The Rajasthan government’s new text books for schools have generated a controversy. Whatever has been reported in the print media tends to suggest that the students have been given a raw deal. It appears that the valuable 8 or 10 years of schooling is not considered as the most critical period of a person’s life. Subjects like Hindi, Social Studies or History are treated as of no significance. It is contrary to the reality and puts the children in Rajasthan to a great disadvantage. It also betrays the awfully poor quality of teaching in schools in Rajasthan.
Rajasthan started rather early in devaluing school education when the Panchayat Samitis started controlling them in 1960s onwards. Is it a secret that instead of qualified teachers teaching History & Geography in schools properly, all that is taught in the Government schools is “History Geography Bewafa, Raat Ko Padhi Subah Safaa”? The Maths teacher teaches nothing in the class room only to compel students to take private tuitions from him, which makes the student somehow pass the exam only but carry a lifelong phobia for numbers.
In the circumstances, is it more important to massage the Rajasthani pride by reciting the Jhansi Ki Raani poem by Subhadra Kumari Chauhan or learn the trends making the history of the time? Does any school in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangluru, Mysuru, Panaji, Bhubneswar or other places teach this poem or make the students sing it? Rajasthan has made too much sacrifice; for God’s sake don’t ask for more! For God’s sake don’t keep Rajasthan backward anymore! For God’s sake don’t raise any more nurseries of poverty in Rajasthan.
Rajasthan needs high quality primary, middle and secondary education because it is the maximum the average Rajasthani can somehow afford due to increasing income disparities. Most students have to discontinue higher studies for financial constraints. They deserve to be turned into sufficiently skilled to either get some gainful employment or start some livelihood venture to provide for their families. In the absence of good education, the students from Rajasthan suffer the most by joining the category of the “unemployable”. The number of educated unemployed is perhaps the highest in Rajasthan.
Just see how many of the coaching institutes’ students in Kota or other places are Rajasthanis and how many outsiders? Besides financial differential, there are other hidden reasons that the Jhansi Ki Rani Poem obsessed Rajasthani children will never understand in their whole life, such as how can the Chief of the Indian Air Force ever succumb to the level of getting bribes in the helicopter purchase. The ugly reality is that India has moved so fast in the past 50 years that the traditional Rajasthani society has to learn the new lessons rather fast. Those lessons will never be learnt so long as the most formative period of life drills the obsession for the Jhansi Ki Raani. The nature of battles has transformed, the weapons have attained sophistication beyond imagination, the fight is not with the foreigners but amongst ourselves.
While the advanced states in the country make their children learn science, maths, technology, history, geography and humanities to prepare them to face the current highly competitive environment, Rajasthan still makes Army Jawans of them by teaching Jhansi Ki Rani. The state has been afflicted by corruption to such an extent that it is a matter of shame and terrible pain to all those Rajasthani people who used to sing the Jhansi Ki Rani poem in the most inspiring melodious voice as school children.
Text book preparation should be assigned to the scholarly & evolved persons with a global perspective. It should never be left to below average manipulators managing to find a place on the committee supervising the work of text book preparation or the publishers’ lobbies creating opportunities for good business through such low standard text books and supplementary reading material. The avalanche of publishers on college campuses to promote their publications over the recommended standard books published by good publishers is an annual phenomenon in Rajasthan just like the pharma companies’ representatives pushing their drugs through doctors by giving them free samples. A high diet of annals & antiquities of Rajasthan is bound to rob children of the right education and skills to face the challenges blocking their real progress or denying them access to fruitful education.
Rajasthan has become an insecure place in the last 50 years from one of the most secure places in India due to dirty politics spreading all round corruption. The corrupt ion money is proudly exhibited by those who ridicule the Jhansi Ki Rani sentiment in Jaipur and other cities as shamelessly as in the NCR(National Capital Region). The children should not merely be misled into treating these powerful lobbies as somebody worth fighting for without acquiring the capabilities of scrutinizing their modus operandi. The State Public Service Commissions have been infected by corruption, the other recruitment bodies too suffer from this disease and there is hardly any clean agency left now for the employment seeking 8th or 10th pass boy or girl in Rajasthan. Causing them “education disability” is certainly something to be avoided on grounds of being not in public interest.