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Content with the ‘premium’ badge of reputed schools, we have closed ourselves off from questioning schools – or anything else. It’s time to light the flame and keep it flaming!
Once upon a time, a time not so long ago. A time when life was relatively simple and trust levels were higher. A time when people respected morals and values, when life was valued more than money and power. In those times, one day, God asked the man to choose. The options being – knowledge, power, money, health, and peace of mind. The man was confused. Driven by his ambitious self, he chose knowledge and money, thinking that the rest would follow.
God smiled as he said – Amen! As you choose, so shall you get! Man progressed by leaps and bounds with the blessing of knowledge; knowledge brought technology; technology disrupted lives; infrastructure grew; man made machines; machines made life comfortable. There was money. Money brought luxury and luxury made him lazy. Lazy as he enjoyed what he had created; lazy as he assumed, lazy as he stopped questioning the status quo. Reeling under his assumptions of ‘everything would be fin’e, he became blind to the things he put on the stake as he rose and progressed.
He flouted the basic premises of life as he broke rules, and ignored the basics, cheating other men of his tribe. The mistrust ran deep and multi-layered. The deeper layers were ugly while everything looked lovely superficially. Success came but at the cost of health, safety and peace of mind. Everything was getting adulterated – air, food, conduct. Amazed by what he had achieved and completely in awe of what lay ahead of his world, he stopped questioning besides discouraging those who tried to probe. Soporific under the impact of running a race, he feared that it would elude him if he questioned too much. So he let himself be led as if in a herd with no questioning but just following where the masses were running.
He became blind – blind to what he was doing and the harm the others were doing to him. And one day – a tsunami struck. There was a rage. A rage amongst mankind when he realized the things which he never questioned, always assumed were flawed; had been flawed all the way! He was furious and remorseful but a lot of harm had already been done.
Isn’t the above our story? A story with you, me and everyone around standing at the crossroads and shaken by what happened with a little boy in a reputed school.
Day by day, we are losing the hunger to question the status quo, the assumptions that we harbor and hardly question till a calamity strikes. The recent incident of the murder of a seven-year-old at a premium school has shaken all of us to the core. We are shouting, asking questions now. A similar incident had happened when a child was drowned in the water tank of another school. How many of us went ahead taking time off from our busy schedules to the question school managements of our children’s schools and concerned authorities on basic safety and security in their premises? How many of us have ever probed our schools on their security and safety procedures at all? All we are concerned year on year is securing that coveted seat in one of the reputed schools. Values, life skills, and safety never appear in our criteria. We have conditioned ourselves to the easy way of the propaganda spewed by the mass media which we take as truth; it seems to us a great time saver.
And it’s not just schools but everything in our immediate world. How many of us question the safety procedures at malls or the procedures at hospitals or other public places where we see a breach clearly happening on safety, security as well as conduct? Many times we are even lazy in doing that extra bit to do the complete verification and validation of the helpers whom we engage and entrust for important day to day tasks. We have given up to the continuous brainwashing and spoon feeding, thanks to mass media propaganda. We are content in what we receive and have given up on the thought, contemplation, and questioning – powerful tools that we are gifted with to survive and defend in a microwave society where everything is instant and needs to come easy. We never take that step to question and seek answers but allow ourselves to be led as it is a great time saver, till one day a storm devastates us. And then we talk about it, discuss, forward and we forget.
But this time, let’s pledge to not forget. Many storms have come and gone, it’s time to not let this one settle. Let us keep the fire and hunger of our questions on as we strive to seek answers. Let this storm not settle without creating a deep impact in the many systems and institutions which we are part of and see flaws around in our own immediate worlds.
Let’s put a pause to our conditioning of being led in a herd. Let the flame of questioning be ever burning to make this a better world for ourselves and children. Sharing these beautiful lines from Gautam Buddha to not stop seeking till we know it in our hearts:
“Do not believe it because you read it in a book. Do not believe it because some great teacher, even me, tells you that it is true. Believe it because you know it in your heart.”
Top image via Unsplash
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An engineer and a telecom business professional, Anjali Gurmukhani Sharma is a Delhi University rank
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