a day in the life of India at 60


Three news item caught my attention today. Little Pakhi, age 6 is thrown out of her school bus as the driver brakes suddenly and dies on the spot, her school barely a 10 minute drive away from her home; 665 migrant labour come Delhi everyday and four years down the line, our government has not found the time to ensure that the the 82nd amendment is passed as mandated by the constitution of India to ensure that every Indian child has a right to free and compulsory education..

In my mind, all these issues are linked by one thread: education. If pakhi could have walked to school she may not have dies, if the 665 migrants had better options for their children - read good school - in their habitat of origin they would not have come and as for the last item it simply that the right to education bill is a bill without a will!

I would like to ask our politicians and law makers if the 3% extra allocation needed to give children their fundamental right at a time when we boast of a 8% increase is because children are not yet a vote bank to woe, or because they do not have a voice or because having large number of illiterate people will ensure manageable and influenceable vote banks: in a word, is this right not been given to children for some Machiavellian reason.

There are others rights enshrined in the constitution that are the right if everyone born in this land, but without education they become superb tools of manipulation and political battles using the cleverly nurtured illiterate base.

What our law makers do not understand is that education is the only way India can change. A citizen who can read, write, have access to knowledge, will undoubtedly rid the land of corruption ensure that projects are executed, make the rulers accountable.. and democracy functional.

But then the question that comes to mind is do we really want democracy or have we just shrouded our feudal ways in the garb of democracy.

I get appalled and my blood runs cold when i see the sustained care with which governments are wanting to privatise education. Why not democratise education and have a common school to which little Pakhi could have walked.

The 665 migrants who will bring kids with the hope of a better education will soon find that education is better in small towns as we have seen time and again. They will go looking for some shady mother nonsense convent and spend their meagre resources on trying to get their kids educated till their own illiteracy because the cause of the kids dropping out, their homes relocated to barren areas or too poor for join the tuition raj and though they belong to the OBC quota policy, the system would have made sure that they are never likely candidates.

Common schools all children would walk to could have with peer bonding may have made that possible. Mothers like mine wanted their child to be born a in a free India, but 60 years down the line are Indian children free..