If you have read the newspapers recently, it was impossible to miss the innumerable columns discussing the changes being suggested for the educational system. Not again, was my reaction. I mean why do they want to tamper and tweak a system which is already so confusing? By the time the teachers and students get a hang of the prevalent setup, they bring about further changes.
This whole idea of making Sanskrit compulsory is so childish and naive. For years we have had Sanskrit as part of our syllabus. I remember spending hours learning by heart the tongue twisters. I still remember writing an essay for an exam, after spending hours mugging it up, and not understanding most of it! But did I use the language after the last exam got over? No way! Back then (oh my god! It sounds like it happened in another life!) there was no choice, at least in the schools where I studied. It was a compulsory subject in the middle school. And we studiied it. So will making it compulsory going to make it more popular or increase its usage? Don’t think so. So why the brouhaha? Also during our school days the exposure was so restricted that we studied what ever was taught in school. Period. No questions asked. Now it’s not the same scenario. Our kids are global citizens. They are exposed to so much information that they know what they want. Then why be so restrictive? Allowing them choices will help them to experiment. Maybe because it’s not being shoved down their throats, it may evoke more interest in the subject than there is, I mean if there is any presently. If I was Smriti Irani, I would ask our media guys to creat some interesting content in Sanskrit to make it more palatable. Say like have a series of small 10 minutes episodes of Jatakas tales or tales from the epics. Something which we all have grown up listening to. This will make it a novel experience for the children, and adults too. Children are open to ideas and will learn this new language without being asked to. Now won’t this work better than asking them to learn by rote?
Just because Sanskrit doesn’t have a popular market is no reason to stop them from learning any foreign language. I think it’s a totally stupid and childish argument. But then it’s not the first time, and it certainly won’t be the last either, that we have heard such things coming from people in public positions. I mean even the academicians and educationists who are in such positions are no better. Look at the VC of AMU. That was really the limit for me. I mean how could he even say such a silly thing like girls are not allowed to the library because then more boys will come and there won’t be enough seating available? Did he even think before saying such a thing in public? I certainly don’t think so. How, and what, can you dare to expect from an institution which is being headed by such regressive morons. And then their justifications add to the sorry state. The newspapers should have some kind of check where they don’t publish such humiliating statements from prominent people. It’s no wonder that people abroad don’t take us seriously. I mean we don’t take ourselves seriously. Imagine the VC of some university like Cambridge or Oxford saying something like this. Ugh! Oh god where do I hide myself?
It’s a wake up call of sorts. We need to start taking ourselves seriously. Why do we have to put up with such stupidity? I mean we have no dearth of intelligent people here. Practical, well a few of them may be reasonable. So why can’t we get them at the helm of academic affairs and do something worthwhile instead of running the show as per individual whims and fancies? I sometimes dread to think about what are kids are going to study what with the syllabus changing every now and then, the content being not so relevant, and most importantly the whole format being so out of sync with the reality.
Keeping my fingers crossed!