Outlook towards and perception of society’s constituents, especially the currently most-talked-about caste-based components, have got morphed and twisted to suit the selfish gains of all who matter in the land. Scholars quoting scriptures on several occasions to remind people that castes were originally determined by virtue of a person earning a livelihood adopting a specific calling and not by virtue of birth in a family of that calling has fallen on deaf ears. There are no signs of society reviving that understanding of caste system given its rampaging effect on everyone in the land. In times of distant past, 64 vidyas (techniques), each of which would take a normal person two to two-and-a-half-years to accomplish, formed an adequate span of skills for earning a comfortable livelihood or, in other words, enabling a person growing into adulthood to stand on one’s own feet as it were. The span of vidyas included music, acting, painting, medicine…, agriculture, engineering, jewellery, tailoring and what have you.
The time-honoured profile of family and the gurukula as an institution of learning having yielded place to the education system of our days marked by schooling from pre-primary all the way to the University stages, the air is abuzz with voices of disillusion and disenchantment expressed by both cognoscenti and lay sections of the land’s population.
Advocates of doomsday happening in foreseeable future, in a reaction of sorts to the current goings on across the country, being lately witnessed in Mysuru too, are entitled to their viewpoint, given the steeply rising episodes of lawless conduct of the land’s masses as reported in the media. How long the juxtaposed viewpoint of optimists, though blinkered, that the land’s people are resilient and the nation shall not disintegrate, holds water is anybody’s guess. In this context, the administration owes it to the land’s people and to itself an urgent revisiting of the aforementioned schooling route to impart the 64 vidyas of a distant past and enormously expanded span of arts, science and technology, all amounting to the skill factor.
The current crop of the country’s headcount mirror the good, bad and indifferent sides to the schooling that is currently in place. The skill-set to ensure a sustained forward motion, according to knowledgeable circles, needs to be raised several notches. Their lament is that the present schooling is far short of imparting that skill-set, resulting in a steady rise of both unemployed and unemployable citizens across the land.