Ideological brainwashing or education in real sense
Social media is abuzz today with broad concepts of schooling in the vein of both righteous and immoral education. One often circumnavigates the online world to acquire knowledge, develop critical thinking skills, and strengthen particular research in view of a failed education system with flawed tuition support. But in Kashmir, this becomes a bit complex when one without having a safe mentorship (when I say safe I become a bit political) drives through the dominion of online study packets put forth by various individuals based in Kashmir and outside.
Few months ago, when an IPS officer, Basant Rath, known for what they call as a different style of work, entered Srinagar’s famed TRC ground with bags full of 5 rupee chocolates, it revealed our disturbed equilibrium and our submission to the person having power eventually becoming a part of him and his group.
While Kashmir’s celebrated football club, “Real Kashmir FC”, was playing against an outside football club on home turf, the observed presence of the 2000 batch IPS officer shifted the focus of buzzing audience from the big show to youth turning up and pushing for space in order to snatch their share of 5 rupee chocolates. I could see desperation and frustration among these youth who had by now also taken out their smartphones to click a quick selfie with the one who identifies himself with the dominant class (this left many on the stands in a tragic dilemma of who we are? the oppressed or the oppressor?)
At the same time, one could see a convoy of armed forces trying to control the chocolate-desperate crowd. Some of these troops and similar forces were laughing at seeing the desperation of these youth.
This incident came as a shocker for many and also spoke of our collective failure and the failed education system which has, for decades, enforced choices and made students adapt to it.
But as one understands and recognizes this behaviour of the oppressed, one is also pushed to question the very practice of the education system and its facilitators here. What are our schools and universities doing to ensure dialogue with the students about their actions? Are they following a certain prescription of the dominant and behaving as mute spectators and treating the helpless students as mere objects?
The subsequent developments were even more harrowing. Some self-proclaimed activists roped in to sing praises for officer’s act of distributing 5 rupee chocolates. These activists were young boys of not more than eighteen who should have been pursuing an education at school and university but here they were, on duty to do political work after dropping out at school. The same boys, I later came to know from a common friend, were fed with the promise that they would be given chances to organise events and even a ticket to enter into mainstream politics (it should be noted that Kashmir is witnessing a new trend of youth parties which think tanks in the valley term a new way of alienating youth from the pursuit of liberation).
But can we transform the present situation? The answer is yes only if we become responsible and recognize the causes behind our obstructions. If not the system but we can liberate ourselves from a structure which serves the interests of the dominant that is known for dehumanizing men and women in this oppressive society. We always have a chance of becoming transformers rather than being for others. We need to act and make an atmosphere where we can speak, share, where we can have choices, where we can recreate and transform the system.
This can be done, as one of my mentors says, by setting our own study course at home, find inspiring teachers and mentors who can guide through the journey of pursuit to knowledge, who can make you a human. There are people inside and outside the state who are helping students with requirements, emailing them material to read in order to help them excel in their set fields.
Today, a single click can do wonders. Many of our people are making a respectable living inside and outside the state and meanwhile sending helpful resources like books and guiding students on how to go through the text and acquire the best they can.
So we need to find our path and see for people who could help and make us better, who can make us think out of the box other than joining hands with the dominant class and become bosses over our own people.
I would like to conclude with a passage of Paulo Freire’s influential and shaping book, the Pedagogy of the Oppressed. (One can also download this book online)
“The more radical the person is, the more fully he or she enters into reality so that, knowing it better, he or she can transform it. This individual is not afraid to confront, to listen, to see the world unveiled. This person is not afraid to meet the people or to enter into a dialogue with them. This person does not consider himself or herself the proprietor of history or of all people, or the liberator of the oppressed; but he or she does commit himself or herself, within history, to fight at their side.”
The author is a 19-year-old Tyndale Biscoe School graduate. He can be mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer: Views expressed are exclusively personal and do not necessarily reflect the position or editorial policy of Oracle Opinions.