The Honourable Governor
Union Territory of J&K
Though a lot has already been written on the issue which I address in this letter, unfortunately nothing substantial has been done. The issue is higher education in J&K. Whereas a number of subjects are taught, the subject which is considered as queen as well as mother of all subjects, Philosophy, is missing at the master’s level.
Philosophy is a subject which enhances critical ability among students as well as readers. History is testimony to the fact that great philosophers like Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, etc, have influenced the pupil community at large. The concepts of such great philosophers are still relevant in many aspects of life. Philosophy is the love of wisdom, which spans both knowledge and ethics. It creates a sense of self-examination in the individual; it is the enemy of ignorance. The chief aim of ancient philosophers was to know the nature of reality. Philosophy, thus, view life as a whole and asks, what is a good life? What is the self? What is God? What is the people and what is the government? There is dire need of teaching this unique subject at the higher secondary level, at the college level, and at the PG level, especially at Kashmir University.
The chief irony is that the subject is taught at some colleges at undergraduate level but the same is missing at postgraduate level. Besides, philosophy is a core subject in the BEd course and thus is again taught at bachelor’s level only. Many a time the Kashmir University has announced that new subjects will be introduced at PG level, like philosophy, anthropology and public administration, but while this year we hear anthropology will be introduced, there is no news on philosophy yet.
The need of teaching philosophy is also due to the moral erosion, corruption, and growing drug addiction and depression in our society. There are also social evils like female infanticide, rape, marital violence against women. These are all problems arising from lack of morality and wisdom. Due to materialistic inclination of people, they are losing their faith and religion. Philosophy enriches faith by analysing the core religious beliefs of different religions and thus bringing out the relevance of religion in life. The moral teachings of saint philosophers of India like Gandhi, Vivekananda, Aurobindo, Sir Muhammad Iqbal, Maulana Azad, etc, will surely influence people for generations. Neglecting such a great subject is neglecting our own philosophic tradition and its precious teachings. At the stage of adolescence these teachings can play a crucial role in guiding as well as training young minds. They can create a generation with good ethics and sound capacity to reason, and not a generation that falls prey to orthodox rituals and dogmatism.