An email written by the principal of St Xavier’s College in Mumbai to all their students and also put-up on the college website has attracted reactions from educationists, students, and politicians. The principal has not only written this email to all students individually but has also put-up the same on the college website. This was available at this link but the same now gives an error. It seems the same has been removed after lot of criticism.
In this article he has criticised the Gujarat Model of Development while praising UPA’s Rojgar Yojana and Food Security Bill. This has attracted nation’s attention, some praising and some criticizing. People from the Congress Party have praised the actions of the principal while the BJP people have criticised the same. The BJP has even complained against the college and the principal to the Election Commission (EC) on the ground that the college is receiving grants from the Government and hence the action of the principal to impose his individual opinion on the students is improper. The biggest question that is being asked is, is it right and proper on the part of the principal, Dr. Frazer Mascarenhas, to influence the minds of the students by his individual opinion?
Let us ask a fundamental question. What is education and what is the purpose of education? There is a Sanskrit phrase which says, Sa Vidya Ya Vimuktaye. On translation it means, education is that which liberates. It means knowledge is that which frees and liberates an individual. Education is not that which binds and bounds. The purpose of education is not to create any kind of bondage and slavery. The cosmos is expanding and accelerating and hence the individual consciousness and collective consciousness also has to expand and accelerate. We can not keep our consciousness static. We have to make our consciousness dynamic. The purpose of an education institution is to sharpen the intelligence of the students. The purpose of the education institution is to give freedom to the students in all these dimensions – physical, intellectual, emotional, psychological, social, economical, and spiritual. The goal is to see that every student is capable of thinking and deciding in his life on his own intelligence. The purpose is to make him a Swayambhu, one who is self-reliant, self-sufficient, and self-fulfilled.
The elders – parents, teachers, etc. can share their experiences with the children and the students but under no circumstance should they impose their opinions. In my opinion what the principal has done is not fatherly, and what the college has done is not saintly. We are not here to massacre the intelligence of the students. And all our actions and efforts should lead us towards “Enlightened Education” and “Enlightened World”.