Tuesday, January 12, 2010

What’s the problem in being ‘Idiot’?

I guess there is no need to describe the word idiot anymore. Majority of the people know at least its latest meaning, if not the one in dictionary. Still, I would like to repeat it to avoid any confusion in the following text. A person is called idiot if he/she follows his heart and pursues his life in doing what he loves to do. The concept has been appreciated and issues about the educational system has been acknowledged by most of the people, irrespective of their generation or roles (parents-children, student-teacher). It initiated long debates all over the media about our educational system. No stone has been left unturned by the experts and critiques across ever growing number of news channels to pin point the flaws in our education system.

I have serious doubt whether we are addressing the right problem or what we are dealing with is just a long term side effect of a much serious problem? Majority of the children who are not even 5 years old, want to become an engineer or a doctor or take another socially well established professional role. If one goes one step further into interrogation, it will not be very difficult to find out that majority of them ultimately want to be rich and famous. Do you think education plays a big role in the decision making process of 5 years old children? In a country of 1 billion population, hardly 1% people are pursuing their career in arts or commerce or in other academic streams which are not as promising with respect to employment, out of their own interest. Is it completely the problem of education system? The job of an engineering institution is to provide solutions to your engineering queries, make you capable of solving those problems yourself, not to create your interest in engineering. I do not see our engineering institution lagging much behind in that aspect. Then, what is exactly the problem and where does its root lie?

I think, obsession of physical facilities has become one of the most important factor guiding the interests, aspirations and motivation of a person. It is not possible to single out any single social institution or group of people to take its responsibility. Accumulation of wealth has become one guiding principle of complete social structure. How can I blame a person of not being able to find out his own interest in a society where money is projected as the ultimate solution of every single problem in a direct or indirect way; be it fame, health, relationship, satisfaction or happiness. One compromises with everything in his quest for wealth hoping that everything else will fall in place automatically. Does that happen in reality? I will leave that question for your self-introspection. Hunt for self interest, hobbies, likes/dislikes gets lost in this rat race. Honestly, I really don’t have answer to most of these questions for myself. It is not because I did not have time to think about them, but because of my negligence. I did not find them as important as to prepare for the exams/competitions, to complete home assignments or any other activity even remotely related to my future prospects of becoming socially successful. Outcome of this race depends mostly on one’s luck. If coincidentally, one reaches anywhere close to his natural interest, he excels and succeeds. But, probability of such coincidence seems pretty low to me.

I don’t say that education has not played any role in reaching this stage. What will a child perceive when he sees pictures of happier person in good cloths and sad person in poor cloths, pictures of a ideal house (clean house) to be urban/cemented and dirtier house to be rural, in his text books? Naturally, somewhere in his conceptual world, he will fix that it is necessary to have good cloths to be happy and city houses are cleaner than village houses. As a result, no educated person wants to live in a village or to do farming. What kind of education is this which makes me feel inferior instead of developing sense of pride and ownership about my own origin? In fact, I believe that education system can be the most efficient tool to rectify the situation. Primary school is the most important place after home, where a child develops most of his fundamental concepts about society as well as life. There is need of a major overhaul in the education system and philosophy behind it, especially in basic education. Isn’t it an irony that we are still following same British philosophy of education whose major purpose was to generate educated employees and gain a supporting hand from educated society? Education has merely become a tool of developing skills rather than a learning process. More elaborately, it only tells how to do a particular job. But, it has completely missed a very fundamental aspect before that: ‘What to do’? Education has lost its holistic perspective. Education should be able to make one capable of differentiating between right and wrong. It should be able to make a person authentic to himself, and then only one can follow his heart irrespective of prevalent social norms and assumptions. It should be a tool to impart courage and motivation to recognize one’s interest and pursue it with full confidence. Therefore, even though the roots of the problem are deep rooted in social structure, yet education system has a lot to offer. I don’t know how far this movie will force people to think over the issue but it is the high time to take some concrete steps before it’s really late. Educated and aware people will have to take lead, no government or anybody from outside is going to do it for us.


  1. Awesome, your quality has improved and you have addressed a more serious issue in a very nice way (to tell the truth, I have read an article by Arundathi Roy in Outlook addressing the problems of the tribes in Orissa, and this article ranks better than that).

    The philosopher inside you is active! Tune him in the right direction (dont turn into a sanyasi :P)

    Coming to a more serious discussion, I read this somewhere, but I dont remember one of the british viceroy/general/some higher official (I dont remember the name too) said that the original indian education system (the gurukul) is extremely strong and to dominate the indians for a long period of time, this is the area which has to be hit. This and divide and rule together have dragged us into slavery for over 200 years.

    Now it is easy to blame the british (we are damn good at this, the blame game), also the movies these days have done nothing but used the blame game to make more money, but the real question is are we really doing something to bring the change? (hmm.. sounds like my blogs title :P)

    You were absolutely right that the obsession with physical facilities/materialistic gains (I would rather state this as something which we consider good when projected/hyped through media, be it books/magazines/movies/papers).
    Ah! consumerism is the right word, we have turned ourselves and our whole system into this.

    One more thing, now that the movie of idiots (your definition) and movie on idiots(my new definition, everyone who has been through this system) and movie by idiots(the word idiot here is the actual meaning 'fool') has re-ignited the whole issue, and most likely we are in the same line and we would be in the same line, we should atleast try to implement the changes in the right way. I only hope we dont keep talking and discussing here and rather show it in deeds.

    Another interesting point, if you see the whole message of the movie (though I did not like the movie) was "excellence ke peeche bhago, success ke peeche nahi; jo dil kahe, wahi karo"; and your very first article/blog/post/whatever was "Excellence V Distinction". I only hope aamir khan/script writers are not secretly following your blogs :D. The whole point is you are on the right direction. I would also like to re-state the comment I wrote earlier "One can achieve excellence when they realize their own strengths and weaknesses and compete with their own self".

    All the best, keep posting and make everyone also post. Who knows, we might really find a large group who are thinking on similar lines and really do something good (in practice, not just preaching).

  2. Excellent, superb peice of writing.This is very true that our education system provides answers just to the question of 'How', but there is no training to help people find out the answers to 'What' and 'How much'.

  3. I think idiot comes from idea , so idiot we can take as out of idea.. we are fed with ideas we dont think beyond them. We need to think afresh from our SELF to become a real idiot.

    similarly stupid i can take as out of understanding..

    so we need to be idiot not stupid.

  4. good peice of writing .........this blog force the people to think what type of education they are taking....acc to me some people are not gaing any think from their education but they are suffering from their education.....

  5. The theme of the movie was to encourage people who are passionate about something to take risk and make career in their choice of profession. Now whether you become successful or not in your choice of career is not relevant. Even people who take up the less risky, more attractive careers do have some probability of not making big in their life. So what abhishek has said of "self introspection" in guiding one's thought process is the most logical way to make career decisions. But to this I would like to highlight one thing: Even if you ask a graduate, who has done his major in some discipline and may have also got exposure to different fields, that what is his area of interest or what would he like to pursue in future as his career, he would not be able to give a concrete answer.
    So when you suggest that the education system should be altered in a way that would encourage people to introspect and find their path, till what level do you think this should be done. Should it be constrained till the senior secondary level (where in addition to overall personality development they should be given electives to introductory professional courses) or should the school education be limited to teaching the basics only and the bachelors education be an introductory platform to introspect (in which case it becomes imperative for one to do master's education).

  6. In response to last comment, as far as finding ones interest is concerned, exposure to different field and knowledge is important to some extent. The answer to that question does not come alone from them. Nobody can teach you or tell you about yourself. But to really find out one has to question himself. Many people will think, it is all theoretical. who does all that? It's not an easy job either. But don't you think it's worth it? After all, rest of your life on your these early decisions. If one tries to find out honestly, he does reach to some conclusion.
    Second question is related to the implementation and execution of the concept. Opinions can differ in that regard. In my opinion, basic education (primary and junior level) must focus much more than presently they do on fundamental concepts about life and society, which will make one capable of finding about himself on his own. Again, education can not tell you about yourself. It can only show you the direction. It is like research. Books can only teach you fundamentals, but real thing you have to find out on your own. And it requires time and effort, as research does. And I think in present education system, everyone has at least 8-10 years for that.

  7. abey Rangbaaj :P ... ye IAS mein essay writing ki tayari aise kar rahe ho kya :P ???

  8. hehehe.....IAS to ab purani baat ho gayi hai bhai...ye to bas keval jan-jagaran abhiyaan hai :)

  9. It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.............................................

  10. Interesting article, added his blog to Favorites