By Dr Jyots Bhattacharjee
Since independence various new policies have been adopted by diverse governments through all these years for the development of education. Ministry of Education is now termed as Ministry of Human Resources Development. So now living human beings are used as devices adapted for some particular purpose. Apparently they are the collective wealth of the country. The implication is obvious. The students are the available means to be used for the progress of the tion in future. But philosophy states that human beings are ends in themselves, and they should not be treated as means. They are not the possessions of the government to be used to fulfill some purpose. They exist for themselves and not for others, since they are the ends in themselves.
Every new HRD Ministry have tried to improve the Education Sector by constituting various committees, headed by eminent educationists. In all these years there have been several attempts to filise the educatiol policy, which would be beneficial to the students as well as to the country. Intention is noble no doubt, but the desired result has not been achieved till now. Experiments are still going on, which seem to be more confusing than productive, to say the least.
The reputation of India has suffered lots of damage due to large-scale corruption and many other heinous crimes. In spite of the attempts by diverse governments to change and cleanse the system, they have not succeeded. Corruption apparently has spread all around the country and beyond, yet none has been able to check its cancerous growth. Prime Minister rendra Modi demonetized high value currency to make the country corruption-free. Yet even after that we hear of various cases of corruption even today. We also hear about other crimes like shooting, stabbing, abduction, rape, dowry deaths, brides-burning and various kinds of horrifying crimes. Human beings seem to have lost their humanity and to revive that lost humanity it is very necessary to impart lessons in morality and values to the young generation, on whom the future of India depends.
Education of the mind is essential for making the country corruption-free. It will also restrain people from indulging in any crimil activity. Only elevation of human thoughts may be able to make the country free from all sorts of evil propensities. We have to note that human thoughts and actions are correlated to the mind, which is an entity beyond a person’s body and intellect, as Lord Sri Krish told Arju in the Mahabharata during the Battle of Kurukshetra. In the ancient era the gurus explained the supremacy of the mind over body to their disciples. This was a kind of spiritual and moral education, which was prevalent in the past. Because of that kind of ethical education people became more enlightened and spiritually they were in a higher level than the modern generation. Now spiritualism has been elbowed out by western materialism and the Indians have lost their moral values. Hence corruption, greed, violence and all sorts of terrible crimes have gripped the country, which was unheard of in the past. The people were god-fearing and deeply religious and they practised spiritualism.
India gained freedom long back. Our foreign rulers left our country. But they left their culture behind for us to adopt. It is obvious that the influence of the British rulers is still with us and we follow many of their customs even today. It is a matter of regret that the legacy of the colonial education, formulated by Lord Macaulay, is still the foundation of the educatiol policy in post-independent India with cosmetic experiments and changes based on the recommendations of various Education Commissions. Perhaps the motive of Lord Macaulay’s policy of colonial education was to remove India’s traditiol moral principles and the value lessons from the scheme of Raj education in order to make Indians forget their own culture, their self-esteem, so that they could mistakenly think that all that was foreign and British were good and better than their own. In that era India was a very prosperous country with rich cultural heritage and spiritual predilection. Parhaps the idea of the British government was to put a totally domited tion devoid of any self-respect or boldness, subordited to the interest of the British Empire in place of a prosperous, bold and morally advanced tion. Educationists of that era had accepted with a myopic vision the arguments put forward by some opportunists that moral lessons and cultivation of moral values have become irrelevant with the advent of scientific reissance. Their views possibly depended on material gains. They erroneously thought that in the scientific age moral lessons and cultivation of moral values had become immaterial. For them morality or spiritualism influenced only the people of the primitive era, who had no scientific knowledge and they were steeped in superstitions and myths. But their views were erroneous, since morality and spiritualism can not be termed as superstitions in any age, whether scientific or unscientific. They are essential for the elevation of the mind and only enlightened minds can bring prosperity and happiness. Sadly enough, even the educationists of the present era seem to have the same wrong idea regarding morality and spiritualism, which are necessary for the education of the mind.
Swami Vivekanda had anticipated the implications of the western kind of education. He firmly declared that if the traditiol morality and values were not stimulated and developed in the minds of the young children, both boys and girls, at their tender age during school education, the tion was destined to be ruined in spite of all social reforms, acts of law and material gains. His visiory prediction seems to have come true.
At present India has made tremendous progress in science and technology and is almost at par with the developed tions of the world. Materially India has gained a lot, but morally the tion seems to be moving in a downward direction. In this downward trend of evolution we can see increased desire, numerous wants, conflicts, violence, corruption and all sorts of evil propensities, resulting in degradation of character and degeneration of society. India has gained materially and scientifically, but have lost enormously in moral and spiritual aspects. Once India was famed for her high philosophical concepts and values. But now these high thoughts and values have downgraded to the level of sordid Hedonism. In the process of this kind of degradation, the very process of its spiritual and cultural beliefs has been damaged. Sadly enough, the lack of morality and value has degraded the tion into such an extent that it has destroyed one’s love for one’s own language, literature, arts and culture. As a consequence there has been unhappiness and suffering all around. In spite of all scientific progress, the tion has lost all its moral and spiritual ideals, which were held in high esteem by the people of the ancient era. Without moral values a tion cannot progress. That is why we see so much corruption, violence and sufferings in our country. Once India was famed for her rich ideal of morality and spiritual vision. But now she has lost her reputation and has earned the dubious distinction of being one of the most corrupt tions in the world. Corruption, violence, rape, abduction, killing of innocent people and all sorts evil activities are going on ubated. You may not be able to find a good and honest person, even if you scour the entire length and breadth of the country. Yet we must not be disheartened and all may not be lost. We still have hope for a better future. Even now the situation may be changed for the better, if proper steps are taken. For that the values of morality have to be restored in the young minds through inclusion of gospels and scriptures of all religious—Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Islam, Christianity and others in the school curricula. The students must know something about the greatness and high values of all the religions. Unless they know about all the religions, they would have certain false ideas about certain religions. If they acquire knowledge about various religions in the class room, they would know that no religion ever preached hatred and all religions preach love for all. They would also know that the goal of every religion is same, only methods are different. Love of Humanity and Universal Brotherhood are the essence of all the religions. If they are taught properly, the young children would know that all the religions are fundamentally the same. If these facts about religion are taught in the class room by skilled and dedicated teacher, the pupils would know that there should not be any conflicts between the followers of diverse religions. But due to the erroneous ideas of the followers of various religions, conflicts arise, which may lead to disastrous consequences. If the young children are taught the scriptures of diverse religions in their formative years, they would be able to consider each religion in proper perspective and then there would be no commul strife. Then they would learn to respect all religions and there would be no commul hatred. From these ideals the notion of Universal Brotherhood would emerge and the humanity would be treated as the offspring of the same Reality. With the regeneration of spiritual and moral values in the minds of the young people, peace and happiness would reign in this good earth of ours. Since most of the clashes occur mainly due to religious differences, the education comprising religion is expected to remove all misunderstanding. That is the only way to be tolerant to all the religions of the world.
With the adoption of “Right to Education Act” for all, the school education has become a platform for mass education and hence it can impart moral and value education to all boys and girls through a renovation of the school curriculum and in this way an era of morally disciplined people could be ushered.
If a tion is to become strong, vigorous and prosperous in the real sense, the activities of the people should be based on the foundation of morality and values. This was the opinion of Swami Vivekanda. Unfortutely people no longer seem to be interested in religion and morality. For them they are mere superstitions and are irrelevant in this modern scientific age. Hence we see all sorts of vices and evil tendencies of the people in our country. Modern children do not know anything even about their own religion, let alone others religion. Once the children had the habit to read various kinds of books. They loved to read mythological stories and other story books. Ancient literature are mines of information and they reflect the history of the era. They also impart knowledge on morality and values. But now reading has gone out of fashion and children learn about our great epics from the TV presentations, which distort the real story. The scipt writers or directors of these TV serials do not hesitate to misrepresent the great epics of Ramaya and Mahabharata composed by Maharishi Valmiki and Maharishi Vyas Dev respectively. I wonder how they dare to change the composition of such great writers. But the misrepresentation of the epics do lots of harm. The young children get false ideas about our great epics. They learn nothing about morality or values from such distorted TV serials, which are presented for entertainment and not for moral education.
By Dr Jyots Bhattacharjee