E-Pao! Education - Liberating effects of Education

I am born intelligent, but education ruined me

By:- Belinda Thokchom *

" I am born intelligent, but education ruined me"

This is also an answer to Deepak Chabungbam article "Parents, teacher and quality education"

" Man is his own star; and the soul that can
render an honest and perfect man
commands all light, all influence, all fate;
nothing to him falls early or too late.
Our fatal shadows that walk by us still
R..W. Emmerson..

'Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains'. The contract social shows that we can live in the chains of society, without compromising our freedom. Living in a civil society we are bound by many shackles, and education is also one of them.. Education can be both liberating and subjecting. What I am interested in tthese article is its liberating effects.

Currently talks on education have become notorious since everyone commencing from a sweeper to a high ranking civil servants have started writing on it. Anyone who have something to say are chanting mantras to magically improve the system.

Especially " Qualities" in education have become vogue. As if education is a commodity available in the market ( why not lots of it are mushrooming in the local flea market).

What is education?

It is still a question our philosopher, thinkers and Gurus are trying to find an answer. Down the two thousand years of our intellectual history mankind is still groping in the dark for an answer. And here we have our heroes of educational reform preaching quality education. (Pray reserve one for me if they happen to find one).

When we are talking of education today as being played out in the Indian drama, we are referring to the western system with a tinge of swadeshi style (a pot-pourri, an eternal soup a confusion). It is the vestige of the British imperialism for producing clerks to man the colonial machinery ( prevalent in Bengal).

We can find this example in Raja Ram Mohan Roy. It is a gift of the British and the Indian national movement . The whole machine doesn't reflects the needs of the people and curbs creative expression.

You can argue that we have our Tagore, Nirad C, R.K. Narayan, Arundhati Roy, Raman C.V. etc the list is endless. The irony is that they are the feircest attacker of the system.

The recent gibbermania of "learning guarantee" ( made by some industrialist whose sole interest lie in the maximum profits of its shareholders and who is an ignoramus concerning matters pedagogical) is a confusion of education with production. This imbroglio can be blamed on the Indian Gurukul system of learning where a pupil retires into a hermitage under the tutelage of a guru..

The whole philosophy centred on freeing the soul from the materialistic world or Moksha. Wealth and productions has no place. This explains our lack of technological development ( Karl Mark calls it Oriental Despotism).

We must not ape the American where they have a pragmatic philosophy which they call " education of the field". Non-conformity and anti-traditionalism are the key words. They have a work culture and a great sense of individualism which we don't have.

Schools and colleges are not factories Plato didn't write his " theory of Ideas" so that he will be a civil servant, or Newton his "Pricipia mathematica" Bacon " Novum organum". Try to find their motives and you will find your answer. Education is not an Euphemism for production..

I don't endorse the view that missionaries are the torch bearers of learning. It is a well known fact ( If you happen to read your history lessons well) that Christianity is consolidating their power to curbs scientific ideas. They discourage any belief which attacks their doctrines ( ironically neo-platonism).

Christianity is the main institution hampering the growth of knowledge. The whole of mankind's intellectual odyssey starting from the classical era upto our century there is an interregnum called the Dark ages. It is called dark because it is the golden age of Christianity.

Where faith reigns over reason.. Learning is essentially ecclesiastical. Any known scientific thinking is termed as heretic and burnt at the stake. We have our examples in Galileo who was ask to recant for saying earth revolves round the sun.

There will be no " classical physics" or " origin of species" if the church were successful in silencing Newton and Darwin. That is why German philosopher Nietzche reiterates that " God is dead" (meaning the Christian God ) and Christianity a slave morality ( I am not attacking any religious denominations.

Taking into considerations that our society is civilized enough to respect freedom of expression). There is no denying that the church did produce heroes in the name of pope Gregory, st. Benedictine, father Assisi, and the famous st.Ignatious Loyala.

They are the first to organize learning in school and colleges. Kudos to those Jesuits fathers.

Let's stop provincialism in education. Let us stop discussing improving qualities of education in Manipur, Bihar or U.P. Let us stop the ghetto mentality which seems to originate in the belief that there is no world beyond's one's community and cultural frontiers which are inscribed within one's geographical boundaries.

Let us shed our insular mentality of exclusion. Let us talk of universality in education.

Here we are talking of proliferating quality education in our institution ( Manipur), forming PTAs, student bodies the ever present parallel government . And still we are in cloud number nine on what is the subject which promises qualities to our children is to be.

Is it history of endless bables of dates and event or science a complex tome of meaningless circuits. What does it concerns our children that when Shivaji is going to have his next meal or when Mr. Gandhi is going to change his dirty linens.

What I am preaching here is not a mere a PTAs or a mere reforms but a complete revamp " INDIAN EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM". Knowledge and learning is universal like the sun but the mechanism of proliferation must be dear to our soil. It must be permeated with our cultures. Imitation is suicide.

I don't means to say that I have lost faith in our system.. What we need is not nilhilism of the present trends. We can turn to santiniketan for inspiration where education is catholic.

Where east meets west a cultural intercourse producing seeds for global harmony. A Baconic and a pragmatic approach.. Learning is not about statistics showing performances in percentages. Marks have no place as they are not judgemental of a child's performance. Let us do something to save our children from the prophets educational reformer who are bent on producing slaves for the machine or clerks.


Belinda Thokchom, writes regularly to
She says "Critical comments are welcome"
You can contact the writer at
This article was webcasted on July 10, 2005.

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