Incredible India!

A prestigious school in my city is taking its middle and high school students on an Educational Tour to Europe. For this they are taking around 1 lakh rupees from the parents interested in sending their kids on that tour. And strangely people are giving it to the school administration willingly. I do not understand that why do the students need to go to Europe for learning? What sort of education does the school want to impart by taking them to Europe? Till class 10th all students study History under CBSE board and 80% of it comprises of Indian History. Rest is just World Wars, Dark Ages, Renaissance and Industrial Revolution as far as I recall.

Social Studies was one of my favorite subjects and I loved reading about the diverse cultures, traditions, tribes, dances and festivals of India in Geography. I also loved reading Indian History starting from Indus Valley Civilization of Mohenjodaro to Non Cooperation Movement. I used to sing along with public interest videos like Baje Sargam Har Taraf Se and Mile Sur Mera Tumhara, telecasted by Doordarshan even if it was shown 100th time. We had the Mahabharata and the Ramayan as supplementary readers in Hindi subject. I loved reading Amar Chitra Katha comics, Jataka Tales, Panchatantra and Hitopadesha.

I have serious doubts about students of this generation having any extra knowledge about Indian heritage or the the thirst of it other than that written in their textbooks and required to clear the exams. Knowing about the latest  gadget or website is being modern and tech savvy but knowing about a simple tradition and following it is so old fashioned. By touring Europe for education, Indian students may become able to answer questions on Greek mythology or French Revolution but remain ignorant of their own history, mythology and folklore.

I don’t need to describe the vastness and the diversity of India as I guess most of my readers are Indian. Be it geographical, cultural or cuisine diversity; I think it will take an entire lifetime for me to explore each and every aspect of India.

I guess, to be able to boast that “my son/daughter has gone on Europe tour” to relatives and neighbors is priceless. Telling friends and that kid on the block who studies in a less prestigious school that “I have seen the Eiffel Tower and the Colosseum” is such a boost to the ego and image! Because I guess touring India is not “cool” enough!!

This reminds me of the famous song from the Hindi movie Jagriti (1954) – Aao Bachchon Tumhe Dikhaye Jhanki Hindustan Ki. Here is the awesome song

आओ बच्चों तुम्हें दिखाए झाँकी हिन्दुस्तान की इस मिट्टी से तिलक करो ये धरती है बलिदान की वन्दे मातरम् वन्दे मातरम्

उत्तर में रखवाली करता पर्वतराज विराट है
दक्षिण में चरनो को धोता सागर का सम्राट है
जमुना जी के तट को देखो, गंगा का ये घाट है
बात बात पे हाट हाट में यहा निराला ठाट है
देखो ये तस्वीरें अपनी गौरव की अभिमान की
इस मिट्टी से तिलक करो ये धरती है बलिदान की
वन्दे मातरम् वन्दे मातरम्

ये है अपना राजपूताना, नाज़ इसे तलवारों पे
इसने सारा जीवन काटा बरच्ची तीर कटारो पे
ये प्रताप का वतन पला है, आज़ादी के नारो पे
कूद पड़ी थी यहा, हज़ारो पद्‍मिनिया अंगरों पे
बोल रही है कण कण से क़ुर्बानी राजस्थान की
इस मिट्टी से तिलक करो ये धरती है बलिदान की
वन्दे मातरम् वन्दे मातरम्

देखो मुल्क मराठाओं का ये, यहा शिवाजी डोला था
मुगलो की ताक़त को जिसने, तलवारों पे तोला था
हर पर्वत पे आग जली थी,हर पत्‍थर एक शोला था
बोली हर हर महादेव की, बच्चा बच्चा बोला था
शेर शिवाजी ने रखी थी, लाज हमारी शान की
इस मिट्टी से तिलक करो ये धरती है बलिदान की
वन्दे मातरम् वन्दे मातरम्

जाल्लियान वाला बाग ये देखो, यही चली थी गोलियाँ
ये मत पूछो किसने खेली, यहा खून की होलियाँ
एक तरफ बंदूके डन डन, एक तरफ थी टोलियाँ
मरने वाले बोल रहे थे, इंक़िलाब की बोलियाँ
यहा लगा दी बहनों ने भी, बाज़ी अपनी जान की
इस मिट्टी से तिलक करो ये धरती है बलिदान की
वन्दे मातरम् वन्दे मातरम्

ये देखो बंगाल यहा का, हर चप्पा हरियाला है
यहा का बच्चा बच्चा अपने देश पे मरने वाला है
ढाला है इसको बिजली ने, भूचालों ने पाला है
मुट्ठी में तूफान बँधा है, और प्राण में ज्वाला है
जन्मभूमि है यही हमारे वीर सुभाष महान की
इस मिट्टी से तिलक करो ये धरती है बलिदान की
वन्दे मातरम् वन्दे मातरम्


68 thoughts on “Incredible India!

  1. yes, students should learn all about our mother land first… before being sent to other nations. student must be taught more about the moral and patriotic characteristics at the school level, so that they feel that “Its our responsibility to take care of our mother land”

  2. This is so very true…. You know the pompousness and show off culture has become so much prevalent….

    U knw the IIPM class educational instis hav just made this useless abroad trips have become so popular and is catching up… this is just a pathetic culture making education expensive and creating a rich-poor divide bet students…..

    I totally agree with the points u have made in the posts…Nice one.

  3. Kids will be kids you know. But I am sure that no matter what, there are some children who are aware of their surroundings. Older people are always thinking the younger ones are frivolous. So do I actually 😉 But I hope that is not the case.

  4. Reema no harm in an exposure and a trip to Europe either. It does not mean they do not tour around India or love India less. These days many parents send their kids for a holiday abroad – after class X exams, it’s a break, and it’s a worthwhile exposure. Going with the parents is not the same thing as going with friends, if the school is organising than parents are also assured of the children’s safety.

    And if they don’t send their daughters then that is really sad.

    • @IHM I guess the difference comes due to the fact that I live in a town and spending 1-1.5 lakh on sending kids to Europe is outrageous.

      @Vishesh Does money give better sense? :O Amazed at this logic!

  5. There is nothing wrong in learning world history but 1 lakh? Hmm..I think that amount is a waste at this age. I mean we don’t need to visit every historical site to learn about it. We have books for that. We can explore the world with our own hard earned money.

    Earlier today, I read a letter to editor on Mumbai Mirror where the parent wrote that his son goes to Don Bosco school in Mumbai and one of the poor students. Now the school is making it compulsory for all students to pay Rs. 5000 towards Basketball tournament which they can’t afford.

    I know the students in this school can afford the cost but I still think it as waste of money.

  6. 1 lakh? wow. I guess we went for a small trip back in 10th for 300 bucks.

    I guess schools want to be different from their competitors and they come up with all these ideas.

  7. You went to picnics or tours from school?? I think the same has now extended to other countries, that’s all! “Educational tour” is just the name given!

  8. I studied about the diversity of India, still I do 🙂 I knew different things in school curriculum as we learned history of the whole India. Our history of Bangladesh is all the same up to 1947. Indian History starting from Indus Valley Civilization of Mohenjodaro to movement of Gandhiji…. all were exciting and attracted me, still they do!

    Reema Apu, I think just like you regarding such tours. And I also think that “Educational tour” is just the name given, it’s like picnics or tours from school…

    Days are changing….. peoples’ outlooks too! may be these arrangements are expected…. ( but not to people like me!)

  9. “I don’t think many parents will send their daughters to Europe by spending 1 lakh!”

    Somehow that statement surprises me. Is it a concern for safety, or about spending money on a daughter!?

    • Its the prejudice against daughters! I have seen many parents do not allow daughters to go on picnics and stuff. And whenever one has to give money in dowry in future, spending 1 lakh now is out of the question.

  10. well if social studies was ur fav. subject, u also must know how the british kept us captured.. by making us feel inferior.. and i don’t think we’ve ever been able to get over it..

  11. परंतु आजादी के 60 साल बाद हिन्दुस्तान की झांकी कुछ उलट पुलट हो नहीं गई है? आपको नहीं लगता?

  12. Like IHM, I personally don’t think there’s anything wrong with exposure to foreign cultures and history but I think Rs. 1 lakh is too much…Also, since all parents cannot afford this amount, what happens to the feelings of students who can’t go? Schools should only organize trips in which everyone can participate…

    Reema, I think these days most parents allow their daughters to go on trips too…Gone are the days when only boys were allowed to go…

  13. Its good that students will get in touch with foreign culture .. helps get over the narrow mindedness gripping the hardcore culture puritans
    But 1 lakh .. thats some serious dough ! and i doubt its some educational tour
    its sounds more like an outdoor picnic of some hi-fi private school.

  14. Completely agree with you…

    BTW I sucked in Social Studies.. I somehow could not remember anything in history and Geography was totally over the top!!! 😛

  15. I dont see the point of going abroad for relieving all the stress and strain of life..There are numerous places in India which are so serene and tranquil that you will feel like you have just rejuvenated yourselves. I always believe that to let out the stress and strains of life all you have to do is to silently sit and contemplate..meditate and focus only on the will be surprised by the results..really..

    that songs is one of my favorites… gives me goosebumps listening to this one..but my fav fav patriotic song is Kar Chale hum fida from Haqeeqat..its bone-chilling..a kind of chill runs down my spine…

  16. Some people just cannot come out of their ‘phoren’ glitz and glamour. It is only after a long time of living in such places that people tend to open their coloured glasses and have a normal ‘view’ – Some things are better learnt the hard way. And about the ‘costly’ excursion – it is quite customary for the rich to spoil their kids by throwing money anyway – this is just one more way!

    Destination Infinity

  17. I dont think theres anything wrong in it. You could atleast learn the difference between all the cultures. You could learn about our country anytime and I guess this is a one time opportunity for those kids ! Let them enzaai and come.

  18. “my son (I don’t think many parents will send their daughters to Europe by spending 1 lakh!) has gone on Europe tour” … 🙂 I Second this!

    Anyways whoever, boys or girls, 1 lakh at the age of 15 is pointless. I think you should really take the child across the length and breadth of India first!

  19. Err.. I don’t think I get the point that you are trying to make here Reema. How does touring Europe or any other land outside India makes one less Indian & deserving of being labelled as “not Indian enough” or “ignorant about India”? The trip is not compulsory, right? So those who want to go & can afford will go. This is not something new; in my days at school also these kinda trips to UK, Europe, Singapore etc. were quite common in many schools here & a number of my friends from those school went. These kinda trips just broadens the focus & perspective of a child/teen.

    And is one Indian only when (s)he knows all of Indian history, mythology, folklore/legends, read the 4 vedas & 12 upnishads? I don’t think so! Be it someone Indian or from some other country or culture, the human mind learns most about that particular subject which appeals to it most. A number of my friends don’t know as much about Indian history (or world history) or mythology but know quite a lot more than me about other subjects like civil rights, Indian law, technology, mathematics, etc. So are they less Indian than me?

    To some people of older generation, technology is the path laid down by devil, its not Indian way & being more knowledgeable about technology gives them the impression that the person knows less about India. Is that true? You yourself are an avid consumer of technology, so ask yourself! 🙂

    • It is a very uncommon thing and first of its kind for me and my hometown. Well I have compared knowing Indian culture to knowing its history and geography not mathematics or technology. And we have students in GOVT primary schools who do not know the significance of 2nd Oct even. I think spending so much money at this age to learn some other culture is a wastage of money!

  20. Jagriti is a special movie for me, it was one of few movies my parents allowed me to watch when I was at school. Also, its one very sentimental movie. As for this song, for a long time I used to think lyrics f second sentence of this song are: ismein railway, tilak aur lohen hai, yeh dharti hai balidaan ki. It was much later I found out the correct lyrics.

    As for sending students abroad is not necessary but its harmless. Schooling is not education always but travel can be education provided it doesn’t interfere in schooling,

    I know of a NGO which actually send 2 kids (from poor families of course) who performed best abroad every year. You should see the kids when they get back. Not to mention, its a huge motivation for kids to perform well, pay attention to school in their hard, dreary life which is full of many responsibilities. I concede abroad excursions by schools are different, but they have huge potential to be educating. School curriculum isn’t only thing we need for being educated or it just makes us vain, studious people without real education.

  21. “I guess, to be able to boast that “my son (I don’t think many parents will send their daughters to Europe by spending 1 lakh!) has gone on Europe tour” to relatives and neighbors is priceless. Telling friends and that kid on the block who studies in a less prestigious school that “I have seen the Eiffel Tower and the Colosseum” is such a boost to the ego and image! Because I guess touring India is not “cool” enough!!”

    That sums it all up… doesn’t it… ?!! Sadly!

  22. I don’t think there is anything wrong with taking high school students – it will broaden their minds, (if the trip is done well and not just treated as an opportunity to boast) – but I doubt middle school students are old enough to appreciate much, esp when it comes to Europe, and a lot of the fun is in historical sights, museums etc. For younger students, I think a less expensive trip within India is fine.

  23. you know wat… i recently completed my B.E in chennai(Tamil Nadu) but still have’nt toured many places in India… the states i have been to are…. Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra..(only south) tats it 😦

    i dont mean tat international tours are invaluable.. but before that.. students must tour all the other parts of our country(there are a lot of interesting places)

  24. spending 1 lakh fr an excursion at school level is unheard of!! but parents buy this kind of stuff so that they are in the same league of the haves and of course as u said to boast abt their kids trip to europe. It’s not totally a waste of money but it’s not actually needed..

  25. I quite like your blog. Honestly though I have not seen all of it yet. On this topic I feel that there is nothing worng with a trip abroad at the age of 15 specially since it is guided and students are accompanied by the teachers. The thing which bothers you most I feel is that spending 1 lakh at the age of 15 for a foriegn trip. But that is your outlook. There are others who have probably spent more on holidaying in India itself. The age has nothing to do with the cost of going on a trip. Is it okay to spend that much money at 21 yrs or 25 yrs ? It is an optional trip and those who can afford, probably will. I would rather send my son/daughter (yes, I would send her) on a School trip to Europe and spend 1 lakh at the age of 15 than let them go alone or with college friends at the age of 21 as a School trip is much more controlled and safe. And just because you are going on a foreign trip does not mean that you will not learn about or not visit Indian cities to learn about our great country.

  26. hi .. New to the blogsphere.. but have been following ur blog for sometime… I live in “Europe” more specifically UK and I have always thought that India is fast progressing and trying to ape the west while people here are so awed by our culture, our food, everything.. I dont want to turn this comment into a blog.. but can i blog abt this from my experiences and link it this blog ???

  27. Well, I really do agree with you there, Reema.
    And it’s not the 1 lakh that matters; even if it’s 10k, I’d still agree with you

    I don’t think they’ll ‘learn’ anything in a one-month ‘educational tour’…they’ll just enjoy the whole trip and come back n boast about the big cities, lovely food, amazing people, lovely roads, expensive vehicles, the forward culture and all that. At the most, it’ll turn them more contemptuous of India.

    “Exposure” to the whole of Europe in a month can only be on the entertainment side; if it should provide them something worthwhile towards life and experiences, they should be out there on their own, at least for a year or half, studying or working — only that’ll teach them the differences (pros and cons) of the life and lifestyles, of Europe Vs India; going with friends, taken care of and supported throughout by teachers wont!

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