Sunday, July 31, 2011

What does 'taking pride in being an Indian' mean?

Anyone working on curriculum or materials or education in general, ends up wanting children to take pride in being an Indian. But what does 'taking pride in being an Indian' mean? Though the idea of 'taking pride' can be questioned, here are some things a person 'proud of being an Indian' would do / not do (not in any particular order):

  • celebrate the uniqueness and successes of those who are 'different' from us - whether belonging to different religion, ethnicity, language, region, profession...
  • not spit out in the open anywhere (surprised? well, this is a leading cause of diseases like TB still being active and killing people)
  • stop complaining about what is wrong (hoping someone else will do something about it) and start taking small steps to make things better, and also urging others to do the same (there's power in numbers!)
  • not restrict their sense of identity to a state or a region or a sub-set of India...
  • taking the responsibility of being at one's best (whether in health, or talent or work or socializing) so that one can ADD to what is already good in India 
  • taking responsibility of keeping one's immediate surroundings at the best we can (in terms of things being well-organized and clean/hygienic as well as in an 'ecological' sense) 
  • not simply keep harping on the 'golden days' of India's past but be aware of what we are at present... and hence 
  • not be afraid to face what is really wrong, accept it and work to changing it (e.g. recognize the 'ugly Indian' who jumps lines, is rude and selfish, flouts rules and grins when he gets away with it. Or, of course, the bigger issues of poverty, security, discrimination...)

So what does it mean for you, to be a 'proud Indian'?

And once we've sorted it out, how should it reflect in our curriculum, materials, textbooks and classroom processes?