May 13, 2008

Each one, teach one... can't we?

As a part of my profession, I write research reports on Indian economy. One of the key USPs of Indian economy that we (economists/analysts) sell is the country's demography. India has and will continue to have one of the largest pools of working population, the way our demographic structure is. However, I always end this point in my reports by specifying that the policy makers and think-tank will have to exploit this talent pool by ensuring that the youth is skilled and educated. That’s obviously a big challenge in a country as vast as ours. However, this post is exactly on this point – as to how each one of us could make things happen in a small but sure way.

I happened to witness a small incident today. Something that I have seen many times in the past and I am sure most might have witnessed in this city. A group of some 10-year old slum children were playing on the road. Soon after, some petty argument broke out and the children grouped up to fight. All of it was quite normal. What happened after that is also quite normal, unfortunately. A couple of them started abusing each other using the F-words in Hindi. Those words sound so yucky, more so when coming out from children. Clearly, the children were uneducated and came from backgrounds that are not conducive to their ideal development.

I remember another incident that happened few months back. I was at a teaching centre of one of the NGOs at Byculla. There was this little kid of about 11-12 years. I asked him his name to which his reply was Ridhiman. I did not get that clearly the first time, so I asked him to repeat it. He did so. Again, not very clear. The third time I asked him, he patiently repeated his name and then added “Teacher-didi kehti hai ki hamari pehchaan hamare naam se nahi, kaam se honi chahiye”. I could not say anything sensible after that. At that moment, I felt I really could not have added value to that kid.

The difference between the two kids mentioned above is education and values. Of course, many educated people are also filthy and stupid, but that does not take away the fact that every child deserves quality education. If their families are not able to provide it for whatever reasons – that of ability or willingness, it does not render the children undeserving.

In my last post, I had mentioned that I can feel a sense of renaissance that’s sinking upon the people that surround me on a daily basis. I teach a young crowd of anywhere between 18 and 22 years doing Chartered Accountancy and an inspiring proportion of them do have a facet in their personality that is already (at this age) willing to think and act for the under-privileged. The skeptics might say that it is their young age that makes them feel so and with age, the ‘soda-water-spirit’ would fizz out. I do not think so, but that is quite another aspect.

I believe it’s a wonderful trend that should emerge and sustain. It will go a long way in re-balancing opportunities among the privileged and under-privileged. Slowly but surely, as I said in my earlier posts, things will change. Let us all be the change agents and make a difference to the world around us. And not just to our personal lives and those of our loved ones. Let’s expand our universe of people we care for and want to do something for. Let’s be a little less selfish and see around for opportunities that we can handle.

Let’s create a better world.


Preeti Sharma said...

Hiya, completely agree what what you've written. Children follow what you do and not what you say - to teach by example is powerful and most often good role models are not easily found.

joamoo said...

the question still remains the same....where to start? :)
In fact, there has been only a lot of talking on our(i mean we as students) side and no action to follow such intentions.
Hope you will help us to do what we intend to do!!!

U No Hoo said...

As I said in the community post, please give me some time to freeze few things. I will discuss my plans soon, through this space and the community. Till that time, study for your exams.. hehe :)

A Girl........... said...

hey even i had came across such incidents many a times ;as u said, like childrens fightin n all. plz state ur plans as early as possible. N dont worry we are gonna prove dat skeptics are wrong n r spirits are nt like soda one dat would fizz out.

My Space.. said...

grt going sir.. i m sure this initiative will go places..

all the best to u an duor team :)

do keep us posted so that we too can join you in this good work ..

Hariharan said...

i wud like to bring one incident which happened in my building a small child studying in Junior KG called me "madrasi".I just gave a look with a smile on my face thinking who teaches all these things to him.He asked me wht happened u r madrasi na.I just looked at him and told him I am an INDIAN and u r also an Indian.
and believe me my friend came the next day he said to him hi Indian

U No Hoo said...

Great example Hari.. It brings out how easy is to leave an imprint in their minds. And how some fill those beautiful minds with crap.

avani said...

Very well written harry...
all i can add to this is something Mahatma Gandhi preached and practice many yrs ago:
"Be the change that you want to see in the world."
Mohandas Gandhi

Good going!!

Trishala said...

Sir, before joining Enkay's, my cousin (who's an ex-Enkayite) said to me "At Enkay's its not only syllabus they teach, they teach lessons for life. You will feel the difference in sometime." Its so true. Just some days back I was thinking the world around is becoming so much better.Then thought the world or people at class?Maybe both! I mean at class,I can feel some friends genuinely wish to work for the under-privileged & stand by what is right even if it means going against norms. Class effect on a lot to a great extent! Obliged to have a combo of teachers that we have here. This is surely not to butter you up but an honest feel that I get every time professors get off-track ;) and talk about the world around :)

U No Hoo said...

@Trishala: You are very right. A lot of our students are seriously interested in contributing to some positive change. I could see that in the recent signature campaign that Hariharan Sir and few of his friends conducted. Many of our students actively participated. I am currently working on something to try and tap this amazing resource that I am privileged to have around.

Trishala said...

Yes Sir got to know abt the signature campaign, a little late though. Happened to Notice something . .this post of yours is 3 yrs old & it still holds true(w.r.t to students at enkays I mean precisely). That’s amazing in itself. Hope the legacy prevails.