What’s so great about being educated?

November 11, 2009

Since the last couple days, I have been thinking – why all the hullabaloo around education? What was the original need for education? I am pretty sure it wasn’t for fat paychecks. Seeking education began when a need for knowing more to help more arose . Almost everybody is educated to some extent in today’s world – yet very few show signs of being truly educated.

A recent incident which happened in Bangalore will explain my point. One morning we were held up in a massive traffic jam at Banerghatta Road. A few minutes later, we heard the wail of an approaching ambulance. My sister as well as some other commuters steered their vehicles with great difficulty to make way for the ambulance. To our shock, we see not the ambulance but callous two wheelers and even a couple of cars rush to take up the cleared out space. The ambulance had to wait again.

Where did  the so called education go? Everyone was in a hurry to reach his/her place of work and did not spare a thought to the suffering soul in the ambulance. Who knows, the guy in the car might have been a PhD holder but doesn’t this act of his put him in the hall of shame? How can education obliterate one’s vision and not widen your sense of obligation to humanity?

A couple days back, my father happened to talk about an extremely educated person he knew who advocated high principles and morality to all and sundry. But when push came to shove, this guy called up the local police station asking them not to hassle a friend of his who was caught on the wrong side of the law. I wonder from which angle he sees himself fit for moral education?

Remember the stories that we read as young children – of princes and princesses being sent to gurukul? They not only lived austerely but also served their teachers loyally. Mathematics, sciences, weaponry and the religion weren’t the only classes they took. Lessons in humanity, tolerance and empathy were deeply ingrained in their education too. No wonder, ancient India was far far better – there was no competition and hence people did their best and encouraged their peers to give their best too. Today, if you don’t squash your intelligent subordinate right away, you can be sure as hell he will be your boss tomorrow.

Religion is another perplexing scenario where the well-educated choose to stagnate in the murky waters of ignorance. I am pretty sure none of the religious books of the Hindus, the Christians, the Muslims, the Sikhs or any religion for that matter  have any verses which quote intolerance to other religions. Our Gods weren’t crazy. Yet, somewhere down the way, we started to leave our rational mind right outside the gate when we discussed religious issues. How does it matter what religion we belong to? All of us have 2 eyes, 2 ears, 2 hands, 2 legs, one big heart and a brain to use, don’t we? How different can we get?

Education has lost its purpose if it has not made better persons out of us. Thankfully, there are a precious few who by their actions restore some sanity in this insensitive world of ours. I am proud of one particular sunshine who is a world-class professional and a humanitarian to boot. Here is her simple account of how she made a difference. You may not have the inclination to take up a cause but as long as you are humane, I would say you are among the forerunners in the fight for keeping the flailing spirit of humanity alive! And of course truly educated too!


17 Responses to “What’s so great about being educated?”

  1. ajcl said

    loved loved loved ur post.. very crisp, and to the point..

    the thing that gets my goat in addition to ALL of the above mentioned points is how some medical practioners behave, and how medicine itself has become a money spinner.. god knows what happened to the Oath and the responsibility that comes with being one step below god, if not equal..

    and savi- she rocks! her little but very significant good deed (s)

    Oh yes, I totally understand your point about medical practitioners! Yeah, Savi is just awesome! 🙂 Thanks for an awesome comment, Appu!

  2. Savitha said

    Lovely post,Ash!! Our educational system is basically, meant to imbibe knowledge with humanity. But today, With education itself having become a business(the enormous donations one has to make to get their children admitted in world class schools), the institution cannot think of moral policing a child, as these schools are at the receiving end now. So, losing humane values begins even at school. But, there are educated lots, who instill confidence and faith, they are nurtured by such parents/ teachers.
    And hey, i am humbled- I hope to stand by my values as long as I keep running the race. Thank you!

    Yes, even children are not spared from uncharitable behaviour. Miraculously, a few still escape this glitch on their personality and go on to be lovely human beings. Your humility is amazing and is what makes you so special and lovable! 🙂

  3. Sachin said

    Wow .. You touched a raw nerve .. The kind of behaviour you have mentioned above irritates me to the core. I sometimes desperately look for justifications as to why someone could act that way because I want to believe there is still humanity left in people. ..

    That said .. things get tough when you are the only one trying to do the right thing in a crowd… That is when your resolve to continue doing the right thing is really tested.

    Have you ever found yourself saying hell with it .. I am gonna join the crowd ?

    I often find myself trying hard not to get assimilated by the Borg !!

    Of course, we all feel like we are fighting a lost cause. But as someone wise quoted “Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for.” And kudos to you for not getting assimilated by the Borg!!

  4. sri said

    Thats brilliant writing my friend! I second AJCL words very crisp and to the point. Couldnt agree more on what u have said here. I too have felt similar way about religion and how ignorant even so we are “educated” as you said the old india was far far better than the recent times. May be it has became sheer competition in the survival game, the population increasing minute by minute and each is worried about going further , the love for another being is crushed in this process. I hope things would change.

    Things will change when we make the effort. It drops of water which makes the ocean after all, isn’t it? I feel if one person changes, others will also change by watching him. Thanks for your kind words, Sri!

  5. classic post!!!!!!!!!

    reminds me of two things:
    1. the quote “I never let my schooling interfere with my education”
    2. This song:

    ( a tamil dappankuthu number where the actor stresses that education is not important to succeed in life)

    Religion makes a person blind. That is why I like the agnostic angle!!!!!!!! 😛 😛 😛 This again reminds me of another tamil classic song:

    (about who is god)!!!!!!!!!

    PS: I hope you understand tamil ::P 😛 😛 tee hee 😛

    No I don’t understand the tamil words but I got the essence of the the Anbe Sivam song because I listened with my heart and it touched me so much! Thanks for a beautiful video and I am going to look for this movie. As for your agnosticism, if that is what makes you a better person, the Almighty will still be pleased! 🙂

  6. lostworld said

    I’m back to read your new post.

    The moment I read ‘Bannerghatta road’, I could literally visualize what ensued !!! Tragic but so real. Education seems to be just a string of degrees people collect. Sad that there is no importance attached to civic sense …

    Welcome back and do I see a fellow Bangalorean? 🙂 Yes, it is indeed tragic all the time and money that people spend on education and nothing fruitful comes of it.

  7. gils said

    !!! thoughtful train…trainfull of thoughts in one post 🙂 ambulance is something which is never shown the respect it deserves..they shd be given monster trucks and also the permission to mow down anyone blocking their way..as for the police story..well..hmm legally wat they did might be wrong..but from a personal angle..i think everyone is vulnerable to this mistake

    Yes, I agree from a personal angle it is a vulnerability – but one has to admit if it has caused grave damage to another, he has to be punished. And a interesting solution for the ambulance problem! 😀

  8. gils said

    but wat is bannerghetta road without traffic!!!! its like MG road without its boulevards (which i really miss 😦 ) and koramangal without forum 🙂

    I so agree! Traffic wasn’t the concern anyways. 😀

  9. Great post Ashwini. What’s so great about being educated? At the end of it, you realize that a million dollars have been spent to forget the values or unlearn everything that your parents taught you before going to school. And, in the present world, education is money.

    That’s some thought isn’t it Deeps? Sigh, what a waste of money and time!

  10. Ramesh said

    Very nice post thoughtful train – obviously the train in very thoughtful on the roads of Bangalore even when its supposed to be enjoying a much deserved holiday !

    Education and wisdom and two different things, of course. One doesn’t lead to the other and wisdom can come without education. But I would submit that the probability of achieving some wisdom rises with education, else its all a waste !

    That’s right Ramesh. I feel present day education encourages the educated to feel arrogant. Sad, isn’t it? It is not just in India that we see this behaviour – I am pretty sure it is prevalent all over the world. And no worries Ramesh, I am having a ball in India! 🙂

  11. I can’t agree with you more!
    Some of the most arrogant people I have met are the ones who have doctorates from world class universities. Some of the true gems I have met don’t even have a 10th standard pass qualification.
    So called ‘education’ is completely useless if one’s mind is closed.

    Yep totally agree! 🙂

  12. Nancy said

    Education is important…….and I dont mean the syllabus which we follow in school and universities. Learning about the world opens our minds to so many new concepts and ideas but unforunately it is misunderstood by many who think mentioning the number of degrees they have on the visiting card & in front of their houses automatically elevates their position in society never mind the fact they ill-treat their househelp or never think about picking up their littering after their picnics in parks or beaches.
    Pathetic really!!!

    Agree with u about Savitha…..her posts are so thoughtful, sensitive and how she can make a difference …….like u said, truly educated 🙂

    For some idiotic reason WP sent this comment to my spam folder – can you believe it?? I was totally nodding my head in agreement as I read your comment. As for Savi, we need to be like her and have more people like her! 🙂

  13. Nancy said

    Came back to let u know that the post was very thought-provoking and a pertinent question spoken on behalf of most of us 🙂

    Thanks Nan. 🙂

    • Nancy said

      Oh my goodness where did my previous LOOOOONG comment go 😦

      Thank goodness I dint delete the spam folder blindly! I would have lost a valid comment! 🙂 Thanks so much!

  14. Narayan said

    It is certainly one of my favourite topic and I won’t be able to express my views in legible words to say, what I want to say. In short,I share the sentiments with you fully.
    In my opinion civilization is doing things in a way you would like others to do it for you and not doing things to others what you won’t like to do to you. Educated man should be ‘Enlightened’.. The so called academics should be used to reach towards that end.
    If all behave like educated people we will have heaven here.

    Yes, that is so perfectly true… Lets hope the educated see the path … 🙂

  15. Neo said

    I wish someone works towards a heli-ambulance for all.


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