Friday, November 26, 2010

Kuch khwaab, and thodi si daadagiri

The title 'Dreams death' is nowhere as poetic as Gulzar's line (kuch khwaab sisakte rahte hain, kuch khwaab magar mar jaate hain), but this short docu film has enough going on. There's truth and pathos and empathy and Gulzar's swoon-inducing voice. Watch it here:

Before the film begins, you see a clip of Priyanka Chopra reminding viewers about a child's right to education. Applause-worthy. And she looks nice too! Now if only this tall, lissome Punjabi glamour-babe would read this:

Educationists add that often private schools get land, cheaper electricity and infrastructural support from the government. Add to this the tax exemptions they enjoy.

And then this: Ashish Diwedi, who was a part of the same school’s clerical staff till two years ago, says the school first volunteered to admit his children and a year later, turned around. “They offered me Rs.1 lakh per child to take my children out of the school,” he says.

It would be lovely if she could use a couple of her many media-ops (and let's face it: her whole life is probably one big media op) to address the parents who are so afraid of the whole nation getting a decent education. Perhaps she could tell them not to be so frightened of the poor, scared children who do indeed have a right to an equal education. Or perhaps she could just tell the private schools to start acquiring commercial land at commercial prices for their commercial enterprises, if they find the burden of nobility too heavy to bear.

After all, that land (and that water, or that electricity, or that road, paid for out of the whole nation's pockets) isn't theirs. Very few could afford it if the state didn't give it to the urban middle class/elite for a pittance. Nor, for that matter, can they really afford good teachers. Most teachers (at least, up until now) in India have had some sort of subsidized education or training or certification that was state-funded.

The great washed in India can barely afford anything as their own in any legitimate 'private' way. But they forget. Ms Chopra would do well to remind them. Just saying.

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