Few observations on 9th Chinna Shodha yatra

Few observations on 9th Chinna Shodha yatra
Education in schools
A noticeable difference exists between theory and implementation; between what our policy
planners plan and what happens on the ground.
An example
There is something seriously wrong with our education system, when a 5th standard boy cannot
read the Telugu answers he himself has written in his notebook. When asked further he told how
some more fortunate friends of his, go to private tuition classes paying Rs. 150 per month –
which his father having passed away and his mother working in the Anganwadi, cannot afford.
There is a dire need for overhaul education system. However, in the short term, we should train and
strengthen our teaching staff. As we are aware, many lakhs of teachers’ posts are vacant. All these add
to the burden of effective school education.
The past, present and future
The Elders vis-à-vis Present generation
Many elders, older than 50 years and much beyond, have been relegated from social
mainstream by the present generation
Thus, their knowledge and wisdom passed on from generations is not on the top but at the
tap of the present generation.
The present generation
The present generation, of age about 20 years old to about 50 years old, are dancing to
the whims of unknown and uncalled-for selective exposure to urbanisation, westernisation
and globalisation. This selective exposure through television and occasional visits to nearby
towns and cities are distorting their values and tastes about life.
The decaying traditional livelihoods
The selective exposure (discussed above) and education has changed – and is further
changing – the perceptions of people. Two observable phenomena being:
1. Want of more money and luxuries of urban life
2. Reluctance to do physical work
These have led to migration to urban centres by many in search of alternate livelihoods
for those who can do so. And, those still in villages are moving away from the ‘hard-work’ of
agriculture and allied sector.
An example
We met a potter on our Yatra. It is such an amazing skill to churn thousands of earthen pots of
same size and shape! The potter, into his 60s, when asked about the continuation of his tradition,
languished how his “educated” children have shunned away from pottery. The skill he currently
his is in itself only a fraction of what his parents and grandparents knew – of making human size
earthen pots for usage in granaries. This unique skill, whatever little is existing shall soon die with
his death.
National Innovation Foundation and PalleSrujana are working tireless to address these
two issues. For the first one above, they are tirelessly trying to revive the traditional
agricultural practices that used locally available and locally made fertilizers and pesticides.
The traditional practices have almost zero input cost as everything is from nature itself. For
the second one above, they are searching and identifying innovative methods of increasing
farm productivity – especially that of labour. This reduces the manual effort that has to be put
into farming and agriculture.
A contrasting example
We met an elderly person on our way. When asked what he does for his living, he proudly,
sternly and with his head held high, replied, “I am a farmer.” On further interaction he
articulated how we have lost so much of good and sustainable practices which we have been a
part of Indian agriculture for ages.
It is as through, the new world has first destroyed the sustainable practices and today re-invented
lack of sustainable practices as the biggest issues threatening our existence on our planet.
The upcoming generation
During the course of interactions at various schools a stark change is visible – that of a socially
aware and conscious generation. They who want to take charge and are questioning, when given a
chance, the status quo.
Students in standards like six and seven have raised social issues of child marriage, quality of
education and even environment and its conservation. A student, demonstrating extreme compassion
threw out his dilemma of how could he take all the laggards of his class along with him – something
that even the noblest of us may not have wondered at such a tender age.
The students just need a spark for ignition. Once they are ignited, they shed all their inhibitions
and display how ingenious they are within.
Nature as mother
It is such an intrigue as to how Nature treats each one of us as her children, how takes
care of all our needs and wellbeing.
An example
When we were taking bath in the chilly winter mornings, Nature showed another mercy and beauty
of hers. The ground water from the bore wells is so surprisingly warm, that it allows us to take a
comfortable bath!
Mallela Srikanth,
IIT, Madras