A Self-Sufficient Civilization

In 2017 Dr Claude Alvares gave an entertaining, hard hitting talk at NIT Kozhikode about the disconnect between the subjects we study in college and the reality that we inhabit outside the classroom. We are a self-sufficient civilization, said Dr Alvares towards the end of this talk. This and many of the themes he highlights during this talk, I think, will be of great interest to everyone who reads the SIDH blog posts. Hope you like the video and it makes you think in some new directions.

The following are some interesting quotes from the YouTube video that is linked below:

Indian education is a massive transfer of resources. From unemployed people (students) to unemployable people (people running educational institutions).

Best of human beings (who come out on top of the educational rat-race) should be at the service of society not at the service of corporations.

I tell all youngsters to please take a mechanical attitude to their studies. Because if you take a serious attitude to your studies, you will have to be committed. . . . Committed, means committed to a mental asylum! No normal young man would want to study any of the garbage they teach in universities today.

You do whatever needs to be done (for passing your study) but keep your learning in your own hands. The only way to do that is to move around in the learning environment. The learning environment is no longer the university.

If you wasted time in educational institutions and not in learning you will be the loser. The educational institution will give a fresh coat of paint to the buildings and continue. But you will lose out.

(Our country has very strong traditions) Traditions like: feeding people – we share food (unlike europe). Harminder Sahib 70,000 people/day, Dharmasthala 80,000 people/day. Language – 50s and 60s we thought everybody would be talking english- TV was all english. But our languages are still going strong. . . . Look at our respect for our food, language and clothes.

Focus on your strengths. Look at the diversity. Look at the richness. Till 1970 there were 3,00,000 varieties of rice being grown in India. These were all created by peasants and tribals. Rice research institute preserves some 62,000 varieties even today. We have 2500 varieties of brinjals.

About Claude Alvares: (From Wikipedia)

Claude Alphonso Alvares is an Indian environmentalist based in Goa. Alvares is the editor of the Other India Press and Director of the Goa Foundation, an environmental monitoring action group that has filed successful public interest litigation cases. Alvares is a member of the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF). He is also a member of the Supreme Court Monitoring Committee (SCMC) on Hazardous Wastes constituted by the Supreme Court of India.

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