Breathtaking

Facts are an irritant where there is faith,that’s why Sri Sri links Naxalism to govt schools

Written by The Indian Express | Published: March 22, 2012 3:17:43 am

Facts are an irritant where there is faith,that’s why Sri Sri links Naxalism to govt schools

He is the guru with the self-foisted double honorific. He works tirelessly for a just and humane international order and other nice things. To his followers,he’s The One Who Can Speak No Wrong. But Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s insight into government schools,with due respect to His Holiness,fails to impress. It began as a declamation on why government should get out of running schools and colleges and why all educational institutions must be privatised. An interesting economic argument,given what the government usually does with the schools it runs. But the spectacle of a free market seer did not last long. For,at the heart of his suggestion is a bizarre theory: government schools are breeding grounds of extremists. In his own words: it is often seen that those who are in government schools take to Naxalism and violence; it does not happen in private schools as these are driven by a sense of ideals.

Ravi Shankar’s sermon goes to show how facts are usually an irritant where there’s faith. What else can explain this weird leap of logic? Yes,there are several things wrong with government schools — from abysmal infrastructure to absentee teachers. But to say that these classrooms breed violence and Naxalism is plain daft. More so,when it comes from someone whose programmes,as per his website,“in a mere 30 years… raised the quality of life for participants in 151 countries”. Last year,when Anders Behring Breivik shot down youngsters in Norway,Ravi Shankar wrote on intolerance and the fear psychosis but did not think it necessary to look at the shooter’s resume to find out which school he went to.

Ravi Shankar was part of the anti-corruption brotherhood last year. His fellow travellers,Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev,are trying to get used to life beyond prime-time TV. Maybe Sri Sri Ravi Shankar should revert to his own primer and take a couple of deep breaths — and collect a few facts — before starting a sermon.

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