By Mahalakshmi R.

Education is the manifestation of the perfection already in man’ says Swami Vivekananda, a Hindu Monk. When we probe through the quote, we understand that in this world there is no one who is uneducated; a person’s survival skill set is itself an education. Study of many civilizations like Mesopotamian, Indus valley and many more stand as an evidence to prove that there never existed an uneducated society.  People call the downtrodden or the poor, who have not attended school, as uneducated. The tribal people or the cannibals, who live in the interior of the forest, are considered as uneducated by few. We should really feel sorry for our ignorance, as the tribal or the cannibals can predict natural calamities and weather changes better than our advanced technologies.

According to Albert Einstein, ‘Education is not the learning of facts but the training of the mind to think’, so this quote very well proves that bookish knowledge will not suffice the requirement of survival. It is mandatory for every individual to develop logical thinking, reasoning and creativity skill sets. These skill sets are present in every human being and it just depends on how they apply it in real life. Many people do not understand the difference between education and literacy. Literacy is only the ability to read, write and understand content and it is just a means of acquiring knowledge, but education is holistic development of human personality.

For instance, as mentioned in Siva Purana, the ancient society was divided into different groups based on their occupation like cobbler, carpenter, blacksmith, masons, farmers and many more. Generation after generation the skill sets of each and every occupation were passed on by the elders to their children. For example, Aranmula Kannadi is a handmade metal alloy mirror that is specially made by a community of people in Kerala. The composition of the alloy is still maintained as Vishwakarma secret. In the same way, Mughal architectural style is congenital skills of architects in Agra. But people may argue to consider these artisans as uneducated because of lack of literacy. We should understand even this craft works involve calculations and design strategies.

To signify about education with reference to history, there are no written facts about the plan and execution of Egyptian pyramid construction, but it still stands erect. When we research further more we even get evidence on how water was stored for a longer period during summer and grains were stored in a safe manner for winter. Egyptian mummies were evidence of strategies that were used to preserve things from getting decayed. Should we not consider these skill sets as education? People consider about modern medical treatment as the best for human recovery from diseases, but there are evidences to prove that Saint named Sushruta , in the ancient India had performed surgeries and they were successful, this is evident in Sushruta Samhita a script that was written after centuries of his survival. Even now, at this Covid pandemic situation, it is proven that the Siddha medicines proposed by the Indian Saints are very successful to cure and help to recover in a faster pace as well as increase the immunity to fight against the pathogens. It is also well depicted in the ancient epics Ramayana and Mahabharat that education was provided to the youngsters both in formal and informal manner. It is mentioned that Gurukulam pattern of learning was followed, where they obtained formal education from an Aacharya and life skills were learnt by serving the Gurus. If these learning procedure are not considered as education then what else has to be proved as getting educated?

Furthermore, when we talk about multiple-intelligence theory of Howard Gardner, it doesn’t relate only to academic literacy, it deals with many other skills that are acquired by practice, observation and lifestyle. People appreciate multifaceted personalities, who could do many activities simultaneously. Are these abilities acquired only through literacy? From the above arguments and evidences, we could infer that every individual deserve respect as they posses’ unique innate knowledge and the entire society is ever educated.