Editorial for Footprints July 2015

Posted on Jul 2, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

How to be alive to the world?


Having heralded a new academic year, it’s time we took some serious decisions for ourselves. New Year resolutions are notorious for their short life. So let our very first resolution be to honour every resolution we make, by practicing them as honestly as we can.

One of my current concerns is the massive influence of technology on the young generation. While technology has given us many benefits, it has its negative fall-outs as well. Let me try to explain.

The visual media has overpowered us so much that the attention span of children is shrinking rapidly. They do not have the patience to listen and learn. They understand only the fleeting images on the screen. This is a dangerous trend.

The habit of reading is also on the decline. Students have access to several newspapers in English and Kannada in our libraries. Similarly we provide a large number of magazines of varied interests in English, Kannada and Hindi. The percentage of students and teachers who use these reading materials is going down steadily. This is a sad commentary on the present generation. Mark Twain said it so succinctly – “The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read”

Look at another aspect. The children who are in higher classes are focused clearly on admission to professional courses. They are prepared to spend any amount of time, and travel any distance for their coaching. Parents too are prepared to spend any amount of money for tuition and coaching. In fact parents spend more than the tuition fee of our School for their children’s coaching classes. This is the sad reality today.

The same students do not want to read anything outside of their text books. They think that it’s a waste of time. They want to spend every minute cramming whatever is staple diet for the entrance tests. It is indeed a rat-race. What we shouldn’t forget is that even if we win the race we will still be rats.

What is the use of a professional admission if the student concerned has no awareness of the world around, has no clear views about our democracy, doesn’t care two hoots for the environment around, and remain absolutely impervious to the harsh realities of the immediate society with no sense of identification with their neighbourhoods? All these come only if they read extensively. Parents also should ensure an academic culture at home wherein both parents and children spend some time reading newspapers and magazines which deal with current affairs. This is supremely important to shape their thinking, attitude and overall perspectives towards men and matters.

We are really concerned that our young generation sees success only in terms of the money they can make on completing their studies. Parents too seem to define success in material terms alone. The net result is an erosion of our societal values and sense of civility. We are really afraid that our intelligent youngsters are going to be sucked into the cesspool of greed, corruption, nepotism, insensitivity and selfishness.

I would therefore like to invoke the conscience of our young people, and tell them not to insulate themselves from the realities of the world around, and try their best to develop a sense of social affinity and commitment. Let them take a decision not just to study better and behave better, but also to do something for the community during their life on this earth. That is the least that we can do, for all what society is providing us today.

Remember, an honest man is the noblest work of God. It’s a worthy goal to reach. Let every young person try to reach there.

Mathew C. Ninan