Friday 30 May 2008

A Collective Sin of Our Time: Need to teach Humanities.

A collective sin of our time
--By P Venugopal from
Mumbai: A promising Naval officer murders a young professional in cold blood out of sexual jealousy, the body is cut into easily transportable pieces, his lady love goes out to shop for a bag to carry the body pieces away.Delhi: A reputed dentist hammers his daughter to death to conceal his extra-marital affairs with a professional aide. What did society gain by educating these well-placed individuals at the cost of the public exchequer? Crimes like liquor-induced murders, atrocities on women and dowry harassment are reported commonly among poor and unlettered families. Such crimes are now spreading to highly educated and elite sections. This is a cause for serious concern. Education is not merely acquisition of knowledge and skills. It is supposed to subdue man’s animal instincts and groom him as a decent, cultured human being. If an educated man behaves like a beast, what use education? In the first instance, the Navy man used the skills in man-to-man combat and use of knives imparted as part of his naval training to overpower and murder a youth. In the second case, the dentist used his expertise with clinical instruments to take away two lives. In both the cases, they used their professional skills to perpetrate serious crimes. This should make society sit up and think.According to official statistics, crime rate in urbanised societies is on the rise. Love affairs and sexual causes are the top motives for most murders and culpable homicides. In olden times, moral teaching was an inalienable part of education up to the high school level. Teachers themselves were living examples of the ethical values they taught. They were a source of motivation and inspiration for their wards to lead a worthy life. Great teachers moulded great minds. On the home turf, parents were the role models for children. Most children growing up in modern society are deprived of the positive influence of ideal teachers and enlightened parents. Children are forced to be an instrument to realize the unfulfilled ambition of their parents—-to become a doctor, engineer or civil servant and get rich fast through means fair or foul. Fewer parents explore the real aptitude of their children before they are compelled to follow a particular course of study. The inevitable result is the children not only don’t evince any real interest in studies, but adopt a rebellious and defiant attitude once they grow up and become independent. They don’t mind going to any length to realize their burning ambition. This is the reason why more and more people from the so-called educated strata of society are landing up in jails, spoiling their future and corrupting the society. If this tendency is not nipped in the bud, nation’s future will be in peril. There is no short-cut to it other than inculcating values in children in the formative period. This task cannot be left to the government alone. Teachers, parents and cultural bodies do have an equal responsibility in moulding the future generation. Dr Rajesh Talwar and Lieutenant Jerome Mathew are products of the syndrome `knowledge without character’, which the Father of the Nation described as a `collective sin of our time’.

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