HIGHER EDUCATION: HOW HIGH?
In a Utopian situation, Material Power respects Spiritual Power and Spiritual Power reciprocates. Mutual respect defines the limits. Discipline and balance are maintained. The ideal starts moving from the imaginative to the real.
In ideal times like this, there must have been a kingdom where appropriate facilities must have been available for learning and teaching. Sufficient centres like gurkuls, pathshalas, madrasas, maktabs must have been there for proper education. The teachers must have been mentors, guides and philosophers to befit the words like guru, ustad and murshid. They must have guided, instructed, trained and taught very well. Their main objective must have been to see that their students developed a healthy mind, body and spirit.
The Wheel of Time then must have moved half a circle on. Things must have declined. Good sense must have given in to non-sense. The ruler must have been the very first victim of non-sense. He must have waged a war against the Neighbour. Surely, good counsel – the sensible rajaguru - must have warned him against a war. But swollen heads often have deaf ears. The raja must have ignored the raja.guru. Following the war, the coffers must have gone empty. Budget cuts must have been imposed. As always, the first victim must have been the guruji
The guruji, one day, out of sheer every-lessness in the household, must have got a fit of madness. The egghead then must have asked the zamindar through his son for ghee. The zamindar must have obliged him rather too ghee-fully, of course, in the hope of a smooth and prospective career for his son in return who must have surely outscored the guruji’s son who, in turn, must have preferred to make a career as a darogha because he would receive the ghee from the zamindar, any way, even without having to teach anyone’s son. The guruji must have okayed his career plans.
The success story of the zamindar’s son and the secret story of the guruji’s son , both, must have spread like wild fire, rapidly, or like hot news, widely, or like a secret, surreptitiously,. Secrets are things, like kuchra, that you want your friends and neighbours to keep.
Soon, the key to children’s success must have been with every one and all the gurujis must have had more than belly-full supply of ghee.
But one day, he must have thought that this way his self-respect and social prestige would be completely ruined and lost. That day, he must have cursed the king because the only way to save his self-respect and prestige was to have got the ghee from the king and not from all and sundry. In complete frustration, he must have taken the Ganges to the Arab Sea and that too without delta.
The present day schooling, the modern day mushrooming of coaching centres running chains of various different classes and courses and the contemporary examining bodies at schools, colleges and universities including various different boards and bodies conducting entrance examinations must all thank the king who didn’t send enough ghee to the guruji!
Before a good, conscientious teacher decides, out of sheer helplessness, to begin to mishandle the future of children, the authorities would do well to handle him with care because a teacher is very breakdownable and he knows how to give it back. If you dodge him today, he’ll dodge you back, too. But you’ll begin to fall in good thirty years!
Hasn’t that already happened? Hasn’t Higher Education become Wider Education? Our own language Hindi expresses it better: Uchcha Shiksha? No, Tuchchha Shiksha!