If I could learn anything
anything at all.
I would like to learn
from it – confidence and the power of resolve.
A tiny little country
smaller than the state of Oregon
dared to dream big
and conquer the world
one-fourth of the Earth surrendered
and as more colonies were formed
Britain’s power evolved.
For over a century
the ‘Brits’ ruled the world.
Though there is no denying
the loot and violence they unleashed
but it is also true
that they heralded a new era of being.
Judicial systems, railways and education institutes were born
civil services, postal systems and armies were built.
And when the time to withdraw came
in their wake they left.
The league of Commonwealth nations
that spoke English, played Cricket and drove left!!!
When I checked my mail early in the morning today, I was greeted with a reminder for the Knowledge is Great contest. Now I do not do contests! Not because I am above them but just because…Well I don’t know! I guess because I don’t like to feel shackled when writing. And contests by their very nature (Time limits and subject specifications) bind! Anyway, I saw this mail and wrote the above. Surely, not the kind of post the organizers had in mind. But what the heck ;)
On a more serious note. Knowledge truly is great. It ‘un-binds’ people. Setting them free. Giving them imagination and dreams and also the skills and power to achieve those dreams. Knowledge is not always acquired while pursuing ‘formal education’. Many great minds have acquired their knowledge outside the traditional systems of learning. In India it is our failing that we often neglect to acknowledge forms of knowledge that are gained outside the traditional ‘school’ and ‘college’ systems. The intimate knowledge that a farmer has of his land. The in-depth knowledge that a village woman has of her customs. The knowledge that a carpenter has of his tools or a potter has of his wheel! Each type of knowledge is to be cherished and valued. All forms of knowledge deserve to be respected, enshrined and passed on to the future generations. But this can not be done till we learn to respect and value the carriers of this knowledge today. Dignity of labor, is a principle that many western countries observe and implement including Britain. And we should too. I believe that while most educational courses offered in countries like UK are also available in India today. Studying abroad can teach a sensitive student much more important stuff – How to do ones own work, respect workers and support staff like cleaners/ drivers/ guards, value money, follow civic rules, stand in queues etc.
What do you think is the biggest gain of an education abroad?