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Response to Ash's response on my response:
On Tue, 22 Sep 1998 Ash.Mahesh@cinenet.net wrote:
> >> (a) Education shall be among the fundamental rights of all
> >> citizens,
> For me the answer is a clear YES. This goes back to an earlier line of
> thought on which we have had some disagreement. Whereas you want the
> government to stay out of most things under the consideration that the
> machinery it brings usually harms more than helps, I have consistently
> held that it is important to authorize the govt. to further those
> interests which truly serve us. I believe that education is one such
> area, where requiring the govt. to provide a service can create action
> which would otherwise be far more limited.
Three considerations (one of which was very clearly pointed out in my last
a) Practical consideration: Pratham had first raised this issue on this
list. My main objection at that time was its practical implications.
Already swamped by High court cases, now the state governments will be
SWAMPED by Supreme court cases (requring sending by air, to Delhi,
hundreds of bureaucrats each day, from each state). I will not detail my
objections. Some of these were cited earlier. I refer the same thread
This discussion plodded along for a while, and then since no further
comment was received from any source, we moved on.
b) Violation of Free Citizen principle: Giving liberty as a fundamental
right is critical. Giving work, or giving education is NOT. That is the
same in principle as demanding that I have a fundamental right to income
(since education + work = income). Then I can say I have a fundamental
right to equal income. Things deteriorate very rapidly.
Whereas you rightly mention that we should authorize govt. to do things to
enhance one's interests, that cannot be at the cost of others. Paying a
teacher money to lounge around in the city while he is supposed to be in
the village, taching, may be in that teacher's interest. But it is not in
mine. Funding the air fares of 100s of bureaucrats fighting court cases
against citizens demanding - legally - the right to education, is NOT in
my interest. It may be in the interest of lawyers and bureaucrats and the
Indian Airlines, but not in mine. I don't want to pay for the fun and
enjoyment of others.
I am not saying that as a taxpayer we do not fund education, we have
already covered that. But not make it a constitutionally provided
c) On the other hand, in many countries, including countries like
Australia, Taiwan and some others, a contrary view prevails. Education is
a FUNDAMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY of the parents. If a parent does not send
his/her child to school, that parent can be jailed and/or otherwise
punished. I would think this is more in line with what I would be willing
to support. However, even on this I am very wary. I don't want to
authorize govt. intervention in a parent's choice to send his child to
school or to make him work in a firecracker factory. There is NO parent in
the world who will send his/her children to factories if the environment
is open, competitive and progressive and the parent sees potential benefit
of education. Let us completely revamp India, and child labor will decline
drastically. So, no compulsion, and in any case, no rights. Let us provide
the right to freedom itself, a right in which we have failed MISERABLY so
far. Focus one's energy on the critical tasks. Get rid of the massive
oppression of the poor villagers by para-military forces (cf. the rape I
mentioned once earlier in my district by the CRPF). Talk to the people
instead of shooting them down.
So, please do drop this word, and if you like, replace 'right' by
'responsibility.' I know you are concerned about the provision of equal
opportunities to our children. So am I. But I do not wish to enrich
lawyers, judges, public sector airlines, inspecting agencies and auditing
agencies and others, in that process. My money is better spent giving it
to local initiatives who build and maintain their own schools, hire their
own teachers, and COMPETE FAIRLY AND BOLDLY with the entire nation. I am
not quite pleased when my money goes to fund other's children who pass
their exams by mass-copying in exams. I do not give rights to others which
I would not give to myself. I have to earn my education and so do others.
> >> Despite this, government remains obliged to provide
> >> education in all areas where no private parties are forthcoming to
> >> assume the responsibility.
> > I don't accept that we have to specify this. It is never going to be
> > needed.
> Perhaps we don't have to, but for a different reason. The govt
> obligation can be seen to be inferred if education is a fundamental
> right. Split the difference?
I stick to my old reason: already schools exist. Simply convert them into
local, legal, entities. Why give loopholes to a camel who always will
occupy the full tent anyway? And we are not talking of external 'private
parties,' - a misconception I have been repeatedly trying to remove. I am
talking of the villagers themselves. I ask you the same question: You let
a Rabri Devi rule a large state of India. Is she - in your mind -
incapable of running a school? Why do we distrust the local initiative?
Give responsibility to the people. Let them grow up and build their own
fate. Don't spoon feed them. If you ever do, then do understand that you
are harming their soul in a very essential way.
Dr. V.Kurien built his miracle on the sense of responsibility of the
villagers. Each village is a model village. I have seen them myself. The
villagers test the milk honestly, pay honestly, manage their coops
HONESTLY. They use their profits in very innovative ways to develop their
own community. Did anyone care to ask why? Because he trusted our
villagers. These are honest people, did you not know yet? It is ONLY the
government which has corrupted us. Indians are NOT dishonest by their
upbringing. Gandhi's mother was a villager. She created a Gandhi. Would
you rather trust her or would you rather trust a teacher who has paid a
bribe to become a government teacher. You decide.
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