So I was discussing about the contents of this document forwarded to me by a mentor of mine and I was surprised when my friend suddenly said that she did not think that goold, ol’ materialistic me was so left leaning! That was when I realized that I had to get this post out there. But before we proceed any further, please consider reading this article:
Even as I am uploading this document using the Google Docs to WordPress code, I can see it is not working and the bugs are working their way in, so I am going to upload it here too.
Anyways coming back to the point. Of late we have seen a torrent of literary works tumbling out of the IITs and IIMs following the success of Chetan Bhagat and Five Point Someone. But this IITians short article is nothing like the fiction-inspired-by-real-life that is bringing the moolah in. This is more along the lines of true to life, hard core reality. Now it is an obvious thing that I shall love any article with the following philosophy guiding it:
The educational terrain in our country is very harsh – almost barren. Even a good seed will wilt away in the absence of any soil. There is very little soil to nurture our young minds. We have a small historic role. Whatever be our circumstances, we have a humble task – to create a fistful of soil. Therein lies hope.
This article is about the journey of a different IITian. One who actually believes in the words that we spout and chooses to act on it. He could have had it all. A plush job, a posh life style, a bank full of money, but he chose not to be a corporate boardroom parasite and instead dedicated his life to giving back to the society he came from. Very few people can show this kind of commitment.
While I will be the first to admit that I am no less guilty of being an armchair reformer, with more emphasis on words than on actions, this article has made me think. What are we doing with our lives? Most of it we spend in seeking validation from others. A bigger house, a bigger car, a fatter paycheck, a plushier job, a more brag worthy education. It seems with every step we take we move one bit closer to dust. In a very Faustian existence, we seem to have sold our very souls to the devil in pursuit of a success that seems nothing but a fleeting mirage.
As a physician, I am dedicating my tweens, supposedly the best years of one’s life, in the pursuit of an education that essentially is intended more for financial and social success than for anything else. I guess the really scary part is the bit of me that chastises me for even thinking in this manner and reminds me that without social and peer acceptance I can do little to further these lofty ambitions that I have always held as a secret desire. One can even further the argument that the fiery monk Vivekananda needed the occidental nod before we let Him burst on to our lives and society like a bomb and let him smash to smithereens the detritus that had been building up over the years.
When I read these lines from the article:
The 1970’s were politically very volatile years. Students were out on the streets of Paris challenging authority. Anti-Vietnam, civil rights movements were rattling America. Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring ushered in the environment movement. Intellectuals were swearing not to participate in war research. There was revolution in the air. In a stagnant society “it’s usually the scum which floats to the top”. But a political churning can often unleash a lot of social energy.
I wonder, that we are not living in too different a world. Sure, the times and the issues have changed but the fundamental state of flux is still present today. We are living in very politically charged environment. At the state level, we saw the decimation of a four decade long leftist fort, at the national level more corrupt people are ever fighting for the rights to rape the carcass of the nation. Student on the streets of Egypt, Syria and Sudan have made a difference, dictators are falling like ninepins all over the world. Anti-Afghanistan (anti-recession) movements have rattled America, who have elected their first Black President in their history. Brian Deer’s expose of Andrew Wakefield has not only destroyed the fabricated connection between MMR and autism but also has, quite legitimately, raised serious questions about scientific integrity.
We are not inhabitants of a world too different from then. The social, intellectual and political spheres (or as Google would want us to call them, circles) are charged with energy. The only sad thing is that today’s youth is so engrossed in the fury of self obsessed myopic philosophy, they clearly dare not to care.
And that is plain sad…