School Chale Hum
April 5, 2007 100 Comments
192 million children between 6-14 years of age across 1.1 million places in India are not going to school. This film for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (Universilisation of Elementary Education) addresses the needs of these children.
The film catches the moment when children all across India from Kashmir to Kerala wake up in the morning and run to go to school.Music:Shankar/Ehsaan/Loy Lyrics:Mehboob Directed by: Kanika and Bala, Bharatbala Productions (BBP) for the Ministry of Human Resource Development, India.
It is good to see the government releasing such inspiring videos for its campaign. We need a lot of infrastructure, organization, resource mobilization (both material and human), and determination if such a bold target has to be achieved. There is not doubting that universal education, which only remains a dream at this point in India, will unlock the potential of millions of children and help them build a respectable and rewarding life for themselves.
It is sad that even now, after 60 years of independence, we have been unable to provide the right of education to its children. Unless we are united in our campaign to bring the benefits of education to the population at large, we will find unemployment spiralling up as these young kids grow up. Unemployment breeds most other social evils since ‘an idle mind is the devil’s workshop’. As the blurb above says 192 million children are unable to receive the benefits of education. As these children grow up and we are unable to provide for their ‘fish’ everyday since we have been unsuccessful in ‘teaching them how to fish’, we will find that more and more of them will turn to unacceptable and often anti-social means of earning their livelihood.
As the discontent grows into unrest, we will find our country being divided into a ‘developed India’ and a ‘under-developed India’. This is foreboding since unlike developing and developed nations, the two Indias will be geographically co-located and very finely interspersed. In a shirt, every thread is important. Even if one thread is unable to hold together, a gaping hole appears which only grows with time. No amount of stitching can help (which most of our upliftment programs try to do). It is important to ensure all threads are strong and sturdy right from the beginning. Disharmony and unemployment has the potential to cast a shadow on the shining India we take so much pride in.
A divided India will bring the progressive India down like a pack of cards.
If those of us who have been lucky to receive the benefits of education, and a world of opportunities opening to us feel that we can progress and enrich our lives while these kids remain illiterate, we are only fooling ourselves. We need to worry about the India we see outside our tinted car windows, the children who should be going to school but go to work, kids who if guided well will be India’s strength, but if left misguided will pull it back.
It is also important to focus on the education of the girl child. While girls have equalled and even surpassed men in many spheres, vast hinterlands of the country still don’t understand the need of the equality, which is sad considering that in a lot of cases women are actually the breadwinners of the family. Even in the cities, we have so many maids working in our houses. I don’t have any statistics but I am confident that in a lot of cases they just dont supplement the income of the man of the house but in fact perhaps are the sole breadwinners in the family. I am certain that instances of alcoholism and other social evils are much less amongst women than men in the lower strata of the society, and it certainly makes more sense that the money stays with them which would be used for caring for the family, rather than spent on a drinking binge. Not long back I went to a temple where we paid our guide (who took us around) handsomely since we were happy with the services rendered. The next morning I found him stinking of cheap alcohol. I just felt sorry for his family who could not even get the benefits.
It is important that we realize that with the family cushion gradually degenerating from around us, it is essential that girls can not only read and write, but also be able to pursue opportunities in at least one vocation so that they can support their family in case of any adversity. They could actually do a better job at it. And it’s not the elite who need to understand this, it is really the multitude of Indians who despise modern society who need to get this hammered into theri heads!