It is time to build more Educational Institutions in India

Bhaskar Majumder

Let there be no surprise in the unfathomable historic valued judgement of the Judiciary on the decades-old region-based institutional issues that involved the devotees of opposite, if not antagonistic, faith. After all, God/Allaha/Iswar/.. did not produce warring children. If they fight over what one should possess, then it will be His responsibility to show the path. Here the Apex Court showed the path. For warring groups, He (His Majesty) delivered the solution (Judgement) on 8th November, 2019. It is not a question of appreciation or depreciation. It is history.

History is built by people, recorded or unrecorded. History is erased by the power. A new History is born. There is no permanent win or loss on this historical trajectory. Some are active and some are passive actors in all these components that construct or deconstruct history. Before talking philosophy, let me narrate similar situations at home (and India is my home). It was like two brothers in their childhood fighting over a toy attractive to each one and each one adamant for winning over it by possession. The guardian (generally one of their parents) would solve that by providing the toy for the relatively weak child and assuring the relatively strong to have another toy, come the scope and time. In most of the fights, however, they abstained from interfering.

1947 as the parents of a single home produced two such children in partitioned India infrequently fighting over space and institutions of faith. Remote history cannot be brought back notwithstanding the unfathomable wisdom of authorities. Also history does not start from a particular point of time that one wills. So long as 1947 is not erased from the Calendar, I feel humbled to quote the year for reasons circumscribed in recent phenomena. To the extent possible, gossips and opinions are kept at a distance for the purpose.

Let me concentrate on the central point now. It is on the Judgement of the Apex Court on the disputed Mandir-Masjid or Masjid-Mandir in Ayodhya in the Heartland that symbolized faith of each child with different religious background. This dispute took the shape of conflicts and ultimate damage of the building of faith. Let there be no idea that the existence of a building is a compulsion to express faith – but innocence of some may require such a building. It may also reflect shrinking an infinite space of God into a finite space.

The infantile disorder came to be ultimately disciplined by separating the warring children by space that overruled the Uncle’s decision earlier in 2010 for the warriors to share the space in truncated components. The Uncle in this case was the High Court of Allahabad (with my cent per cent respect for Judiciary). After a gap of one decade, after all alternatives got exhausted, like political-cultural will, the Apex Court had to arrive at the historical necessity – the necessity to stop fights over faith. After all, God did not teach to fight for faith. In children’s fights who get hurt most are their parents – not the children as such though they may be injured.

At the level of ground reality, the Apex Court assured one warring section to keep the 2.77 acre as it is for expression of faith and asked the Government of India to allot 5 acre to the other section. This also separated the two. Better get separated than continue fighting over the toy.

Some of the academic activists opined personally to me with pledged anonymity that the Hindus won. One told me, power won. Even if I understand such opinions, I abstain from supporting or opposing for it is obnoxious for me to delve into the debate who won and who lost. The time I am writing this piece, all the educational institutions are closed in the Heartland; I fail to understand why, if the education that I imparted for past four decades dad any meaning. This implies perhaps I failed. Meanwhile in an environment of general silence, very few people got engaged in Diwali-type celebrations in some locations of the Heartland.

Many write ups are arriving through the print-electronic media focusing on majoritarianism-versus-minoritarianism (I fail to understand how majority or minority by number by birth becomes an ism); some focusing on ‘’secularism’’, some on ‘’justice versus judgement’’ and all that. India probably has number of institutions of religious faith more than the number of educational institutions, if for the time being it is assumed that the institutions of religious faith are not for direct education that lead to employable human resources for nation building. I have reasons to believe that these institutions of religious faith are relevant more for the saints and innocent people above some specified age that is based on my personal experience of visiting all these institutions over past six decades.

It is time to build more educational institutions beginning with primary level to convert demographic damage into demographic assets. The children who took birth did not decide to get damaged in their adolescence though post-adulthood many of them got engaged in fights for the toy that may build or re-build the physical asset but, in the process, the human assets get lost.

As a person engaged in education for more than past four decades I propose to build a cluster of schools on the 5 acre land offered to one warring section. I believe this will not violate the Judgement delivered by the Apex Court. Land is offered – Mosque is not offered. The alternative could be building primary health centre to health institutions in ascending order for the welfare of all sections. I believe children will like school (with Mid-Day Meal and if possible, a playground) rather than being part of historical damage. So, I prioritize education (if you do not read it as my bias) on the trajectory of India’s civilization.     

Bhaskar Majumder, Professor of Economics, G. B. Pant Social Science Institute, Allahabad - 211019

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Nov 16, 2019

Bhaskar Majumder

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