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School Education in Rural Punjab

Santokh Singh

Man is a social animal. No society can progress without education. Politicians have no magic band to make society prosperous. It is only education, which teaches us the art of analysing, perceiving and planning. Ignorance ruins individual and society. Literacy promotes intellect, and intellect generates healthy and harmonious society.

It is the misfortune of this sub-continent that education was monopolised by Brahmins under mythological crafty trick, known as Manusamriti. Vast majority of society was denied the right to education and was exploited ruthlessly by self-appointed religious masters. Though there was no dearth of natural resources and people were hardworking, still Manusamriti made society very poor and weak. Islamic culture being progressive and egalitarian easily conquered India, which was weakened by selfish Brahmins.

Some enlightened Indian intellectuals revolted against Manuism. They condemned caste system and denial of right to education. A spiritual intellectual with extraordinary caliber and capability and love for humanity and its Creator enlightened the masses. He and his successors gave stress on universal education. He created a new and unique faith. His followers were known as Sikhs (students). He was a sociologist par-excellence. During sixteenth century, he taught what was taught by European sociologists during eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. He gave birth to a healthy and strong society. His teachings of equality of humanity, self respect, mutual respect, mutual cooperation, altruistic service, dignity of labour, support of weak, higher values of life, discarding of vices, illiteracy, and adhesion to the principles which lead to social harmony and prosperity; were of great educative value to humanity. His teachings were known as Shabad.

Education imparted by the great sociologist made Punjabi society so strong that Punjabis established their own empire and reversed the tide of attacks on Punjab. Presentday northern border of Pakistan and Indian border with Western China are the creation of those students of Shabad. While in power, these students adopted Brahminical influence, started giving importance to ritualism, priests and granthis instead of Shabad. The result was annexation of Punjab by clever British imperialism.
British policy makers were highly educated. British had established a Punjabi printing press at Ludhiana, much earlier. British believed in the spread of education. They were of the view that educated people can produce more wealth and it is in the interest of rulers (exploiters of colony). During British rule, Punjab received its due share of education and produced brilliant civil and military brains. After transfer of power, there was slow change in educational policy and the change became discernible during seventies. The fascists don’t like egalitarian Muslim, Sikh and Christain societies. Rulers have miserably failed to eradicate illiteracy, unemployment and poverty. Illiteracy, povety, unemployment and vote bank politics, and hidden policy to re-establish Brahminical hegemony have flourished communialism. Education, developing scientific and rational thinking has been neglected, particularly in rural areas and has been made dearer and beyond the approach of rural people. Rural Punjab is considered dangerous last 15 years, consumption of liquor and drugs has increased manifold in rural Punjab. Through TV, and other propaganda media and money power, rich and brave Punjabi culture is being converted into dancing culture, with very low ethics and values of life.

Alien British rulers introduced a good educational system in Punjab. They established schools in rural Punjab result oriented, well disciplined and dedicated teachers. Subsequently, teachers were appointed for different considerations and their postings were made as per the wishes of vote seekers. Copying is rampant and teachers are either helpless or part of the game. Under such circumstances, what can be expected of rural education. So long as selfish and hyprocrite vote seekers exist and they are not answerable to the people and they do not bother about morality or anything else, except party president, education system will go from bad to worse.

So far as rural Punjabi schools controlled by religious organisations are concerned, the situation is equally bad, rather worse. Nepotism, and other considerations for the selection of teachers have become order of the day. Nothing religious is practised except outward appearance. Practise of religious character has almost totally evaporated. Altruism has been replaced by selfishness and persons with commercial thinking are dominating. Decisions are not taken on the basis of merit, but the recommendations are basic criteria. It seems that virtually a hoax is being played by fake religious persons. The people who do not obey the guidance of religious philosophy and tenets and misuse corporate religious funds for the promotion of their personal and political interest are most dangerous enemies of rural Punjab. Selfish politicians, preachers, priests and granthis have deteriorated the situation.

To retrieve the situation, we do not need white elephants, but altruistic intellectuals like Giani Ditt Singh. Let the masses be guided by logic reason, rational principles and not by personalities. No misuse of religious sentiments, places and institutions. Let the altruistic intellectuals free from political influence, unite and enlighten the rural Punjab and follow the footsteps of the great spiritual intellectual. Let a movement enlighten rural Punjab. Facist elements have nefarious and intrigious designs for rural Punjab. If selfish politicians are shown the door and right steps are taken for right education for rural Punjab, revolutionary educational changes are surely expected. Rural Punjabis are intelligent and capable of making Punjab a highly educated land. Punjab can emerge as Japan of South Asia. Given the proper opportunity, rural Punjabis can transform Punjab into a technologically advanced part of the world like Germany. Urban Punjabis are morally bound to make earnest efforts for enlightening rural Punjab. Let selfish politicians understand that when there is nepotism and favoritism, and no consideration for merit, the society goes to dogs. Merit, proper opportunities, devotion and dedication for education by elders and all, give birth to prosperous nations.



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