WORLD OF WOMEN
While educating and empowering them
I was very much delighted to know that a national seminar is proposed to be organised by Ekal Sansthan on “Education for empowerment”, a gateway to develop Vanvasi and rural Bharat. I assumed there would be good discussion and something valuable will come out from the seminar which will be useful to save rural and Vanvasi Bharat. The place of development will come next. Development of any individual, society or section guarantees the survival of them. Only the survived one can go on the path of development.
As far as, the Vanvasi and rural areas of Bharat are concerned, it is not survived in their original shape, size and vibration. We can say that both areas of country are on the verge of collapse. The planners and makers of ‘India’ not Bharat, have already ruined its culture. Today nobody wants to live in rural or Vanvasi areas of the country. I remember thirty years back one seminar was held in Delhi. Speakers did show their concern of Vanvasi culture. They said that Vanvasi life should not be disturbed. They should not be forced to imitate the life and education pattern of urban areas specially the cities. The speakers were of the views of saving the specialties of the life pattern of Vanvasi and villages also, which have preserved the seeds of Indian culture and human values.
Before reviewing the strategies for bridging the gender gap in Vanvasi education, I must concentrate on the objectives of education and meaning of empowerment. To my knowledge, education is not only for bread earning, it is for making a man or woman, responsible human being. Who can think and work not for oneself but for the families and ultimately for mankind. In Hindu way of life man should observe four purusharthas—dharma, artha, kama and moksha. We all know that dharma, i.e. duty has vital role in our life. We urn our rights while investing our duties. Money comes next to dharma. Everybody needs source of livelihood. Next is kama, fulfillment of desire and after that moksha. Education enables man or woman to perform four purusharthas. Education makes a man or woman a sensible human being who knows his or her duty towards family, society, nation and humanity. Education needs its vast definition to be followed while making laws, establishing schools and prescribing syllabus.
Now coming to empowerment, it is also not for enabling a person to earn his or her livelihood i.e. only economic empowerment. It is vital part of human life, but human being needs more than that. Social empowerment is also the need of mankind, because he or she is a social animal. Empowerment should also be used with its vast objects and meaning. Even empowering individual sentiments are required to bring happiness and satisfaction in his or her life.
Coming to the subject, “strategies for bridging the gender gap in tribal education”, we must keep in mind that in Vanvasi areas the gender gap is minimum in its tradition also. In the upbringing processes of boys and girls there have been least differences and gap in practice. In marriage also there is no dowry system or torturing the bride for not bringing dowry with her. There has been no practice of parda. Both have been working together in fields and farms, climbing on the trees, swimming and other activities. In social customs both have been enjoying equal status. There was no bar for woman to enter in any trade. They also used to plough fields unlike the non-Vanvasi areas.
While imparting vocational training to boys and girls, there should be no difference. Modern education system has snatched away the traditional skills from girls and boys both. If we want that the Vanvasi life should be preserved, the facilities for life should reach there, but their lifestyles and values should not be disturbed. Modern education system is producing boys and girls as money making machines only. Higher and costlier the education, high package comes from that. We have come to realise that the young people earning heavy packages are not leading a happier life. They have no time to be happier. They do not get time for family, friends and themselves also. After all ultimate aim of the human life is to get happiness.
Now-a-days it has been realised very seriously that there must be some special courses for girls. She is not equal or carbon copy of boy. God has sent her with special responsibilities. If she is special, it also requires special curriculum of education. How far bridging hierarchies of social access is concerned, hierarchies do exit in society. Governments and social organisations have exercised a lot to bring the gender gap in urban and rural areas. Vanvasi areas of the country are scattered from hilly areas to coastal areas. They are living in mountains and forests also. Naturally they have learnt to live in these areas from generations. Education and empowerment must bring changes in their life patterns. They must be able to see the world, but their specialities should not be ruined. Non-Vanvasi society has to learn something from Vanvasi way of life. I think they are much more independent, empowered and enjoying the leisure time also. They are closer to Nature which inculcates self-confidence in them. Their women are also empowered and self-depended. That’s why the chances of assaults by men are lesser in Vanvasi areas. They must learn something from non-Vanvasis, but while preparing syllabus for their education one must think repeatedly that their independence and natural life patterns should not be ruined. We must first define the word empowerment and education also. Empowered person should be happy and helpful in empowering others also.