Education is the key
Those who have read about the world’s political and economic history stand witness to the fact that power paradigms have been shifting continuously. What used to be seen as lever of absolute power steadily lost this leverage to something else as the world evolved toward higher degrees of civilization. For instance, history has seen times wherein someone wielding physical might would call shots. Someone riding a horse with a rifle around his shoulder would silence all and command their support without much ado. A subtle lesson: might is right and physical strength (muscle) is the absolute lever of power.
But steadily this notion changed and history witnessed a wave of change wherein even a frail looking but moneyed person would dictate terms. The person no doubt lacked in physical strength but he nevertheless was very powerful and his power would spring from the wealth he had at his disposal. Again, in a very delicate manner, it was communicated that money is the better lever of power. Obviously it was because the moneyed people could do things which even those with great physical strength wouldn’t be able to do. These moneyed people could even hire those with physical strength to get their work done. However, as has been the norm with all evolutionary processes, this lever too wasn’t going to hold ground for long, and soon it came to be replaced by yet another, and this time much more potent and powerful lever of power – the knowledge, or in other words mind.
Whether it is the muscle, money or the mind, it remains a fact that there is one thing that allows access to and command over all these and whatever other levers of power there are. And it shouldn’t be difficult to understand that it is the person’s ability to master and maneuver these levers which, in the ultimate scheme of things, determines success and failures. Education is indeed the ‘magic wand’ that not only allows access to levers of power but also teaches how to work with these levers. No doubt if one opts to count the things which differentiate rich from poor, advanced from backward, healthy from the diseased…, it is indeed the access to the avenues of education and with it to all other spheres and vistas that come with it – progress and development.
Today whatever ills are plaguing the poor, underdeveloped countries are in some way or the other direct fallout of the peoples’ limited access to the education. What has been the major contributing factor in development of the developed countries and people is that they were able to invest in vital sector of education well in time. One could certainly say without any fear of being disputed that the developmental lag of the third world countries is in essence the educational lag they have suffered.
Have a cursory look at the education sector in Jammu and Kashmir. Look at the sad reality that hundreds and thousands of schools are without proper buildings and other infrastructure. If there are no roof-tops on some buildings there are others which are without walls and blackboards too. While there are schools without teachers there are yet others where there are teachers without any children to come and study. And now for the past two months, even this ramshackle system has been held hostage to the bigger political questions and concerns of the people. In such a pitiable situation, if the people are constantly treated to slogans of progress and prosperity, freedom and justice, one can’t help but simply laugh at the hollowness of such political sloganeering! Unless and until the government as well as the people of the state take education sector seriously and come up with practical measures to do away with the educational lag the state is suffering, real progress and development or for that matter the economic and political freedoms of the state as well as its people will remain only a distant dream.