My recent visit to my native village, which is nearly 35 kms in the west of Azamgarh district of eastern Uttar Pradesh, has brought mixed feelings of sadness and satisfaction both. Sadness in the sense; that the greed for money has surpassed every other thing. There are hardly any qualms or compunctions for dishonesty or unscrupulousness. The element of immorality has gained sanction and legitimacy in the society. A person who is earning money by any means has obtained all respectability in the society. Thus the ill-gotten money has become the sure cleaner of all sins and crimes.

There was, however, some satisfaction as well, which I derived during my short trip. It was with regard to spread of education across all sections, be it caste Hindus, or Scheduled Castes. Girls-education has picked up very fast. All parents take special care to educate their children and they never hesitate in extending all possible facilities to their wards for good education.

This satisfaction, nevertheless, came with the tinge of remorse because the level of education has gone down abysmally low. Most of students of High School standard cannot write even one simple sentence correctly in their mother tongue-Hindi. Many of them, studying in 9th or 10thstandard, cannot solve even the simplest problems of arithmetic.

Another change that I noticed was that there is a craze for English medium schools; nobody wants to send his/her child in a government school, where all facilities like uniform, mid-day meal, books and stationery, are being provided to all children by the Government. This was unheard of in these days when we were school- going children nearly five decades ago. The fact is that neither there were any schools apart from the government schools nor anybody in the locality was in position to afford such costly education. The number of the government schools was few and far was difficult to locate any school within the radius of many kilometers. It appears that the gravy train of economic growth has also brought the mushroom growth of English medium schools. But the level of education in such schools is so depressing that it would be foolhardy to make any comment on it. (Continued….)


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