Monday, July 11, 2005

One strict headman

Here's proof that where there's a strong will, there's an unbeatable way.

"The sarpanch of Doraha village in Madhya Pradesh opted to use some stick to keep the kids in school. They would lose their BPL (below poverty line) ration cards if they did not ensure that their children attended school. Those cards offer more than foodgrains, they are a passport to land allotments, loans and so on. So in schooling their children the village community would avail of immediate benefits, and of course the long-term gains that education brings... "

This editorial column from The Statesman goes on to argue that the move might smack of coercion and even be undemocratic, but that such disincentives have potential.

What I say is, whoever this man is, may his tribe increase.

Besides, in a country that has no qualms imposing laws like the Armed Forces Special Powers Act of 1958, at the risk of alienating and disenfranchising a sizeable chunk of our population, what business has anyone to question the democratic values of one strict headman trying to make education work in his village?


gawker said...

I agree ... good for him. The only way India's huge population can be converted from a liability to an asset is by having an educated population.

jack said...

I wish this was done by the central govt.They can make primary education compulsary and use the BPL card to enforce it.

Ashish Gorde said...

And just when we thought that Indian villages are full of bad news, along comes this headman and proves us wrong. You are right.. may his tribe increase!!!

R. said...

As unwilling invitee to many a caning parties when I was in school, my heart goes out for my fellow rule breaking brethren.

Though as an adult I understand the logic of the Sarpanch's act and I can see that this probably was his only means under the circumstances. But just as a passing thought, I was thinking that in the long run what does this teach the children? That if they don't do something good or right, they would be punished? Isn't this faulty logic the cause of a lot of problems in a country, people follow laws or do what is right, ONLY if they think tht they will get caught if they don't. Not because its the right thing to do. I'm not saying that capital punishment in school is the single leading reason, parents and society as a whole have a large responsibility too.

Annie Zaidi said...

gawker, ever thought about why india's huge population is a liability? And for whom?... that is the most important question - for whom?
senthil, the central govt can't do much until the local officials take up a firm stand. this pradhan has gone ahead and just done that. goes to show one doesn't need the central govt all that much.

r, people follow laws only if there's strong punitive action. everywhere. think singapore and spitting. think impossible-to-get-driving-licenses and Dubai...
besides, the sarpanch is trying to use his BPL-cane on the parents, not the kids.

gawker said...

annie ... a liability for all Indians and the world as well .. Lets leave aside the world for a minute. Even if you just consider India, there is a line where microsocionomics and macrosocionomics meet, where good of the country also corresponds to good of the individual citizens. If there is a population explosion without education, the country as well as the individual (regardless of rich poor) suffers because of less resources being shared between a larger number of people. The only way to avoid this is to make people less of a burden on the government (For want of a better term, and Im not being callous here) and on each other by educating them and making them productive citizens. Again, I want to repeat my point that doing so would help the poor more than the rich because for every extra person the government needs to spend its resources on, there is less to go around for those who need them.

r, I dont think a child should be given an option to go to school or not, simply because a child cannot be entrusted with the ability to make decisions on his own behalf. This is why we have such things as parental consent. When I was in school, given the choice, I would have played hooky and done something more fun. But now looking back I realize it would have been a bad choice and that it was good it wasnt left up to me then.

Tweets by @anniezaidi