Shut up, me the Proffie!

Indian institutions prefer students to be obedient listeners. Our educational system, barring a few exceptions, encourages a hierarchical relationship between teacher and student. The former controls knowledge and the latter is expected to submissively accept what is handed down. The argumentative Indian thrives despite the system. This may look like an anomaly because a competitive political democracy like India’s should have facilitated an educational system that is cool about arguments and dissent.

Or, is the lacuna in the educational system a reflection of a flaw in our democratic culture? We have regular elections and our political space teems with parties subscribing to a rainbow of ideologies. But is this space sufficiently democratic so that people get the leaders they deserve? Family, clan, caste, religion — a range of identities influence our choice of leaders more than their understanding of public policy. Beneath the trappings of democracy, the old social order, where caste was privileged over merit, has survived, though in a weaker form.

- Editorial, TOI.


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