“Without a gentle contempt for education, no man’s education is complete”
It was one of the days during my MBA studies when me and some of my colleagues, who were much elder to me and were from different countries too like Germany, China, Mexico& USA, indulged ourselves into this debate as to which country’s PM is most educated? Just like everyone else who boasted of their country’s PMs I boasted of Manmohan Singh as being the most educated PM in the world as he has a number of doctorates to his name and in fact, a St John's College and University of Cambridge have honoured him by naming a PhD Scholarship after him, the Dr Manmohan Singh Scholarship. Then a colleague of mine, Guy (Pronounced as Gee) from Germany, put up an interesting question, which turned the debate on it head. The question was very simple: How to measure Education?? Is it with the number of Degree a person has, or the number of PhD’s one has to one’s name? Or is it really, the all round development and grooming of a person that would pertain to the guidelines of being well educated? In sync with the above debate I also recollect a story that I read in ‘The times of India’ newspaper¹, which goes like this, “Here was a man who dealt in scrap. He would buy junk and sell it off in local market. He used a donkey to transport the stuff. He would also buy old books for resale. All this, the donkey would carry on it’s back. The donkey previously belonged to a washer man and was used to carrying dirty clothes. But now the animal was ‘promoted’, carrying books of wisdom- volumes containing works of Ph.D. students, Vedanta, yoga, fiction, history and science. So would you say the donkey was now a scholar, a sage?
What would you call people who have burdened their minds with such books? Books give you information with which you load your mind. The donkey carried piles of books and continued to be a donkey, ignorant of true knowledge. Similarly, just by reading scriptures and other writings and course books, you cannot become wise or well educated.” It’s the all round grooming that forms part of a good education which involves a number of variables, contributing to the process of learning, such as environment at home, in the college, with friends, in the class, with the juniors & seniors etc. Now, if we relate an all round development building scenario to ourselves, we can easily judge that a statement, “lack of initiative by all” holds true. I would hold students equally responsible for not being able to properly voice their concerns and make the authorities realize that, “Yes! A fresh change is needed towards achieving a growth for both, the institute as well as the students. ‘Brilliance’ can definitely be groomed with an open mind and an attitude to change and upgrade incessantly.” Here’s something to start with, “Just give a thought to ‘student cooperatives’ which would be fully controlled by students and would exist to support the Institute’s management and help the institute grow and take up more challenges in future.” Now coming back to the debate, oh yes! I ended up making a good stand by letting everyone know that this man, Mr. Manmohan Singh, really applied his knowledge well and was able to reach such ranked position in the Indian Govt. and achieve so much in his life through his knowledge that he gained from books as well as his life experiences and his grooming. Hence, one can certainly conclude that just filling up the mind with knowledge ends up contributing negatively to the society, whereas if the attained knowledge is applied w/ content can prove immensely helpful as well. As rightly said by G. K. Chesterton, “Without a gentle contempt for education, no man’s education is complete” 1. The times of India, Editorial, Speaking tree column, dated: November 2, 2007, pp20
Vishal Meel (O.S.D. Department of Management Studies-SKIT)