Saturday, 17 December 2016

Aparna Krishnan
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In all the Chennai relief fora, the educated english-fluent, and the simpler tamil-fluent people like fishermen and were thrown together as they struggled with the common overpowering crisis. The tamil-fluent people came across stronger, more grounded, and more real in their understanding and responses. As always.
We, the english-educated, need to be the assistants, and the poor of the country, i wish could take the reins and and direct the country.
Pattu Raj And we grumble when less educated people get ministerial berths 
Shyamala Sanyal As though the educated elite have covered themselves in glory . Gold plate more likely
Aparna Krishnan
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Rajiv Ramnath Aparna Krishnan Yours is a false generalization. The needs dictate who has the most relevant expertise. In a flood I will trust the fisherman. If I need brain surgery, I will trust the - er - educated doctor. I am not letting any fisherperson near my head, even if I am hard of herring. Shall we agree that we need the wisest people to lead us? Sometimes these are fisherfolk, sometimes these are scientists? And btw could there not be English speaking fishermen? Or does the aroma of fish make the English speakers clam up?:-)
Mekhala Gee loved all the "pesce" arguments Rajiv Ramnath....
Aparna Krishnan Rajiv, the educated have their role as specialists. And certianly need to aid. But I would wish for the reins to be in the hands of the Indians (we are largely alienated) and the specialists be their staff. Vey very broadly speaking. If you saw the recent article by "Jose Mujica: The World's 'Poorest' President"., he also says that the rich should not be permitted to stand for leadership, for the simple reason that they do not understand the poor. Even if they mean well. I agree totally with him.
Rajiv Ramnath Why are we suddenly now talking about not letting rich be leaders? I would not want Ambani to operate on my brain either! If you are saying we want leaders to have genuine empathy, I agree. I disagree that these leaders have to be poor themselves. In addition, leaders should either have expertise and education or understand what expertise and education can bring to the table. In other words, I don't want an empathetic leader who is a climate change denier, or someone who doesn't understand economics, for example.
Rajiv Ramnath Mekhala Gee Let us fish for pesce on earth! 
Aparna Krishnan Rajiv Ramnath, the rich, except maybe with rare exceptions, are distanced from the poor by lifestyle and upbringing and much else. The poor know where the shoe bites, to put it crudely. And my years in the village have shown me that 'schooling' and 'li...See more
Komakkambedu Himakiran Anugula I don't think your assessment is wrong or a generalisation; the whole problem of the floods was because of educated folks ignoring traditional wisdom that remains with the masses. Building on water bodies and channels is the reason the city got flooded in the first place.

All we have to do is look at Tiruvallur & Kanchipuram Dts. Both are adjacent to Chennai dt, both are filled with water bodies and both had the same amount of rainfall. Which district got hit bad? Kanchipuram because that's where the urbanisation driven by globalisation had wreaked maximum damage. TIruvallur district is still largely agrarian and respectful of water bodies. When I visited all the water bodies in our district, I saw families picnicking, boys playing in the water and men fishing, just like we always used to do.

Take Ezhilmigu nagar or Kannagi nagar, a direct result of educated policy making unmindful of the ground realities. We all know how bad they were hit.
Aparna Krishnan Komakkambedu Himakiran Anugula, the apologists of the educated will say that what is neded is more education. More engineers as opposed to 'illiterate villagers', but also exposed to traditional practices. I suppose in the nitty gritties a certian detailed learning has a role. But certianly not in the overall direction and perspective. Our very schooling gives us wrong and alienated perspective, and unschooling is an ardous task, which is never fully possible.
Komakkambedu Himakiran Anugula Our schooling deracinates, clears out all local wisdom in fact makes us hate the same. We are the worst country in the world because we teach in alien languages.
Aparna Krishnan Yes Komakkambedu Himakiran Anugula. And the only logical solution is that power comes into the hands of those less corrupted by education. Their sanity is also higher. I still remember the long ago conversation with one of my neighbours Nagarajakka. Sh...See more
Rajiv Ramnath (a) We are NOT the worst country in the world. Think Syria. (b) It is not a question of "educated folks ignoring traditional wisdom" building houses where they shouldn't - people build willy-nilly in India because there is chronic shortage of housing,, people are greedy - rich or poor and because government officials are corrupt and allow this, and (c) the use of the term "apologists of the educated" makes believe that all education is bad, and we need to only teach the "shastras" and everything will be fine again (so should we bring madrassas back to Madras, where the term originated?). Instead, we have to find a middle path that includes all perspectives.
Aparna Krishnan Rajiv. (c) Yes, my terminology may sound extreme. When one sees a world gone extreme celebrating the 'educated, and seeing the wise villager as 'illiterate', one tends to take the other extreme terminology to balance. Thats all. Naturally, in the here and now, we will look for a balance. (a) we are in bad shape because of local wisdom and languages being systematically dismissed. not interested in syrias. (b) people are greedy, period. the rich are greedier.
Komakkambedu Himakiran Anugula 1) Violence is not just physical; the mental violence of this country puts the masses down for the benefit of a few. Just how Gandhi's nonviolence had its power, the nonviolent policy making of the elite has its effects.

2) When India joined the WTO in 1995, the unofficial recommendation was to move 400 million out of the villages and into the cities. What we are seeing since then is the rapid urbanisation as a result of wanton neglect of rural India and deliberate killing of agriculture. Our plan is to take producers/manufacturers in the villages who are also homeowners, and move them to the cities where they are destitute/renters and workers/consumers. Who is to blame for this? The Delhi-Mumbai educated elite that dreams of superpower India and gets its sociocultural ethos not from India but from Aspen, Manhattan, Paris, etc.

3) why is it that the alternative for this education is only the shastras? Again ignoring the subaltern, aren't we?

We are farmers forever, none of the knowledge is written down anywhere and handed down only. Validation is done in the village and compared with other villages in the same agroclimatic zone. Now take agri graduates who spend 3-5 years learning in an English medium system from books and some field visits.

Traditional wisdom and rulers would use the first to define policy while the Govts of India and the States use are the latter. Therein lies the problem.
Rajiv Ramnath >> Again ignoring the subaltern, aren't we? RR: Huh? I completely missed the idiom. But with respect to the rest of the article, I agree with a lot of of the observations (although we - as humans - are all to "blame", not just the "Delhi-Mumbai elite". But to blast away indiscriminately at "science" and "education", as if these abstract concepts are somehow at fault, instead of working hard to find the middle path that engages everyone, is a misguided approach.
Komakkambedu Himakiran Anugula Western education or Shastras. This approach itself is wrong. Traditional wisdom is with the subaltern and that's what needs to be mainstreamed and celebrated. Western education can be a sky bridge only not the building itself.
Aparna Krishnan Komakkambedu Himakiran Anugula, the shastra vs. village is itself a somewhat synthetic division. It is, in my understanding a continuuim, and a philosophy itself which is absorbed into the soil of this land. Philosophically at one end there is the Vedanta, and at the other end is the Bharatam played and lived in the villages, and the people see no antagonisim. The local health practices perfectly blend into ayurveds into the minutest details. The Western education has been the bane which has disempowered the local people, and we need to get back to the local languages and understandings. Education is not at fault Rajiv Ramnath, the kind of education that gives you and me a false edge is.
Komakkambedu Himakiran Anugula Most of these Shastras were merely documentation of the local practices. Problem arose when the same was denied to the masses in the name of caste. Now in a democratic setup, the rights of the people are denied by way of making their knowledge and skills irrelevant. Only solution is to make education in the local, about the local and for the local!
Aparna Krishnan The modern disempowerment seems so insiduous that the 'activists' go on screeching only about 'caste', and are quite at peace with the local-landguage-skill dismissal, and actually also happily benefit from this modern dichotomy. I wonder how much is stupidity, and how much is vested interests !!
Rajiv Ramnath >> Education is not at fault Rajiv Ramnath, the kind of >> education that gives you and me a false edge is. RR: The way this is written makes this seem similar to the "re-education" program that Mao put in place in China. How about if what you wrote were restated as education that empowers the poor is needed?
Aparna Krishnan 1. please delete schools. because in schools pottery, thatching, farming etc get invalidated. They are learnt very differently, and cannot be fitted into a school system. Validate those sustainable skills. Economically and otherwise.
Aparna Krishnan 2. And if that is difficult right now, delete English, and let local languages becomes the coin of exchange. Our false edge will go, and local wisdom will get expressed. Local people will have a fair chance. Of course its one hell of a lot of work - ensuring that employment gets restructured in become local language based, that our economy gets less dependent on foreign opportunities and much else. But nobody said that building a just and fair country was easy.
Aparna Krishnan 3. If you and I lose global opportunities as collateral damage, so be it !

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