(from book “Hindi Patti- Patan Ki Partal” – publisher, Medha Books)
Do you know the difference between Miami Gold and California Gold? Had the word ‘Gold’ not been associated with these expressions, we would not even have thought of them as colours. Whether or not the average Indian would ever be able to reach Miami or California, globalization has ensured that these and other equally exotic places have reached the household of the average Indian through a variety of merchandise like cars, garments, cosmetics, etc.. If you have to choose the colour of your car from a show room without being able to have a look at them, you would be equally confused when accosted with the names of such fancy colours. For most of us, golden is only one colour and cannot be having different shades associated with different American cities ! We hardly get to hear colours associated with things of the nature or familiar things. Do we hear of sky blue, peacock blue, navy blue, rose pink, scarlet red, bottle green, golden yellow, milk white or even pitch dark these days? All these adjectives or descriptive words have been replaced by exotic and mind boggling words which we do not understand unless the specific shade of colour is shown to us.
The craze for exotic names does not stop here. A look at the names of some of the educational institutions baffle us no end. Thus, we have Saint Vivekanand School (and not Swami Vivekanand), Lord Mahavira Public School (as if he was a famous British Lord) and Lovely Public School (assuming that it is an adjective and not someone’s nick name), to name a few. Even the names of two Metro Stations in Delhi reflect the same confusion – one specific route runs from Central Secretariat to Vishwavidyalaya. Why not Kendriya Sachivalaya to University ? It could also have been Kendriya Sachivalaya to Vishwavidyalaya.
The situation stated above is only a reflection of our confused education system. We are still confused whether to lay more stress on Hindi or on English at school. At the State level, the confusion gets more complicated with vernacular coming in. And then, Sanskrit has to be studied. Moreover, you are falling behind others if you are not studying one foreign language like French or German. What does the child do ? After toiling so much on learning languages, where does he have the time and energy for other subjects which are increasingly becoming detailed and difficult at the school level itself ? Even after slogging throughout his school days, when he is ready to enter college, he discovers to his horror that his total marks at the Board level do not mean much because his eligibility for college admission is determined by the aggregate of the best four subjects which, again, are to be decided not by the student but by the college authorities.
It will be clear that education changes colour at each stage in the Indian scenario. The rosy picture presented at the time of admission to say, Bluebells School transforms rapidly into dull shades of uncertainty and confusion during the child’s passage through school, college, university and higher education. There are non-descript foreign colleges/ universalities which lure the students into their laps with fancy degrees and even more fanciful dreams. Our craze for anything foreign makes the students easy preys in their hands. With the sure belief that anything on the other side is greener, we take the plunge. By the time we see red, it is too late. Not only that, with the ugly face of racism emerging in the foreign lands, our students are being beaten black and blue by those who are turning green with envy at their progress. If we are not acknowledging these glaring facts or denying them vocally, we are telling a white lie.
Coming back to our study of colours, it is not so important for us to differentiate between Miami Gold and California Gold. It is time for us to see things in their true colours and not allow the colourable exercise of power by the powers that be influence us. Let us realize that the rainbow of our childhood days contains all the colours that we need to paint our lives and imagination and that the rainbow is the imaginary bridge that will lift us from the mundane level and propel us to a level where the sky is the limit. The time has come for us to show our true colours to the whole world.
(Translation from Hindi by Sh. A.K.Sen )