Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Guru Shishya Parampara

This post started as a comment on Manju's post called 'Lost Childhood.'

A large number of poor children in India drop out of schools because they are afraid of being beaten by school teachers. All concerned assume some thrashing, and mental abuse are a normal part of school life.

I loved Tare Zameen Par because it trashed the ridiculous Indian belief that Corporal Punishments could create Einsteins. We should also translate Roald Dahl's BOY for all those who think it's okay to treat children so cruelly, 'for their own good'.

Once a friend and I took a maid's daughter for admission in a Municipal School in Bombay (1995).

The experience was an eye opener. There were some kids running, playing, falling and fighting unsupervised and some classes were going on.

In one class the moment the teacher saw us pass by, he swung a stick and shouted at the kids to open their books. He had his feet on his table and was reading some newspaper till then.

The Principal was the perfect Role Model as a figure of responsibility and authority. First he was not there.
We waited.

Two older boys grabbed a young boy and started rolling with him, on the floor. The younger kid was screaming. No teacher came. My friend nudged that we shouldn't be interfering, but we got them to leave him. Then a short, fat man in dirty clothes came and entered the Principal's room. We quickly rushed after him and said we'd come to meet the Principal. No response. He just opened the cupboard and took out some, believe it or not, some sort of perfume and sprayed on his wrists and armpits etc. (he looked like Q.Q.Quraishi of Bunty aur Babli). We looked at each other, wondering if he was deaf. Again I asked if we could speak to the Principal please. No reply.

If he behaved like this with us, I can't imagine what the parents are subjected to. He is supposed to run that school, and we all pay taxes for it.

He organised the same cupboard, some chalk and registers. Then as we stood wondering if we should ask someone else he sat down and very reluctantly looked at us, standing right in front of him. We explained the girl's problem - No Birth Certificate (Janam Dakhila) - but we'll get it as soon as possible,

"In the meantime could she please start attending classes ..? "

(This girl's mother was a Christian maid servant married to a Hindu man, she later got her admitted into a Christian School. I wonder if Bajrang Dal will ever find time from it's terrorists activities and raping of nuns to start running some schools or at least leave the Christian Missionaries alone to run their Schools and Orphanages.)

Why do we not allow children (in junior classes at least), to just walk into any Government School after just some minimum filling of forms? Is it worth the lives of thousands who waste years waiting for their parents to find lost or misplaced birth/transfer/certificates? Parents who don't know where their next meal is coming from are supposed to take care of certificates? Maybe they should. But they can't so should their kids play cricket by the roadside all day?

How can we talk about compulsory education when a lost proof of birth can ruin a child's life?


Twisted Elegance.... said...

Beating kids is really an awful thing to do...

If the Christian missionaries stop with just providing education and doing service not many in this country will be bothered. But most missionaries ask for conversion for the service and benefit they provide. I have personally seen a Christian clergy asking my friend to convert for a seat in college.....

1conoclast said...

No the B.J. dal ;-) will never get around to opening schools.
The way the sangh parivar is structured is probably this:
rss: ideology, schooling, indoctrination, quasi-militant training, propaganda, PR, the front.
vhp: activism, chest thumping, demolitions, rioting.
bd: murder, rioting, arson, burning, rape, bomb making, nun-raping, you name it.
abvp: poison student minds with the promise of politics.
abhinav bharat & some other new organizations (from the Goa belt): Terrorist attacks, bomb blasts, making it appear like the handiwork of others etc. had written about this in October.

Iya said...

thats tru.. some of the rules and regulations only act as a deterrent and not a facilitator... i have experienced this a number of times.. simple things sometimes require so much paper work that the entire exercise becomes futile...

Ps: btw u still havent accepted the award :(

Bones said...

Municipal schools are run by the government and we all know how bureaucratic the govt. is...One needs a piece of paper for everything...My driver is a Bihari and has been trying to get a Gurgaon license for the last 2.5 years...He also wants to open a bank account but can't do either because he doesn't have residential proof (he rents a room from someone and obviously doesn't have a lease agreement)...I agree that an ID and residential proof are important but what are poor people supposed to do? The Motor Vehicles dept. wants a voter's ID or a MTNL bill or a passport or a ration card but to get either one of these, he again needs a proof of residence...I went with him to various banks to try to get them to open an account for him but again, the proof of residence was a problem...He has a license from his state and while most banks said they'll accept it as ID proof, the largest Indian private bank told me that they do not take on Biharis and UPites as customers (unless they are extremely rich) because they don't fit the profile of the bank...
@Twisted Elegance:
All missionary schools don't ask for conversion-I have attended a missionary college my religion was never a problem...Even if they do, isn't it better to convert and get an education than remain a Hindu and not get one?

1conoclast said...

Oops!!! I forgot to add:

bjp: political outfit seeking to legitimize the parivar's idiology.

1conoclast said...

twisted elegance,

You should publish the name of the college & the name of the offending clergyman. This will be one small step in getting them to stop, won't it?

Indian Home Maker said...

@ 1conoclast Yes. Though I wish they did something other than killing and arson. I was extremely disheartened and saddened to know that they have announced a Bandh on 25th to make sure Christians in Orissa cannot enjoy Christmas. What kind of Democracy will allow such atrocity!

Indian Home Maker said...

@ Twisted elegance I think it is fine if they teach for conversion. At least that girl got education! I would only respect any organization that objects to conversions on the basis of what THEY are doing peacefully. I have blogged about this here.

Surbhi said...

Very well said, IHM! Beating or screaming can never improve performance or attitude. On the contrary, it rather creates rebels. I have no hesitation in saying that my Dad slapped me once when I was in Class V, and had scored 52 in my Math exam. That was also because I'd been enjoying my Mama's wedding, so who had the time or inclination for Maths? That incident has put me off Maths for ever, even though that's the only time my Dad ever raised his hand.

Smitha said...

Yes, the government should try to provide good quality primary education to everyone - especially the economically backward before it tries to reserve seats in higher education. And yes, all the organisations opposing 'forced conversrion' should actually introspect and see why people are getting tempted to convert in the first place. Yes , if all our 'so called Hindu organisations' did more for social upliftment - the need for conversion would be gone. And whatever else they might do - the christian organisations have done a lot in the field of primary and secondary education and for that they must be lauded!

Indian Home Maker said...

@ Iya How can I ever not accept your Award!!!!? It has been gladly and delightedly grabbed (with a huge thank you), now I am busy making my list of bloggers to pass it on to in the next post :)

Anonymous said...

wonderful post.

While it is easy to blame children from poor families for not being interested in studies and dropping out, one hardly pays attention to their experience in school. There is no infrastructure and no toilets...who would want to stay??

Indian Home Maker said...

@ Bones Absolutely! The bureaucracy can make smallest of jobs so difficult.

And if there was some efficiency in at least making of Voter ID Cards, so many problems would solve!

1conoclast said...


Not to worry. The Indian populace is awakening to their emptiness of their rhetoric. It may take long, but it's us who will triumph.
It's always been that way. As ultimately order must reign over chaos, peace & love will reign over hatred.
They too have a purpose if you haven't noticed. They're awakening us to the danger that they are, they're uniting us, against that danger. And this online/urban awakening must spill into semi-urban & rural India.
Let's get off our backsides & spread the awakening that we are privileged to have been given.

Anonymous said...

My mum always says that the Christian missionaries do a really good job setting up schools & hospitals in remote places. Adds on saying why would these people not convert?

On the proof of birth thingie..I had a pretty lousy experience in a really reputed school. Will write about it sometime. If this happens to educated people; don't know what others can do!!

manju said...

Just FYI,

Many Hindutvavadi organisations are running educational programmes.
For example-Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram.
They conduct-

Single teacher schools
Primary/middle and high schools
Free Hostels for Girls and Boys
Non formal education centers
Balwadis for kids
Bala sanskar kendras
Satsangh centers

Their website-

Charakan said...

Good post.Don't you think one of the reason for the neglect of Govt Schools is that only servants kids study there? If the parents of the kids studying there are encouraged to form strong Parent-Teacher Associations and pressurise the Government and Political Parties to improve the condition of Schools,something may change

Anonymous said...

Thy shall not question thy Guru!
That's an Indian value, right? And then we have teachers like that.
Anyways I tried answering your question about Indian values and this figured in my list. I made a list of things that do not belong to any religion (such as eating beef-Its Hindu not Indian, right?)but can loosely be grouped together as Indian values. Turned out I did not agree with a single one. Nothing that I would pass on to my daughter.
You tell me why is 'questioning' a bad trait. Why is my guru my God? I will do a post on that when I can come up with one thing that I think is Indian and am proud of.

Finally, thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment because u knew I was feeling dejected :-)

Aneela Z said...

Im getting tired of our tendency of slapping the label of 'conversion' when it comes to missionary schools (and it ALWAYS happens to a friend or a friend of...not ONCE "I had to" or "I" was asked to)...we are also asked to 'donate' funds or bring a 'thagdee sifarish' or play around with our birth dates which are equally reprehensible.
Re: corporal punishment (or DISCIPLINE as some ol' fogies like to put it)...frankly we belong to societies that are organized around the belief that a little bit of the stick (on the part of the state or society) never hurt anyone!! And children's right to a sense of self? Ha! Even when it comes to parents striking kids, I think its more of an 'anger release' for parents than children learning anything.

Indian Home Maker said...

@ Manju
1. The reason why I don't trust these Hindutva-wadi organizations is that they are violent. Take a look at MadMomma's yesterday's post (linked here). I would never explain away or excuse such cruelty in the name of religion.

2. Are these places run by the same people who have been forcibly reconverting tribals from Christianity by making them drink cow's urine?

3. Reconverting them not to BRAHMINS but back to lower castes, so the caste bias remains :(

4 .Don't you think, when they are violent the aim here is votes NOT welfare?

5. Our rich Temples should also use some of their money for social welfare.

Devil Incarnate said...

Well, in India, u can expect this and the worse. I lost interest in politics long back even before i really started voting. Its nomatter who comes them will go by the same thing and they are not gonna bring any changes.
I hav seen various NGO organization taking care of these kids and putting them in schools obviously with or without certificates. Some organization even started their own schools coz they felt the sloww and crooked process of govt will spoil yr of the kid.

If u ask if this ever gonna change, i think certainly not, untill and unless the indian youth really start acting to the time. And at this point of time i doubt how many youngeters r intersted in politics. Even if someone offer me the PM's post, i will giv him a tough look and continue wt i am doing... Well somethings really need to change u knw...!!!!!!

Chirag Chamoli said...

Ahha...some of our tax money is not being put to proper use. What is the point anyways!

@How can we talk about compulsory education when a lost proof of birth can ruin a child's life?

I know for sure you can get this form redone. You may have to pay 100rs or so, but definitely this is a reversible damage. The 'guru' in question is with out a doubt those typical babu's who kissed ass and got a job with govt so that they can have pension plan when they retire. Anyways can you threaten him with something anything. Its a future of a child after all.

Anonymous said...

yup...seen BMC schools of this...quite a few of them in fact.. i dont care if schools dnt have the best infrastructure but i do care if they have insensitive, inefficient and disinterested teachers. donno if i m correct on this one, but i do remember someone telling me that u know dont require a birth certificate to get admission. u also dnt need to have ur father;s name on it. ur mom's name will do. even if i am correct on this, i can assure u all this in only going to be in theory, nt practice.

Indian Home Maker said...

@Surbhi And imagine if a child is just not able to learn something, my mom wanted me to be a doctor, and I had a tough time leaving Science and shifting to English after twelfth. No regrets :)
I know even if I was beaten black and blue I couldn't score well in Maths and Science.

These Government school teachers are so bad that we will not leave our children in their company fearing bad influence like manners, cleanliness, courtesy, kindness and general decency and here they have unwritten authority to terrorize and abuse and beat these innocent children.

Indian Home Maker said...

Smitha YES, I so agree with you. How can anyone who cares for their country and it's people not see that if only all our 'so called Hindu organisations' did more for social upliftment - the need for conversion would be gone' and also why not work for the poor and also let others work because, '..whatever else they might do - the christian organisations have done a lot in the field of primary and secondary education and for that they must be lauded!'

We just want the millions of Indians who have never been to any school, let alone any decent school, to be given every opportunity for upliftment.

Indian Home Maker said...

@Chandni The infrastructure is so sad, and the teachers are even worse.
Most poor Indians also look down upon government run schools, they prefer 'public schools' (actually private schools) where there is some supervision and the teachers are educated, even though they do bully the parents and the kids both.

Indian Home Maker said...

@1conoclast Thanks for 'ultimately order must reign over chaos, peace & love will reign over hatred.' YES. It will :)
What will we do without this hope!

Indian Home Maker said...

@ myheadtrip I think all Indian schools like to show they have some power over the children and parents :( One threat is 'internal assessment'.
In one Public school in Bombay, the teacher doses off in class and if the kids complain their marks will be cut!
And then of course School Leaving certificates and birth certificates ...we need enough schools here and a variety of boards, to keep them improving and in competition.

Thankfully the career scene has changed and we have international Boards also - far more flexible and and child friendly than the British system that we have inherited, but still run by same old India trained teachers :(

This rant is too close to heart to even rant about.

Mama - Mia said...

with normal "educated" people like us have so much trouble getting admissions, i can imagine the pain the poor have to go through.

its a pity that a standard thing like education should be so much trouble. isnt a basic right of all kids?!

Indian Home Maker said...

Charakan The system is too bad for such experiments. I might agree to volunteer there - obviously free of cost, and supervise the running, but they have a rotten system of annual inspections I guess, when they treat the Inspectors with tea and samosa, and the school is passed off as up to the mark.
You think I will let either of the two men spraying scents and siting and reading newspaper and frightening sensitive kids with bollywood style hollering anywhere near my kids!
Even that maid didn't eventually.

Varun said...

My mom used a run a school in Mandya(Dist headquarters 100 km from Bangalore) until two years back. She ran it for around 18 years. We sold it to another institution because it was slowly becoming a burden and very difficult to manage. We used to admit any child who wanted to study and would ask them to submit their forms and documents whenever they can. I have this dream of probably starting that school again after my early retirement. I hope it comes true! :)

Indian Home Maker said...

TearsandDreams - You say, "You tell me why is 'questioning' a bad trait. Why is my guru my God? I will do a post on that when I can come up with one thing that I think is Indian and am proud of."

I will NEVER say that. Not even to my kids. Every body is accountable and everybody has a right to question anything that concerns us. And a Guru-Shishya relationship is just a Consumer rights issues, the bad teacher is not doing a job they are paid to do. Bullying the helpless and weak is in our culture. Remember one Guru cursed Karan for letting him sleep peacefully on his lap, while an insect bit him; another made Eklavya cut his thumb.
I don't believe in such blind faith in anybody. Not even one's parents.

Only those who don't understand will obey without questioning.

Won't you consider our tolerance, our love for peace, our respect for our wonderful Constitution (even the poorest and illiterate are aware that according to the law they are Equal)and our respect for the forefathers who created that Constitution that survives our corrupt system - true Indian values?

I had been wondering why there were no updates from you, and then I saw you were not blog rolled, added you now :)

Indian Home Maker said...

@ Aneela Z Come to think of it you are so right! We have faced demands for donations many times and NEVER have we been asked to convert, you are right. And in our family, we have all been to many Christian schools and nobody has made any attempt to convert us.

ref to Corporal Punishments 'we belong to societies that are organized around the belief that a little bit of the stick (on the part of the state or society) never hurt anyone' - That is the root of the problem :(

Indian Home Maker said...

@ Devil Incarnate it's your own country, how can you give up! Saw the election results and voter turn out in Delhi and Rajasthan. And what kind of turnout! It sure shows how we have are waking up. Please do register yourself and please DO VOTE!

Indian Home Maker said...

@ Chirag Yes I thought it must be a 'reversible' damage, though no idea where one needs to go for this :(

But also picture a woman who has to work and manage an alcoholic husband, which is mostly the case, where does this woman go around finding out about Birth Certificates!? Why not make basic teaching just basic teaching and remove all this formality? Let one parent sign on a paper, they probably need to show how many kids they have enrolled, and also keep 'ROLLING ADMISSIONS', which means the kids can join through out the year. Most international schools do this without any problems.

LOL @ our tax money being properly used :)
You are right I am sure they pay for this job, and now consider that payment an investment for future pension!

Pinku said...


my Mom took her maid's two young sons along to get admitted in School...and it happened without fuss.

Infact the teacher said being from the schedule caste they would also get some kind of monthly allowance for attending school...

Guess it takes all kinds everywhere!!! :)

Indian Home Maker said...

@Mandira Yes Mandira sensitive, sincere and preferably even trained teachers are extremely important.

Mandira they do demand both the Birth Certificate and a TC, maybe just to bully the parents or in the hope of some bribe (didn't think that before!!!)and they probably call this bribe 'donation'.

I agree about the other infrastructure but they should have decent toilets for girls, because many girls are not allowed to go to school if there are no decent toilets in the school premises.
And I think also female teachers, after Patni case, we should have 80% female staff and ONLY women as Principals, to make sure neither teachers not students face sexual harassment.

Indian Home Maker said...

@Mama Mia It has been made a Fundamental Right we all pay for it but I have not even heard of any improvements in this direction.
Government should keep out of higher education and provide good quality primary education for all.

Indian Home Maker said...

@Varun Hats off to your mom! I hope you do start something like that, it can be so satisfying.

See, even if one does make money to sustain the school, and to hire staff etc, at least one can keep some seats for needy students and also one can avoid too much of bureaucracy, I mean eventually the purpose of the school is to educate, these guys have no such concepts.

They just don't care :(

Indian Home Maker said...

@ Pinku It is possible that they had their birth certificates, and also scheduled castes certificate.

Or maybe it was one rare good school. I have seen many, many women being harassed for lack of certificates. Birth certificates are lost in shifting houses, flooding in the houses, carelessness etc. Sometimes angry spouses take away the certificates to make them come back home.

Imp's Mom said...

Great Post IHM... its really no wonder that poor kids have no interest in school and drop out asap... we had a family staying with us, and my dad had to literally make sure everyday that her son reached school everyday! imagine us educated kids have difficulty in getting admissions for our children, what a nightmare the poor people have to go through.

Smitha said...

In addition to bad govt schools - I think we do not have really committed teachers any more. Most of the brightest students are encouraged to take up professional subjects, leaving the less intellectual students to become teachers out of no choice. When I was in school - we had fantastic teachers - who actually believed in what they were doing. A lot of what I am today is due to their encouragement and support. However - in that very school , I have heard that most of the older teachers have retired and been replaced by indifferent teachers. And this is not a govt school that I am talking about. Of course, not all teachers today can be catogorized as such, but I do believe that more and more people are moving towards higher paying jobs(hardly their faults) and the teaching staff in even very expensive schools do not have very competetive salaries! So in case of govt schools - its not a wonder that such apathy exists!

Riha said...

Municipal schools are not getting any better with time (I don't know if they were good to begin with, but I would like to believe that). From my personal experience of tutoring children from municipal schools, I would say that their teachers are often not interested in teaching. The kids used to tell me how their teachers provided them with answers during exams just so the kid would pass the exam and move on to the next class. Our government wants to impose quotas and reservations left, right and center but they turn a blind eye towards basic education. Sad but true!

Anonymous said...

im with u on the toilet for girls bit..thats an essential... i was talking more in the lines of jazzy expensive infra that private schools have..those tend to be more frills than necessity.

Anonymous said...

Hi dear IHM,you have been awarded :) Please visit my blog..

Will come back to read your post..

(yes,i know you too got it from Vimmu,but i just want to show some love to you :) )

Good day

1conoclast said...

How many of you volunteered for Teach India?

Smita said...

Half the problems we have are because the systems are so stringent that it is difficult to get through them and these babu's use these sys as an excuse for not working..

Yaamyn said...

I went to a "Christian" school for most my school life.

Darn if anyone tried to convert me.

I had a bunch of other complaints - they were mostly regarding the education system in India itself.

But the way some of the comments are shaping up, it seems as if anyone who's ever entered a missionary school turns out a Christian.



Mampi said...

The problem with us is, when we follow, we follow by the letter and not by spirit.
That is what sends willing learners back to the streets. Sad incident that you have shared. I wish our country could think of its children instead of thinking of petty politics, and giving importance to worthless people and outfits.

vimal said...

Yeah, our system becomes stringent only on such trivial issues. These children, deprived of education, end up toiling day and night so that they could be of help to their parents. The situation is pathetic and the concerned officials dont do anything about it.

Indian Home Maker said...

@Imp's Mom Yeah, and then they end up not going to school at all. I always think, we have future of India playing cricket by the roadside. Here on one hand, we are planning activities even for holidays, taking care who they interact with, on the other they are totally unsupervised, wasting years away. God knows what they could be given the right opportunities?

Indian Home Maker said...

@ Smitha I agree, I also feel we had better teachers. These days good teachers either go to International schools where they earn much more or they start their own more lucrative Coaching Classes!
Can't even imagine any school paying as much as can be earned by running coaching/tutorial classes :(
Providing quality education to their kids, free of cost, is one good offer many schools make.

Indian Home Maker said...

@ Mandira I agree, unnecessary frills can be done without, all that is needed is willing teachers and the very basic requirements.

Indian Home Maker said...

Hey Nimmy Thank you and welcome back, missed your posts, and thank you for the award! And congratulations for the Award(s) too :))
It's great to see you back :))

Indian Home Maker said...

@Smita yeah stringent in all the wrong places, but I think the reason for stringent rules here is to use these for bribes and to keep the parents' mouth shut, Chirag above mentioned, and I know it is true that many of these government jobs are up for sale, you pay a huge amount to get a permanent job plus pension.
This is the most outrageous of all the corruption we have seen.

Indian Home Maker said...

@Yaamyn No, not Ignoramuses!!! Sometimes you hear so much about something you are not sure how much is actually just propaganda.
In fact we have all in our family, studied in Christian schools too and not even one has converted, never have we heard of any such conditions being put either.
I just feel those who are objecting are encroaching on citizens' Fundamental Right to follow any religion and they are only doing it for votes.

But the POINT IS, simply, even if they do convert can we kill/burn/rape them?

Indian Home Maker said...

@ The Commenter who thinks this post is about Bajrang Dal bashing, my BD Bashing posts can be found here, here and here.

In this post BD only came up as a reference to a need for encouraging any and every opportunity to let us get primary education. Such violence can discourage Christian Missionaries from running these schools. This is not acceptable because we need as many primary school in this country as possible.

Indian Home Maker said...

@Mampi Yes it really is sad to see the future voters and citizens and could have been engineers, artists, teachers wasting their precious learning years, either in schools that teach NOTHING.

Do yo know Mampi, all our maids' kids go for private tuitions? They ALL realise how important good education is but where is this education available to them?

The first step is to get admission in some school, then find tuition teachers, then sit after a days hard work to make them finish their HW .... and that is another topic HOME WORK! How many hours a day of their growing years should children devote to books and learning-from-books?

Most such schools don't care that they have so much more to learn ... But that's another post ....

Indian Home Maker said...

@ Vimal Yes, they end up being sent to earn their own living, my maid's daughter says, 'baitha ke thodi khilayenge' (They, the parents, can't just feed us for nothing). They are expected to earn something or else they are (very openly) considered a burden.

shail said...

"...the ridiculous Indian belief that Corporal Punishments could create Einsteins" There you have said it and I second it absolutely. I myself have been victim to this mentality in my childhood. I have never understood the logic of hitting/caning a child for not understanding (imagine!!)something. Will beating make the brain absorb faster?? experience(my own) tells me 'NO'

Though I do agree with you on the missionaries being allowed to run the educational institutions, I wish they did not pick on children of other faith like we were in our student days. We had to quietly listen to our religion and its stories being made fun of, listen to how we were 'pagans' and such stuff. I don't know if it happens these days as my own children studied in Kendriya Vidyalayas. But I assure you those days we did feel inferior in some way due to this.

And about your experience, let me add that some KVs are no better. I have gone to my childrens school to find the teachers grouped together out in the sun making sweaters, while ostensibly teaching children out on the lawns. I saw a teacher whack a kid on the head (7 year old) when the kid walked up to him to ask something. He was trying to impress me with the discipline in his class. I was horrified as this was my first experience of a KV run in this manner. I soon wised up to facts as I came across more such KVs. Of course when we parents made our presence felt our children were left alone and not hit indiscriminately. It also helped that my husband was an army officer!! In spite of it my 10 year old son was slapped without finding out why he was in the classroom. Such are school tales, more of them, but you get the drift!

Anonymous said...

Iam sure to run off tangent. But i have never been in favour of compulsory education for kids. Unless the govt is ready to supplement the income from the extra hands that the kids bring home, the parents shouldnt be punished for sending kids to work.

In fact some other methods need to be worked upon like some sort of incentives for parents to send their kids to school.

Fictitioustruth said...

fabulous post. only quality eduaction will change the nation.

J P Joshi said...

We all know that only education can change destinies. The poor have many problems, like no address, no ID, no birth certificate etc. etc. All these pieces of paper are required, but we need to find a way out of this situation.

Firstly, I would like to congratulate you on your thoughtfulness; your taking the time to help another fellow human being in providing them with what we all feel is important for any child.

I had once taken my domestic help 'Jokhi', to the bank to open an account. (He used to deposit the money with us and was saving to buy land in Bihar). We encountered the same problem. I asked the manager if we could open a joint account, with him having all the deposit and operating rights - my address etc. The manager gladly agreed and the account was opened. A few years after that, I left NOIDA but I am sure Jokhi still has a bank account, he has bought his land, and has some money in his bank account too. I do hope the National ID card sees the light of day soon.

sunder said...

Well you replied to my comment without posting it..thats ok..well i know u r a basher of bd andhave read your previous posts..

see i did almost 60 % of my schooling in christian edu doubt they are doing a yomen my knowledge i havenever come across anybody tryingto convert anyone...

if your post is only on primary education..i felt you gave a religious colour ..that s all..i am neither a sympathiser of bd or the opposite..i just stay neutral...

coming to your point..i find our govt is taking whatever initiative in encouraging kids to come to school...considering the efficiency of our govt , i dont accuse them..for everything the constraint is money being symphoned off...

way back in 70s MGR initiated midmeal scheme to bring kids to school...that is been followed by many..well i know there are lot of things to improve...well India is a big country with scarce resources...iw ill say still we are not bad....see the standard of education in GULF with all the resources they have..and see the education level of ours..though some amount of credit should go to britishers..and withut doubt to christian inst also..hmm

well one of the commentators posted negatively about all the orgn from RSS etc...i wish you cud have refrained from posting that comment also..

and one more were telling about certificates..if i remember in christian inst, all christians are supposed to get a certificate from the pastor of the church they go...otherwise i think admission will be rejected...i felt this is an indirect way of forcing people to attend masses etc...

keep up the good work..

Indian Home Maker said...

@Sunder Thanks for understanding :))) I was just worried that the we'd end up discussing BD violence instead of bureaucracy/system ruining little lives :)

Mid Day meals schemes are good, but first we should take in kids without so much of formality.

Our system is a total failure so far as primary education is concerned. Think of how state run schools should really be? Decent, clean, polite, sincere, sensitive teachers who don't think of the students as 'beneath' themselves. We have no concept of 'respecting' kids. You should have seen that teacher swinging his stick.
Confident kids, happy kids, learning eagerly ...where do you see them in these schools :(

I have taught once in one such school, and never needed to even raise my voice. I know that you do not need to treat voiceless citizens badly or bully them to make them learn.

We get away with a lot in the name of 'disciplining'.

Anonymous said...

When I was in middle school (6th to 8th grade, 10 years old, or so.) we had a principal who had a rack of sticks on his wall. If you got sent to his office for getting in trouble, he made YOU pick which thickness of stick he'd hit your fingers with!! God! I hated that guy!!!
I always thought the Rolling Stones song, "Under My Thumb," related to British Common Law allowing a husband to beat his wife for misbehaving!! lol. Gotta love those Brits!!! lol

(A hyperlink maybe, IHM. Thank you!! BTW, I'm just adding a bit of humor here. I DO NOT believe in beating children, ever.) Larry

Out Of My Shell said...

Have been following your blog for a month or so and have blog-hopped several times to interesting blogs from yours - cant believe so many people blog about so many different things - cant believe myself started blogging - thanks to u -:)

Chaos said...

Hindu institutions like Tirupathi,Dharmastala and Putparthi also run a lot of educational institutions. Probably the most famous one is the RamaKrishna mission. People who want to do good will do so regardless of which community they belong to. And we will have the Bajrang Dal, and the Klu Klux Klan everywhere too.

Usha Pisharody said...

I would second Shail's opinion, and not only about KVs but a lot of private so called rich schools, and those of missionaries as well. Down south here, in Kerala, sometimes I think the government school children are better of, because they do not have to go through the sort of indoctrination that is a fallout of the Missionary Schools. Having studied in one such , albeit a more secular one, in Bangalore, I do know. If you were not of their faith, you were always at a disadvantage.

More specifically, corporal punishment though it still happens, has reduced vastly. I am, of course talking of the schools, I know, sort of, here in Kerala. In fact the Government Schools here are quite good, and the teachers more focussed. I have a few friends who teach in scuch schools, and in the vernacular medium, so i am pleasantly surprised that the things they share about their school. It has helped to dispel certain pre conceived notions I had always had about them. Of course, this is the case of only a few schools, that they have worked in. There could be, and am sure are, others vastly more, in fact, of the kind you have written about. The cases reported are fewer, but on the other hand cases of CSA, Child Sexual Abuse are on the increase, right across schools. That is a horrifying new concern actually that we are exposed to here, and elsewhere, I think across the world.

And finally how safe are our children? If it is for "education" we send them to schools, they need to be educated on a lot of things at home, first of all, for personal safety and the like.

Finally, as one very close to the ground realities of the situation; this is what really is.. That punishment, corporal punishment, never works. Never. It is with guiding the children to discovering their own errors, either of behaviour, or of any other sphere, by involving yourself with them, that any sort of movement to positivity can be achieved. A lot of talking to, to the child, and the parents, helps vastly. Sadly, not many have either the time or the inclination, being in the profession, and that again pulls the kids down further into a sort of mire. There is helplessness you feel, but then, you are always rewarded with change, when you take the first step forward and reach out. It matters. Then.

[Sorry, this has been a long comment :) But it is a pet topic... and I could go on.. but then I have digressed too much already.. and this is what comes of just banging the keyboard without pen and paper... :) Those are my blinkers, lol!!]

Indian Home Maker said...

@ Shail Yes, KVs have same problem - teachers with permanent jobs, almost no accountability.
I guess all educational institutions in India need some basic changes, which can only come if the board stop asking questions that are memory based - meaning only analytical, discussion based questions ... and so many more changes we need, it will become a post!!!!

Shail we didn't ever face any insult to our religion, I was in a Christian school in Jaipur as a kid, and even attended Sunday School, which was just a lot of singing and craft classes ... we were taught to pray every evening before we go to sleep, to just close our eyes and think what were all the good things we did all day, how we could improve and to decide to do something good every single day, about compassion, forgiveness ... no talk of any particular God. And never any talk of any religion being bad. I think we were very lucky... will do a post on this.

Indian Home Maker said...

@Philip Compulsory education with mid day meal, will become one or a half less mouth to feed for most parents.

I would say these schools should, just like Orphanages, welcome middle class families to sponsor the kids. So if I sponsor a kid, I do whatever I can for that child, clothes, shoes, milk, books, bag, whatever one can afford, and keep tab of how he child is doing in school. So you don't have to spend a lot of time, but a child's financial requirements are taken care of ... just thinking aloud.

Actually, most parents WANT to send their kids to school. If they are being fed in school, they won't even miss school. Mostly corporal punishment and other kind of mental abuse and rigid rules, like if a child missed school for a month when some relative died, they won't take him back ... we should definitely make it easier for kids to go to school.

Indian Home Maker said...

@ Fictitioustruth One thing you will see in India, everyone totally supports that education is the biggest requirement for any progress :)
Sometimes these little kids ask to be dropped to school, and then if I say they must work hard they say, "everybody who gives us lift says, 'khoob dil laga kar padha karo'"!!! (meaning, 'every body tells us, study sincerely')
That's an Indian value!

Indian Home Maker said...

@ Mr. J P Joshi I think that's a brilliant idea!!! At least the bank account was opened!

And yes, education can change destinies...even literacy and plenty of reading material can change destinies. Libraries, mobile libraries with books in local languages can make such a difference!

Schools that are run by NGOs don't ask for any Tcs or certificates, it's basically a government bureaucracy that makes these difficulties. They need to keep tab of how many students are being fed, and how many sets of book are got etc.

Some forms with details of the children and their family should suffice. Or else we continue to let their lives be ruined.

Indian Home Maker said...

@ Larry Boy by Roald Dahl is also about corporal punishment and is so sad. All parents and teachers should read it, your link about the Rule of Thumb shows all cultures accepted some amount of domestic violence as, maybe not appreciated, but not entirely unacceptable either :(

Indian Home Maker said...

@ Out Of My Shell WELCOME to this blog and to the blogosphere :)) Hope to see lots more of you here!!!

Indian Home Maker said...

@ Chaos You are right :)
And let's hope more and more such schools keep coming up. Primary Education apart from all the other good it will do, will also give the mothers a much needed break :)

Indian Home Maker said...

@Usha Pishrody You will know of course :)
Basically it's again about accountability. Parents should be empowered enough to protect the kids from abuse and from wasted years both.

We are so blind to child abuse, I find it almost unbelievable. Glad you mentioned it. I had this colouring book called 'It's okay to say No', which I used to read to my kids, it talked about how nobody should touch them in any way they feel uncomfortable and how parents should take anything the kids say seriously.

My biggest grouse against any unquestioning respect for any authority figure is this, that then it becomes difficult to control abuse.
There were some boys who died in an Ashram, unfortunately I did not track the news, but it gave me the creeps. Another was Patni in Gujarat where the male staff had been raping the female students! Preeti Zinta in 'Kya Kehna' also questions a Head Master who was an abuser. I am against male peons in schools. And preferably there should be a large number of female teachers

...this should be discussed in detail. I never even allowed strangers/male relatives to touch or pick my kids. They were taught to refuse very firmly to any attempts at touchy-feely friendliness.

Would like to hear your views on this.

Out Of My Shell said...

IHM, Thanks for being the first to comment in my blog - sweet surprise!