In my class yesterday, I asked my students if they knew where I was from. They didn’t. So I told them I was from Nagaland. Did they know where it was? This time I heard a “yes.” Without any suspicion or doubt about their knowledge of where my homeland was, I enthusiastically asked “where.” Two girls stood up and shyly somewhat unsure, said that Nagaland is in
I was amused and shocked at the same time. It was one of those feelings that you can’t quite give a name. With my very tiny little eyes and typical Asian features, I couldn’t possibly be mistaken to be an African or Nagaland to be in
With a wide smile stuck on my face I told them that I was one of them-- that Nagaland is one of the states in India. Desperate to teach the girls at least some of the basics about their country, I even drew a map of
on the blackboard. It wasn’t anywhere close to being called an Indian map, but thanks to the distinct shape on the right hand side of the map, I was able to show them the part that is called the India North-east India. I then gave them the list of states that come under it– most of the names were completely new to them. For the rest of the class, instead of English I ended up teaching them Geography.
So yes, it ended well enough. The girls learned a little lesson, and I learned a big one. I’m left wondering about the kind of education we are giving these children. What is the worth of this free education anyway? We don’t care if the students know anything about the country they live in, the land that’s their home. Instead, year after year, we keep fighting about portions of “communal flavors” in our text books, and other irrelevant stuff.
Someday, hopefully, we’ll start to worry about what our children should learn, instead of being obsessed about what they should not learn.