What moves pointReturn

Q3: For Karpagam, Sriram and DV: What impact does it have on society if 5 or 6 volunteers dig some ponds, harvest water, grow their food and spend a few years living frugally? Would it not be better if they spent the same time teaching some under-privileged children?

A:Sriram: My post on ‘impact’ should cover this question. The impact on the environment through our work is truly immeasurable :-)
I have worked in an education NGO in bombay for 6+ years and realise that giving them the ‘education’ as it is currently designed will only create more confused surveysans ;-)
Teaching underprivileged children our eduction will make them lose all their skills and make them dependent on mindless work in the city. They will lose control of their freedom and start servicing the rich. We want children to study in their mother tongue and learn some skill that is relevant and will help them stay in their homes and contribute in the rural area. We do not agree with moving to the city as true “development”. If that is a happy development we will not have so many people who, inspite of working and earning well in the city , feel that they would also like to “get out” of it.

So we will have to redefine who is privileged and who is underprivileged. It is not only determined through money. We will have to teach ourselves to feel confident and have self respect in our own language and culture and not feel inadequate if we did not know English. Please do read Gram Swaraj and Nai Talim concepts of Gandhiji. We believe in a different type of economy and different world order. We believe the world has to slow down in production and reproduction :-). We have too many machines to serve humans and humans now are losing the ability to work with their hands in a simple way and fulfill simple needs. Agriculture is the most central aspect to our life, existence and creativity and the more we distance ourselves the more we are likely to feel purposeless and empty in our lives.

A:DV: Let’s take a material impact already measurable because pR came into
being: we have created rain water harvesting bodies totaling
2.5 million litres. In the 2 monsoon spells we have, one may assume
them to fill up 1.5 times. So we recharge about 4m.L into the earth
and draw far less than that for ourselves and our plants. The water
charged into the ground knows no proprietor and flows wherever it
would
Speaking in non-numbers, beneficial impact on the earth due to steady
increase in soil formation, soil animal activity, soil hydration,
diversity of birds and trees are already considerable.

I personally assign a very low rank and very small space for humans in
the web of life. Man’s welfare, privileges are of little and
incidental consequence to me. I can conceive a happy planet without
man in it but not the earthworm.

Finally, the type of man in dire need of attention is the privileged
and over-privileged one whose consumptive ways are destroying the web
of life. He is the one in need of re-education not the so called
under-privileged, who has a tiny eco-footprint.

3 thoughts on “What moves pointReturn

  1. hi sriram

    -first of all,have you experienced what life is like, growing up in a village as a poor,landless,low caste villager?

    while ‘our’ education is not perfect,i wonder if something is better than nothing. for the urban elite,village life is very romantic and ideal,but it is not so for the millions of poor,illiterate,low caste,landless villagers.while they may have skills,those skills,unfortunately are often not enough to even provide them with 3 square meals a day.what freedom do they now enjoy that will disappear after they get ‘our’ education? are they not servicing the rich now,working for the rich in village,at wages which hardly are enough to make both ends meet,not to mention the other types of exploitations like the ignominy of casteism? at least’our’ education ensures that you and i do not go to bed hungry,that our basic needs are met.

    you yourself have ensured an alternate source of income ( thru you rent) and the much maligned education system has probably helped that and also you relatives whom you don’t have to support.you have your own land.you can use media to find information.how many poor people in india have this luxury?whether you accept it or not,it is this education which has given you the knowledge and confidence to survive in this world and this is always a back up for you in case there is a need. why is it that the poor have to carry the responsibility of maintaining traditions,skills etc etc etc?

    like i said before,’our’ education is not perfect but atleast it can ensure that people do not starve.as for happiness,it is not that all the well- to- do in the city are unhappy and all in the village are happy.if the rich are unhappy,they have only themselves to blame for it.more spirituality and less materialism is what is needed.but for the poor,tortured by hunger,casteism,exploitation etc,they are helpless.just by talking about idealism is not of any help.it is the question of survival.abandoning them just because it is not ideal,is not the way to help the vulnerable.

    an education,though not perfect, and blending in the city is one of the best ways to escape poverty and casteism- and i say this from a near personal experience.

  2. hi sujatha,
    sriram has replied to your query as follows:

    “we said – “teaching children OUR education…”
    this ‘our’ is to signify the current education system prevalent in the country which makes our children literate/educated/city-centric/rote capable/rich servicing etc., but destroys their freedom and so on.

    so unless, we are able to conduct education in a completely revised manner (for eg., like defined in gandhiji’s nai talim), we do not have the interest to impart education.

    using the double negative to interpret this statement (or any other) is going to give you the wrong perspective.”

  3. you say: ‘teaching under privileged children will make them lose control of their freedom and start servicing the rich.’ do you mean to say that uneducated/illiterate underprivileged children/people are living enviable lives now? and, have full freedom and are being serviced BY the rich?

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