Monday, 25 May 2009


Lowest Common Multiple-6 : Learning to Learn

Learning, as we know, begins when the child is in the womb. S/he cannot see, but can listen to the sounds in the surrounding environment: mixer-grinder, washing machine, radio-TV...traffic; singing... sound of running water. She can feel mother’s emotions, and the touch and warmth of the oceanic womb.

There are familiar stories from Epic Mahabharata: Abhimanyu, the son of Arjuna, learnt about “Chakravyuha”, strategic circular maze formation of army in war, while he was in the womb; Ashtavakra learnt Vedas while in womb, from his father’s recital. We have a saying, “musician’s child cries in tone”.

Ekalavya, a youth of Bhill tribe, learnt and excelled in archery himself – by self-access. When Dronacharaya, his absentee guru, demanded his right hand thumb as his fees, he promptly cut it off and gave. Little though may be known that the Bhill tribe do not ever use their thumb in
archery, in his memory, to this date.

Mother elephant knows where the water sources are during the days of draught, and shows them to her herd. Honeybees hunt new sources

for miles; their social organisation and communication system are unique. A spider builds its web at strategic places (otherwise it would go hungry). Weaver bird finds places safe from the predators to build his nests.

In India 900 million peasants (some of them languishing in the slums in urban India) have been using their five intrinsic autonomous functions, for three needs – food, shelter and clothing – with the help of Nature-given Seven Senses – hearing, smell, sight, taste, touch, sex and intuition – for their survival (survival, says J. Krishnamurti, means living sanely). They had no access to Sanskrit – gods’ language – or to scriptures or Vedas, which were monopolised by Brahmin caste. Such monopolisation of education continues.

The kings, feudal lords, emperors, nawabs, landlords, usurers… exploited the peasants to extract their meagre earnings (in kind) for their luxuries and powers. Their exploitation was limited to religious, social or economic effects, until the British Rule came.

The British Raj brought new and most powerful weapon of exploitation, not only of the land and waters, but also of the people, i.e. the Industrialisation, which is shrouded by the concept of “social and economic development”. It destroyed their personal autonomy, which had survived for thousands of years.

Independent India’s government, following blindly the model established by the gora sahib, only expedited the process in the name of development and progress. It brought also new laws of development etc. to take over the people’s resources, but without appropriate means of Rehabilitation of the people, in the changed political-economic-social environment. The people were subjects before the white man came, now they are objects, to be manipulated at will.

India’s variety of natural environment has resulted in a great cultural variety too: food, shelter, clothing, arts, languages, literature… It is simply amazing. One lifetime is not enough to comprehend and assimilate it.

However, the mass education system, besides other institutions, imposed by the white man, and followed by the successive Indian Governments, of various brands and colours, for the past sixty years, are moving towards monoculture that mimics western values and life style.

And the Indian culture that I just mentioned is on the brink of extinction along with the traditional wisdom of people, their accumulated knowledge of land and waters, and the skills developed through many generations. No. We are not talking about Vedas and sacred scripture; they are in the safe deposit vaults of the elite castes and classes.

Certainly there are many well-intentioned do-gooders: social workers, missionaries, non-governmental organisations, of various colours, brands, ideals, dogmas, with their political, cultural, religious agendas, working among the people.
However, all of them want to “teach” blah, blah, blah… the people. (All their life they learnt through books on the assembly line of Mass Schooling.) None of them is ready to “learn” from them, from the people themselves, to find, “How did they survive for millennia”, instead of from the scholarly treatises and books of history.
They – the do-gooders – don’t quastion themselves, “if they are stripped of their degrees and doctorates, their credibility and social hierarchies, would they be able to sustain themselves with their knowledge in the same natural-political-economic-social environment?” in my opinion they follow double standards.

They, the do-gooders, come from Indian elite class/castes and foreign countries. What is their credibility? They are learned, resourceful to raise money; they have strings at the authority. They distribute doles in cash–n–kind, but not the “democratic justice” even within the accepted (constitutional) norms. But one thing they can’t do is to remove the parasite that is savouring the people.

'The distinction of "educatd" from the "uneducated" is merely technical. It is no longer of degrees of consciousness but more or less of information.' - Anand Coomaraswamy
1. Engineer's Safety Key, the author of graphic is unknown. The text is by Remigius de Souza.
2. Weaver bird's nest - a study: Even animals have intelligence,; only we cannot measure it.

Links to previous posts:
1. Lowest Common Multiple ,
2. Lowest Common Multiple-2: Dharma by Nature,
3. Lowest Common Multiple-3: Work -Breaking the Mind Block,
4. Lowest Common Multiple-4: Leisure - Perpetual Crave for Rest ,
5. Lowest Common Multiple-5: Health - Forgotten Nature Within and Outside,

© Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.

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