False and Meretricious

False and Meretricious

Indian Army Chief, Bipin Rawat, has stated that in Jammu and Kashmir, some schools in Jammu and Kashmir were allegedly teaching students with two maps – one of India and another of the state. This statement is not only a gross distortion of reality but an unwarranted, uncalled for interference in education. In some senses, the General’s distortion accrues from a figment of imagination which, in turn means that he does not know what he is talking about. The corollary that springs from the General’s assertion suggests that in his world view and schema, the sole aim of education is political. Yes, there was a time when, after the demise of colonialism, education in the newly independent states sought to inculcate nationalism and hence engineer a nationalistic ethic amongst the new generations. But, this idiom and mode of education is now passé. Education in its broadest and essential sense and meaning must and mean the creation of values, ethics and other, non utilitarian normative moral ideals. Elevating themes other than this means and implies distortion of education in the ideal schemata of education. These are broad and general points about the nature of education, its nature and contents. Now, returning to General Rawat’s assertions, to repeat, these not only are these factually incorrect but the General, by the very utterance of these, is implying the politicization of education in Kashmir. This is patently false and meretricious. It, however, is is not to deny the fact that Kashmir is in conflict and in areas of conflict, a well rounded, and holistic education is a casualty. Another facet that emerges from Rawat’s remarks is that there is a design in Kashmir for what according to the General, is a two speed or dual education in Kashmir. This is sheer blarney even when it implied. The fact of the matter, in terms of Kashmir, is that it is in conflict. All issues can be resolved if the conflict is resolved. This includes, of course, education. So, if peace, prosperity and educational outcomes are to be arrived at, then conflict resolution must be priority. However, this is something that the General is unable to appreciate. In the final analysis, it is this appreciation and recognition of fundamental realities that will lead to peace, within and without. Till then, even analysis and assessment of Kashmir falls in the domain of misreading (by design, or by default) Kashmir.