Thursday, 19 February 2015

STANDING UP BY CHOICE

You know the recent polls in Delhi which saw the AAP’s rise to power? Well, being a keen observer of politics, I was writing an article about it. During a lecture. (Trust me…it was a biochemistry lecture....oxidation of fatty acids....and I never liked it!!) And I missed my attendance because of it. Shit!!! What was the point of sitting for an hour then!

A friend sitting next to me remarked, “tu likhte reh APP ke baare mein…..”  (You keep on writing about APP).  My attendance being missed didn’t hurt me as much as her comment did. Why this indifference towards your own Government? So much so that you don’t even know the party’s name?

More importantly, I was reminded of an incident that happened a few years ago. It was when I was in standard 10 and something that I’ll never forget.  

Let me first tell you about my class. We were a class of 43 teens (23 girls and 20 boys) with their ever-effective hormones at work. Rebellious, fun-loving and smart. (Personally I think we were the best among all the 4 sections).
For most of the students, social science as a subject was boring. But for me, it was one of my favorite subjects. It gave a wonderful chance to understand the complexities of today's life.

We had this social science teacher in school; Mr. D. K. Pradhan who believed in teaching by example. Short statured, with lots of teaching experience and a silent sense of humor. He allowed us to explore the subject, and ask infinite questions. How? Why? What? 
The lessons might not count from the examination point of view, but they were strong enough to make you question yourself. I think that is what matters. Isn't that the point of teaching? Telling us how to think instead of what to think. 

Once we were reading a chapter on participation of women in politics in the Indian context. Given the kind of people we were, a furious debate started on the reservations for women in the legislative in our country. 14 year old boys and girls fighting about equality.  *sigh*  .
 And boy, I promise you.....We were incredibly loud.

So Mr. Pradhan got up from his chair and started walking towards us. He stopped at every desk and asked a question in a low voice. We couldn’t make out the question. When he came to my desk he asked, “What is your favorite subject in social studies?” Without any hesitation my bench mate answered that her favorite subject was geography. I said ‘Political Science’. He continued this drill with the entire class. 

We were getting uneasy, our whispers now turning into loud noises. Calmly, he then said, “Those who answered political science please stand up.” 



Reader, believe me, I got the biggest shock of my life. Just two out of 23 girls were standing as compared to about 15 boys out of 20. My friend Anu and I. He went on to explain how women of our country shy away from governance, and unless a fair number of women represent us at the Parliament, proper decisions for women can never be possible. Choice matters. The girls hung their heads in shame, and the boys thought they won this debate. That day changed my thinking. I am sure it changed for everyone else too.

 An air of disbelief and an unspoken admiration for our teacher was felt throughout the classroom. 

I think women have become the weaker sex because of their inactions. Otherwise why would 75% of the boys say politics as compared to less than 10% of girls?
                             

 This was a random survey. I hope these stats change for the better. Today’s youth and women in particular have been actively taking part in politics. The rise of AAP is the proof we require in support of the statement. Maybe the numbers are low, but there many others who are willing to risk it all. Who believe that their opinion makes a difference. And sure as hell it does.

I had intended to write this article to emphasise on one of the biggest lessons I had learnt during my school days, but today it is just to thank my teacher. 

I am very sure that all the students who were present in class 10 'C' that day, with their tummies full, just after the recess.......learnt something worth remembering.  

PS: Thank you Anu for allowing me to write this story in my way.(I cannot have a copyright battle with empty pockets :-P)
 Both of us have hosted this story on our blogs. I sincerely hope it creates a difference and changes the opinion of atleast one person.