Education and learning

Published March 21, 2010

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“Frankly speaking, education is a racket,” said Babboo.

“You have a knack of passing sweeping judgment on just about anything under the sun. Please spare education, at least!”

“But, can't you see how education has been turned into a sure-shot way of minting money? No matter what the state of the national economy, or the galloping recession, or even the deteriorating law and order, you couldn't go wrong if you opened a school or, better still, a coaching centre. You are all set to become a rich man.”

“Some people do take education as a business opportunity and venture into the profession as entrepreneurs rather than as educationists, magar sub ko aik lathi se naheen hankna chaheeye,” I said.

“When did this racket start?” Babboo is in the habit of going into history and tries to begin from the beginning since he thinks it helps in expanding the kajj bahsi.

“What racket?”
“We are talking about education.”
“Education is not a racket.”

“I don't mean education what it is today; I want to know when — and why — Man thought it was necessary for him to be educated?” he asked.

“It was God Himself who wanted human beings to be educated. What is religion but educating His creation, through Divine guidance and apostles?” I replied.

“But then, man took it upon himself to impart education to others, his fellow homo-sapiens? What was the purpose of this exercise? Did education really help him?”

“LEARNING was the purpose of education! Education made man learn things that he did not know before.”

“But why should I learn everything, or know everything? In any case it is not possible since my brain has limitations. Its optimal performance is only four per cent and even with this four per cent look what havoc I have brought on this planet! I am now planning to go to other planets to create more havoc there because I have educated myself!”

“An extremely impressive program indeed — and I compliment you on this grand plan!” I said.
“On behalf of all humanity, I can say this at the United Nations...”

“...could be possible only if they invited you to address them! But tell me, is education the sole reason why you have developed the 'expertise' of creating havoc on this planet called Earth?”

“I suppose that is what it is.”

“What about the progress you've made in all spheres after you became educated? Only as a result of this progress your life could become so much more comfortable, so much more enriched? Aren't you enjoying the fruit of your progress?”

“What comfort and enjoyment are you talking about? Comfort is something that has to be enjoyed. This is not possible with this push-button technology. What you call comfort brings obesity only. And as to enjoyment, you can at best call it 'cheap enjoyment'. The fact is all this progress has made my life too fast — a toofan mail. I have no time to enjoy my life.”

“You think all this is due to the curse of education, hain ji?” I asked.

“Yes, because I think education is something that is 'acquired' and, therefore, unnatural. There is vested interest behind education.”

“What?”

“I never wanted to go to school but my father was adamant that I studied. I was a slave of the system and there was no liberty for me. Later on, when I passed high school I wanted to go to the mountains to relax and observe Nature but my parents decided that I should go to a university to study science.”

“Why?”

“Because they wanted me to go forth and invent unnecessary — even dangerous — things and work for OTHER people. This made the other guys much stronger and they exploited both me and my father! I tell you, education and exploitation go hand in hand and, therefore, it is unnatural to be educated.”

“What is natural, then?”

“Instinct is natural. Look at animals. They do not face any of the problems that we as human beings create for ourselves.”

“What makes you think animals have no problems?”
“If they have any it is created by us, the so-called 'educated' human beings,” said Babboo.

“But when we are unkind to animals, plants or trees, we also realise our mistake and correct things. Education brings this realisation in us.”

“Nonsense! Nobody learns from his mistakes. Look at our leaders!” Babboo has the skill to suddenly bring a totally out-of-context point into the discussion.

“Then how do you learn, for heaven's sake? Or, are you against learning too?” I cried.

“I am not against learning,” he declared. “But I make sure I do not learn anything from those who are trying to teach me something in their own interest.”

“What do you mean?”
“For instance, I am not ready to follow our purely political or religiously political leaders.”
“Who will be our teachers then?” I asked.
“Animals! True learning can only be acquired from animals.”
“What can you possibly learn from them?”

“Simple living, no partybazi, no sectarianism, above all, the acceptance that if you are weak, the stronger one will eat you. Bari machhli choti machhlion ko kha jati hai. Nature's law!”

“What a recipe for progress! You are equating man with a cat who gives birth to four kittens, two of which do not survive because they are born weak. Not so in humans. Even though some of us are born weak, medical science can make us strong with proper diet, exercise and medicines.”

“You are living in a fool's paradise — I mean, the Third World. In this paradise there is no proper diet or medicine for you. Ignorance and poverty is your destiny. You are small fish to be eaten by the bigger ones. In the animal kingdom the weaker animals have accepted this fact with good grace.”“What rubbishI am living in the Third World alright, but I am not a fish nor a rabbit!”

“That's why you have not learnt to be pragmatic like animals. All this prejudice is because the rabbit never went to any school or university!”

shahidsm34@gmail.com

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