Are people really that ignorant?

 

I originally wrote this post, as you will read ahead, some time in January 2016 but never got around to publishing it. So, here it is. Kindly correct me wherever my younger self went wrong or expressed bias. No hard feelings, please.

 

I came across a small box next to an article in this month (January 2016)’s issue of the Reader’s Digest, India, and the views of the writer just made me want to shake him up a bit…

[And which also reminds me of one more thing that I read in the same issue under… Uh, let’s just ignore this line for now; I can’t remember what I wanted to mention here.]

When will this country and its people understand that growth, development – or whatever economic technical mumbo jumbo name you want to give it – is best measured qualitatively and even then, not merely through numbers?

When will they understand that just because the literacy rate has upped a bit in the last decade or so, it does not mean that more Indians are actually literate? You have to be able to feel the difference, to claim that a ___ percent increase has made a difference.

When will they understand that a greater number of Indians with access to the Internet, or a higher count of mobile internet users does not mean that we are developing? Heck, I couldn’t think of anything worse than an increasing number of uneducated, uncontrollable minds getting their hands on the Internet.

 

When will they understand that everything is not okay?

 

That what we boast of now will help us nowhere in the long run?

 

That what we should focus on is educating the masses?

 

(And actually put the education cess money to use for the purpose for which it was imposed, and make sure that every paisa is accounted for? Of course, now they don’t have to account for it separately… But, what about all that money which was collected in the last decade?! What happened to that?)

 

That an educated society will automatically learn to 

  • respect the traffic rules
  • not throw trash on the streets
  • speak in quieter, polite tones 
  • behave in a respectful manner with one and all
  • protect the environment 
  • care for the safety of others 
  • realize that doing everything in self-interest is not the way to go?

 

Imagine the wonders that a country (especially, India) with educated people can bring about:

  • lower noise pollution (everyone who is a human gets headaches from honking car horns; you are not the only one!)
  • lower air pollution (who needs the odd-even rule?!)
  • heck, lower (all kinds of pollution)(no one who is educated enough will choose to wash his/her clothes by the riverside…)
  • safer roads (if you call yourself educated, but refuse to wear a seatbelt because it is “uncomfortable” or choose not to wear a helmet because it “ruins your hair,” just promise me that you will never show me your face… EVER.)
  • responsible drivers (I am pretty sure educated people will know that a red light means you have to… STOP! Hello?!)
  • cleaner roads (a lot more will get done by cleaning minds than by cleaning pockets with the imposition of the Swachh Bharat cess…)
  • attract tourists AND make them want to come back a second time (and not just so that they can take vicarious pleasure in sympathizing with supposed victims of a third world country…”)
  • peace and understanding (if you are educated enough, you are probably going to have a high tolerance level because India is a diverse country and it is not going to get any less diverse any sooner, so you will be expected to not add fuel to the fire either literally or by going on strikes or filing lawsuits because a small comment hurt your religious sentiments)
  • nice, kind, polite, soft spoken people… everywhere (this is all I ask for… because only the educated will understand that tit for tat works both ways)

 

Oh, and since we were talking about the Reader’s Digest, let’s also get one thing straight. To Mr. Naseeruddin Shah who wishes for India this New Year, “the disappearance of all religions from the face of the earth,” with all due respect Sir, why not adopt a much more practical stance as H.D.H. Pramukh Swami Maharaj exhorted for during his address at the Millennium World Peace Summit held at the United Nations,

“… should not dream of only One religion in the world, but dream of a world where all religions are One – United.”

Because of course, religion is here to stay. It is our attitude towards it that will determine what kind of effect it will have on our lives.

 

What’s your take?

 

DISCLAIMER: My views are my own and in no way do I wish to hurt anyone’s sentiments. If you disagree with anything that I have written, you are welcome to express your views in the Comments section below, and I shall be more than willing to have a healthy discussion on the same. No lawsuits, please. Let us advocate the peace and understanding mentioned in the post. 

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17 thoughts on “Are people really that ignorant?

  1. Perhaps. I just feel that we are flailing about without any direction. Taking up various matters without examining what kind of effects they will have and whether those effects are the ones we actually want to bring about now rather than later. Ah, well. They are ultimately aspirations. 🙂

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  2. Feelings and emotions cannot be legislated. We can bring in a law that requires one to stand when the national anthem is played before a movie, but cannot translate that into a feeling of patriotism. Or are we patriotic if we stand up for the anthem and can then go about our business of throwing trash and abusing the weak? How do you behave when nobody is looking is who you really are. Each one needs to answer for himself/ herself.

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    • Aptly expressed. Sometimes I really do wonder why they take the decisions that they do. I also especially agree with those last two lines! Thanks for sharing your views. Much appreciated.

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  3. Well, I agree education is the way to go for a better future of the country but I don’t think being educated confirms that people will be all that you have stated. In Delhi, I’ve seen ‘educated’ people flout the most rules.

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    • Come to think of it, that is true. I have seen that happen, as well. I guess education with moral sense might be the way to go. Wouldn’t that solve a lot of things? Now, how does one incorporate moral values in others? For what it’s worth, I know that introducing the subject at school does little to bring about a change. Maybe, it all begins at home? I don’t know. 😕

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      • There’s no single solution, I would say. But if it became impertinent to do it, to do the right thing…like through stricter laws and no corruption, perhaps, it all starts to work. But, ‘why do it’ is a subject of a total different discussion. There’s no perfect place n no perfect world.

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        • Hmm, true. Why do it? Because, well, we are far from perfect. The least we can do is take that first step towards perfection, even if one can never achieve it in its real sense. And, stricter laws have only backfired. No corruption? That’s all part of moral values. Oh, well. Not comparing, but just trying to figure out what makes the country what it is and how it has come to this…
          This was thought-provoking… 🙂

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          • Exactly! So, in a way, we agree, that it all boils down to moral values – one way or the other. So, what needs actual fixing is the mindset. I feel what’s more important to be worked on is to bring back kindness, humanity, compassion, acceptance of people being different and tolerance to allow people to be different. It’s not essential to cover everyone with the same fabric – educated/rule – following /working – women etc etc but it’s extremely important to have a sense of brotherhood towards your fellow beings. Once we have that, feeling of oneness, everything else shall follow

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            • Oh, I see. I do agree, because it is not merely formal education that I am talking about, for I have mentioned that it is clean minds that will determine whether Swachh Bharat will truly be a success. By “educating” the society, I do mean to say that we need to educate regarding what’s right and what’s wrong. And, that does essentially boil down to fixing the mindset. And, if we look at it from the formal education viewpoint, I believe that educating the masses in that sense should also be a priority; one which I feel would provide better long term development for the country than say, infrastructure. The moral values path – bringing back kindness, humanity, tolerance – though, is the more difficult change of the two to bring about. I wonder what steps can be taken for that…

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              • In my opinion, this is a change which begins at oneself. Simple acts of kindness, simple choices of choosing humanity over personal ego or petty gains is the way to begin. Raise your voices against your family when you see them doing wrong. Go ahead and do things for others – irrespective of their caste, religion or social standing. Pay it forward. And hope that it’ll be forwarded by people who benefitted from you. Live a life by example. I know! – Easier said than done, but then making the world a better place is so worth the effort 🙂

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