Formal and informal education interplays with our sense of judgement
The last few weeks I have not been able to concentrate much on work. All around I could see restlessness; the charged-up air, the fervour and the stress to beat time. This is the kind of atmosphere that is felt and seen when a festival or an occasion is round the corner. And this is the scene seen in the country these days. The ‘festival’ of voting for a new set of leaders that will govern the country for the next five years has arrived. Most parts of the country have voted. Media of all genres has been working overtime, and is still at it to predict the results; rather they wish there were more hours to a day. Reams of text are woven around stories, facts and figures; but what is actually delivered makes one wonder: Why so much to convey so little?
The leaders were seen shouting at a high pitch, emotionally charged — surely a desperate lot. All their energies, workforce, strategies have driven them insane. The proof, in the current scenario, is the level of discourse and allegations that have stooped too low. The actual concerns of the masses — the dismal unemployment situation that the country is facing, farmers suffering due to unfavourable conditions and burden of loans that are driving them to take their lives, promised assistance not reaching the actual beneficiaries — are hardly heard by the incumbent leaders or those to be. The revelations of the opponents’ dirty facts, the level of language, and pointing fingers are acts of such dismal proportion that does not in any way qualify to be read, seen, or heard!
Can the educated be mute spectators? Aren’t they affected by the high-decibel arguments amongst the people around, most of them with a definite strong opinion? The churning out of trash by the media of all sorts has charged up the air all the more. This has more to do, in the current election, with the assistance of digital techniques that make it easier to generate news, with a speed that even distorts the facts. The speed with which the news items or scoops appear, get circulated and then disappear is akin to lightening — which appears as a sparkle, shines for split of a second and disappears. A new story is churned out the next day. Such is the rat race among the media houses, which is more of a business preposition and less to do with the community commitment.
Can any transformation be seen… there on the horizon? The eyes are all set at the infinite distance. When we look deeper, things become clearer. What we are seeing these days on the surface is the disgusting demonstration of the political persons, in their attitude and speeches. All are, it seems, in a desperate attempt to malign others. But deep down, as the silent water that flows deep, the system is working, the processes are functioning and our country is developing… whatever be the government. It is possible only because education and the educated will always keep working for a better tomorrow.
In the above scenario, which is only one aspect of our dealing with situations around, we have to strongly uphold our senses and sensibilities. It is here that education, both formal and informal, interplays with our sense of judgement. The learning that we imbibe and retain in our mind during our student phase seeps into our subconscious being and constantly guides us. The facts of physics, chemistry, biology, geography, history et al are merely not for learnt for that time only to gain marks and better our percentage and performance in class. The formulas, the deductions, the principles… all when implied in daily life situations give a convincing answer to the various affairs that we have to deal with. The stronger the foundation of formal education, the sharper will be the level of confidence and clarity of views and perceptions. And this results in a wholesome personality, which is balanced and grounded — education in the true sense.
A truly educated person need not be confined to any particular class or background. The person can belong to any region, any background, or of any economic strata. It is the knowledge that is gained through education, and further enhanced by observation and experiences, which makes a person wise. The wise persons are more of observers and less of talkers. They are good listeners.
However the masses that we see around, which are led by the leaders who think that they can hoodwink and sway the conditions in their favour, may not be as gullible as they seem. The mob that turns up to listen to the leaders may seem driven by herd mindset, but this is far from true. They are here to take note of the promises that are being made, and they are clear on what was said five years earlier. An average person is driven in its thoughts by various considerations of daily living; the responsibilities that are to be shouldered; the circumstances of day to day existence. Fewer years may have been devoted in their formal education, but the education of life situations for them is rich enough. Their interactions at the ground level have given them the true wisdom. They are keen observers of the work done by the leaders over a period of time. Their objective approach and analysis are focussed on the actual development, and not the credentials and promises of the leaders. The masses know the reality. They know that whosoever holds the power of authority, the actual situation remains almost the same — a shade better it may seem in the beginning of the change. This is what they have been seeing over the past decades.
Inside there is an ongoing turmoil within me; my senses and my sensibilities are restless.
Wonder, how much sense is needed for the sensibility to be sensitive enough to function well? However it’s a subjective subject, where no standard parameters can fit well enough to qualify how much sense is good enough for our sensibilities. The other day when I craned my neck out of the study window, I could see too much of hustle bustle down there in the lane. I asked myself, should I keep looking at the youngster with long strides and a harried gait seemed to be heading for his destination? Do I keep a tab at the playful child trying to leave the strong hold of its granny and still tugging along? Or I get distracted by the speeding utility vehicle, honking restlessly for people to make way? Not gaining much from this respite from my desk, I preferred to shut the windowpane.
by Shikha Sinha
Masters in English Literature, Teacher in Profession, Opinion Leader