"Education" they say, do not commence with alphabet It begins with the mother's look, with the father's mode of approbation or a sign of reproof, with the sister's gentle pressure of the hand; with handful flowers of green dales, on hills and daisy meadows, with pleasant walk in the shady lanes and with thoughts directed in sweet and kindly tones and words, to beauty, to nature, to act, of benevolence to the deeds and virtues and to the sources of all good.
Education undoubtedly includes everything that Is capable of exerting of formative influence and cause a young person to be, at a given time, what he or she is. In contemporary times, when the pace of change has become almost exponential, this is least reasonable to expect that the generation next will grow up in the world as it is today. The generation we have in schools and colleges now opened its eyes in the growing parochialism of 80's; they spent their formative years in the technological boom of 90s and in a wan attempt to redefine themselves are lost In the antithesis of the new millennium. They belong to an age when respect towards long standing social values is being looked down upon as shallow conformism, when the young minds are getting infested with intolerance and terrorism, when education has become synonymous with good economic returns and the social relationships are eroding fast. The generation of course was born when humanity in general was dying. Unhinged from its immediate mooring, this generation is indeed in a state of a free fall and if we expect conformity from them in the name of discipline, submission and surrender in the name of regard and respect and a blind following of dictates at the cost of their inherent inquisitiveness, it becomes easy for us to brand them as growing absurds. Isn't it the high time to look for some new functional pre-requisites to sustain the worth, the very purpose of education.
I sincerely believe that certain traits of ancient Indian education system, which are universal enough tends to lose their edge, may come forward to rescue us. In spite of its serious limitations the greatest contribution of ancient Indian system lies in the set of cultural values it fostered and spread values that remain valid even when the condition which created the institutions responsible for these values and through which they were made manifest, cannot remain the same in the changed situation of the day.
Our ancient philosophy speaks of the journey of life in terms of battlefield, where the protagonist tormented with the conflict of motives, the force of selfishness and the subtle whispering of 'evil one' is in a perennial dialogue with the supreme. As the dialogue proceeds the dramatic element recedes to the background. The echoes of the battlefield die away and what surfaces is the gradual unraveling of the bewildered human psyche. The chariot of war here becomes the lonely cell of meditation and the corner of the battlefield where the voices of the world are stilled, a fit place for thoughts on the supreme, the sublime...... Can't we locate the conspicuous figure of 'school' the temple of learning in this age old symbolism?
With best wishes.
MR. Prosenjit Roy