Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Casual versus formal

October 01, 2014

Isn’t it preposterous that people are still evaluated by what they wear and not by the skills they possess under their belt? Recently, a teacher in Chhattisgarh became victim of bureaucratic hypocrisy and was insulted at a teachers’ felicitation ceremony. He was overtly rebuked by one babu for attending the function in casuals and was told that by doing so, he had rather insulted Governor who was the host.

The event was organised to felicitate 26 teachers including this victim, but ironically the top official, instead of praising his works which bagged him the honour, pulled him up for arriving in casuals.

Unfortunately, the official did not even realise what he did after he finished his utterances. There was no regret in his eyes after that episode. Instead, he looked around in arrogance as if he had done a great job for which his minister and seniors would appreciate him.

Now, should an official, who himself reached to such a position after clearing civil services exam, be stickler for clothing? Did he not learn in his training period to respect all, especially the ones hailing from humble background? The teacher, whom he insulted, hailed from a small village. Very rarely you will see villagers draped in formals, although exceptions are everywhere. Even many urbanites can’t make a difference between formal and casual.

And is it not enough that a teacher, living in a remote village, is revolutionising education sector through his dedicated efforts? Is it not possible that he might be one of those who believe in ‘simple living, high thinking’ mantra and is preaching the same to his students?

Even the highly erudite and successful lot across the globe has overcome this bourgeois mindset and preferred attending the so-called formal events in casuals. Nobody will forget Steve Jobs – the Apple Inc co-founder – who always wore a black mock turtleneck – in every event, let howsoever significant it might be.
The list of cult-breakers is long and Chhattisgarh’s babu too might be au fait with it, but he doesn’t want to be taught. 

Chhattisgarh is just 13-year-old State. Education sector is still growing here. Though there is no dearth of fund for this sector, the government has much to do in rural pockets. Still, a major challenge for it is to ensure availability of teachers in ill-facilitated schools located in distant areas, especially in Maoist-hit regions where none wants to go.

In these adverse conditions, if some teachers keep alive the government’s hope of taking light of education to every nook and corner of the State, then isn’t it a prime responsibility of the officials, who prefer sitting in their air conditioner rooms instead of trying to know the ground reality by visiting all such places, to stop imposing their whims on the humble gurus and ensure providing them with better education infrastructure?

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