Tied Stones and Loose Dogs

Former Education Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Peerzada Mohammed Sayeed.

When the education system of Jammu and Kashmir state is already on a ventilator, another death blow to it came in the form of the Examgate scandal. State’s honorable Education Minister, Peerzada Mohammed Sayeed misused his official position to help his foster son, Imam Souban clear the 10th standard examination in 2009, with the help of present chairman Board of School Education, the then deputy director academics and other four officials. While the incident has bought shame to the officials at helm, it has also brought fore the incompetence of our education system which is decaying day by day. But what intrigues the mind is that the future of the students is at stake. The students being pawns in the whole game are the worst sufferers.

“Kids don’t remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are,” said Jim Henson many years ago. But given the credentials of the authorities in question, nobody wants the growing ups to remember what they have been witnessing. In a place like Kashmir, where the system is controlled by skuzzy souls, the thin line between black and white diminishes. When education is on sale, both man and the nation are ruined.

The execrable condition of education in Kashmir and the examination pattern has always had adverse effects on the growing buds. First, the burden of loads and tons of books, which makes them no Einstein but only hunchbacks, the cut throat competition, and the mad rat race. To add to the angst is the pressure from parents to be on top and so, the cramming of texts. The whole system has plagued the overall growth and development of children. With no scope for creativity, what is produced is an army of collaborators who vandalize the validity of education.

This reminds me of a story by the famous Persian poet, Saa’di.

A poet went to an amir of robbers and recited a panegyric but he ordered him to be divested of his robe. When the man asked him why, the robber told him that this will teach him not to praise robbers. As the poor man was departing naked in the world, he was attacked from behind by dogs. He intended to snatch up a stone but it was frozen to the ground and being unable to do so, he exclaimed: ‘What strange men are these? They have let loose the dogs and have tied down the stones.’

Quality education is mandatory for children and it is their right to be in an academic ambience. The story will continue unless we cogitate and make selfless efforts to make education system healthy for our children, or we may ourselves be responsible for vitiating our youth and lamenting, ‘the tied stones and the loose dogs.’

(Souzeina Mushtaq is a journalist and can be reached at souzeinam.wordpress.com)

First published in Countercurrents.org

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