Chronicles of My Dream Palace: The Education Times

It has been a tough week. The dreaded examination week. Being the average student, I had left all the preparations for the last day. Hence, the long hours of drooling over some formulae, derivations, and diagrams; which made absolutely no sense. Examinations are a pretty common occurrence in our college. A phenomenon occurring thrice a semester examinations have become pretty much the centre of our education. So last night, when finally I got the time to go to my dream palace, with no thoughts of scary symbols and gigantic derivations, I pondered upon this. Education, they say, is the soul of a civilized society. A pillar of strength and rationalism that holds the fabric of civilization from tearing itself apart. Back in the days, a very special importance was attached to education. Kings sent their young princes at a tender age to the woods to live and learn with the great sages of those times. The Gurus too, were treated with utmost reverence and respect. Education then, was not only restricted to intellectual topics, but also revolved around combat training and spiritual know-how. Students were trained to develop a strong moral character and a sense of pride. They were trained extensively in the art of meditation. Eventually when these young students went out into the world, they took steps to implement everything they learned. They practiced all the aspects of their education and became good, responsible men. But now, education has been reduced to pile of dust-smothered books and bored, uninterested teachers and students.
 Unlike, the Gurus of the ancient ages, who took special pride in their work and knowledge, most of the teachers nowadays work for salaries, rather than a desire to truly cause an impact. Students today, unlike the hard-working tender aged princes who left their mothers’ bosoms to live in the jungles, care even less. Every year, we see thousands of students flocking over to the coaching institutes in Delhi and Kota to ‘study’ for entrance examinations. Only a small majority of them truly want to be there. Only a small majority of them are truly pursuing their passions, their dreams. The rest, are like kites in the sky, going wherever the prevailing winds lead them. There were times when education was a way of life, a respectable life. Now, it is just a competition of testing who can hog away the maximum amount of facts a day before the examinations. The divinity attached to education is totally lost on us now. So last night, when I visited my dreamscape, I conjured up a world where Gurukul education is still the norm. My dreams led me through green pastures to a hallowed land. I saw a small group of children deep in discussion about theological concepts with their Guru. The Guru encouraged their questions and gave wise, enlightening answers. I saw some students working on a chemical formula in the lab, looking genuinely interested. They confessed with huge smiles, to having concocted the formula on their own, rather than by mugging up the procedure from some book. I peeped into a classroom and saw a teacher mesmerising his students by teaching them intricate topics of mathematics as fluidly as if he were teaching them how to play the violin. Everybody looked interested in what they were doing. Everybody did what they were interested in. Nobody chose to pursue engineering or medicine just because it was the latest trend, or it was their parents’ wish. They followed their dreams, their passions. I pulled back from there and looked at the wider picture. I looked at what these students did to India when they grew up. 
I saw my India transformed. I saw my India again viewed with the same reverence as it was in the ancient ages. I saw Indians doing wonders in every field, just because for them, their work wasn’t work. It was their hobby. I saw a utopian India, where everybody was educated in areas their hearts lay. A country, where everybody was content and happy because they did what they liked. Later that morning, I spent quite some time dwelling upon my dream, wishing it were true. Wishing that our education system was as I had imagined. It would be the perfect India.

Shubhendu Satsangi
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