Saturday, July 26, 2014

Let the Soar from Here

No matter from which angle or position one looks at last week’s frenzied agitation and knee-jerk consultations and reactions that visited the government college at Tadong [and also pulled in other colleges and schools into the mix], the picture is less than reassuring. And it is disappointing not just because government colleges and schools have been shut down out of turn for far too long, but because dissonance has been outshouting coherence. One wishes education to make students coherent in thought and expression, not aggressive and inconsistent. This would also make them work well in consultation and as a team, an aspect which has been noticeably missing. Agreed, some students got hurt, some policemen were also injured, many egos bruised and several vehicles damaged, but these will heal [most already have in fact], but what worries is the staggering trust deficit that the entire episode exposed. No one trusts anyone any more it appears and even when a step forward is taken towards trust, three backward shuffles are made over some imagined conspiracies or suspected compromises. Education might have become about degrees and qualifications now, but what it should essentially be about is learning, and an earnest commitment to help students achieve the best of their potential and infuse them with faith and empathy. But if arson, violence and shouting matches become the only reserves that the young can marshal when in distress, then the system has obviously failed them, and failed them completely because it cannot inspire trust. And still, even though the young blundered in bits and parts and their ‘movement’ shuddered in fits and starts, they still managed to achieve a lot, a lot of which they are at risk of squandering. As more days pass, more politics and more differences will creep in, and the young will roll back from the high-water mark of the first two days of their rallying. What Sikkim owes these students now is an environment to grow and mature more confident from this experience. The young have discovered a rare derring-do which needs to be nurtured to give them the wings to soar higher from here. Try to quash them or sideline or sidetrack them, and then the last week will become the high point of their lives and not the takeoff point that it should be. Sikkim would have failed its young if ten years down the line, this generation looks back at the two days on the highway as the highlights of their lives when they have the potential to be about so much more…

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