceptable.

Masses desired to get benefitted from the resources of the nation – Masses started wishing that they themselves should be benefited, as much as possible, from the resources of their nation. Millions of people started demanding with persisting insistence better facilities in life – they demanded protection from five major evils of an underdeveloped or developing society – want, disease, ignorance, squalor and idleness.

Desire to establish a new economic order – The public desired to go forward quickly and to establish a new economic order, in which common man and weaker section of society could have better deal. It forced the national governments to take upon themselves the responsibility of protecting and nurturing them in such a manner that they got enough opportunities to grow, to their fullest stature.

Scene after World-War II – After World War II, “Laissezfaire” theory of government’s function gave way to the concepts of “Welfare State”, and “Development Administration”. These concepts aimed at bringing about “Social, political and economic justice” and “Betterment to the lot of the submerged sections of the society” by building up a rapidly expanding and technologically progressive economy, in which the downtrodden could have a better deal.

With the general acceptance of these concepts all-over the world, the national governments gradually assumed the responsibility of welfare of all its citizens from “Womb to tomb”. Specific concessions, protections and assistance were given to the weaker sections of society in one form or the other all-over the world. In India, one of such protections adopted has been “Reservation Policy”.

Many Provincial Governments, especially those in the South, had fixed up quotas for different castes and minorities in educational institutions and government jobs. It was done much before Dr. Ambedkar demanded Reservations in Government jobs and separate electorate for the backward castes – a demand conceded by the British Governments in 1932.

Interestingly enough the Government of India Act, 1935, did not contain any specific provision for reservation. It, however, contained a few Sections (Section 275 and 298) which indirectly dealt with the subject through “Negative Protection” to those suffering from disability by reasons of race, religion, place of birth, descent, colour or any of them. The reservations in the Central services started since 1943, whereas the ST’s became eligible for reservations since 1950.

Scene after Independence

There has been a perplexing diversity in geography, culture, caste, religion and language in India. Along with it, there has been a great disparity between different sections of society – socially and economically. The attention of national leaders was drawn towards illiteracy, ignorance, superstitions, and taboos on food, drink and marriages, social segregation, lack of communication, living in inaccessible areas, unhealthy loyalties, continuing discrimination and lack of security­ economic, social and legal.

To give underprivileged a fair start – National leaders desired that in the free nation, every individual should be given fair start, equal opportunity and square deal in the struggle for survival, To give these downtrodden a fair start, the Constitution framers allowed the central and state governments to make provisions for reservations for ten years and empowered the Parliament to extend the period, if required. The aim was purely to uplift and absorb lower strata of society into the echelons of power.

Primary Goals – After independence, India, being a democratic country pursued the principles of ‘Welfare State’ and ‘Social Justice’ after the Independence.The primary goals, set by the Constitution framers, for the independent India were:

  • To build a self-reliant nation through optimal utilisation of its resources.
  • To establish an egalitarian and tolerant society based on the principles of justice, social economic and political, and
  • To ensure to everyone equality of status and opportunity.

Views of some of the members of Constituent Assembly

  • BR Ambedkar – According to Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, the founder of reservation policy in India, ‘Principle of Varna’ is responsible for start of reservation as a government policy. ‘Varna system’ has divided Hindu society into four groups – Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas (Savarna Hindus) (Savarna Hindus) (Savarna Hindus) (Savarna Hindus) and Shudras (Avarna Hindus), which included Low Castes, Primitive Tribes, Untouchables and Criminals. It was the pathetic condition of Avarna Hindus, who were far away from the mainstream and progressive influences. Till now, Avarna Hindus were given neither fair start nor equal opportunity nor square deal.

According to Ambedkar, lower castes did not have the courage to demand reasonable wages for their labour. They did not hold property (Land or cash) – they were born to work or starve. They were there only to wait, serve and submit. They were there to do or die.

  • Giani Gurumukh Singh Musafir – Giani Gurumukh Singh Musafir, a member of the Constituent Assembly felt that we had made the Harijans live in very poor condition for hundreds of years. He, therefore, observed during the Constituent Assembly Debate on November 29, 1947: “Now when India has become free, it becomes the first and foremost duty of Central and Provincial Governments and of every Indian to see that these crores of downtrodden men are uplifted.”…. “They should be provided water, housing and education.”…. “So long as these depressed classes have this idea amongst themselves that they belong to this particular sect, so long as they think that they have this label affixed to them, it is difficult for them to progress. The very names give them this complex that he belongs to a depressed class.”
  • Shri Subhash Lal Saxena – Shri Subhash Lal Saxena, another member of the Constituent Assembly, said during the Constituent Assembly Debate on same day as Giani Gurumukh Singh Musafir i.e. November 27, 1947: “If capable Harijans are available, they should be recruited to superior posts. Besides the ordinary posts, the Harijan should be given all such jobs for which they are eligible. Harijans should be recruited in the Police. They should be given the post of Patwaries, School masters and Head masters etc. These posts would remove the inferiority complex, which is prevailing among them.”

Special clauses in the Constitution to uplift downtrodden

There is a perplexing diversity in geography, culture, caste, religion and language. Along with it, there has been a great disparity between different sections of society, socially and economically. The attention of national leaders was drawn towards illiteracy, ignorance, superstitions, and taboos on food, drink and marriages, social segregation, lack of communication, living in inaccessible areas, unhealthy loyalties, continuing discrimination and lack of security­ economic, social and legal.

Clauses to take special care – For the emancipation of the ‘Submerged people’ of India, the National leaders thought if  independent India made the weak to stand and compete with the strong on equal footing, it would be throwing the dice in favour of the strong. Therefore, they authorised the State to take special care of the downtrodden for their advancement through Article 15(4) primarily relating to educational opportunities and Article 16 (4) to job opportunities. Directive principles, through Articles 38, 39, 41, 43, 45, 46 etc. gave some guidelines to the future Government.

In order to bring millions of under-fed, under-read and under-clothed people of free India into the mainstream of national life, Article. 17 of Constitution of India abolished “Untouchability” and made its practice a cognizable offence the most heinous aspect of the Indian society by. Article 15 guarantees equality of opportunity for all citizens irrespective of religion, race, caste, descent, place of birth or any other reason.

Reservations for downtrodden – As the things came up, 15% Reservations are given to SCs, 7.5% to ST, 3% to disabled and 1.5% to ex-army-men in the following areas –

  1. Political institutions consisting of the elected representatives of the people.
  2. Admission in educational institutions.
  3. Reservations in jobs.
  4. 4.     Reservations in promotions.

Reservations in Government jobs – After implementation of the Constitution,15% reservations are being given to SCs, 7.5% to STs (initially from 1950 onwards 5%, but now) and 27% to OBCs (after 1992) in jobs under central government. Reservations in the Central services started since 1943, whereas the ST’s became eligible for reservations since 1950. All state Governments had their own plans for job-reservations in their respective states and list of beneficiary castes. At provincial level, different state-governments fixed up their own quotas for different castes and communities.

Also, candidates, belonging to reserve quota, if succeed to get jobs on their merit, are not counted in the quota list. That means the number could even be more than mentioned above in a year. Besides if the candidates with required qualifications are not found in a particular year, the unfilled vacancies are carried over and added in the next years. These can not be filled with other qualified persons.

Started as a temporary measure – Reservation was accepted by the constitution framers as a temporary measure. Article 330 provided for reservation in Legislature for ten years, unless at the end of this period the reservation is continued by an amendment of the Constitution. However, the Constitution was amended again and again in 1961, 1971, 1981, 1991 and 2001 to extend this period for another ten years at each instance.

Constitution on De-reservation – Before Independence, there was a provision of reservation in government services for Anglo-Indians. Article 336 of the Constitution provided that for the first two years after its start, reservations (in favour of the Anglo-Indians – a minority community) should continue on the basis as before; then during every succeeding period of two years, this reservation is to be progressively reduced by at-least ten percent, so that by the end of ten years all such reservation might cease.

Reservations for OBC’s – In 1955, Kaka Kalelkar Commission on Backward Classes and in 1980, MandaI Commission, were appointed to suggest ways to improve the condition of poor people in India. On August, 1990, V.P. Singh’s Government accepted to implement, partially, the suggestions made by MandaI Commission viz. reserving 27% jobs for “Other Backward Castes” in all Central Government institutions or institutions aided by the Central Government. It received a great deal of resistance from the people and at the moment the case for reserving 27% seats in jobs for OBC’s is under litigation in the Supreme Court of India.

Condition of Constitution for Reservations

While the Constitution framers were dealing with the topic, special provisions relating to certain classes specifically mentions that as far as the government services are concerned “The claims of the members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes shall be taken into consideration, consistent with the maintenance of efficiency of Administration, in the making of the appointments to services and to posts in connection with the affairs of the Union or of a State”.

Other Measures taken to uplift submerged sections – Under Article 340 of the Constitution, a Commission is to be appointed by the President to investigate the condition of socially and educationally backward citizens, the difficulties under which they labour, make recommendations for removal of those difficulties and other ameliorative measures needed to be taken.

In 1978, a Commission for SC/ST was setup within the Ministry of Horne Affairs to monitor the comprehensive programme and to ensure their all- round development. The financial allocations for the welfare of downtrodden have been increased tremendously after independence. The sincere effort towards their development began with Five Year Plans, which aimed at reducing the imbalances and disparities.

The First Five Year Plan identified the problem areas needed to be tackled viz absence of communication, paucity of drinking water, supply and irrigation, education and health facilities and universal poverty etc. Accordingly, many Integrated Development Plans and Sub–Plans were initiated besides reservations.

Views of pro-reservationists

Policy of reservation has been hailed by it supporters as a “Historic step” the advocates of reservation. To them policy of reservation has been adopted to break the shackles of caste and to improve the lot of the poor masses. Arguments in favour reservation policy –

  • Under-represented in power echelons – Backward castes constitute about 80% of total population (15% Scheduled Caste, 8% Scheduled Tribes and 52% Other Backward classes), but their representation in the Central Group ‘A’ posts is a paltry 4.69%. Therefore, supporters of reservation policy demand that employment in government services should be on pro-rata basis.
  • ‘Due share’ to lower strata in power echelons – Founder of Bahujan Samaj Party, Kanshi Ram said, “The reservation for SC/ST began with only 2% in 1935. Now it is 22.5%. Gradually all reservations would be according to proportion of different castes in the population. My aim is to give reservation (to the upper caste minorities), not to demand it. V.P. Singh has made my job easier.” Ex Prime Minister, V.P. Singh, Prime Minister from Janata Dal, while implementing the MandaI Commission recommendations in August, 1990 said in his independence-day speech, “We want to effectively give to the depressed, downtrodden and backward people their share in the power structure and in decision-making to run country and improve things.”
    • Suppression of downtrodden for centuries – Lower castes had been treated unequally in the past, now they should be given a more than equal status to make empower them. Competition could be just and valid only among equals. Since upper castes had suppressed lower castes on basis of their birth, present generation has to correct age-old imbalances and make reparations by giving downtrodden advantage through reservations. It is a noble and just cause in return for centuries of oppression.
    • Why merit could be diluted? – Forward castes are better educated and settled because of the environment, in which they are brought up. But deprived castes, in absence of proper environment and economic constraints are unable to compete on equal terms with upper castes for jobs in the government, public or private sectors. Besides educational capabilities and economic status, socio-political dominance of upper caste is a powerful factor influencing selection process. Witnessing all these aspects social justice demands that jobs should be shared with backward even at cost of little dilution of meritocracy.
    • ‘No’ to economic criteria – On economic criteria for reservations, V.P and his associates oppose the idea, saying that it was introduced in Tamil Nadu in the past, but did not worked there (Times of India news item on September 4, 1990).
    • Foundations of Reservations social, not economic – “All foundations for government’s reservation policy were social, not economic” says Ram Vilas Paswan “Each caste is standing with one foot on the forehead of the one below it in the social hierarchy…” Shri Ram Avdhesh Singh, a M.P. of Lok Dal says, “Even the rich backwards are not given the social status, which poor forwards enjoy. That is why we need representation in the government on caste basis, where wealth and respect go hand in hand. These reservations are not for the economic good, but to link backwards with the State.” (India Today, September 30, 1990)
    • To whitewash a bitter historical reality – Swami Agni vesh of Bandhua Mukti Morcha had said, “We have created our fractures and schisms – it was not the Mughals, it was not the British, it was the Vedas that consolidated the casteism in Indian culture. We can describe the reservation policy today as palliatives, an attempt to whitewash a bitter historical reality, sitting on a handful of armchair sociologists and pretending the rest of backward India doesn’t exist. That we need is radical social change.”
    • Empowers backwards as a composite pressure group – “Reservations, on the basis of caste, give the backwards an identity as a composite pressure group. This is a concrete achievement, which will help them to unite and fight for equality. Besides, caste is still a dominant factor in Indian social-structure; its existence should be accepted for recognising the under-privilege groups.” (News item in Times of India, September 15, 1990)
    • Merit not a prerogative of upper castes only – Merit is not found in upper castes only. There are many meritorious and talented boys and girls amongst the SC/ST/OBC. They only need proper atmosphere and opportunities for education and employment in order to shine to their full capacity. In old Madras Presidency, there were 100% reservation/job quotas, both for “Forward” and Backward” castes. Today about 68% seats are reserved for SC/ST/OBC in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, and they are far ahead of other provinces in matter of prosperity and good governance, where there is upper caste domination in administration.
    • Norm of ‘pull’ and ‘push’ – Ram Vilas Paswan, ex-minister says, “There is no such thing as merit in India today, there is only “pull” and “Influence”…. “Merit” is only a term used for the purpose of disruption by agitators.” Shri Paswan asks why forward class does not look towards merit in candidates admitted in institutions of higher learning because of capitation fee or selected for influential posts because of their family background.
    • ‘Bearer best knows where shoe pinches’ – V.P. Singh told the nation that society would be served best by filling the civil services by downtrodden as they were the bearers who knew where the shoe pinched. They had the qualities of heart, which the administration of the country needed more than the quality of head. They are committed to the uplift of their brethrens. Syed Shabuddin of the “Insaf party” had said, “In a democracy every social group is entitled to share the fruits of development and keep a hand on the levers of power…. Both intra and inter group disparities must be reduced by Legislative policies. If the backward classes come into administrative posts, they may be able to increase efficiency, as they will be having grass-root knowledge of actual problems.” (News item in the Times of India, September 15, 1990)

In short, supporters of reservation consider necessary to empower the downtrodden, to reduce economic inequalities, to give them social respectability, to reduce imbalances created due to upper class influence and to break the psychological barrier, to give downtrodden their due share in power structure

Views of Anti-reservationists

Anti-reservationists doubt the efficacy of Reservation Policy. Reservation has been a source of turmoil in society many a time. They have shown their resentment every-time Parliament had extended the period for reservations. In seventies and eighties, the agitation against reservation policy took a major turn by taking a shape of national movement affecting many parts of the country. The agitation against reservation sparked violently in Gujarat in 1983 and spread to other places when a meritorious physically handicapped student of upper caste was denied admission in MD course and the quota student with much less marks was admitted. Such cases definitely arouse public sentiments and they criticise the government for following the policy blindly.

Somehow the authorities were able to suppress it. But scars were left.

  • Contrary to principles of equality – Reservations are contrary to principles of equality, fraternity and social justice. There is something fundamentally wrong with Reservation Policy. In the name of social justice, fundamental rights of many deserving people are curtailed or negated. It benefits and increases the number of those, who are desirous to find an easier way-out.
    • Genesis of Reservation Policy in “Divide and Rule” dictum – Reservations were first introduced by the British rulers to “Divide” the Indian population and “rule” the nation as long as possible. The British government divided Indians on the basis of caste and community. British rulers, who got alarmed about the increasingly power and influence of Brahmins, purposely propagated myth of tyranny of  the “Forward Castes”, especially of Brahmins over rest of the society. Therefore, British rulers pinpointed Brahmins as oppressors and tyrants, who wilfully kept others down. They encouraged anti-Brahmin formations in the South. They started the practice of fixing-up quotas in various educational-institutions and government jobs on one side and separate electorate for religious groups on the other.
    • Destroys unity of nation – Reservations were started in other parts of the country as well for backward communities. Now many politicians and their parties want to increase the percentage and extend its time-frame in order to create vote banks. Like Britishers, politicians and supporters of pro-reservation want to divide the nation, on the basis of caste, community or gender. Like British-rulers, they want grab and hold political power as long as possible. Already, there is a perplexing diversity in India along geography, culture, caste, religion and language lines. They are spreading venom in the heart of each identity against other. If not checked on time, communalism and casteism are bound to destroy the unity of the nation and narrow down the aspiration of people.
    • Administration requires services of most talented – The task of administration is one of the most difficult. It is so complex that it requires services of most talented, sincere, hardworking and honest people. A preference to a person with inferior talent over a person with superior talent is not only unjust but against national interests. Reservations in employment contemplates putting those on responsible positions in the government, “Who are not qualified for the job” – (Arun Shourie). And in the process, power passes from meritocracy to mediocracy (Nani Palkiwala). It also means that sub-standard services would be rendered to the general public.
    • Common-men suffer more – The policy of reservation affects adversely the efficiency of administration as a whole. Deteriorating standards of government institutions have already done irreparable damage to the development of SC/ST and OBC communities. The larger objective of eradicating the poverty and bringing the downtrodden in the main-stream could never be achieved by lowering the standards of education or governance. Does reserving a very few places for SC, ST & OBC satisfy the basic needs of millions of underfed, under-clothed and under-read people of India ?
    • Contributions of upper class – Kaka Kalelkar had said in,  ‘Note of Dissent of First Backward caste Commission It would be well, if representatives of the Backward-classes remembered that whatever good they find in the Constitution and the liberal policy of the Government, is the result of the awakened conscience of the upper classes themselves. Whatever Government is doing by way of atonement is readily accepted and acclaimed by the nation as a whole. The upper classes have contributed their share in formulating the policies of the Government. Removal of untouchability, establishment of equality and social justice, special consideration for backward classes, all these elements found place in the Constitution without a single voice of dissent from the upper classes.

Upper castes are still contributing their share through taxes (the money collected from taxes is supposed to be spent on developmental plans.) Somewhere, they are supporting, elsewhere actively participating in formulating developmental policies of the government.

  • Quantity of reservation quota – So long as “only a few places” were kept aside for those severely disadvantaged – Harijans and Girijans, the people tolerated the policy as functioning of institutions did not stand much risk of being vitiated and consideration of caste and community were placed under control. But, when V.P. Singh announced to implement 27% for reservation in jobs for OBCs, in addition to 22.5% reservation for SC/STs in government jobs, heart burning and stir against Reservation Policy passed all the limits. The whole nation was in for caste wars.
  • Ignores merit – Reservation policy as it ignores merit. In 1947, when the Constitution framers were dealing with the reservation policy, they showed clearly their concern for efficiency. Art. 335 directs that ‘reservations for SC/ST should be consistent with the maintenance of efficiency of administration.’

In today’s situation when economy is in shambles, inflation has touched 13%, coffers are empty, and common man is suffering due to inefficiency and mal-functioning of the government, the nation can not afford to ignore merit and efficiency. In Private Sector, survival and prosperity depends on merit. It picks up the best talent available in the country from the educational institutions itself by conducting “Campus interviews” and does not allow sub-­standard working.

  • Discourages development of skills – Reservation has discouraged development of skills, resources and attitudes in SC/STs needed to succeed without the crutches of reservation and has encouraged backwardness, inefficiency and lack of competitive merit amongst the castes enjoying reservation.
  • Making people lazy and increases mal-practices – People of lower castes have taken these concessions for granted and expect it to last for ever. It has made even competent persons amongst them lazy and complacent. Guarantee of share in power structure without much effort develops an attitude never value the dignity of labour and work hard. The reservation policy is adding fuel to this attitude. Obtaining false certification about caste is increasing in order to get the advantage of the limited spoils. It has raised the expectation of others as well.
  • Short time measure – In many provinces, scheduled castes were enjoying the benefit of reservation in proportion to their population since 1935. SCs were far away from the mainstream on account of “Untouchability” and STs because of “Social isolation due geographical reasons”. Therefore, Constitution extended State patronage to SC/ST for ten years i.e. till 1960, unless at the end of this period the concession is continued by an amendment of the Constitution, which was not very likely. It was hoped that underprivileged would be at least in a position to stand on their feet by 1960.Since then, everything has been changed.
  • Times have already changed – Successive governments have ignored the sweeping changes that have occurred throughout the country over the last 60 years. Through various measures, including Reservation Policy, people of all castes have progressed. Anti Brahmin movements in former Estates of Madras and Bombay had effectively eliminated Brahmins as a dominant political force. Lower strata of society had organized themselves, consolidated their economic and acquired political power. Through reservations they have succeeded in occupying position of power.
  • Shift of power in favour of Backwards – Political power has already shifted in favour of backwards, almost completely in the South and in massive strides in Bihar and UP, where they constitute nearly 40% of the Legislative strength. At State and local levels, especially in more populous rural areas their influence is continuously growing. Untouchables have made concerted efforts to mobilize themselves and to secure their upward mobility as may be seen in the case of Izhavas of Kerala, Mehars of Maharashtra, Chamars of UP, Meenas of Rajasthan, etc. Radical movement such as that launched by the militants Dalit Panther in Maharashtra have made the emerging strength of the lowest caste felt with increasing effectiveness.
  • Rigidity of caste wearing out – Rigidity of caste has been gradually wearing out. Introduction of railways, opening of hotels and restaurants, radio, TV and cinema houses have contributed to the relaxation of caste prejudices and rigidities. Besides education and training, land reforms, industrialisation etc have brought awareness amongst backward castes. The end of many practices, which created distances between different castes in the past, is a hopeful sign and guarantee for the future well being of every Indian citizen.
  • New lease of life to caste – There has been one sphere of Indian life, where caste has not only held its ground but began to strengthen its hold. It has acquired a new lease of life in politics. Politics is the most important sphere of Indian life, where caste has not only held its ground, but began to strengthen its hold. Politicians of Independent India are making its increasing use in politics.
  • Time for gradual de-legitimization of caste – Yogendra Singh, Dean of Political Science in the Jawahar Lal Nehru University says, “Forty years have seen enormous differentiation in class and caste division. Caste should not be the central element in dispensing social justice. In fact, there should be a process of gradual de-legitimization of caste by finding scientific methods for the exit of SCs and STs from the reserved quota.” (India Today, September 30, 1990)
  • ‘Past is past’ – Vasant Sathe of Congress (I) says “Reservation is no solution for a crime so many centuries old. Nor it is ethical to punish our present society for the sins of our fore fathers.” It is a law of jungle to hold responsible the present generation for the follies of its previous generations. According to Rule of law the present generation can not be punished for what their forefathers did.
  • Undermines ‘Principle of Equality’ – Anti-reservationists argue that there was a case to end the quota business in 1960 itself. Yet it has been allowed to continue till today. The Indian Constitution is committed to two different principles both of which relate to equality: ‘principle of equal opportunities’ and “principle of redress’.

Now it is over due that ‘principle of equality’ be enforced in its true spirit without any favour. Since policy of reservation undermines the principle of equality, it should be gradually discontinued as had been done in the case of Anglo Indians in accordance with the Article 336 of the Constitution.

  • Inter and intra caste wars – Reservation policy does not consider all individuals equal. Instead caste becomes the basis to get this privilege. It leads to inter-caste rivalryAnti-reservationists accuse the pro-preservationists for inciting the caste war by provoking public feelings. Brahmins and upper castes has been pinpointed as an enemy of downtrodden, who have always exploited the downtrodden mercilessly.
  • Distortion of historical facts – Political adventurers, dictators and fundamental fanatics have distorted the history in the past and used it as a ploy to serve their own selfish or partisan interests. It does not even matter to them, whether their own version of history is real or based on fantasy. When Hitler walked into Sudetanland, he claimed historical authority. When Mussolini attacked Ethopia in 30’s, he quoted history. When Zionists claimed Jeruselem, they tried to justify their act by citing history. When Saddam Hussain walked into Kuwait on August2, 1990, He staked his claim on the basis of raking up old history.

And so had happened on August 15, 1990, when V.P. Singh announced 27% reservation for OBCs, it was hailed by his supporters as “A historic decision which will go a long way in giving the rightful share to socially and economically backward castes in the power structure of the country, of which they were denied under the pressure from the vested interests.”

  • Reasons of backwardness other than caste – At present, submerged section of society does not suffer so much due to discrimination on the basis of caste as for other reasons. Kaka Kalelkar, first Chairman of First Backward class Commission had said, ““If the backward communities have neglected education it is because they had no use for it (in the past). Now that they have discovered their mistakes, it is for them to make the necessary efforts for making the leeway…As far as the assistance in the matter of education for the backward classes, I am convinced that introduction of basic education in all the states with help the backward communities to cultivate self-confidence. They will also have a better chance of succeeding in life and have the advantage of mixing with other people.”
  • Glamorization of Backwardness –Earlier, backwardness was considered as stigma. People of lower castes attempted to improve mannerism in order to climb up in the ladder of social status. These days, many castes claim for a lower status and want to be included in the list of SC/ST, so that they may taste the fruits of reservation as well. No more any caste is ashamed of being called untouchable or backward. Reservations have created vested interests in the “Backwardness.” Now backwardness is a status symbol, because it eases the position, while one is in search of jobs. Therefore, more and more communities are clamouring for the “Backward class” tag.

Those in power find it politically expedient to oblige them. The list of castes wishing for reservations has become very long. Witnessing all this it stands to logic that the beneficiary group should be kept under constant review, so that who have over the years reached a stage where they could survive with dignity without any crutches, could be delisted.

  • Creamy layer of lower castes at advantage – Benefits of Reservations are confined within the creamy layer of lower strata, while, it was supposed to benefit ‘poorest of the poor’. How can all the 80% downtrodden be accommodated in power echelons by reserving only 49.552% jobs out of 1% of total government jobs available in the country? Naturally, only few people are benefited, others are given only false assurances during the times of elections.
  • Economic criteria as a basis – Anti-reservationists argue that consideration of caste instead of economic backwardness is not just. Reservations, if it is necessary should be given on the basis of ‘economic criteria’ to all the poor regard less of their caste identity. There should also be an income ceiling for SC/ST and others with the entitlement of their children for reservations in job and admission to educational institutions. Then only really deserving people could be benefited.
  • Led to Bain drain – Reservation has shaken the confidence of the youth of so called forward class. About 50% reservations in government jobs have left many deserving and intelligent youths unemployed or underemployed. Some of them choose the path of crime or violence. Unemployment has been one of the reasons behind Punjab and Kashmir problems. Many intelligent and hard working youth are losing their interest, rapidly, in government jobs. They prefer to go abroad in search of greener pastures, where they get good return for their talents and hard-work. In addition, they get job satisfaction because of tension free atmosphere at work-place. Reservations have, thus, led to brain drain. It has already squeezed out many meritorious by leading the country to massive brain drain.
  • Cry for social-Justice? – The attempt to establish a socialistic government does not carry much weight. The USSR a super power of pre-1990 days collapsed like a house of cards, despite having Socialistic government for last 70 years. With all its State control and public support, it could not provide expected relief to its masses. How could socialistic ideals provide relief to the masses in India, where there exists so much corruption and inefficiency in administration?
  • Feeling of alienation – Creation and perpetuation quotas in educational institutions and jobs has made backward classes alienated from the main stream. It is adversely affecting national solidarity. It is sowing the seeds of hatred among the people and put hindrances on the way of mutual help, mutual respect and mutual trust necessary for the development of the nation as a whole. Along with it, efficiency or excellence, probity, integrity of institutions and trust, which are required for overall well-being are adversely affected.
  • Reservations in Government jobs not a political program – Reservation in government jobs need not be made a political programme, which must be done according to the electoral mathematics. It was envisaged to uplift the submerged sections of society and make their future better. Governance is one of the most difficult and specialized tasks. Government employees are supposed to have sufficient professional knowledge and expertise in various disciplines – functional, technical, specialist as well as managerial and generalist – so that they could properly aid and advise the elected representatives of the people and dig for them the expert knowledge from the raw material, give it a shape with a sense of commitment. For attaining that expertise, they have to be equipped with knowledge in various educational institutions. Therefore, the government should be very careful while recruiting people in government jobs.
  • If reservations politicians are so keen to give lower castes a share in the power structure of the nation, why not quotas are fixed by law that by rotation, President, Prime Minister, Vice President, Cabinet Ministers, Ambassadors, Governors, Chief minister of every state be selected turn by turn from different castes. In these positions, the representatives of the people are elected or selected and entrusted the power to make decisions for a fix period. If their performance is not satisfactory, they may be removed or changed. But government employees get job-security. Therefore, standard of functioning should not be allowed to fall.

Wanchoo Commission Report, 1968, and Railway Reforms Committee Report, 1983, on the working of Railways observed that reservations in jobs and promotions adversely affects the enthusiasm, incentive for hard work and devotion to duty and in-turn the efficiency and the morale of the civil servants. Sikri Commission on Railways, 1968, linked accidents with reservations. These three reports are just about one government department and that too when reservation is only 22.5% for SC/ST. What is going to happen, now when it is 50%? Who would be the ultimate sufferer. It is the innocent public only.

Double standard – The government itself has exempted certain services and posts from reservation in order to maintain efficiency, discipline and loyalty to the nation intact such as all the Defence Services, Scientific and technical posts in the Department of Space, Atomic Energy, Electronics, posts of pilots and top technical persons in Air India and Indian Airlines, all scientific posts of Indian Institute of Science, Banglore, teaching posts in IITs and IIMs, private secretary to the PM and other Ministers, Planning Commission Members etc. (A Handbook on reservation for SC/ST compiled by Sharma and Purohit). It proves that the government maintains double standards.

Reservations for women – If any class in India needs reservation on the grounds of social discrimination or under-representation in power echelons, it is only the women in India. How about reserving 50% seats for them in all educational institutions and government jobs? That would be their just share and will not divide the society along the caste lines either. If it cannot be done, then at least 50% of the reserved quota could always be kept aside for women ofrespective castes. Are the politicians prepared to make such provision for women too?

In short, Anti-reservationists think that there is something fundamentally wrong with the Reservation Policy. It has been criticized for creating many conflicting identities like – majority and minority, backward and forwards, urban and rural, north and south and man and woman etc. It is being extended again and again with an aim to create “Vote-bank” in the garb of helping the needy.

In the name of social justice, fundamental rights of many deserving people are being curtailed or negated. It is a farce in the name of social justice, a slap on the face of education and merit, a vote catching measure and misuse of power by political parties.

Views of prominent persons on Reservation Policy

At this stage, it would be appropriate to know the views of some eminent persons on reservation. These are as follows:

  • Mahatma Gandhi – In his book titled “India of my dreams” Mahatma Gandhi wrote: “So far as the reservations in the government departments is concerned, I think, it will be fatal to a good government, if we introduce there the communal spirit for administration to be efficient, it must be always in the hands of the fittest. There should be certainly no favouritism.”… “Distribution of posts should never be according to the proportion of members of each community. “… “Those who aspire to occupy responsible posts in the government of the country can only do if they pass the required test.”
  • Pundit Jawahar Lal Nehru – In a letter dated June 27, 1961, addressed to Chief Ministers of various States, Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru, Ex-Prime Minister of India wrote, “I have referred above to efficiency and to our getting out of the traditional rut. This necessitates our getting out of the old habit of reservations and particular privilege being given to this caste or that group. It is true that we are tied up with certain rules and conventions about helping the SC/STs. That deserve help, but even so I dislike any kind of reservation, more particularly in services. I react strongly against anything which leads to inefficiency and second rate standards. I want my country to be a first class country in everything. The moment we encourage the second rate, we are lost.” “This way, lies not only folly but disaster.”
  • Kaka Kalelkar– As Chairman of the Backward Class Commission, Kaka Kalelkar expressed his views on reservation in education (Backward Class Commission Report, 1956, Vol. I, page X). He wrote: “As far as the assistance in the matter of education for the backward classes, I am convinced that introduction of basic education in all the States will help the backward communities to cultivate self-confidence. They will also have a better chance of succeeding in open competition and having the special advantage of mixing with people and serving them, they will prove themselves better administrators and leaders of society.”

On page VIII of the same report, he has expressed his views on reservation in government services too, as under: “I am definitely against reservations in government services for any community for the simple reason that the services are not meant for the servants but they are meant for the service of the society as a whole. Administration must have the services of the best men available in the land and these may be found in all the communities. Reservation of posts for certain backward communities would be as strange as reservation of patients for a particular doctor. The patients are not meant to supply adequate or proportionate clientele to all the doctors what ever their qualifications.”

  • Chowdhary Charan Singh – Chowdhary Charan Singh, the founder of Lok Dal and charismatic leader of  Backward castes and class, wrote: “It must be conceded that reservation on the basis of caste is a vicious principle and creates many problems. More than reservation in recruitment, it is reservation in promotions that has led to great heart burning and great inefficiency in our services. Such reservation whether in favour of Scheduled or Backward castes, was, in my opinion beyond intentions of the founding fathers. Boys belonging to poor families, particularly those, where large section of our people are considered socially inferior for centuries past, are entitled to consideration rather than concessions at the hands of the government of independent India.”
  • Chowdhary Charan Singhwas also against extending reservation to SC/ST beyond 10 years “The intelligent and hard working youth are losing their interest, rapidly, in government jobs. They prefer to go abroad in search of greener pastures, where they get return for their talents and hard-work. In addition, they get job satisfaction because of tension free atmosphere at work-place. … “The Union Government, however, has for political reasons, been extending the period of reservations decades after decades. There should be bars on children of those who have benefited from reservation and those who are income tax payers, so that other less fortunates could be helped.” (A letter, February 12,1982 to Banarasi Dass, the then Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh)
  • Professor Andre BeteilIe– Professor Beteille said: “Once the uneven distribution of caste in public institutions comes to be perceived as a problem of distributive justice institutional well-being takes the back seat.” “Job reservations in public institutions are required to protect the interest of SC/ST, backward classes and minorities – If this argument is believed to be right and acted upon then our institutions can not function as they ought to, their well-being will be irreparably damaged.” … “The best course would be to expand the pool of qualified candidates at the lower level but this would call for patience which no government in India has so far shown.” “A quicker course, whose effects would show immediately in official statistics, would be to alter the proportions directly, through reservation of jobs.” (6th T. T. Krishnamachari Memorial lecture on “Distributive Justice & Institutional well-being”, November 11, 1990, the Institute of Economic Growth)
  • Shri H.M. Seervai – Shri Seervai wrote: “Reservations affect five parties adversely:
    • The State – to whose service persons are recruited by open competition in examinations held by independent Public Service Commissions.
    • The public – As the very phrase “Public servant” shows.
    • The persons – Who are discriminated against, by reservations in favour of members of SC/ST.
    • Members of SC/ST – In whose favour discrimination is being made by fixing reservation quota; and
    • The service – That is each service considered as a whole. (“Is an efficient public service irrelevant in India”, Indian Express,  September, 1990)

A service which lacks spirit-de-corps, that is, consciousness of and pride in belonging to a particular service, lacks an element essential to an efficient an harmonious administration. The position further deteriorates in a service in which in matters of promotion, people with superior qualifications are subordinate to people with admittedly inferior qualifications.

  •  Nani A Palkiwala– Shri palkiwala opined that Reservation policy suffers from five fatal flaws:
    • The sub-standard replaces the standard, and the reins of power are to pass from meritocracy to mediocracy.
    • It ignores the reality that there are no backward castes but backward individuals.
    • Reservations in promotion are disastrous enough for the civil administration.
    • It divides the country on caste lines and is against social harmony and social intermingling of various castes.
    • Equality is the very heart of free republic, the foundation stone of true republic, the source of inspiration, the criteria for its citizenship and the hope for its welfare. The bedrock of reservation is discrimination in-reverse: it is discrimination against merit and calibre. (“Unity and security of State at stake”, Indian Express, September 14, 1990)
  • Arun Shourie – Arun Shourie, in an Article titled “This way lies not only folly but disaster” appearing in the Indian Express on August 22, 1990, writes: “A job should be something one has to work to get, something which one has to do one’s utmost to retain and advance in. It should not be, advancement in it must not be anyone’s by right”. But reservation definitely develops the ethos that the job, the promotion is mine by right and that too because of by my birth, not work. How can a modern society survive, let alone grow with this as its ethos?
  • Shri V.P. Singh– In his independence-day speech on August 15th, 1990, Shri V.P. Singh, ex-Prime Minister of India said: “Bureaucracy is an important organ of the power structure and it has a decisive role in the decision-making exercise. We want to effectively give to the depressed, downtrodden and backward people their share in the power structure and in decision making to run this country and improve things. “
  • Ram Vilas paswan – The Dalit Sena president and Janata Party leader, Mr. Ram Vilas Paswan, in his speech at Benipatti, Madhubani, on December 12, 1987 demanded for amendment to the Constitution to end the prevalent reservation system for Harijans and other backward classes in the Government services and replacing it by right to work for every body…. Reservation system had failed to achieve its purpose and had created social tension in the country. Mr. paswan said that despite Constitutional provisions and related laws, the government at the Centre and State had failed to protect the interest of Harijans.

Later on, Paswan became the champion of reservation policy. He advocated reservations in jobs and educational institutions on permanent basis. It should continue till the caste system persists in India. Since caste system can not be put to an end, therefore, there is no justification for finishing the reservation for the downtrodden.

  • B.D. Sharma  Shri Sharma, the Commissioner for SC/ST has pointed out in his 29th Report, tabled in Parliament on August 31st, 1990, as under: “The policy of reservation in government jobs has not improved the lot of the bulk of SC/ST in the country. In fact, in many cases, their condition has further deteriorated. “It is quite clear that even if the policy of positive discrimination were to succeed fully, it could benefit only a small section of these communities. On the other hand, if inequality continues to increase in our country or continues even at the present level, the maximum damage will” befall on the members of these communities themselves, because their condition is already the worst as in the case of the SC or because they are facing the most severe backlash of development as in the case of the S.T……” ” The policy of reservation is ironical, as it demands a share for the weaker section” in the gains of iniquitous system, which in the ultimate analysis cannot be anything, but the proceeds of exploitation of other poor belonging to the same group who remain at the bottom.”

An analysis of the issue

There are certain basic truths, which needs to be accepted and pay attention to, before taking policy-decisions. Such as:

Society as an organic body – Society behaves and develops like an organic body. Each organ does a particular function and coordinated working of all organs together keeps the whole body fit and alive. Like other organic bodies, each and every section of society is an indispensable part of the society, which needs equal attention and proper care for the balanced growth of the society as a whole.

Just like in an organic body, weaker parts need special care, but not at the cost of others. So is in the society. Each and every section of the society needs to be assigned a specific function. Each one should perform its respective job. Society needs the services of all sections of the society. The work of any section is neither inferior nor superior to other. Each and every section of society needs to be aware of its indispensability to the whole. A society can move and prosper to its fullest, when each and every section of society does its functions well and lives in harmony; and when there is mutual help, respect and trust amongst the various sections of the society.

Society as an organisation – For an efficient and smooth functioning, like an organization, society also needs –

  • Division of labour – Nobody can do all the work by himself. Division of different functions required in a society is the first requisite.
  • Grouping of activities – All functions and activities should be so grouped as to avoid confusion. Activities of similar nature or having same objectives are grouped under one section.
  • Structure – An organization needs a structure with well defined functions. The structure must be simple and easy to understand. It should also ensure continuous growth and, therefore, should not be rigid.
  • Balance of activities – Proper weight-age to different activities, in proportion to their contribution to organization as a whole, is necessary. No activity should either be over-valued or under-valued.
  • Team spirit – Relationship between various groups within an organization should be based on the principle of “mutual help, mutual respect and mutual trust”. It facilitates better coordination of diverse activities performed by different sections. Smooth relations amongst its constituent’s leads to optimal utilisation of resources and to satisfaction of all its constituent members.
  • Specialisation – Concentration of a section on the performance of a single task, leads to greater efficiency and more specialisation. Functions need to be assigned on the basis qualifications, skills, attitude and aptitude of its employees.
  • Creative thinking – A good organisation encourages initiative and creative thinking.
  • Satisfaction – Organization must be able to satisfy the biological as well as psychological needs of its employees as an individual as well as a group.
  • Adoption of new technologies and development – An organization helps adopts new improved means of doing things, permits prompt adoption and optimum use of technological advancements. It must avoid nepotism, favouritism and must give an upper hand to merit and talent.

Indian society contains all the essentials of a good organisation.

Truth about “Varna-system” – “Varna system” along with its castes and sub­-castes is not as bad as has been portrayed earlier by British rulers, now by some leaders and the pro­-reservationists. It is based on principles ‘mutual respect, trust and tolerance for each other’, ‘There is enough for everybody’s need, but not enough for anyone’s greed’ or ‘To each according to his needs and from each according to his capacity’. ‘Division of work’ was based on attitude and aptitude of an individual. It has given to India a solid social-structure, which is simple to understand. Above all, it has provided unity of culture which has been able to bind the people of Indian peninsula from one end to the other.

Mahatma Gandhi said “The main reason of our economic and spiritual degeneration is that we have not correctly followed the “Varna System”. This is the main reason of poverty and unemployment and one of the main reasons that there is untouchability”. He suggested to encourage education amongst the masses for the growth a self-contained and self-regulated society; all occupations to be given equal respect; people to be encouraged, not to be forced to adopt their hereditary occupations; and difference of income derived from various occupations should be narrowed down to the minimum.

“Policy of reservation” lost its validity – “Policy of reservation” adopted by the independent India has lost its value and justification now. Reformatory movements of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, attempts of constitution-framers spread of education and awareness amongst general public. Many changes have come about in the whole atmosphere, in thinking, attitude and aspirations of common-men. Recent technological advancements have made the life of common-men easier and created enormous opportunities to earn more. The experiences of recent past reveal that Policy of reservation has lost its value and justification now because –

SC/STs and OBCs emerged as powerful pressure groups – After the green revolution of sixties, the economic and political status of people engaged in agriculture India has improved tremendously. India being an agricultural country, 75% of its population (mostly belonging to SC and OBC categories) is engaged in agricultural sector only. Reforms gave them permanent rights as owners or otherwise. New agricultural technologies, backed by administrative and financial support by governmental agencies, helped them the chance to get out of the trap of poverty. They have organized themselves and emerged as a very powerful pressure group both in the fields of economics and politics. Still, if many SC/STs and OBCs have not been able utilise this opportunity fully, fault lies somewhere else and not in caste system. In their under-nourished faces are written the failures of the successive Governments and their policies that have ignored their actual needs.

Caste is no longer a barrier in the matter of jobs – Doors of education have been opened for all. Many scholarships, loans, hostel facilities, and admission in select institutes of the country (Where the whole expenditure is borne by the government) are being made available to them. Many Integrated Development Programmes and Sub Plans have been initiated to improve their position – socially and economically.

Immense choices in matter of occupation – Earlier people were forced to earn their living only by doing their hereditary jobs. But the Constitution of India gave everybody freedom and equal opportunity to select one’s source of earning. Society has accepted the change-over to any profession a person wishes to pursue and for that he has to prove his suitability in the job market. Educational facilities have been provided to them. Many scholarships, loans, hostel facilities, and admission in select institutes of the country (Where the whole expenditure is borne by the government) are being made available to them. Many Integrated Development Programmes and Sub Plans have been initiated to improve their position – socially and economically. However, sub-merged people of SC/ST community have not so far been able to utilise this opportunity fully. Benefits are benefitting the creamy layer amongst them.

Label of Brahmin or Shudra meaningless today – Today, the label of Brahmin or of Shudra does not matter much in choosing a profession. There is no dearth of employment opportunities. From all sections of society, people are acquiring necessary qualifications and are entering into areas of their choice. Experience shows that all are doing well in almost all spheres.

Increasing opportunities in service sector – A vacuum has been created in the service sector, when many traditional jobs became obsolete. Jobs in service sector could also fetch a handsome amount of money. Recently some people engaged in this field such as tailors, carpenters, dyers and drycleaners, owners of hotels and restaurants, owners of video libraries, scooter and taxi drivers even Paanwalas are doing much better than ever before. The key to their success appears to be the very same as elsewhere – hard-work, excellence, maintenance of standard or quality and entrepreneurial skill. Today, in the lure of safe and secure job, easy and quick money, government jobs in local, state or central levels are becoming very popular.

That day appears not to be far off when in complex technological society, the white-collared jobs would loose their present attraction and the service sector would get a prominent place. An excellent plumber then may become more admirable than an incompetent scientist. Therefore, instead of disturbing the efficiency and working of the organized sector, the government could concentrate on enormous opportunities of self­ employment available in this sector, and thus helping the downtrodden to establish well themselves in the society.

Creamy layer amongst beneficiary groups – On the one hand, it has been experienced that Benefit of reservations is confined within a few dominant and prosperous SC/ST and OBC castes. They have now acquired economic, political and above all muscle power. Many of them make vote banks for the politicians, capture booths during elections and could ask their unfortunate brethren to shut their mouths or to meet the consequences. In certain regions, they themselves have become the exploiters of their unfortunate brethren – suppressing the agricultural labours and are heaping atrocities on Harijans.

Efficiency in administration – A service which lacks spirit-de-corps, that is, consciousness of and pride in belonging to a particular service, lacks an element essential to an efficient an harmonious administration. The position further deteriorates in a service in which in matters of promotion, people with superior qualifications are subordinate to people with admittedly inferior qualifications.

It is feared that relaxation in matter of recruitment standard, as reservation policy suggests, adversely affects efficiency of administration. It creates a distance between quota officers and non-quota officers, adversely affects integrity and coordinated efforts of services for development of the nation as a whole. Merit oriented approach in matter of filling crucial and important posts, in principle, opposes reservation of any kind, which gives preferences to a person over a more talented person. It is a humanitarian obligation of a civilized society to uplift and empower the weaker sections of its society. But it should not be done at the cost of efficiency in administration. Mal-administration or ineffective and inefficient administration makes the life of common people more miserable.

False assurances – Politicians and political parties with vested interests are luring the poor masses by promising them to give government jobs through reservations. Government jobs still fascinate the masses as with it are attached the attraction of fix salary, prestige, power, influence, security of employment and scope to distribute patronage. If without acquiring the needed qualifications and without much effort one can get all these things, no body minds it.

Vast reservoir of talents amongst the lower strata of society – There is a vast reservoir of potential/talent amongst backwards as well, only they need opportunities to grow. Their hidden qualifications and capabilities Sound education and training would make aware them aware of their hidden qualifications and their capabilities. Their confidence can be restored, only when they are brought to the level of forward castes people so that they could compete for jobs and promotions on equal terms.

Hurt feelings of poor belonging to upper castes – The deprived and poor people, belonging to so called “Forward caste”, feel betrayed by their own Government. They are being victimised because of no fault of their own. ‘Economic criteria’ offers a general formula to help to all extremely poor and underprivileged individuals irrespective of their caste or creed. Many dynamic and talented youths have lost their faith in the government and interest in government jobs. Upright officers do not get a proper atmosphere in the office or reward for their merit, intelligence, hard work and honesty. On the contrary, due to politicization, growing disregard for the work-culture and overstaffing, upright officers are sidetracked. Fixed salary is just sufficient to keep them from hand to mouth. They have to struggle all through their lives – after paying the taxes, meeting their children’s school fees and coping with ever increasing prices of essential items to maintain a decent life style.

Backwardness of some, not unique in India only – Backwardness of some sections of society having such massive demographic entities is not peculiar to the Indian conditions only. It is universal phenomena. Every nation has it and adopts its own ways to uplift the sub-merged people. The Chinese approach, in this regard is through education and not through unmeritorious reservation of jobs, as there is no need to create vote banks there. Grooming of downtrodden in India could also be done by providing sound education to them. Already there are many institutes and some more may be opened especially for lower strata of society, where they could study the same syllabi and to go through the same courses as other students from a good background. The students from poor background may take more time to go through the same courses and reach up-to the same standard as others. The process may be slow but is steady. The quality of education should not be allowed to deteriorate at any cost as is being done.

Times when Governmental intervention needed – When individuals are proved to be working under special handicap or are not allowed to function freely as citizens, then only the government may intervene irrespective of caste or creed so that deserving persons from all sections of the society may get the needed help. It should punish the culprits strictly and make special provision for advancement of under privileged or handicapped persons. It need not necessarily be in the form of reservations. Reservations have been proved to be disruptive to the peace of the society and unpractical.

Conclusion and suggestions

The past experiences have made it clear that the remedies suggested through reservation proved worse than evils, the leaders were out to combat. To some, this discrimination is positive and to others, negative and contrary to principles of equality, fraternity and social justice.

Deserving people get lost amidst the gore and gusto – The faces of poor people, really deserving support from the government,  have been lost amidst the gore and gusto of pro and anti-reservationist movements. ‘Shudras’ have been the life and blood of the Indian society for centuries in the past and led the nation to the ‘Golden Era’. They still provide essential services to the whole community in different disciplines. But in exchange, today, they get very little – not even enough to satisfy their basic minimum needs. Reservation made no difference in their lives.

There is no denial to the fact that for centuries, Shudras have been the life and blood of the Indian society. They have been performing certain traditional standardised services for the whole community. In exchange, as usual, even today they get very little – not enough even to satisfy their basic minimum needs. Reservation made no difference in their lives.

Side effects of Reservation policy – Reservations have developed many side affects. Instead of becoming a viable instrument for the upliftment of the submerged section of the society, it has created vested interests of the powerful lobbies of society. It is serving the interest of those people who do not need it any more and making the administrative machinery sick. Giving additional weapon in weak hands is no remedy. First the hands need to be made strong enough to hold and use the weapon properly through awareness of the surroundings, sound education and-training. Then they themselves without any help from an outside agency will pick up the weapon in their hands and protect themselves and others in the society with it. Education alone can make them more knowledgeable in the fields of their works, more laborious and more confident, so that they could earn enough to live with honour and dignity.

Plans needs to be based on real issues – Witnessing the various views and past experience, it becomes clear that instead of reservation, other development measures should be tried after identifying the real issues and actual needs of these people. Downtrodden must be made capable to stand upon their feet and make their due place in the society. Policy of generating confidence and inculcating skills, knowledge, attitude and habits through sound education should be pursued, so that they could be brought to the required intellectual level, do justice to the jobs assigned to them, hold their positions without any complex and live in the society with honour.

Only two ends in Governance, ‘nation, and ‘individual’ – The unity and solidarity of the nation demands that its population should not be divided along the lines of different identities i.e. caste, region, language, religion or base – rural or urban – by giving preference or over- protection to one section or group over the other. As Kaka Kalelkar had suggested, while framing policies, government should recognise only two ends – the individual on the one hand and the nation as a whole on the other. No sectional or communal grouping should be encouraged to flourish itself in between the two, which could undermine the equality, liberty and freedom of the individuals and the solidarity of the nation.

Result-oriented action programmes needed – Issues should be identified rationally and    result-oriented action programmes needs to be implemented sincerely as suggested by the Planning Commission, various government departments and voluntary organisations. The backwardness of most of the people is due to poverty, illiteracy and many evils that go with it such as ignorance, superstitions, mal-nutrition, lack of access to shelter, clothing, health, hygiene etc. These problems can never be solved by making policy of reservation as a major remedial measure. Other remedial measures are required for the development, which could produce desired results within time and cost parameters. More stress should now be given to fair distribution of surplus land and other anti poverty programmes, which could benefit a large number of poor people everywhere if honestly pursued.

Reservations as “Disastrous”, “Fatal” and even a “Vicious principle” – Witnessing the various views and past experience, it becomes clear that instead of reservation, some other measures should be tried after identifying the real issues and actual needs of these people. It was not only the first Prime Minister Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru, but Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the nation, and Chowdhary Charan Singh, the charismatic leader of backward caste, considered reservations as “Disastrous”, “Fatal” and even a “Vicious principle”.

Positive steps needed to be taken – More than Reservations is needed to the inculcation of concentrate on skills, knowledge, attitude and habits through sound education. It would make weaker sections to stand upon their own feet and to survive without the crutches of Reservations. It would bring backwards to the required intellectual level, make them capable do justice to the jobs and fulfil their responsibility without any complex. It would ultimately generate confidence in them and live in the society with dignity and honour.

Vision of Nehru – The vision of Nehru suggested putting emphasis on education – “The real way to help a backward group is to give opportunities of good education; this includes technical education, which is becoming more and more important. Everything else is provision of some kind of crutches which don’t add to the strength or health of the body. We have recently made two decisions: one is universal free elementary education that is the base and the second is scholarships on a very wide scale at every grade of education to the bright boys and girls and this applies not merely to literary education but much more so, to technical, scientific and medical training. I lay stress on the bright and able boys and girls, because it is only they who will raise our standards.” …. “But if we go in for reservation on communal or caste basis we swamp the bright and able people and remain second rate or third rate.” (Chief Ministers Conference, June 27, 1961,)

Authorities like Shri B.D. Sharma, Commissioner for SC/ST, and many others have also opined that policy of reservations in government jobs has not improved the position of the bulk of SC/ST and CECs. Instead it had further developed many problems.

Winding up

  • If India wants to emerge as a strong nation in the world, it should give preference to efficiency, motivation, discipline, tenacity of purpose and will to achieve the desired goals.
  • It is not the policy of reservation which is required but a policy of generating confidence in backward caste.
  • Stress should be given to basic education.
  • No sectional or religious group be allowed grow between the government and the individual.
  • Really-deserving individuals needing special attention must be identified by assessing their economic condition without any bias.
  • All help, such as free and extra tuition, subsidised and extra nourishment, residential accommodation etc., to overcome their disabilities and to acquire requisite abilities should be provided
  • Abilities to shoulder responsibilities at entry point and performance throughout the career should always be given importance.
  • In postings and promotions, Standard set should apply equally to all and strictly to all.
  • At no time and at no level, the standard should be allowed to deteriorate.
  • The method of assessment should be continually honed, so that more meritorious persons could be selected.
  • Wages should be enough to enable them to work honestly and live in the society with dignity without clamouring for dishonest money.

In the words of Shri C. Rajgopalachari, which he said long ago that for any system “To be good and efficient as a whole we want right type of men. The quality of men placed in position is more important than laying down rules and methods of operation. The caste consciousness is a hard reality. It unites and divides in a very real manner today whatever be our goal and today is most important in matter of administration. Short sighted favouritism and concessions to produce contentment among classes and castes will be very short-lived and will deteriorate into a constant pondering to intrigues and factions, if we do not look to the real efficiency.”

May 29, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Role of education in Modern Times

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” Nelson Mandela

“Destroying any nation does not require the use of atomic bombs or the use of long range missiles. … It only requires lowering the quality of education and allowing cheating in the examinations by students.” … Patients die at the hands of such doctors; buildings collapse at the hands of such engineers. Money is lost at the hands such economists and accountants. Humanity dies at the hands of such religious scholars. Justice is lost at the hands of such judges. The collapse of education is the collapse of the nation.  (At the entrance gate of the University of South Africa).

‘Education is not the learning, but the training of mind to think’. Albert Einstein

“The illiterate of twenty-first century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.” Toffler

Introduction

Nelson Mandela has stated “Education is the great engine of personal development” …. “It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.” Through Education a person acquires knowledge, experience, skill and sound attitude. It makes an individual civilized, refined, cultured and educated. Not only individuals, through education the whole society  can become civilized.

Education is a key to success in life. It facilitates learning. It helps people to understand the world around them. It develops power of reasoning, and judgement. It is meant to inculcate positive thinking, ethical values and shape attitude, and builds confidence. It trains people to work in a better way.

Difference between Education and Knowledge – There is not much difference between them. Knowledge is a process of acquiring facts, information and skills through one’s own experiences or learnings whereas education is a process of learning in a systematic manner from a formal institution such as schools, colleges or universities. Education gives knowledge of the world around us and changes it into something better. It develops in us a perspective of looking at life. It helps us build opinions and have points of view on things in life. (18-Aug-2013, https://blog.library.tc.columbia.edu ›)

According knowledge can be categorized into four types:

(1) Factual knowledge,

(2) Conceptual knowledge,

(3) Procedural knowledge, and

(4)Metacognitive knowledge. 01-Marhttps://learningstrategist.org

Knowledge and wisdom Knowledge is information of which someone is aware. It is means confident understanding of a subject, potentially with the ability to use it for a specific purpose. Wisdom is the ability to make correct judgments and decisions. It is an intangible quality gained through our experiences in life.

Historical background of Education

Ancient Times – System of Education started in the Middle East about 3000 BCE. In the beginning until the decline of Roman Empire, Greek philosophy since its inception, together with some influences from the ancient Near-East had influenced much of Western thinking. In ancient Greece, philosophers contemplated and theorized about many different ideas such as human nature, ethics, and moral dilemmas. They dealt with a wide variety of subjects, including astronomy, epistemology, mathematics, political philosophy, ethics, metaphysics, ontology, logic, biology, rhetoric and aesthetics. Romans preserved, imitated, and spread ancient Greek culture over Europe.

Greek philosophers were quite advanced for their times, bringing along revolutionary philosophical contributions to politics, science and ethics.  Socrates of Athens (l. c. 470/469-399 BCE) is the superstar teacher of the ancient world. He is among the most famous figures in world history for his contributions to the development of ancient Greek philosophy which provided the foundation for all of Western Philosophy. He is, in fact, known as the “Father of Western Philosophy” for this reason. (02-Sep-2009, https://www.ancient.eu › Socrates)

Though Socrates was sentenced to death more than 2,400 years ago for “impiety” and “corrupting” the minds of the youth of Athens, his ideas helped form the foundation of Western philosophy and the scientific method of inquiry. And his question-and-dialogue-based teaching style lives on in many classrooms as the Socratic method.

Socrates didn’t write anything down. And details of his life remain largely unknown. Many of his ideas, and much of his life as a teacher and philosopher, are known largely through the writings of his best student, Plato, in his Dialogues. Plato, the disciple of Socrates, introduced the idea of an ideal political system In his work the “Republic”. Plato’s disciple, Aristotle  had combined logic with observation to make general, causal claims.

In ancient times, knowledge and education in humanities and practical subjects like law, science, astrology, medicine, mathematics and geometry were mostly preserved by Priests/a powerful intellectual elite. Priests taught in formal schools like Gurukuls in India. There were two types of formal schools one for privileged youth and another for priest trainees. Rigid method and strict discipline were followed. Vocational skills in the spheres of architecture, engineering and sculpture were generally were generally taught in camps outside the jurisdiction of formal schooling.

Medieval Times (Known as Dark Period) – As the world entered  the medieval period, the knowledge base of ancient times had destroyed. That is why this period is known as the Dark Ages. Period. Demographic, cultural, and economic deterioration occurred in Western Europe following the decline of the Roman Empire. Rejection of reason was the main cause of decline. Church outlawed reason as the means to knowledge, and replaced it by revelation, over which they have the monopoly on.

Church and monasteries took charge of educating both the common people like farmers or workers and the nobility. They became influential during middle ages. Christianity  and religious institutors dominated the scene. They got the patronage of State governments. (03-Mar-2021. https://libguides.stalbanssc.vic.edu.au).

Period of Renaissance – From 14th century onwards, started the revival of surviving fragments of classical ancient culture and systems. Renaissance movement (from 14th to 17 centuries), can be said to be the beginning of modernization, Industrialization, and technological innovations.

During this period, unparalleled intellectual curiosity in European nations brought transition of western world from the medieval to the modern age. It was rebirth of everything in economic, political, cultural spheres. Europe witnessed the end of the old and reactionary medieval spirit and the beginning of the new spirit of science, reason and experimentation. It was the hard work and sincere efforts knowledge seekers, intellectuals and scientists that process of Modernization, Industrialization and technological innovations could again be started. 

With the beginning of Industrialization, Education system was designed to teach workers to be ‘punctual, docile and sober’ and do what their employers/managers told them. As industrialization changed the way of working, the need for universal schooling was felt. (29-June-2018, https://qz.com › universal-education.)

Purpose of education

Generally the meaning of education is misunderstood. Education neither means the knowledge of three ‘R’s, (reading, writing and ‘rithmatics), nor does it teaches to depend on academic or theoretical studies leading towards award of degrees or certificates from formal educational institutes. Nor is its purpose to increase knowledge-base by collecting available information/data/bookish knowledge. is also not the purpose of education.In present job market, these degrees and certificates are shown to the prospective employers as a proof of one’s knowledge. The main purpose of education is to provide for the fullest possible development of each learner for living morally, creatively, and productively in a democratic society.” (ASCD Committee on Platform of Beliefs, Educational Leadership, January 1957)

Since ancient times, one of the continuing objective of education has been to make people realize, what it is to be a human being. Along with it, other purposes of education have been to develop the intellect, to serve social needs, to contribute to the economy, to create an effective work force, to prepare students for a job or career, to promote a particular social or political system. (Arthur W. Foshay, “The Curriculum Matrix: Transcen- dence and Mathematics,” Journal of Curriculum and Supervision, 1991)

Margaret Ammons, Associate Secretary of ASCD, has said while talking about Educational Leadership in Oct. 1964, “The purpose of education] has changed from that of producing a literate society to that of producing a learning society.”

What is education? – The aim of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Education embraces in itself reading, observation and thought. It enables people to understand their surroundings in a better way. Education is a process of facilitating learning and increasing knowledge and improving understanding and attitudes of people. Besides acquisition of knowledge, education develops mental, moral and spiritual values, morals, beliefs and habits of individuals. It gives skill training as well. It refines their actions, language and behaviour, mannerism of individuals andmakes them more cultured. In short, proper education system blossoms the overall personality of a person.

Combination of education and training – Education can be effective, when it is combined with proper training-systems. Training helps people to acquire skills, and prepares them to apply their knowledge in their work life. It enables them to get better adjusted in real life. It improves individuals for certain line of action, which are delineated by technology and urgently needed by their occupations. The main purpose training is cultural conservation (control over cultural deviation), vocational training, moral and character training, and inculcation of qualities like self-restraint, cooperative work, and moderation.

Education along with training hones skills and attitude, trains people to think positively, rationally and act responsibly. Together, education and training prepares people to get gainfully employed in job market. At present, certificates and degrees from educational/professional institutes are considered necessary for entering into job-market.

A well-planned and sound system of education and training inspires human beings to control their senses, mind and intellect, so that they could be adjusted better in real life’s environment. It guides people to achieve their goals within time and cost parameters and to channelize their efforts towards desired direction. In short, a sound education system imparts knowledge, shapes attitudes, cultivates skills and builds work habits of the people. It enables people to face the challenges of present mechanized world, liberalization and Globalization in present context.

Academicians and planners should always remember that education and training system that focuses only on efficiency and intelligence is not enough. Group of persons gifted with reason but no morals, may prove to be a menace to society. Intelligence plus character, that is the goal of true education.” (Martin Luther King Jr., speech at Morehouse College, 1948).

Method of education – Method of learning may be formal or informal. For formal education, one has to join educational or skill training institutes like schools or colleges or vocational training institutes Present societies attach more importance to formal institutionalized education, which is time-bound and leads to award degrees and certificates than to guide the children to become good, responsible and confident citizens of society. Informal learning happens by doing and observing the real-life situations.

Formal education in schools at primary level. It has a vital impact on the personality building, outlook and maturity of the people. It should be comprehensive in scope and sound in nature, so that it  could provide firm foundation for the continuing education of the citizens. It equips a person with understanding of political, social and economic/occupational infra-structure of the country. Training during formative years of a person familiarizes him/her with the atmosphere and requirements of the sphere, in which (s)he wants to work. Informal learning takes over the tasks initiated by formal education and training systems and fills the gaps between theory and practice. Indirectly it helps to improve the performance.

Education and Training during formative years of a person familiarizes him/her with the atmosphere and requirements of the sphere in which (s)he has to work. Informal learning takes over the tasks initiated by formal education and training systems and fills the gaps between theory and practice. Indirectly it helps to improve the performance.

Learning never-ends – Learning and training oneself for its application in real life situations continues throughout one’s life. it is a never ending continuous process. The process of learning is also not confined to schools/colleges. Informal education and training continues at each stage and step of life starting from birth till end. Hindu Epics say about education -“Neti Neti” (No end to learning). J Krishnamurty has also commented, “There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.”

Key to success – Rabindra Nath Tagore says,”… education is not about what we learn: it is about what we make ourselves through what we learn.” The main purpose of education is to free individuals from ignorance, to gain knowledge and enlightenment. Knowledge is necessary to become a better person. It is a key to success in life. Only educated persons, with positive attitude, can contribute to building up a society with love, justice, equality and peace. Education brings transformation not only in individuals, but in a society or a nation as a whole.

Distinction between action, forbidden action, and in-action – Sound education system considered essential for the purpose of giving activities, their due meaning and value. According to Hindu philosophy even a wise man may get puzzled without knowledge about do’s and don’ts. It is only after the acquisition of knowledge, that a person understands the real nature of work and could distinguish correctly between action, forbidden action and in-action.

Sphere of knowledge – The sphere of knowledge is quite vast and is developing at a fast speed. The process of gaining knowledge is quite difficult. It is beyond human capability to cope with it completely. Even a genius like, Newton used to say that he was ‘like a child, who is picking pebbles at sea-shore while the great ocean of knowledge lies before me’. For learning or acquisition of knowledge, even one life is not enough. To think that one can acquire enough knowledge within a short time or fixed time, is not correct. It is a continuous and never ending process for complete upbringing of the individual right from his birth to death. Continuous learning at each and every stage of life develops knowledge-base, understanding and attitudes of a person.

Knowledge, the object of knowledge and application of the knowledge” – Khalil Gibran has said “Knowledge, the object of knowledge and application of the knowledge, all the three are equally important for motivating to take a wise action.”

  • Objective of education – The main objective of education is to inspire human beings to control their senses, mind and intellect, so that they could be adjusted better in real life’s environment. It should guide people to achieve their goals within time and cost parameters. People should learn to channelize their efforts towards desired direction. In short, a sound education system imparts knowledge, shapes attitudes, cultivates skills and builds work habits of the people and enables them to face the challenges of present mechanized world, liberalization and Globalization in present context.
  • Gaining Knowledge – Thanks to the revolution in information technology. After technological advancements, during post 1970’s and then at the dawn of 21st century, access to information/knowledge on any subject is available easily to anyone, on any subject and anywhere in the world. Internet has done the wonders. Within seconds Google can tell about anything happening anywhere in the world.
  • But the catch is that a focused mind and sincere efforts are required to get detailed relevant information on subject of one’s choice. One should be sure what exactly does he want to know. Otherwise, entering into world of internet is like going into a dense forest. One gets lost. Standard educational institutions use innovative methods of learning like theme-based discussions and theme-based activities etc.
  • More important is application of knowledge – The real object of education is also to prepare individuals for application of their knowledge. One of the important element of education is to develop the career skills of students. So that they can apply their knowledge and skills in real life, It requires lots of efforts and will power. Sound education and training system prepares individuals to apply knowledge in real life.

A little knowledge that acts is more useful than inactive knowledge. The wealth of knowledge confined only to books, cannot be used properly in real life-situations.at right time. Rote learning also does not work effectively, as it confined to text-books only.

  • Upgrading knowledge – Equally important to upgrade knowledge continuously. As Alvin Toffler, renowned writer has said, “The illiterate of twenty-first century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”

All the three are equally important for motivating to take a wise action.

Close connection between Knowledge and hard work – There is a growing awareness that for acquiring knowledge, training mind in a scientific manner and concentrating energies of mind, one had to struggle, work hard, make sincere efforts and face many challenges in life.

A majority of youth of present days  do not have courage to struggle or belief in “work hard”. Only a few students keep the fire of learning and acquiring knowledge burning all the time. Without hard-work, search for knowledge remains incomplete and superficial.

Role of a teacher – Teaching has always been an important and a rewarding profession. It leads to intellectual growth of self as well as others. It gives to teachers a real satisfaction of contributing something worthwhile to the society. 

In modern times, the role of a Teacher is just not only of an instructor, but he is supposed to be a facilitator, a true friend of learners, a philosopher and a role model for his students. It is his prime duty to inculcate in the minds of his students/children both, the qualities of head and heart.

Awareness about the importance of education in modern times –  It is encouraging to see that recently there is a growing realization all over the world that ‘Education and Training for all’ is necessary for imparting knowledge, shaping attitudes, cultivating skills and building work-habits, for making people capable of meeting the challenges of modern times. Awareness about the importance of education is not something new for India. India always had great regards for education. Even during ancient India, great importance was given to development of sound systems in the sphere of education and training.

India and its Education system

Very few nations in the world had to start with greater initial difficulties as India had to, after its Independence had to. Illiteracy was one of the major handicaps for slowing down the process of modernization, industrialization, technological advancements and higher productivity. It requires to make people work hard and be aware of their rights and duties. Desire to improve the quality of life demands the nation to adopt goal-oriented approach. So far, the dream to achieve desired results has remained unfulfilled.

It has often been felt that at present education system is becoming unrelated to national needs and aspirations. Most of the times, it is insufficient, wasteful and dysfunctional.  There is education received prior to joining the work-force is degree-oriented and not job-oriented. There is a wide gap between learning and practice. Being so, how can it be expected that present education system will deliver the desired results? Situation was not always like that in India.

Importance of education and training in ancient India Ancient  India has always given a high place to learning/pursuit of knowledge, wisdom, virtues, characters and will power. According to Indian philosophy, ‘Wealth of knowledge is supreme among all forms of wealth’. (Vidya dhanam sarvadhana pradhanam). India has always realized that human being is human because he has the organic capacity to think and seek knowledge.

From the time of Rigveda onwards, ancient education system was evolved over the period. Focus of education was on holistic development of an individual by taking care of both the inner and outer self. The system was focused on moral, physical spiritual and intellectual aspects of life. Ancient Indian Education was dominated by strict moral codes of conduct. Stress was on ‘Self-respect, self- discipline and self-knowledge. The ancient education taught to the students ethics like humility, truthfulness, discipline, self-reliance, and respecting all creations. (https://www.intechopen.com )

During the ancient period, two systems of education were developed, Vedic, and Buddhist. The medium of language during the Vedic system was Sanskrit, while those in the Buddhist system were pali. Education was imparted from Vedas, Brahmanas, Upanishads and Dharmasutras. The writings of Aryabhata, Panini, Katyayana and Patanjali and the medical treatises of Charaka and Sushruta were also some of the rich sources of learning. (https://byjus.com)

Gurukul system Gurukul was actually the home of teacher or Acharya and was the centre of learning where pupils resided till their education got complete. All were considered equal at the Gurukul and guru (teacher) as well as shisya (student) resided in the same house or lived near to each other.

In ancient India some centres of learning like Taxila or Nalanda etc. were so famous that knowledge-seekers, from distant places from different parts of the country as well as from neighbouring countries, walked to these centres for learning.

Salient features of ancient education system

Values and systems were developed in such a way that even a powerful Emperor, like Ashoka the great, thought it his duty, to bow before the learned persons as a mark of his respect for their learning, wisdom and sacrifice. It shows what matters in life, is not a person’s status or position, but his virtues and wisdom. Only when one raises oneself up from ignorance, can he recognize the greatness of a few in a sea of humanity.

  • More importance to knowledge than wealth – Traditional culture of India is not so materialistic, as Western countries are. Indian values and systems have separated pursuit and achievement in knowledge from temptations of worldly comforts, wealth or power-politics. According to Indian philosophy, when a person runs blindly after money and forgets about the real purpose of knowledge, both wealth and knowledge vanishes from their lives. The only judicious way to generate wealth and gain power goes via the path of acquiring true knowledge. West gives more importance to creation of wealth.
    Wealth is the ultimate aim of the people, yardstick of success and a status symbol.
  • Knowledge as the base of ranking – In ancient and medieval Indian society, the greatness of a person, institution or a nation was judged on the basis of the degree of righteousness and justice. Greatness of Princely states was judged with which its administration governed lives of the common men or their character. It was not on the basis of the size of a state, its military power or its treasury/bank-balance. Similarly, in the society, a person or a caste was ranked on the basis of knowledge, discipline and moral standards, and not on the basis of material success, muscle or money power or of having controlling power over the destiny of common man.
  • Respect for knowledgeable persons – In India, not only Brahmins, but others were also commanded the respect of society for their knowledge/learning capabilities, character, spirituality and ability. The system was quite liberal in this matter. It provided opportunities to all irrespective caste, creed or community, to get to the top from the humblest origin and earn the respect of the whole society. For example, Vashishtha, the principal of the conservative school of Brahmanism, was the son of Uravshi, a prostitute. Vishwamitra, the maker of the very Gayatri Mantra, the quintessence of the Vedic Brahmanism, was a Kshatriya. Aitreya, after whom the sacramental part of Rig-Veda is named as Aitreya Brahamana, was the son from a non-Aryan wife of a Brahman sage. Vyasa of Mahabharata fame was the son of a fish-woman (belonging to Mahr community – Dalit according to present standards and to which Dr Ambedkar, the messiah of Dalits belonged).  Balmiki, an untouchable according to present standards, the original author of Ramayana, is highly respected all over India. None of them were not ashamed of their origin. They still hold a very high position in general public minds.

System of education and training in modern India

Modern education – Originally, Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay has brought in India the modern Grammar School education system in the 1830s. Medium of instruction was English. Education is primarily a State responsibility. It is Government and communities, as well as public and private organizations of all kinds, that establish schools and colleges, develop curricula, and determine requirements for enrolment and graduation.

‘Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act or Right to Education Act (RTE)’ was enacted by Parliament of India on 4 August 2009, which describes the modalities of the importance of free and compulsory education for children between the age of 6 to 14 years in India under Article 21A of the Constitution.

Indian Education system is good but it needs little bit improvement. At present, India is facing a rapid deterioration in standards of teaching. It is not technically strong enough in educating, when compared to the well developed countries. Earlier, though education was thinly spread, even government schools were maintaining a good standard. In an attempt to do quantitative expansion of education, quality of education suffered a lot.

It is a matter of great concern that even seventy four years after independence and self-rule, literacy-rate has gone up to 74% from 65. For males it has risen to 82% from 75%, for females to 65% from 54.  In absolute number, the figure is alarming. No nation can afford to have a large number of its population to remain illiterate, ignorant and unskilled.

All is not well in education system in India – From time to time, it has been noted by distinguished academicians, policy-makers, political leaders, other eminent persons, commissions and committees that all is not well in the present education system of India. Now and then, failures have been pointed out in one or another area of education. They have noticed that education and training system has become increasingly unrelated to national needs and aspirations, insufficient, wasteful and dysfunctional.

External and internal constraints on Education system –  There exists many internal and external constraints on the education system, such as –

External Constraints

  • Socio-economic and political pressures have indirectly affected adversely the education system violated its quality and autonomy.
  • Unholy alliance with vested interests between elites of Indian society – Some changes have taken place in the recent past in the character, role and inter-relationship of seven  main constituent of the national elites – Political Executives, Legislators, Businessmen, Media persons, Organized Workers, powerful lobby of Farmers and Bureaucrats. Their vested interests have  brought into forefront some undesirable social changes and political turmoil, which has affected adversely indirectly the whole atmosphere in the field of education as well.
  • Population explosion – Population explosion has put a heavy pressure on present education system and its available infrastructure. Narrow loyalties, sectional interests and sub-cultures like – favouritism, nepotism and corruption have fast become an accepted way of life. Result is that communal, regional and caste conflicts and unhealthy competition between different powerful lobbies are increasing every day to have their exclusive hold on scarce resources available in the field of education or for power and pelf. Lobbies of a few powerful persons and ruling elites interfere and control every stage of the educational process.
  • Modern life style – Modern life style of stay up late due to reasons like working parents coming home late, socializing/going out for entertainment late in nights and health hazards due to undisciplined way of sleeping and getting up late adds fuel into fire. In long run, sleep-disorder may increase health problems like risk to heart attack, high blood-pressure, stroke, diabetes, drowsiness, depression, headaches obesity, loss of memory and poor performance at school.  

The reflection of all these evils is found in the educational system as well.

Internal Constraints – Internally the system has been fractured along the lines of discipline deteriorating standard of education in general and student sub-culture. Slowly but steadily, the education system lost its capacity to equip the younger generation with relevant knowledge and skills for enabling them to get gainfully employed and to perform their jobs with a sense of responsibility. It has failed to produce much-needed dynamism in youth as well. Now people have started questioning the legitimacy of a modern education system itself.

  • Past legacy – Some defects in modern education based on colonized British Grammar School type education. After Independence, many more  problems, paradoxes and constraints have cropped up. 
  • Grammar school education system is mainly based upon foreign culture and uprooted the indigenous culture of India.
  • English instead of mother tongue as the medium of instruction puts extra strain upon the nerves of students. Result is that the system is producing mostly the youth, who are unable to express clearly in any language, including in their own.
  • Acquisition of quality education is not possible through a foreign language.
  • It adversely affects the competence and confidence of students.
  • Masses remains deprived.
  • Present education system gives more importance to subjects like science and mathematics and ignores the culture of heart and hand. It has confined itself simply to head.
  • Present system increases the gap between ‘haves and have-nots’ – Instead of being an instrument of social integration, modern education system divides society into two groups, ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’. Usually children of poor families go to government or government aided schools. Poor people cannot bear the expenditure of sending their children to Private schools. Only well-to-do families can afford to send their children to Private schools, which try their best to maintain good standard of education.
  • Unfit for original work – Education system in India makes learners crammers, imitators and unfit for original work and thought. Whereas, Education system in Western  countries makes student a lively, inquisitive and original thinking person. There, it has been able to develop certain special qualities like regards for laws of the nation, awareness, contempt for hypocrisy, sympathy for underdog and courage to resist cruelty or misuse of power and authority. An educated youth in India generally fails to develop such an attitude and conscience.
  • Store-house of information – No doubt, access to information provides the basis of all the thinking and increases knowledge. But over-emphasis on information at all stages of education, from preliminary through secondary right up-to the college stage makes mind a store-house of information/knowledge and discourages original thinking. It lays emphasis on giving students ready-made knowledge, systematically and neatly organized in the form of lessons, units and text book. R W Emerson comments on modern education, “We are students of words: we are shut up in schools and colleges and recitation-rooms, for ten or fifteen years and come out at last with a bag of wind, a memory of words and do not know a thing.”
  • Degree-oriented system led to rush in educational institutes of higher learning : The whole system of education, training and employment is degree oriented. The result of such a narrow mind-set is –
  • Requirement university degrees/certificates as a Passport for getting white collard jobs and giving final from manual work has made a mockery of higher education. It has encouraged mass entry into the institutions of higher learning
  • Present education system does not pay enough attention on Primary education. Early childhood learning plays a vital in improving the quality and quantity of learning and for developing lifelong qualities in children. Latest brain researches tell that first 2000 days are the most important in a child’s life, when children develop learning strategies, learn how to think and develop problem-solving ability. At primary level of education, it is necessary to have more interaction between parents, teachers, and children.
  • Higher secondary, the weakest link in Indian education system – Higher secondary education is not up to the mark. It is the weakest link in Indian education system. In western countries, the higher secondary education system enables talented students to join courses of their choice. Sincere efforts are required to be done to improve the academic standards, curricula and methods of teaching at higher secondary level in India.
  • Neck to neck competition in schools and colleges – Attitude, aptitude or personal choice does not matter in learning what you want. It depends only on availability of seats for admission. There is cut-throat competition for getting admission in the courses of their choices. It puts lots of pressure on the minds of candidates. High expectations of parents, forces teenagers to join extra-classes/tutorial classes after school, which cuts down on their free, leisure time or time to spend on extra-curricular activities. Non-availability to get admissions in the courses of their choices affects adversely their interest in learning and giving their best to the society.
  • Degree-oriented culture encourages the mass-entry into universities and colleges. There is over-crowding in the institutions of higher learning. A large number of new substandard and superfluous colleges and universities are being created every day to meet the increasing demand. The stress on quantitative increase has subverted all the attempts to improve the quality of teaching and learning. It has led to continuous fall in the academic standards and students’ discipline, regional imbalances in the growth of educational institutions and politics in the temples of learning.
  • Politicization of the institutions of higher learning – There is a rush of students, who want degree as a passport. Some join institutions of higher studies just as a time-pass till they get employed. They  seize every opportunity to spoil the academic atmosphere and create disturbances. They get affiliated to youth wing of different political parties. And do not hesitate to take support of different political parties to create disturbances from time to time within the campus.
  • Indiscipline in institutes of higher learning –Instead of inspiring the modern youth to control their senses, mind and intellect, so that they can channelise their energy and efforts towards desired direction, the present education making them over-conscious of their rights. They desire to be absolutely free from all kinds of moral compulsions.  Discipline, morality and observance of rules seems to them to be unnecessary and irrational. They do not have much respect even respect for their elders, teachers or authority. Not learning, but enjoying the life and material gains is  their aim. Knowledge without discipline may lead to chaos and violence.
  • Pre employment (primary and secondary) education and training – Work in human life is very important.  Work towards one’s goals and dreams gives purpose to human life. Living each day with purpose provides a sense of fulfilment. One of the major aims of education is to make youth employable. For streamlining the performance of people at work after employment, most essential and fundamental requirement is that the character and scope of primary and secondary education and training, (before joining the work force) should be  comprehensive in scope and sound in nature for making youth acceptable in job-market. Pre-entry education system needs to be redesigned in such a way, that it could continuously provide men and women of vitality, vigour, initiative and imagination with intellectual accomplishments, qualifications and soundness of character. It should impart knowledge, shapes attitude, cultivate skills and build work habits according to their specific area  of their interest, so that  they get better  adjusted to their working environment. Education should be more project based or practical based education, so thatcandidates get not only theoretical knowledge, but also practical knowledge as well.

Immediately after joining the work force, pre-entry education received prior to joining the work-force needs to be supplemented by well-planned foundation training. Foundation training facilitates the candidates to know the fundamentals of their specific jobs and inculcates in them relevant skills and attitude to do their jobs well. Without proper foundation training, effectiveness, efficiency and quality of work suffers.

  • Unrealistic Manpower Assessment – Assessment of manpower requirement for economic growth is not done rationally according to national needs. After Independence, the need for technical people was felt and in recent past for management experts. The creation of a large number of  institutions in these areas without assessing the needs of the nation resulted in educated unemployment and brain-drain. A large number of trained scientists, doctors, engineer’s technicians and management graduates go abroad in search of suitable jobs.
  • Faulty system of evaluation/examination – One of the reason of deterioration of the quality of education is that examination and evaluation system is faulty. It tests only a narrow range of skills, especially those of memory.
  • Addiction to electronic gadgets and poor life-style – Right from the beginning, children and teenagers are addicted to electronic gadgets. Any information on any subject, is easily available on Google. So there is no need to put any strain on mind for actual learning. Young children are addicted to electronic gadgets very much. It further cuts into their free time. Modern life style of stay up late due to reasons like working parents coming home late, socializing/going out for entertainment late in nights and health hazards due to undisciplined way of sleeping and getting up late adds fuel into fire. In long run, sleep-disorder may increase health problems like risk to heart attack, high blood-pressure, stroke, diabetes, drowsiness, depression, headaches obesity, loss of memory and poor performance at school.

Where the fault lies? – For the present weaknesses in the present education system, parents blame teachers and teachers the parents, students blame teachers and teachers the students. They together blame educationists and they in turn attack the social system. Blaming game can’t solve the problem. It is better to analyse the issues  and find out solutions.

All the weaknesses of present system of education cannot be removed overnight. Instead of offering excuses or blaming each other for the failures and dissatisfaction, all the three partners involved – students, teachers and the society should together make concentrated efforts to improve the education system and create a larger base of educated, trained and skilled manpower. Together they should do rational thinking after understanding the basics, fundamentals, aims and the problem of present education and training.

Problem areas in present education system – It is generally felt that present education system is not on the right track, because –

  • Education does not mean only the knowledge of three ‘R’s.
  • Present system focusses more on theoretical knowledge than its practical application in real life situations. Increasing knowledge-base through available information/bookish knowledge is also not the purpose of education.
  • Not adequate attention on the quality of education. Emphasis is more on increase quantity.
  • It also does not mean collecting degrees and certificates through formal education.
  • The process of learning is not confined to schools/colleges. It is a never-ending process.
  • Over-exposure of information,
  • Continuous deterioration of moral and cultural values in today’ materialistic world. Henry Kravis has commented, “If you don’t have integrity, You have nothing. You cannot buy it. You can have all the money in the world, but if you are not a moral and ethical person, you really have nothing.”
  • Absence of parental guidance, when it is needed the most.,
  • Too much emphasis on academic excellence has over-burdened the minds of children and youth. Parental pressure and peer-pressure is putting extra burden on students. Many children commit suicide or go under mental pressure.

Present education system does  a majority of individuals really educated with mature outlook. Such persons are mostly incapable to meet the adverse situations or challenges of real-life. The result is that –

  • Employers find it difficult to select, recruit and retain suitable persons for different disciplines and at different levels at job market.
  • When persons with immature mind-set enter into real life and join the workforce, they become restless, intolerant, more demanding or  impulsive.
  • Pre-entry education is such that after employment, even  the basics of their specific jobs are to be told to them. It requires a much more massive effort in order to make employees do their jobs well.

Planning for creating system of education and training – For planning a sound system of education and training, having a larger base of more skilled and expert manpower, and streamlining the performance of people at work after employment, it is necessary to

  • Educators and elders need to understand the psychology of youth/learners.
  • Awareness about changes happening every day in today’s world.
  • Enough arrangements to learn about the latest developments, and to upgrade and refresh knowledge continuously in their respective areas of work, after joining the workforce.
  • Commitment on the part of teachers to share their knowledge with students without bias.
  • Encouraging the students to express their thoughts and views freely and frankly.
  • Quality is more important than quantity in the sphere of education. Quality of education need not be compromised in any way for students, who cannot learn and understand at the same pace as other batch-mates. Educational institutions should make arrangements for special coaching for them, instead of lowering the standard of education.

Suggestions – To improve the quality of education and create a larger base of skilled and trained manpower, rational planning  needs to be done. First step is to diagnose the real problems. Then try to find out  the role of education in modern life after understanding its basics, fundamentals and aims correctly. Some areas which need special attention of all are –

  • Family, the first learning place for a child –  Family is called a child’s first school, where prior to joining school, a person learns manners and knowledge. Under the loving care of parents, a child learns to understand the world around him. It includes health-care, physical, emotional and behavioural development as well as logic and reasoning power. There a child learns as how to speak and communicate with others.  Therefore, role of parents and family becomes crucial for inculcating and developing lifelong qualities in children. For it, requires proper parental guidance is necessary. Parents should understand the psychology of their children. They should find out enough time to have more interaction with their children. At present, parents are so busy in meeting the two ends that they cannot devote enough time  and try to pass on this responsibility to schools teachers and day-care instructors etc. And it is practically very difficult for teachers or child-minders to pay individual attention to each and every child because of the large number of children under their charge.    
  • ‘Education for all’ – In present world of fast-paced life-style, ‘Education for all’ can instil in people,  the courage to avoid out-dated traditions and dogmatic ways of doing things. Educated persons can face  the challenges of life with confidence. Sound system of Education along with proper training system can inculcate in people qualities like self-reliance, rational, positive and creative thinking, problem solving attitude, planning properly about their future and career according to their attitude and aptitude, taking right decisions at right time, doing their duties responsibly, act judiciously and facing the challenges in life.
  • Improvement in the character and scope of primary and secondary level educational system is the most essential and fundamental requirement is to improve. It should be redesigned in such a way, that it could continuously provide men and women of vitality, vigour, initiative and imagination with intellectual accomplishments, qualifications and soundness of character needed in different disciplines and at different levels at job market.
  • Requirement of University Degree not necessary – The requirement of a university degree as a Passport for starting nice and respectable career (white collard jobs) has made a mockery of higher education. Such an attitude has by-passed the need to “educate all”, resulted in negligence of primary and higher secondary education and in over-crowding the institutions of learning. The stress on quantitative increase has subverted all the attempts to improve the quality of teaching and learning. It has led to continuous fall in the academic standards and students’ discipline, regional imbalances in the growth of educational institutions and politics in the temples of learning.
  • Relationship between students and teachers – Relationship between students and teachers should be such that faculty members should encourage students to share and express their views and thoughts freely and frankly. Finding committed teachers is not an easy task, but is urgently required for keeping standards of education high.
  • Spirit of healthy competition needs to be inculcated – In the present atmosphere of neck to neck competition and to be one up,  it is better to upgrade one’s own knowledge, courage to meet the challenges of real life bravely, get control over emotions and impulses as far as possible, develop problem-solving attitude and skill to take right decision at right time.

April 24, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Generations of Twentieth century

Introduction – A generation means all the people born  and living at about the same time. They collectively form a social groups sharing almost similar life experiences, prospects, outlooks, preferences, attributes and value systems etc. Generally different generations or social groups born within a defined time period share similar cultural traits, values, and preferences.

With times, continuous changes happen in thinking, social life style, education system, technology in different spheres (medical, transport, communication etc. Each generation, has its own traits like life-style, habits, pattern of behavior, ideology, communication, motivation, preference, likes, dislikes, work-life balance strategy or financial needs.  Generally different generations or social groups born within a defined time period share similar cultural traits, values, and preferences. And then comes a change depending on the circumstances and the time frame of their birth years.

The average period of one generation is generally considered to be about 20–⁠30 years. Then starts changes causing a difference of opinions between two generations in thinking, outlook, life-style and socio-economic & political atmosphere. Accordingly changes beliefs, likes & dislikes  and values system of different generations as well as their way to communicate,  socialize or behave with each other.

Normally people of two or three generations are exposed to many of the same events share common characteristics. These shared experiences, based on their socio-economic background, parents attitude and many other factors/events (particularly happening during formative teen years, of different generations make the foundation of their beliefs and behaviours. In turn, these beliefs give a generation its defining characteristics.

Generation gap A generation gap means difference of opinions between people belonging to different generations. Usually people belonging to different age groups see the world from different perspectives. Their perceptions, actions, beliefs, interests, and opinions about social and political values and systems automatically change with time. Social scientists have named this difference of opinion as generation gap. Effects of the generation gap include conflict among family members of different generations because of difference of opinion or misunderstandings.

Changes have occurred too fast during the twentieth century. There has been a drastic change between the generations born and brought up before and during 20th century as well as born during and after twentieth century. The pace of life was quite slow before 20th century and in 21st century it has become too fast to mold it in desired direction. Human’s life has become too mechanized and artificial far away from Mother Nature.

Process of modernization and technological advancement – The process of modernization began with the development of technologies in the spheres of science, engineering and warfare. First two industrialization revolutions were started and progressed mainly in England and other European countries for performing specific tasks. The first one, occurring in the early 17th century, which revolutionized the textile industry had shortened distances and made mobility faster and easier. It brought prosperity to European nations.

During 16th and 17th centuries, first industrial revolution started in England and European nation in . In 1645, Blaize Pascal and in 1694 developed mechanical computers for solving navigational and scientific problems.

In 1801 Joseph-Marie Jacquard invented first programmed machine called Jacquard Loom. It had automated the weaving of cloth, which reduced the cost of producing their goods through mass production in factories. It had revolutionized the Textile industry, which brought prosperity to England and other European countries.

With their growing prosperity, started the Policy of expansionism or Colonialism. European powers like Dutch, Portuguese, French, or Spanish, which prospered due to first Industrial revolution during 16th and 17th centuries, stated competing with each other to acquire resources, land, and economic influence outside their borders in order to monopolize the trade. They wanted to expand their size, power, and wealth. They exploited other countries for the benefit their own.

The second industrial revolution happened during late 19th and beginning of 20th century, when science was fused with technology. It had shortened distances and made mobility and communication with other parts of the world, faster and easier.

All the technological progress happened during these two Industrial Revolutions had changed drastically the life style style and work culture of generations of 20 century, especially of the generations born and brought up in late 20th century after the third great Info-tech Revolution. Again in 2020, the whole world is in for a major change because of Pandemic KOVID 19.

Names and general traits of different generations of 20th centuryGenerational naming has begun in the 20th-century.  The assigned names of different generations born in 20th century are as following –  

  • GI Generation/Interbellum Generation: Generation born worldwide between 1900 to 1915.
  • The Greatest generation/Traditionalists (born between 1910 to 1924),
  • Silent Generation (Birth years 1925-1945)
  • Baby boomers (birth year 1946 and 1964)
  • Generation X (born between 1965 to 1979)
  • Generation Y/Millennials (Birth year 1980 to 1994)
  • Zen Z (Born between 1995 to 2012)
  • Generation Alpha Birth year 2013 to 2025

Various living generations that make up present populations are:

  • The Greatest Generation
  • The Silent Generation
  • Baby Boomers
  • Generation X
  • Generation Y or Millennials
  • Generation Z

Common features of first three generationsVery few people from GI Generation, (Born worldwide between 1900 to 1915), The Greatest Generation/Traditionalists (born between 1910 to 1924) and the Silent Generation (born between 1925 to 1945)} are surviving as of today.

These generations have been born and brought up during the two World Wars and the Great Economic Depression. Some of them fought World War II. They had saved the world from catastrophe and then contributed in building their respective nations. Most of the women were home-makers, stayed at home and took care of kids and elders of the family. Men focused on their career. A period where parents were very strict as children were seen and not heard. This was the generation that saw civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X and Robert F. Kennedy or  influenced by dialogues of Gone With The Wind. Children liked the stories of Mickey Mouse. They were disciplined, self-sacrificing and cautious. Most of them grew up without electricity, refrigerators, or credit cards. Sometimes called the greatest generation. 

Main characteristic of these three generations All the three generations can be called as the Greatest Generations. Following have been the common basic features of these generations, which distinguish from later generations –

  • Personal Responsibility.
  • Integrity.
  • Humility.
  • A strong work ethics.
  • Financial Prudence.
  • Faithful Commitment.
  • They valued tradition.
  • Valued  respect more than money.
  • Not technologically as advanced as later generations are.
  • Believed in natural, healthy, balanced life style.
  • An appreciation for the “simplicities” in life, Simple living and high thinking was their motto.
  • It upheld values like gratitude,
  • Had a strong sense of determination and possessed strong willpower.
  • They cared more for respect rather than money.
  • Steered away from wastage and
  •  Placed significant value on economic resources.

Baby-boomers, Birth years 1940 and 1964Baby boomers are those people born worldwide between Great Silent Generation and preceding Generation X. Shaping events in the life of baby-boomers have been Post-WWII optimism, the cold war, and the hippie movement. This generation has been casual about relationship.

The generation of “baby boomers” was the result of a strong post World War II economy. A dramatic increase in the number of births happened in United States, Canada, and Australia after World War II. Government began family life, (from 1946 to 1964 in the United States 1947 to 1966 in Canada and 1946 to 1961 in Australia). The governments there had encouraged people to have large families. People wanted the additional tax exemptions offered for having children. With the war over and the economy growing, people were more prepared to raise children. This brought about a significant number of new children into the world. That is why it is called as Baby Boomers.

Population world-over continued had grown throughout 1940s and 1950s, leading to a peak in the late 1950s. Years from 1957 to 1961 were the peak birth years in raw number of births for a nation even though the total national population was 60% of its current population. The population of Baby Boomersgrew as the largest generations in history with 77 million people.

According to Christopher Pappas, January 29, 2016,  characteristics of Baby-boomers have been –

  • They were Optimistic, Team-oriented and Self-centered.
  • Strong work ethic. Baby boomers aren’t afraid to put in a hard day of work.
  • Self-Assured. This generation is independent and self-assured.
  • Competitive. Baby boomers like competition.
  • Goal-centric.
  • Resourceful.
  • Mentally focused.
  • Team oriented.
  • Disciplined.

Baby Boomers’ Motivations are Rooted in Tradition. What they value  in life is “safety in one’s community and nation”, which includes stability of society, national security and social order. For them, life is about a strong state and a stable society.

It is the longest-living generation in history. With it, grew the population world-over because of age longevity as well. Evidence-based studies indicate that age longevity is based on two major factors, genetics and lifestyle choices. Significant factors responsible for it have been gender, genetics, access to health care, hygiene, diet and nutrition, exercise, lifestyle, and remarkable advancement in medical science. Both men and women became the bread winners, the world saw the uproar of feminism, having a divorce became less dramatic. It is also this generation that saw invention of  TV. 

They have gone through the entire period of technological developments – the rise and development of the media. Baby boomers are the biggest consumers of traditional media like television, radio, magazines, and newspaper. Despite being so traditional 90% of baby boomers have a Facebook account. This generation has begun to adopt more technology in order to stay in touch with family members and reconnect with old friends.  

They have enjoyed stability in terms of both work and family and being active both physically and mentally. They believe that one should take care of their children enough to set them on the right course and don’t plan on leaving any inheritance. They are less dependent on smartphones than the next generations. Today, all-over the world, it is a big problem as how society should cope with an aging population.

Generation X, Birth Years (1965 to 1979) – Generation X followed the Boomers. Shaping events in Generation X’s life have been end of the cold war, the rise of personal computing, and a big increase in generation gap between Baby-boomers and Generation X.

Generation X grew up in an era of emerging technology and was advancing at a very fast speed. During their childhood computers got introduced in their school curriculum. The youth of this generation have been open to entrepreneurship.

They grew up with minimal adult supervision They were the kids who saw divorced as well carrier-oriented parents. They prefer late marriages, small family unlike the generation of Baby-boomers and are casual at divorce. Birth rate has been considerably dropped after 1964 . They believe in work-life balance.

They are eager to learn, explore and make a contribution. They know what they want, and are mentally prepared to struggle to achieve their dreams. They are self-sufficient, resourceful and individualistic. They value freedom and responsibility and try to overcome challenges on their own.  They also appreciate informality, are technologically adept, digitally savvy, flexible and highly educated.

Individualism, ambition and an addiction to work, or being a workaholic, are the values with which Generation X has been grown up. To work and produce has been their philosophy of life, leaving no room for idealism.

Millennials (Birth years 1980 to 1994) – Millennials are also known as Gen Y. This generation is the most populated and most talked about generation in modern history. Millennials are the youth of the new 21st century. They are more progressive and creative than the previous generations. They are self-conscience, like active lifestyle, eat healthy food and health-conscious. They are the most civic-minded since the generation of the 1930s and 1940s,” claimed USA Today. They are the smartest, richest generation and potentially longest living generation of all time.

Events that shaped Generation Y – Shaping events in their life have been the great recession, technological  explosion,  internet, social media and 9/11. Generation Y is the first generation in history that has been born and brought up totally immersed in a world of digital technology. Digitalization has shaped its identity and influenced deeply its political, social and cultural attitudes.

Nurtured and pampered by parents who didn’t want to make the mistakes of the previous generation, millennials are confident, ambitious, and achievement-oriented. They also have high expectations of their employers, tend to seek new challenges at work, and aren’t afraid to question authority.

Attitudes – This generation is open to relationships, late to marriage and accepts sexuality in many ways. They feel enormous academic pressure. Envision the world as a 24/7 place, believes in fast and immediate processing. They are the Yahoo, mobile phones, Google, Facebook, iPhone generation. With unlimited access to information, they prefer digital literacy, they tend to be assertive, with strong views. (info@aspioneer.comDifferent Generations and their attitudes by Alice Carpenter, July 1, 2018)

  • Values meaningful motivation.
  • Challenges the hierarchy status-quo.
  • Places importance on relationships with superiors.
  • Intuitive knowledge of technology.
  • Open and adaptive to change.
  • Places importance on tasks rather than time.
  • Passion for learning.
  • Openly receptive to feedback and recognition
  • Free-thinking and creative
  • Values social interactions in the workplace

Seven surprising traits that make Millennials excellent employees are as following: –

  1. Curiosity – Eager to learn new skills.
  2. Individuality – Most of the times they think that they are somehow different from everyone else.
  3.  Social service –  Millennials focus on larger societal needs rather than individual needs.  They care about a variety of social causes, such as climate change and social equality.
  4. Financial stability – The Great Recession has made a lasting impact on the millennial generation. Millennials are making financial decisions focused on maintaining stability rather than striking it rich..
  5. Technological innovation – Millennials are are obsessed with technology. They were born when the internet, personal computers and cell-phones went mainstream. They are extremely comfortable with mobile devices like their parents. They typically have multiple social media accounts.
  6. Regular feedback –  Millennial workers welcome  regular feedback to improve their performance professionally, rather than taking it as praise.
  7. Collaboration – They are not self-centered like prior generations and believe to work together to achieve a defined and common business purpose.

Generation Z, birth years 1995 to 2019 Generation Z It is the generation that has always seen a world with computers and phones. Their life is interwoven with technology and referred to as ‘technoholics’. With the advent of computers and web-based learning, children leave behind toys at younger and younger age. It has got internet access at a young age.is heavy users of mobile devices. They are tired of hearing about the environment and the many ways we have to save it. They are over saturated with brands. It is the generation that will experiment Google glass, nano-computing, 3-D printing and see driverless cars. It is similar to Gen X in financial attitudes but desires to avoid debt after seeing Millennials struggle. (info@aspioneer.comDifferent Generations and their attitudes by Alice Carpenter, July 1, 2018)Some special features of this generation are as following –

  • It is financially focused. For it, their job is the most important thing in life. They do not mind taking up a job that provides a steady income and necessary benefits even if it isn’t their dream job. Many of them have financial education. They believe in savings more than their prior generations.
  • It is entrepreneurial. It believes  that  money can be made from good ideas and they aren’t afraid to chase those ideas.
  • It is all about technology. Persons of this generation are well connected as Internet and cell phones have been easily accessible to them.
  • Generation Z still likes face to face interaction.
  • It is very focused and highly competitive in most areas of life. It wants best of everything in life. Competition constantly drives them.
  • Change is welcomed by Generation Z.
  • Gen Z has a lot of knowledge and exposure to many different topics. With this breadth of knowledge, they constantly seek new ideas and experiences.
  • This Generation wants to be heard. Having access to so much information, Gen Z has strong opinions and wants them to be heard. This is especially true in the workplace, where they expect to be an equal contributor.
  • Diversity doesn’t even register with Generation Z.
  • Generation Z prefers independence.

Generation Alpha Birth year 2010 to 2024Australian researcher Mark Mc-Crindle named the youngest cohort born from 2010-2024, as  Generation Alpha which other platforms leave out and have failed to update: he called those.

Generation Alpha Characteristics – This generation is yet to join the work-force. It is hoped that

  • It will be the most educated Generation in history.
  • They are expected to be tech-savvy.
  • Artificial Intelligence is supposed to be their reality. Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to the simulation of human intelligence in machines that are programmed to think like humans and mimic their actions. The term may also be applied to any machine that exhibits traits associated with a human mind such as learning and problem-solving etc.
  • Their learning will be highly personalized.
  • Social media could be their dominant mode of interaction.
  • They may not like the sharing economy.
  • They might not play by the rules.

Conclusion – In recent past, times are changing at a very fast speed.            With it, major changes has happened in outlook of the people of different generations. Generation gap has been increasing continuously. It does not take a 25 year age difference to make a generation gap. Today, a nineteen year old will have a hard time to understand the mindset of a seventeen-year-old. Generation gap is a major problem of the society.

Root cause of generation gap – Generation gap. Generation gap results in conflict among family members of different generations i.e. youth, and their parents or grand-parents. It is more between children and parents, the gap becomes even wider in case of grandparents and grandchildren. Various factors cause generation gap. Some of them being age-longevity, changes in society values and systems, inter-racial/interregional/inter-caste marriages, mobility or immigration of social groups, advancement of medical science and rapid technological advancements.

The root cause of the gap is lack of free and frank communication between different age groups, which creates misunderstanding and disharmony between the young and the old. Concept of “right and wrong” has been a major cause of conflict between the elders and the young. The young feel the elders to be old-fashioned, the old think the young to be shallow, narrow-minded and self-centred. Another reason is the advancement of technology at a very fast speed. During 20th century, the difference between the older and young generation was increased because older generations have not been so familiar with new technological advancements. Older generation is not so quick to understand and use new technology. And now with of revolution in Information technology especially happened around 70’s, it does not take a 25 year age difference to make a generation gap. Today, a nineteen year old will have a hard time to understand the mindset of a seventeen-year-old.

How to bridge the gap – It is very difficult to bridge the gap. But attempts can definitely be made to minimise it through –

  1. Focus on similarities. The basic approach is to focus on similarities and not the differences between the various generations.
  2. Keep communication open.
  3. Encourage mentoring.
  4. Give value to seniors.
  5. Set out expectations clearly.

November 20, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Harmonious relationship

“A great relationship is about two things, first find out similarities and second respect the differences”

Introduction – Quality of  relationships matters a lot. It not only protect their bodies but protects their brain as well.  Desire for name, fame or money does not make people happy.

For developing harmonious relationship, people will have to understand the value of togetherness. Togetherness keeps people well- connected to family, friends and to community. Warm relationships are protective, gives feeling of true happiness, satisfaction and develops a sense of security. Sharing of joys with near and dear ones doubles the happiness. Similarly sharing one’s worries or sorrows lessens the mental strain.

Human relationship is passing through a tough time in modern period. Reasons are many, like trend of nucleus family system, money-culture, impatience, fast and busy life-style of modern times and too artificial and mechanized way of living. Individuals are becoming more and more self-centered.

Adverse effect of modernity on relationships has been seen almost everywhere. There are many experts to advice, yet instead of reducing the problems, it is increasing day by day. Modernity has taught humans to make a living but not a life. People try to multiply their possessions but instead have reduced the human values.

Loneliness in modern world – Otherwise life becomes quite complex. Loneliness kills a person. He is either a god or a beast without his fellow-beings. Their mental and physical health, start to decline. Society also does not regard them as normal. It is an irony of modern times that people have lots of friends on electronic medium/social media/facebook/wordsap etc, but there is no one to rely on. It causes stress anxiety and depression. Most of people are lonely at heart today.

People are emotionally suffocated – Over and above all this, ego and trend of not trusting others or fear of being rejected compel him to hold back his emotions. It is difficult to realize how lonely and emotionally suffocated humans are these days, be it a child, a youth or an elderly person.

The net result is that everyone, be it a child, a youth or an old person, everyone feels lonely. Heart to heart conversations have become rare, artificial and shallow. Young people mostly suffer from anxiety and frustration. Senior citizens, at the fag end of their life, suffer from loneliness the most. They have virtually no connection with younger generation. Even children are deprived of the pleasures of childhood because of heavy curriculum and high expectations of parents. People of all age-groups have bottled up stress and then suffers from anxiety or depression. Life becomes a constant struggle for youth and hell old people. Increasing cases of depression all over the world is the proof.

To keep up his social image of a confident and happy-man, usually people behave artificially. It hardly lessens stress, anxiety or depression.

Hurdles on the way of smooth relationship – Main hurdles on the way of smooth relationships are false ego, fear, unfulfilled expectations, rat-race giving rise to prejudices, anger and revenge. Besides –

·    No time or patience – In this fast-paced life of today, nobody has time or patience to listen to others.  ‘Get to the point’ is the base of communicating with others. Such an attitude takes toll on relationship.Life is so busy and fast these days that nobody has time for listening others’ emotions, which is considered as waste of time. People save their time only for self-interests self-image, self-promotion. It makes most of people self-serving.

·      Social isolation – People have become unsocial. Communication Through digital medium people can communicate with others, but at heart, they feel lonely. They have become slave of technology they have mastered. There is no feeling of belonging to society, or acceptance for others.   

.   Phony relationships – In the cards game of Bridge, there is a phony call of one club indicating that the player has a strong set of cards, but no depth in any suit. Similarly, face to face interaction has been replaced by new modes of digital and online communication. There are quick, easier and more contacts through networking at very little or no cost, but there is very little connection.
·      Faceless interaction – Speedy means of communication through electronic medium is an illusion, which leads them to the world of confusion. The moment people open their computers or mobile, they ignore the presence of people around them.

Faceless interaction has made people insensitive. Every-day people talk to hundreds of people every day, yet they do not really know the person they are talking to. Face-to face interaction enables people to know the reactions, thoughts and feelings of others. It becomes easier by witnessing
the body-language, expressions on the face, while talking. It connects a person with others and can make a difference in life. People can develop a sense of belonging to the society, companionship and can learn to co-exist.

·      Smart phones and dump people – Interaction through Smart phones has made people quite insensitive. In this fast-paced life, nobody has time or patience to listen.  ‘Get to the  point’ is the base of communicating with others.

·       Understanding about each other, missing – Every-day a humans talk to hundreds of people, yet hardly they know the person they are talking to. 

How to develop Harmonious relationships – The foundation pillars for making a relationship flourish are love, understanding, trust, confidence, faith, sincerity and similar interests. Compassion and empathy are two essential traits to bring up a smooth relationship. It basically depends on –

  • Find out similarities and respect the differences. “Nobody is superior, nobody is inferior, but nobody equal either. People are simply unique, incomparable. You are you, I am I.” (Budha) When people interact with like-minded people, who have the same goals or thinking. 
  • Relationship is reciprocal. It works on the principle of ‘give and take’. Same is true to develop relationship between an Individual and a society.
  • Accept others as they are. When there is inclusive bent of mind, likes and dislikes do not matter. Only, it is required that agree or disagree respectfully after having constructive dialogue.  
  • Communication is the lifeline of any relationship. When one stops communicating… one starts loosing his/her valuable relationship.
  • Lack of proper communication affects adversely relationship. Gaps are created, when there is a lack of communication or communication is not clear.
  • Communication should be adequate, timely, uniform, acceptable and consistent with the expectations of the recipient.
  • Not only, that what is communicated, matters, but when it is communicated and how it is communicated also matters a lot. What is ‘communicated’ reaches to mind. How it is said reaches to heart.
  • Be honest and natural, no artificial gesture to show closeness.
  • Respect the traditional way of living. It is like an anchor, which keeps one’s boat even in the stormy water of an ocean. Do not discard or reject it  out-rightly.
  • Besides try to trust others, keep good communication to develop healthy relationships, have patience to listen what others want to say. Do not reject their point of view out-rightly.
  • Gaps are created, not by what is said, but by how it is said. What is said reaches to mind and how it is said reaches to heart.
  • Life provides opportunities to convert them into developing harmonious relationships. Only one has to move forward, cross the road and shake hands with the near and dear ones.  

Happiness depends on balanced and harmonious relationship and harmonious relationship depends on coordination. And coordination depends on adequate communication with fellow-beings. All the problems and unhappiness, be it environmental, social, economic, political or health-related, arise out of disharmony, imbalances and lack of coordination.

Conclusion – People are dreaming to reach up to the moon and back, but find no time to take even one step crossing the road to meet and chat freely with their neighbor or relatives. Lack of enough communication has made people insensitive, impatient and self-centered. People are missing the chances of little pleasures in life.

To save humans from depression or overjoy or emotional loneliness, harmonious relationship and free-frank-honest/heart to heart communication with near and dear ones is necessary. Rhythm with others can be achieved by cool and heart to heart conversation. Sharing of joys with near and dear ones doubles the happiness. Similarly sharing one’s worries or sorrows lessens the mental strain.

July 16, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Caste as a system

Conceptualized, originated and practiced exclusively in India – India presents one of the oldest, continuous and uninterrupted living civilizations in the whole world known as Hinduism. (Other well advanced civilizations of ancient world were of Egypt, Greece and Mesopotamia). One of the prominent features of Indian civilization is its ‘Caste-system’. Caste system is a unique way of stratifying the society. It has been conceptualized, originated and practiced exclusively in India. It has given a distinguished identity to Indian society.

Meaning of the term caste – The English word “caste” derives from the Spanish and Portuguese casta, which means, “race, lineage, or breed” (Mookherjee, 2012: 56). When the Spanish colonized the New World, they used the word to mean a “clan or lineage.” However, the Portuguese were the ones who employed casta in the primary modern sense when they applied it to the many in-marrying hereditary Hindu social groups they encountered upon their arrival in India in 1498.

When the word “caste” is translated into Hindi, it enfolds within itself two quite different Sanskrit concepts –

  1. Jaati and
  2. Varna

It was during 200 years of British domination, colonialism that made caste what it is today throughout the subcontinent. ‘In modern understanding of caste-system, element of ‘system’ is suppressed and ‘caste’ has become dominant.’

What caste is to a common men in India – As C. Rajgopalachari has said, a common man in India believes, “If there is honesty in India today, any hospitality, any charity- any aversion to evil, any love to be good, it is due to whatever remains of the old faith and the old culture”.

“Caste was the system of social life, in which Hinduism was expressed. …… Hinduism was the ideological and emotional buttress of caste…. Caste and Hinduism succeeded in doing in India, what no state, no conqueror and no economy was able to do – the establishment of a single unified system of society throughout the whole of India (accommodating numerous semi-autonomous communities arising at many times and in many places), a system of society, which was able to comprise a greater range of local differences in a single system than any society has previously accomplished.”

Through caste system, India has simultaneously accommodated “it to an almost endlessly varied system of semi-autonomous community and at the same time, it brings considerable unity, harmony and condition of peace.” It “succeeded in wielding an enormously varied plurality of semi-autonomous communities arising at many times and in many places and adopting themselves to many different conditions into a single system of society…” (Don Martindale, India since 1947, p 39)

Covers the entire social fabric of India – Caste-system is one of the prominent features running through the entire social fabric of India. Castes have its ethnic roots as denoted by Jati (extended family), and a ritualistic and symbolic significance in its Varna aspect. It is quite natural for all human beings to have closer ties with ones own fellow-beings and the persons following same kind of occupation and having the common traits/mindset. So emerged the caste system. Internalized caste norms define an individual role in the society. Common men feel good and loved, when they live up to the norms set up by their elders, and anxious and guilty, when he transgress them. It has greatly influenced the thinking of people and their culture allover India.

One of the oldest living institution – Caste system has maintained its continuity without interruption. It has survived the vicissitudes of time, saved itself by erosion from within and assault from outside only because of the adaptability. Its absorptive nature has internalized alien influences. It has taken different shades and meaning with the changing times and places.

Its character during Indus Valley Civilization was altogether different from what exists today. It is still in a transient phase. Its shade is different in the context of village, locality, region or religion. Once changed, the system never returned to its original form. Its absorptive nature has internalized alien influences. That is why it presents one of the oldest social institution and a continuous and uninterrupted living culture still existing in the entire world.

June 10, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Role of education in modern times

‘Education is not the learning, but the training of mind to think’. Albert Einstein

“Destroying any nation does not require the use of atomic bombs or the use of long range missiles. … It only requires lowering the quality of education and allowing cheating in the examinations by students.” … Patients die at the hands of such doctors; buildings collapse at the hands of such engineers. Money is lost at the hands such economists and accountants. Humanity dies at the hands of such religious scholars. Justice is lost at the hands of such judges. The collapse of education is the collapse of the nation.  (The famous statement of Nelson Mandela is displayed at the entrance of the University of South Africa).

“The illiterate of twenty-first century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.” Toffler

Introduction – Nelson Mandela has stated “Education is the great engine of personal development . It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.” Education is a key to success in life. It facilitates learning and acquisition of knowledge and skills. It helps people to understand the world around them. It inculcates skills to work in a better way through training. It develops power of reasoning, and judgement. It is meant to inculcate positive thinking, ethical values and shape attitude, and builds confidence. It is beyond earning degrees or certificates.

Purpose of education – Unfortunately for modern youth, the purpose of education, is academic or theoretical studies leading towards award of degrees or certificates from formal educational institutes. They show these degrees and certificates to their prospective employers as a proof of their knowledge.

What is education? – In fact, education is a process of facilitating learning or acquisition of knowledge, skill-training, values, morals, beliefs and habits. Education develops mental and moral faculties of individuals and makes them more cultured. Education embraces in itself reading, observation and thought. It improves understanding and attitudes of a people, so that they are better adjusted in their real life. It refines actions, language and behavior, mannerism of individuals and blossoms their overall personality and character.

Education increases knowledge of the people, so that they can understand, in a better way about the world around them. Education hones skills and attitude, trains people to think positively, rationally and act responsibly. Education develops moral and spiritual values as well. Only knowledgeable persons with positive attitude can contribute to building up a society with love, justice, equality and peace. This way, education brings transformation not only in individuals, but in a society or a nation as a whole.

Distinction between action, forbidden action, and in-action – Sound education system considered essential for the purpose of giving activities, their due meaning and value. According to Hindu philosophy even a wise man may get puzzled without knowledge about do’s and don’ts. It is only after the acquisition of knowledge, that a person understands the real nature of work and could distinguish correctly between action, forbidden action and in-action.

Education can be effective, when it is combined with proper training-systems. It serves a purpose, when it leads the people to get employed gainfully. Education along with skill training also improves an individual for certain line of action, which are delineated by technology and by the organization, in which he works. In modern world, certificates and degrees from educational/professional institutes are considered necessary for entering into the world of employment.

Rabindra Nath Tagore says,”… education is not about what we learn: it is about what we make ourselves through what we learn.” The main purpose of education is to free individuals from ignorance, to gain knowledge and enlightenment. Knowledge is necessary to become a better person. It is a key to success in life.

Learning a never-ending process (Neti-Neti, meaning no end) – According to Hindu philosophy, acquisition of knowledge is a never ending process. (Neti-Neti). The sphere of knowledge is quite vast and is developing at a fast speed. The process of gaining knowledge is quite difficult. It is beyond human capability to cope with it completely. Even a genius like, Newton used to say that he was ‘like a child, who is picking pebbles at sea-shore while the great ocean of knowledge lies before me’. For learning or acquisition of knowledge, even one life is not enough. To think that one can acquire enough knowledge within a short time or fixed time, is not correct. It is a continuous and never ending process for complete upbringing of the individual right from his birth to death. Continuous learning at each and every stage of life develops knowledge-base, understanding and attitudes of a person.

Knowledge, the object of knowledge and application of the knowledge – Khalil Gibran has said “Knowledge, the object of knowledge and application of the knowledge, all the three are equally important for motivating to take a wise action.” The real object of education is also to prepare individuals for application of their knowledge.

  • Gaining knowledgeThanks to the revolution in information technology. After technological advancements, during post 1970’s and then at the dawn of 21st century, now information/knowledge on any subject is accessible easily to anyone, on any subject and anywhere in the world. But the catch is that a focused mind and sincere efforts are required to get relevant information. One needs to be sure what exactly he wants to know. Otherwise, entering into world of knowledge is like going into a dense forest. One gets lost.
  • More important is application of knowledge – And to apply it in real life requires lots of efforts and will power. Sound education system prepares individuals to apply knowledge in real life. A little knowledge that acts is more useful than inactive knowledge. The wealth of knowledge confined to books, cannot be used properly at right time. Rote learning also does not work effectively, as it confined to text-books only.
  • Upgrading knowledge – Equally important to upgrade knowledge continuously. As Alvin Toffler, renowned writer has said, “The illiterate of twenty-first century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”

All the three are equally important for motivating to take a wise action.

A well-planned and sound system of education inspires human beings to control their senses, mind and intellect, so that they could be adjusted better in real life’s environment. It guides people to achieve their goals within time and cost parameters and to channelize their efforts towards desired direction. In short, a sound education system imparts knowledge, shapes attitudes, cultivates skills and builds work habits of the people.

Is present education system on right path? – Today, education system in India is not on the right track. It focusses more on theoretical knowledge than the practical. Not adequate attention is being paid to the quality of education. Emphasis is on quantity. The process of education/learning is not confined to schools/colleges. It continues throughout one’s life. Hindu Epics say about education -“Neti Neti” (No end to learning). J Krishnamurty has also commented, “There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.”

Role of a teacher – Today, the role of a Teacher is just not only of an instructor, but he is supposed to be a facilitator, a true friend of learners, a philosopher and a role model for his students. It is his prime duty to inculcate in the minds of his students/children both, the qualities of head and heart.

India and its Education system

High regard for knowledge- India has always given importance to and showed a high regards for knowledge, wisdom, virtues, characters and will power. According to Indian philosophy, ‘Wealth of knowledge is supreme among all forms of wealth’. (Vidya dhanam sarvadhana pradhanam). Therefore, knowledge is the greatest thing to be sought after. A human being is human because he has the organic capacity to think and seek knowledge.

More importance to knowledge than wealth – Unlike India, in Western countries, more importance is being given to creation of wealth. Wealth is the ultimate aim of the people, yardstick of success and a status symbol. Traditional India was not so materialistic. Its systems had separated pursuit and achievement in knowledge from temptations of worldly comforts, wealth or power-politics. According to Indian philosophy, when a person runs blindly after money and forgets about the real purpose of knowledge, both wealth and knowledge vanishes from their lives. The only judicious way to generate wealth and gain power goes via the path of true knowledge.

Knowledge as the base of ranking – Earlier the greatness of a person, institution or a nation was judged on the basis of the degree of righteousness and justice. Greatness of a nation was judged with which its administration governed lives of the common men or their character. It was not on the basis of the size of a state, its military power or its treasury/bank-balance. Similarly, in the society, a person or a caste was ranked on the basis of knowledge, discipline and moral standards, and not on the basis of material success, muscle or money power or of having controlling power over the destiny of common man.

Respect for knowledgeable persons – In ancient India, apart from Brahmins, others were also paid respect by the society for their learning, character, spirituality and ability to guide general masses. The system was quite liberal in this matter. It gracefully accepted the right and opportunity to get to the top from the humblest origin and earn the respect of the whole society. For example, Vashishtha, the principal of the conservative school of Brahmanism, was the son of Uravshi, a prostitute. Vishwamitra, the maker of the very Gayatri Mantra, the quintessence of the Vedic Brahmanism, was a Kshatriya. Aitreya, after whom the sacramental part of Rig-Veda is named as Aitreya Brahamana, was the son from a non-Aryan wife of a Brahman sage. Vyasa of Mahabharata fame was the son of a fish-woman (belonging to Mahr community – Dalit according to present standards and to which Dr Ambedkar, the messiah of Dalits belonged).  Balmiki, an untouchable according to present standards, the original author of Ramayana, is highly respected all over India. None of them were not ashamed of their origin. They still hold a very high position in general public minds.

Close connection between Knowledge and hard work -For acquiring knowledge, training mind in a scientific manner and concentrating energies of mind, one has to struggle, work hard, make sincere efforts and face many challenges in life. Now-a-days, courage to struggle or work hard is missing except in a few students, who still keep the fire of seeking knowledge burning all the time. Without hard-work, search for knowledge remains incomplete and superficial.

In ancient India sages (Rishi-Munies) had worked day and night to acquire true knowledge. The love for knowledge inspired many students to walk from different parts of the country to centers of learning at that time like Taxila or Nalanda. A powerful Emperor, like Ashoka the great, thought it his duty, to bow before the monks as a mark of my deep respect for their learning, wisdom and sacrifice. What matters in life, are not a person’s status or position, but his virtues and wisdom. Only when you have raised yourself up from ignorance, can you recognize the greatness of a few in a sea of humanity.

For creating modern civilization, sincere knowledge seekers in Western world also did not care for inconveniences or challenges. They had sacrificed their time (for about two centuries), energies and comforts in search of knowledge. Then only they could develop great modern scientific knowledge, technique and wealth.

Education in modern India –Seventy three years after independence and self-rule, literacy-rate has gone up to 74% from 65%. For males it has risen to 82% from 75%, for females to 65% from 54%.  In absolute number, the figure is alarming. No nation can afford to have a large number of its population to remain illiterate, ignorant and unskilled.

Constraints – That all is not well in education system in India – has been noted by distinguished academicians, policy-makers, political leaders, other eminent persons, commissions and committees. Now and then, they have pointed out its failures in one area or another. It has always been felt that Modern education has become increasingly unrelated to national needs and aspirations, insufficient, wasteful and dysfunctional.

Education system loaded with external and internal problems – In addition to what constraints that have already been existing in the education system, many more external and internal problems, paradoxes and constraints have cropped up.  Some defects in modern education based on colonized British Grammar School type education, were pointed out by  Gandhiji like:

  • It is based upon foreign culture to the almost entire exclusion of the indigenous culture.
  • It ignores the culture of heart and hand and confines itself simply to head
  • Real education is impossible through foreign medium.
  • External Constraints – Externally, socio-economic and political pressures have violated its identity and autonomy. Some changes have taken place in the recent past in the character, role and inter-relationship of these main constituent of the national elites – the political executive, the legislators, the businessmen, the media persons, the organized workers, the surplus farmers and the bureaucrats. It brought into the forefront some undesirable social changes and political turmoil. It has affected adversely the whole atmosphere in the field of education as well.
  • Population explosion has put a heavy pressure on present education system and its available infrastructure. Narrow loyalties, sectional interests and sub-cultures like – favouritism, nepotism and corruption have fast become an accepted way of life. Result is that communal, regional and caste conflicts and unhealthy competition between different powerful lobbies are increasing every day to have their exclusive hold on scarce resources available in the field of education or for power and pelf.
  • Few persons and groups, who have the power in their hands, control almost every walk of national life and are working to deny justice to common men. The reflection of all these social evils is found in the educational system as well.

Internal Constraints – Internally the system has been fractured along the lines of discipline deteriorating standard of education in general and student sub-culture. Slowly but steadily, the education system lost its capacity to equip the younger generation with relevant knowledge and skills for enabling them to get gainfully employed and to perform their jobs with a sense of responsibility. It has failed to produce much-needed dynamism in youth as well. Now people have started questioning the legitimacy of a modern education system itself.

 Disintegrated society – Instead of being an instrument of social integration, education system divides society into two groups – ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’. There is government or government aided schools that give education to poor masses. It is economical, but do not maintain good standard. On the other hand there are private schools, which caters mainly the needs of ‘Haves’, because it is very costly.

Deteriorating standards – After independence, India is facing a rapid deterioration in standards of education. In the past, though education was thinly spread, it had maintained some standard. Now in an attempt to do quantitative expansion of education, quality of education suffered a lot. The examination and evaluation system tests only a narrow range of skills, especially those of memory. Standard of general education has deteriorated considerably and suffers from grave errors.  In addition to it, there is lot of interference and control of the government at every stage of the educational process.

Higher secondary, the weakest link in Indian education system – Higher secondary education is not up to the mark. It is the weakest link in Indian education system. In western countries, the higher secondary education system enables talented students to join courses of their choice. Sincere efforts are required to be done to improve the academic standards, curricula and methods of teaching at higher secondary level in India.

Double shifts due to lack of space, traffic during peak hours and non-availability of extra curricular activities/tutorial classes, cut throat competition for getting admissions in the courses of their choice etc. are putting lots of pressure on higher secondary students. Students go for extra classes after school, which cuts down on their leisure time.

They are addicted to electronic gadgets very much. It further cuts into their free time. Modern life style of stay up late due to reasons like working parents coming home late, socializing/going out for entertainment late in nights and health hazards due to undisciplined way of sleeping and getting up late adds fuel into fire. In long run, sleep-disorder may increase health problems like risk to heart attack, high blood-pressure, stroke, diabetes, drowsiness, depression, headaches obesity, loss of memory and poor performance at school.

Unfit for original work – Education system in advanced countries makes student a lively, inquisitive and original thinking person. There, it has been able to develop certain special qualities like regards for laws of the nation, awareness, contempt for hypocrisy, sympathy for underdog and courage to resist cruelty or misuse of power and authority. An educated youth in India generally fails to display genuine social conscience.

Store-house of information – Importance of information in knowledge, which provides the basis of all the thinking, cannot be denied. However, present education system at all stages of education, from preliminary through secondary right up-to the college stage makes mind a store-house of information/knowledge and discourages original thinking. It lays emphasis on giving students ready-made knowledge, systematically and neatly organized in the form of lessons, units and text book. R W Emerson comments on modern education, “We are students of words: we are shut up in schools and colleges and recitation-rooms, for ten or fifteen years and come out at last with a bag of wind, a memory of words and do not know a thing.”           ‘

 English medium – English medium puts extra strain upon the nerves of students and makes them crammers, imitators and unfit for original work and thought. Masses remains deprived. System is producing mostly the youth, who are unable to express clearly in any language, including their own and lack woefully the competence and confidence to assume responsibilities.

Early childhood Teaching –  Early childhood learning plays a vital in improving the quality and quantity of learning. Latest brain researches tell that first 2000 days are the most important in a child’s life, when children develop learning strategies, learn how to think and problem-solve. Children are born with billions of brain cells. Unless these are interacted with properly, they actually die off. Such programs needs to be developed that encourage the synaptic connections between those cells.

Early childhood Teaching, instruction and methodology is necessary for developing lifelong qualities in children. It is necessary to understand the importance to encourage Children to think, ask questions and develop problem-solving ability in them. There  should be more interaction between adults and the children.

Degree-oriented: The whole system of education and employment is degree oriented. Degree is the master-key to a nice and respectable career giving status, authority and final reprieve from manual work. Such a narrow mind-set has put tremendous pressure on higher education system.  A large number of new substandard and superfluous institutions are being created every day to meet the demand.  Government also encourages mass entry into universities and colleges. Rush in institutions are of such students as well, who want degree as a passport and are not interested in studies. Such students seize every opportunity to spoil the academic atmosphere and breed indiscipline.

Indiscipline- There is a growing unrest in the student community. Youth of the day want to be absolutely free from all kinds of moreal compulsions. For them, faith, discipline and observance of rules are supposed to be unnecessary and irrational. They have no respect for rules/discipline/morality or for elders, teachers or authority. Their interests lie in all that is sensuous, in material gains and in enjoying pleasures in life. Indiscipline in student’s world leads to chaos and violence. It makes people slaves of their weaknesses. Mahavira has rightly commented, “There is no knowledge without right faith. No conduct is possible without knowledge. Without conduct, there is no liberation. And without liberation, no deliverance.”

Employability – One of the major aims of education is to make youth employable. At present it is difficult to find out and recruit well qualified persons for various jobs in government, public or private sectors. At pre-employment stage, education needs to be comprehensive in scope and sound in nature for making youth acceptable in job-market. It needs to be supplemented by rigorous foundation training telling the fundamentals of their specific jobs and inculcating in them relevant knowledge and skills, otherwise effectiveness, efficiency and quality of work gets a setback. At present, all the basics about their jobs are told to employees after their join work-force, which requires a much more massive effort in order to make employees do their jobs well.

Unrealistic Manpower Assessment – Assessment of manpower requirement for economic growth is not done rationally according to national needs. After Independence, the need for technical people was felt and in recent past for management experts. The Government created large number of professional institutions in these areas without assessing the needs of the nation. It resulted in educated unemployment. A large number of scientists, doctors, engineer’s technicians and management graduates have to go abroad in search of suitable jobs.

Therefore, for streamlining the performance of people at work after employment, most essential and fundamental requirement is that the character and scope of pre-employment educational system should be redesigned in such a way, that it could continuously provide men and women of vitality, vigor, initiative and imagination with intellectual accomplishments, qualifications and soundness of character needed in different disciplines and at different levels at job market.

Where the fault lies? – For all these lacunas, students blame teachers, teachers blame students. Both together try to blame educationists. They, in turn, attack social system. The present system of education can not be changed or improved overnight. It needs concentrated efforts of all – students, teachers and the society. Then only a larger base of skilled and trained manpower could be created.

Conclusion- Rational thinking needs to be done about the real problems and the role of education in modern life after understanding its basics, fundamentals and aims correctly.

  • The requirement of a university degree as a Passport for starting nice and respectable career (white collard jobs) has made a mockery of higher education. Such an attitude has by-passed the need to “educate all”, resulted in negligence of primary and higher secondary education and in over-crowding the institutions of learning. The stress on quantitative increase has subverted all the attempts to improve the quality of teaching and learning. It has led to continuous fall in the academic standards and students’ discipline, regional imbalances in the growth of educational institutions and politics in the temples of learning.
  • In the present times of neck to neck competition, one should continuously upgrade knowledge. It is the best way to create a larger base of skilled and trained manpower. Education should instil  in students problem-solving attitude and develop the courage to meet the challenges of real life bravely. Instead of offering excuses or blaming others for one’s failures and dissatisfaction, it should inculcate in students the spirit to face the difficult situations in life and make efforts to change their destiny themselves. Education must teach people always try to have control over ones life’s situations and to stand up on his own feet rather than depending on others for moving forward. Success in life depends on developing capacity and courage to take right decisions at right time.
  • Only sound system of education and training can give them courage to avoid out-dated traditions and dogmatic ways of doing things, and courage to face realities and challenges of real life. It would give the youth vision to find out solutions for various problems, posed on them because of fast-paced life-style of twenty first century. It can lead them towards rational, positive and creative thinking and plan rationally about their career that would suit to their attitude and aptitude. It would enable them to shoulder their responsibilities properly and  act judiciously and promptly.
  • For planning a sound system of education and training, it is required  –
    • To understand the psychology of students and the changes happening every day in today’s world.
    • There should be a collaborative and distributive system between the teaching staff and students in such a way that teachers should encourage the students to share knowledge and express their thoughts and views freely and frankly.
    • To create an atmosphere of healthy competition in educational institutions. They should learn not to let down others, while competing with each other.
    • Sub-standard education should be avoided. Standards of teaching should be high. All schools and colleges should have a good faculty. Finding committed teachers is not an easy task, but is urgently required for keeping standards of education high.
    • Educational institutions should not be used as money-minting machines.
    • Quality is more important than quantity in the sphere of education. Therefore for paying individual attention to every student, the number of enrolment in a class should not be large.
    • Some students cannot learn and understand at the same pace as other batch-mates. They need more time plus more attention/help of tutors. For them, arrangements for special coaching should be done in  educational institutions.  

April 12, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | | 1 Comment

Exodus of migrant labour force from cities during Lock down period

At present, a struggle for survival is going on because of Carona virus. So far no respite. Thousands of people have died allover the world. It is a very difficult  time for the everyone. Government of India has called for complete lock down throughout the whole nation for 21 days. Only isolation and social distancing can prevent the disease from spreading. Clear message to all is ‘Stay back where you are’. Do not move out. Then why this exodus of migrant labour in India’s Metro cities?

Why is it difficult for the migrant workers to stay where they are? During lockout time, they need –

  • Enough space to live – One person hires a room and allows many daily wagers belonging to his homeland. Many individual live in that small room. During day time, all of them go out to their work place to earn money. Only at night they need little space to sleep. Each one pays some money to the person, who has hires the room, just to keep his bag during day time and little space to sleep at night. This way the tenant of the room, usually living with his family, also gets some extra money.
  • Not safe place to stay back during day time – Now with nationwide lock down, they do not have any place to spend their day time. ‘Stay where you are’ is not possible for them with the closure of industries and other places of work. It is almost impossible for them to keep a safe distance from each other either during daytime or nights by ‘staying back where they are’. It is necessary for the government first to make proper arrangements for their safe boarding and lodging.
  • Economic and emotional reasons – It is much more difficult and costlier for daily-wagers to live in Metros or big towns as comparison to living in their hometowns without any income. They think that economically and emotionally, it will be easier and better for them to go back to their homeland during this lock down period. They feel that then they can spend this time with their family members. And by chance, if death comes, they will be, at least, with their own near and dear ones.

For making all efforts to prevent Carona virus from spreading, the Government should pay more attention to the problems of migrant labours desirous to go back to their homeland. During this difficult time, with Carona virus spreading unchecked, strict isolation (keeping a safe distance from each other) is more necessary than other measures.

March 30, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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