Did you hear this one --- a minor squabble between parents and teachers in a PTA meeting took such an ugly and violent turn that the teachers had to escape to school rooftop to save their lives. Once there, they threw stones at the parents. Parents were agitating against the steep hike in tuition fee.
Following the stampede, injured parents fled in sheer panic. Abusing and threatening, teachers chased them to quite a distance. Teachers' grouse was, subsequent to pay commission when parents have got a raise in their salary why cant they pay a little more as school fee so that teachers too could get a respectable salary. As it is, they are required to sign on a much higher sum than they are actually paid. Teachers were shouting that they (parents) wanted their wards to be educated in English schools and were reluctant to pay the fees in keeping with the status of English Schools. Anything English has to cost ten times as much, be it school fee,liquor, or Rolls Royce Car.
Inhabitants of JJ colony (Jhuggi-Jhonpdi) unrecognised slums have this rarely fulfilled dream of owning a proper house in a decent and recognised locality. Similarly, we who have got our education in municipal committee's tent schools have this ' My ambition in life ' type dream where night after night we dream of our kids going to the best school,obviously English Public school in neat school uniform. Public schools--- school yes they are, but Public ? I ve my doubts, with such an exorbitant fees,donation and rigors of admission they are certainly not for Public but for the privileged few. The clamour for public schools reminds me of the melee occured recently in a city hospital. One evening when patients were being visited by tyheir near and dear ones in the indoor wards, news of a time bomb spread. O boy ! I had read all along that life is dear to everyone but how much , I saw that for the first time. Patients outran their visitors, they were running with drip bottles in their hands through whatever exits they could find. Many were frog-jumping on their plastered legs. The ones who were confined to bed till few moments back were also seen running faster than the ward boys, who were left behind with wheel chairs and trolleys in tow. Everyone was running like mad,as if there was no tomorrow . Save your life now, there is no dearth of hospitals. In the same spirit, we are after English schools with a vengeance. This vengeance is a result of two hundred years of slavery, we have undergone. We want to prove to them , when it comes to English, we the 'brown sahibs' are no less rather one up. We can talk English, walk English and even laugh English.
Other day, I read a book and yet another myth was demolished. Why did Alexander the great retreated from India ? Aggrieved by the inflation rate, extremely high cost of living and tricks of shopkeepers, the soldiers approached Alexander and requested him to leave the country as fast as possible,before they are reduced to mendicants. Alexander quickly realised and understood that before his soldiers rebeled, he should leave India. Thus, his timely fleeing from India saving the soldiers,situation and face earned him the title of Alexander the great . Historians later added episode of Porus to make it sound convincing,glorious and favourable to India.Truth is Alexander was defeated by the marketeers of India who fleecded them to their last drachma (Greek currency)
High time Indians stood up and made way for Non Resident Indians. In order to win this coveted title ,aspiring Indians are post haste emigrating to whatever country they are able to get themselves accepted, to USA or Burkina Faso. Latest is people now want to send their kids to foreign schools not for doing Engineering or Medicine but Matriculation and pursue Hindi literature. I dont recollect any period in our country's history when Indians were proud to be Indians. Were we ever Indians at the first place.We have been Brahmins,kshatriyas. We are South Indians, North Indians. Now that nova-riche class has emerged we have become NRIs. Now simple Indians have neither any market nor any future, are available dime a dozen in any slum,railway station or employment exchange.
We grew up listening to Hawa Mahal and Binaca Geetmala. Today's youth, generation Y as they are callled is growing up amidst Pubs,Discos and Valentine Days. Designers are doing overtime in designing dresses from shorter to shortest to nothing,exposing larger to largest to everything. More the designers,shorter the garments.I am afraid soon this underwear gang will push shirts and trousers out of fashion. Imagine how would we look sitting in office in loin clothes. There is a brighter side to it. There would be no pockets,therefore,no pickpockets. The dream of Gandhiji that till every Indian gets clothes to wear he would only wear a loin cloth. He would immensely be happy to see the entire nation sporting the 'langoti '-- a la Gandhi. I am sure these designers will then market Designers Langoti. you may be wondering what difference would it make. My dear the times have taken 180 degree turn. Earlier men were honest, now shirts are Honest. That is about all. Imagine Dishonest jacket Gunda Pyjama etc etc.
Why cant entire country's schools have uniform dress code,fee structure,syllabus,books etc. We are under no pressure of sanctions from US,Japan or the World Bank in this regard. In a small town school,suddenly children were charged computer fee. However, they were not allowed to enter into computer room,leave alone touching or operating. It was always kept locked. Children could 'study' the computer only through glass window.
Since we have got our bomb,we are busy defending it and make making/unmaking our mind to sign CTBT. My milk vendor,faced with frequent complaints of growing water content in the milk chided us , " take it now, when you can still afford it, once the bomb explodes, there would be neither milk nor water, why this dislike for water at the first place. look at Deepa (Mehta) and Shabana (Azmi) they are prepared to go to any extent for the water. Both the leader and the led are talkin about the bomb. We are grateful for a refreshing topic,otherwise we were stuck with poverty,cricket and cocktails of fashion designers. The irony of the whole thing is that He who has been the very epitome of non-violence and compassion ,was he happy with the explosion. If not, what is the mystery ? Why did Buddha smile ?