Wednesday, January 05, 2005

An interesting article by Jiddu Krishnamurthy

I suppose most of my blog contents would contain material pertaining to pedagogy, corporate behaviour, philosophy, the Tao Te Ching (pronounced Dao Day Jshing. Couldn't get the correct phonetics on the last word), the world and a few other things I cannot think of!

I read this wonderful article by JK. I must mention how I came across the works of JK. I loved to write for a very long time. Not sure when it all started. I was told that my father and my younger uncle loved to listen to JK's speeches. I regret not being around and old enough to enjoy them. I was never involved myself. After my father expired in 1997, I got a computer which he had paid for on the day of his death (but never got to see. I still use that to type out this blog). I had typed an essay/article (what is the difference between an essay and an article?) and sent it to my younger uncle. He replied to the article by asking me whether I read JK. I said no (because I didn't). He said, "Your style of writing is a lot like his." I was not impressed, because I didn't know whether that was good or bad. I was all of 18 years then. I decided to read his works. I read "Truth is a pathless land" and said to myself, "here is someone who is very clear." Till today I respect JK for his clarity. Whether he is good or not or whether he is the wisest, is of little concern. What matters is what he had to say. In short, JK's words entered my life then. I read him on and off, never really very fanatic about what he had to say.

With my recent growing interest in pedagogy (I loved to teach and I have taught at a couple of places, but that isn't pedagogy) I read whatever (related to education)I can get my hands on. His essay/article/speech on "The School" was a fine piece. I kept marking relevant portions and drawing smileys near lines which, ... well made me smile. Here is a summary of it...

JK believes very strongly that the educator is of prime importance. If the educator doesn't believe in the relevance of what she teaches, then the child's freedom is in jeopardy. To feel the relevance and the unquestionable importance of right education is paramount. Authority has no place where everyone is out to learn. It is silly to have one lead another when everyone is dedicated to educating the young ones and ensuring the realise freedom. Administrative activity can be owned but that doesn't make one superior, as much as my paying the electricity bill of my house doesn't make me the boss.
Something that he doesn't seem to have touched upon is the necessity for holistic education. Where a subject is not treated in isolation but life is presented per se' and the student is drawn into the details of every facet of it, be it history, math, physics, biology, social behaviour, etc. Take a scene at a Bombay local railway station. Paint the entire scene to the children who are eagerly listening. Slowly explain the different things. Why is the kettle trembling when the tea comes to a boil? Why does the passenger run when he alights? How does the train run? A little imagination can go a long way. The children need to see everything in their life as one big event and not a historical event or a biological event.
One thing I agree, is the size restriction that should be placed on the class. Unless a teacher can comfortably handle more than 20 students, she should not be burdened with more.
Here are some excerpts from what I read:

It is only when we begin to understand the deep significance of human life that there can be true education; but to understand, the mind must intelligently free itself from the desire for reward which breeds fear and conformity.

Think about this. Don't agree or disagree. Just let it run its rounds in your brain. If it should be, its sense will come to you.

A school which is successful in the worldly sense is more often than not a failure as an educational centre.

Interesting. I agree that this might be too much of a generalisation, but JK is inclined to do so, although I am sure he could defend himself with a persistance that could drive you mad. I loved the following piece. What attitude!!

But who are the masses? You and I. Let us not get lost in the thought that the masses must also be rightly educated. The consideration of the mass is a form of escape from immediate action.

In building enormous institutions and employing teachers who depend on a system instead of being alert and observant in their relationship with the individual student, we merely encourage the accumulation of facts, the development of capacity, and the habit of thinking mechanically, according to a pattern; but certainly none of this helps the student to grow into an integrated human being.

So true. He says it very well.

To start such a school, they need not wait until they have the necessary means. One can be a true teacher at home, and opportunities will come to the earnest.

This has always been my predicament. I always thought that if I should implement my concept of a good school, I need sufficient finances. I decided to rethink that after I read this. Think about it. I would need money only if I plan on setting up a huge school where parents would vie to get their children in. But that doesn't mean that the school does a great job of educating the child. When I say educate, education and other related words, I mean liberating the child and making the child truly independant, not in a rebellious and pseudo fashion, but in a genuine sense of the word. To be independant would mean the freedom to realise truth for oneself without having to conform or accede to anyone's whims and fancy. So, if I am passionate about liberating a child, the campus matters not, the classy design of a uniform matters not, a high teak wood desk behind which I should rest my well poised self matters not. What does matter is that I connect to the child and liberate her in a true and absolute sense. Where the child knows no fear and enjoys living and the beauty around her. This does not mean that she would be useless in society and would not be able to earn herself a living. What it does mean is that, she will come upon a stream, maybe computers, maybe metallurgy, maybe medicine, maybe gymnastics, maybe journalism, maybe a musical instrument, maybe a brush, anything, which she will love with all her heart and make a career out of it, but unlike most others making a career out of a similar stream, she will not be affected by the ups and downs in it as she is in love with it, and such unpredictable variations in other's perception of her work do not affect her. When one is in absolute love of something, great success or abject poverty matters not. It is when one doesn't find that relationship with something, with beauty itself, that one seeks fame, properity and recognition. JK goes on to say...

The right kind of education should also help the student to discover what he is most interested in. If he does not find his true vocation, all his life will seem wasted; he will feel frustrated doing something which he does not want to do.

and then he goes on to say something which made me burst out laughing (yes, there is a laughing smiley besides it).

A boy may want to be a soldier; but before he takes up soldiering, he should be helped to discover whether the military vocation is beneficial to the whole of mankind.

I believe that the military and the armed forces is the most silly institution ever created by man. We keep saying we want peace and build an army and arsenal. I never heard of someone trying to keep warm by laying on blocks of ice! A lot more can be quoted from that article/essay/speech. Do read it for yourself.

It is available at:'the_school'.html


  1. Very interesting... I picked up JK when I was 18 too and it considerably changed my thinking/actions [not thoughts/memory/recaptulation] and approach towards life.

  2. Aah. Ms. Meera!! What a pleasure it is to find your comments on this blog. I was holding back an ardent want to request comments from you on my blog, but I felt that would be demanding too much of you. I was more than surprised to find a comment and more so when I saw that it belonged to you. Thank you for stopping by. Hope to regale you with more posts. I was planning on commenting to your "art-conditioning" post, which I will.

  3. Reading your posts is a pleasure. I have linked you from my blog. Hope you don't mind...

    Keep typing away. I am listening in Madras...

  4. Can you help me with these:

    As silly as it sounds, how does one link blog from another blog?
    Is there a way of knowing which posts have received comments, or must I scroll down and search all archives to figure out whether I have received a comment? Don't I have a dashboard which will let me see a list of all the recent comments and the replies to comments I have made (using this ID) on other blogs?

  5. Hi Meera,
    Hacked out. I suppose I have got the links to different blogs and webpages setup on my page. I couldn't find a way of figuring out the 2nd issue, though.

  6. Hi Eroteme

    You can get an email notification whenever someone comments on your post by changing your blog setting.

    From Dashboard->Change Settings->Comment->Specify a Comment Notification Email Address.

    As for the replies to your comments in other blogs, I do not think there is any such notification mechanism - but then again my knowledge may be inadequate.

    Hope this helps. Thanks for the link.


  7. Gotcha. Thanks. Being 10 days old and want to know everything about blogging!

    I managed to hack out a way to get pictures onto the blog as well (wasn't really a hack). I was jumping around pretty much like a kid who managed to get his little car (Hot Wheels?) to do a somersault!

  8. Parvati1:00 PM

    @Eroteme: Reading JK's "The School" was very satisfying like eating vanilla ice cream with hot chocolate sauce...Yum.

    I too suspected that not withstanding financial viability, one teacher for one student is the best method to carry out the implementation of a good educational system. Maybe maximum 2 children / teacher. Not 20/ nor 60. I think there will be a major improvement in the quality of the student when he leaves school.

    And by that token, your small school started at home with even a single or two students, can do an excellent job of giving them that education as you have chalked out in your previous posts.

    Good Luck for whenever you start this important project of yours..

  9. hi!
    its good to find fans of jk. there aren't many around. wud love to have a pic of him. do send in some link or a pic to me.
    thanks for doing so :-)

  10. oh! yes , forgot to mention its first time am blogging.(technically this is the second)
    how did you guys get the picture on. hope you don`t mind the new entry:-)

  11. hi
    funny coincidence i was reading education and significance to life and i stumbled over ur blog...

    I love the clarity jk has in his thoughts, makes us aware of the backlog mess of years to clean up...

  12. Anonymous8:14 PM

    Well I never knew he existed until I read about him in one of the forums I frequented. And once I read his speeches and saw how he looked at things, I was really impressed. Here is one who was really really different. One definition that I still remember:

    What is reality?
    JK: It is the interval between two thoughts.