It is the last day of the year and the decade. Time to take a moment and look back at time gone by as we at pwhy step into our 10th year. Time to allow ourselves a moment to celebrate the achievements and successes of the years gone by and I must admit there is heaps to be joyful about: the little school bags that year after year got filled with new books as children passed to the higher classes, the bright eyed youngsters who held out their Board results with pride, the tiny boarding school stars who topped their respective classes beating every odd in life, the little once broken hearts that now beat with confidence ready to take on life, the very special young adults who have a home to call their own and do not need to wander the streets or live in fear of abuse.
But that is not all as none of this would not have been possible without so many wonderful souls who never gave up seeing with their hearts and made all of it possible. As I look back on the decade gone by I am filled with an overwhelming feeling of gratitude that no words can express, but then for those who see with their hearts are words necessary?
An acquaintance dropped by yesterday. He is one of those strange persons who seem to be donning a new hat each time you meet. Last time we met he was involved in defending water rights worldwide and this time he handed me a card with the acronym MDG engraved on it. MDG, I was soon to discover were the lofty Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations and our friend was meant to work on seeing how to involve big businesses, again worldwide, in the game or how to make CSR programmes relevant. Why did I catch myself smiling. I guess because once again I was faced with the bizmess of giving! My mind went back to one of my earlier posts written almost half a decade ago.
Anyway I enjoy teasing this person about his new avatars and we began a gentle banter about his new role. I asked him what the famed goals were and how he planned to involve the so called big businesses in this. We never got further than Goal 2: Achieve Universal Primary Education. Somehow the playful mood that we had begun with turned serious and grave. We were now treading grounds I knew and had strong opinions about. This was no matter to kid about. I asked him how he envisaged involving large business houses and what if anything had he done in India? It seemed not much.
I was surprised at how militant I became. I guess I had found an interlocutor to share my extreme views on the matter with. I launched into a long diatribe about universal primary education. Education for all could only happen if state run schools became centres of excellence and the obvious choice for all – my dream of a common school. And maybe it was time that we in India ended the charade of having 33% as a pass percentage for school examinations as 33% got you nowhere. It was time to end the caste rid society of schools and come up with a school every child could attend.
Education for All targets the poorer strata of society and yet when we look around we realise that it is the poor children who have been let down again and again. In spite of constitutional guarantees, children from weaker sections are not given the enabling environment they need to grow and take their place in the sun. And what is infuriating is that they need so little. We have proved that in our ten years of existence as with very little help our children have sailed through school. And our little boarding schools stars quietly slipped into the top position of their respective classes without much ado. Imagine if all our kids could be given the right environment!
Universal Primary Education can and will only make sense if the adjective quality is added to the goal. If not then it will remain a charade played to satisfy questionable agendas or meet statistical compulsions.
I had to share this and the pictures below with all of you. They were taken last week on the day when our little boarding school stars were ready to come home for their winter break. It is heartwarming and touching to see the joy and happiness written all over their little faces.
All theses little kids would have been living in despair had not the God of lesser beings decided to intervene. Thank heavens he did.
It is Xmas morning and I pondered a long time about what would be the subject of my Xmas post. Silly of me as the answer was evident, it had to be Lolita.
Lolita landed on our little planet some weeks back and from the moment she stepped into our lives and hearts she brought with her the true spirit of Xmas: compassion, generosity and above all huge dollops of love. From the instant she walked everything was imbued with the magic of Xmas as we fell under her spell. Everything that had seemed impossible became incredibly easy and miracles after miracles sprung out of her invisible bag.
Lolita is someone who can only see with her heart and that makes her truly remarkable. You just have to murmur or wish or actually simply think it and it is fulfilled.
As I sit on this blessed morning I am filled with a deep sense of gratitude. I have far too often complained and whined about the puny obstacles that have come in the way of this extraordinary journey called project why and never sat down to think of the wonderful and abundant occurrences that have made this journey possible. Today I realise how fortunate we have been as every little impediment was the door real life Angels took to enter our world. And there have been so many. Lolita is one of them.
From this day on, when Xmas morn dawns on project why, we will always remember the pure unadulterated love that this incredible woman showered on us
To Lolita and to all the Angels that have landed in our lives I say Thank You!
Merry Xmas to all!
Will I be safe tomorrow, is the question every little girl in India is asking herself today. The reason are the weak laws that protect them from abuse and ignominy. Almost two decades ago a young 14 year old was molested by a powerful man, someone she looked upon to as he held the key to fulfilling her dreams, that of being a sports star. Twenty years later the molester was handed over a sentence: 1000 rs fine and six months imprisonment. But the story is not that simple: in the twenty years the powerful and heinous support system had tried every trick in the book to protect the perpetrator and ensure that his life goes on unhindered. Young Ruckiha’s family was hounded, she was tormented and persecuted till she took the extreme step, that of ending her young life.
Today a nation is in shock and determined to see that Ruchika’s tormentor is brought to justice and I like everyone else want to see that day dawn. But the story does not end there. Every day, in homes and elsewhere young children are subjected to abuse by powerful predators and no law or kind heart is there to protect them. The powerful wheels of our patriarchal system are set in motion and again and again the perpetrator is protected and shielded while the victim is isolated and more often that not condemned. The child after a few feeble attempts that are met with suspicion and disbelief, locks herself in a abject solitude carrying scars that will and can never heal. Some, like Ruchika take an extreme step and put an end once for all to a life of torment. Others simply carry on nursing scars no one cares to see as protectors have turned predators.
Yes we want justice for Ruchika, but we also want to see all our children safe. We want justice for all those who have no voice, for all those who are thrown into a well of loneliness by an insensitive and feudal society who thrives in protecting misplaced notions like honour and reputation. We want a legal system that understands the damage an apparently innocuous gesture can do to a child and protect that child. But why do I feel that we still have to wait a long time.