Knowledge And Wisdom. Bertrand Russell Essay. Reintroduced By P.S.Remesh Chandran. Sahyadri Books, Trivandrum.

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Knowledge And Wisdom. Bertrand Russell Essay. Reintroduced By P. S. Remesh Chandran.

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum.

By PSRemeshChandra, 10th Feb 2012.  Short URL http://nut.bz/1kqrxzyw/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Essays

 

Bertrand Russell was a British philosopher who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950. Roads To Freedom, Principia Mathematica, Marriage And Morals, The Conquest Of Happiness, etc, are a few of his famous writings. Here he distinguishes between and defines knowledge and wisdom. Life experiences of a person process his knowledge into wisdom. Knowledge, comprehensive vision, pursuit of purpose, emancipation or freedom and impartiality in opinions and views are what constitute wisdom.

Wisdom evolves from comprehensive vision and sense of proportion. Knowledge may sometimes lead to unwisdom.

Knowledge and wisdom are different things. Wisdom does not come immediately with knowledge. As Tennyson observed, ‘Knowledge comes but wisdom lingers.’ Knowledge may sometimes even lead to unwisdom to illustrate which Russell cites two excellent examples. When man attained enough knowledge to lower the death rate among infants, population increased, food supplies became short and standard of living declined. Thus lowering the death rate of children, in his opinion, was a mistake on the part of medical specialists. Military specialists also have landed in many such follies. When man invented the technique of splitting atom, everyone began to think that mountains could now be moved and the course of rivers and that of history could be changed. But instead of using this new gained knowledge for useful and beneficial purposes, man began to manufacture nuclear weapons. Even after witnessing the horrible mass genocides caused by them, even the advanced as well as the barbarian countries of the world still go on manufacturing them. One day they will wipe out the human race from the face of the earth. Wisdom does not come with knowledge. These are the evil effects of specialization in singular subjects. It is from a comprehensive vision and sense of proportion that wisdom evolves.

It is a distorted history that tells nothing about Mao’s deflowering dozens of girls each week and termination of revolutionaries in Lenin’s time.

A proper knowledge of human history also is needed to gain wisdom. Some history writings we see are distorted ones, fabricated with a view to inculcate some particular feelings or passions among people. People who wrote about Lenin were totally blind to the cruel political assassinations of his times, which gave rise to the ‘theory of revolutions eating out its own children’ evidenced by the death of Trotsky. Worshippers of Mao Tse Tung remained silent about the innocent peasant girls the chairman deflowered each week, as was revealed by the repentant personal physician. Had these acts also were recorded accurately by his historians along with the bold and unending marches of this revolutionary through the incessant rains, we sometimes may have even respected the man, out of the knowledge that he was not a god but only a man. It should be noted here that the greatest sins committed by Gandhi came to the world’s attention not by his opponents mentioning them but from his own autobiography which was rightly titled My Experiments With Truth. Gandhi never hesitated to tell the story of his stealing the gold bangle of his house servant to purchase liquor in his boyhood years. We only respect this people’s leader for the frankness and truthfulness with which he recorded his own follies. That is his greatness and India’s example. That is how and why it came to be written in India’s official seal ‘Truth Alone Will Triumph’ when India became independent. Great men were always truthful in recording their follies. Along with English economics and French socialism, German philosophy served as one of the three origins of Marxism. Hegel was the most followed in the field of German philosophy. Hegel wrote history to prove that the Germans were a master race from the time memorable. Such distorted recordings of history lead to unwisdom and destruction.

To set apart two quarrelling friends would be an act of wisdom. Fill your private life with such small acts of wisdom.

Wisdom has a key role to play in the private life of a man. Man except on rare occasions fails to see his future in advance. He seldom knows what the future has in store for him. He has to live beneficial to the world. Since mankind is a collective reality, animosity among its members cannot help it achieve the benefits of living. By practicing universal brotherhood alone can man gain wisdom and live beneficial to the world and its inhabitants. So, to set apart two quarrelling friends would be an act of wisdom. ‘If you can do this, you will have instilled some fragment of wisdom’, writes Russell. Our private life should be filled with such little acts of wisdom. But millions of men, instead of going after this well defined objective in their lives, have searched for the philosophers’ stone and wasted their lives. No doubt, if they could have found them they would have conferred great benefits on mankind, but it was their lives that were wasted. Russell warns us that we should not waste our lives on such impossible philosophical feats; we should instead fill it with small acts of wisdom. As we grow older we will gain more impartiality. Our horizon will widen. Our thoughts and feelings will become less personal and more detached from our own physical state. It is that stage in human life, which Shakespeare in his poem The Seven Stages Of Man’s Life described as the stage in which man begins to think and act like a judge. Thus we gradually become freed of all selfish motives but begin to think more for the society than for ourselves. According to Russell, this emancipation or freedom from selfishness is the essence of wisdom.

Sunday schools cannot supply wisdom. They can only supplement wisdom if we already have some.

Wisdom can be taught like any other virtue. Even though we are born unwise which we cannot help, we can cultivate wisdom. Sunday schools are not supposed to supply wisdom; they can only supplement wisdom if we already have some. They can only make wise men wiser. Thus, moral instruction and the teaching of wisdom differ much. Wisdom should be planted and nursed in one’s own mind. We are living in a war-stricken world which needs wisdom as it never has needed before. Therefore wisdom should be taught by any means. We cannot al be good Samaritans to our neighbours, but we can certainly reduce our hatred to others. It should be noted here that even nations are now unable to reduce their hatred to other nations. The Russian communists find they are unable to remain good Samaritans to the American anti-communists. But in the midst of all this mayhem and national hatred, a single man can remain wise when the whole world goes unwise.

It is the music lovers and film goers that keep the nations going and standing, not short-living intolerant governments.

So, ‘Hate Hatred’ should be our slogan. It is indecent for a government to show hatred to other nations or to its people because this world and the humanity in it is built up based on the principles and forces of harmony. But the short-sighted puny little minds that are the governments in many countries cannot understand this as they are nowhere near the much dreamt about concept of Plato’s Philosopher Kings. In many sister nations, even if the people like each other in their hearts, their governments cultivate animosity and hatred. We can point out dozens of modern day examples. The governments of India and Pakistan shout at each other and conduct war rehearsals but the Indian music lovers worship Habib Wali Muhammed, Mirza Ghalib, Fareeda Khanum, Gul Bahar Bano, Iqbal Bano, Munni Begum, Roshan Ara Begum and Salman Alvi who are the luminaries among the Pakistani Ghazal singers, many of them the stars of the undivided India. And Indian film stars like Devanand, Sunil Dutt, Narghese, Raj Kapoor and Amitab Batchan are the favourites of Pakistani film goers. Both governments view these admirers and fans suspiciously, but in the long run, it is not these short-living governments but these admirers and fans of music, literature and films who keep these nations going and standing. That is the importance and relevance of a single man’s stand in the midst of national lunacy. It is when such singular wisdom happened to fuse uniquely with vigour of action that the world was saved several times from near peril.

Powerful personalities in history who combined vigour of action and wisdom and saved the world.

In history we see many examples of active vigour in fusion with wisdom, forming powerful personalities, saving the world. We see Moses in The Bible, professing the Ten Commandments before a people too seduced to be saved. Queen Elizabeth the First in England, King Henry the Fourth in France and Abraham Lincoln in America were very impressive personalities who fused vigour with wisdom and fought the evil. The world has had the luck to have many such personalities in among her people. Abraham Lincoln even conducted a civil war without ever departing from wisdom. It was his vigour of action and wisdom which helped him abolish slavery and prevent the Northern and the Southern states of America from separating in that civil war.

[Originally Prepared in 1995]

Dear Reader,
If you cannot access all pages of P.S.Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum, kindly access them via this link provided here:
https://sites.google.com/site/timeuponmywindowsill/wiki-nut-articles

To read about the life and people of Kerala, the author’s native land, visit KERALA COMMENTARY here.

For more articles of this kind, visit SAHYADRI BOOKS here or BLOOM BOOKS, TRIVANDRUM.

Tags

Bertrand Russell, Boyhood Days Of Gandhi, British Philosophers, British Writers, Distorted History, English Essays, Falsified History, Frankness Of Leaders, Knowledge, Knowledge And Wisdom, P S Remesh Chandran, People Of India And Pakistan, Philosophical Writings, Political Killings In Lenins Time, Reintroduced Literature, Sahyadri Books And Bloom Books Trivandrum, The Death Of Trotsky, Threat Of Nuclear Weapons, Truth Alone Will Triumph, Truthfulness Of World Leaders, Virtues And Vices Of Mao, Wisdom

Meet the author

PSRemeshChandra
Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of ‘Swan, The Intelligent Picture Book’. Unmarried and single. Born and brought up in Nanniyode, a little village in the Sahya Mountain Ranges.

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Darlings Of The Department. The Story Of Harry Vinoir. By P.S.Remesh Chandran.

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Darlings Of The Department. The Story Of Harry Vinoir. By P.S.Remesh Chandran.

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum.  

By PSRemeshChandra, 6th Jan 2012. Short URL http://nut.bz/3xu7tqdk/

Posted in Wikinut True Stories  

When someone steals 3.2 millions from government treasury, causes the death of one woman, two children and three men in this adventure and escapes into the safety of a promotion post of a very senior officer in that government, a few will admire him but the majority of the people in the world will wonder who is ruling Kerala and if there is any law and policing there. Any sensible person will ask who that rogue is. Read here the true story.

A Story from the The Hospital Window Series- True stories of what one sees through hospital windows from the inside and from the outside.  

This story is from the archives of the imaginary investigative organization ‘Kerala Peoplez Vigilenz included in their forthcoming book ‘The Hospital Window’. ‘The Hospital Window Series’ contains true stories of what one sees through hospital windows from the inside and from the outside. Many people have the notion that educational qualifications, ability and skill are the determinants for selection and promotion in government services. This notion is held by more and more people nowadays, following the American government’s decision to recruit persons into their services more through telephone interviews than through face to face interviews so that the colour and beauty of applicants shall not be a consideration. The American government’s decision is admirable in that selecting only the beautiful, fleshy and protein-rich ladies into the services can be avoided and coloured people too, if with enough abilities, could get their rightful chances. It is an action which several nations and states in the world, some of them claiming to have achieved complete socialism and some claiming even to be God’s Own Native Land have not been bold enough to take. But wait till you read this story which I tell you here, before deciding who will eventually become the darlings of government departments.

Doctors never commit suicide because they have enough patients there to kill through their blunders.  

Many years back, when it was a time of no mobile phones, internet or television, the newspapers in Kerala celebrated a story. An employee in the District Surgeon’s Office in Trivandrum organized large scale monetary crimes following which a doctor and his family, including his wife and two children, were found dead in a hotel room in the capital city, with burned currency notes of higher denominations scattered everywhere around them in the hotel room. It should be noted here that doctors rarely take their own lives when there are enough poor patients for them there to kill silently and deliberatively through their greed and blunders. It should also be considered that whatever complexities they themselves have got into, they would be having highly placed persons in their contact to get them out of any kind of problem and that theirs is a profession they are licensed to practice till the end of their days unlike those of the other senior civil servants of their rank and genre. That is why the world seldom hears about doctors committing suicide anywhere. So naturally the revelations following this multiple suicide, if it was suicide, became exceptionally sensational in Kerala and remained bold frontline headlines for months to come in all major and minor newspapers in the state. Since old dated copies of these papers are available in the State Public Library in Trivandrum for the reference of anyone who is interested and also since it is not the right thing to give undue publicity to these papers, we shall avoid mentioning their names here.

Where did all those bundles of currency notes to burn in a hotel room come from?  

Now since it was a multiple suicide by a reputed doctor and his family in a hotel room, with currency notes scattered everywhere which in itself was rare, it became great news. The social, political and civil service life of this doctor was scrutinized into and in the investigation which followed it was revealed that this doctor was a very generous person whenever money came his way. It was reported that he was generous in presenting rich sarees and gold ornaments to his subordinates, especially ladies, frequently. It mostly happened when bills for the special expenses of his hospital were cashed from the government treasury. He was an Assistant Surgeon in charge of a rural Primary Health Centre in a very remote hamlet called Vellappil. It is now relevant here to note how funds for a small hospital are received encashed and accounted for. The money to be paid as salaries to the staff would be provided in advance in the budget plan of the department for the year, for the encashment of which no allotments of funds are needed. Medicines and other stores for the hospital would be issued from the government stores according to requirement and indents. All other inevitable expenses will have to be got approved by the District Surgeon’s Office and allotment of funds will have to be received both in the institution and in the concerned treasury before presenting the bills.

Simply put a zero on the right side of 10,000 in a government communication and 1, 00,000 will come your way.  

How does an allotment for a certain amount reach a remote hospital? Newspapers also brought out how it is done, every single stage explained in detail, for a column is a column, a page is a page and here the news is anyway free. Suppose an amount of Ten Thousand rupees has to be allotted to Vellappil Hospital for purchasing stationary, sanitation materials for field services or for securing local services such as loading and unloading of materials or coolie labour. A triplicate allotment letter would be prepared in the District Surgeon’s Office. A Yellow copy will go to the concerned government treasury to enable them to set aside sufficient amount to pay when the bill is presented. A Blue copy will go to the concerned institution. A White copy will remain in the District Office as office copy. Then there will be the ledgers and registers in the office wherein notings will be made. The clerk will write 10000 toward the left of the column, leaving space for a single digit on the right edge of the entry in the paper. The higher officers will compare the figure with the ledgers and registers, approve and sign the allotment and return the file to the clerk’s table. The clerk will then put an additional Zero on the right, making the figure 100000 and send the allotment letters to the Vellappil Hospital and the Treasury there. The additional Zero will be put only in the Yellow and Blue copies and the White copy will remain unchanged in the original file. Thus the officials in the District Surgeon’s Office normally will not know about this cheating until one of them becomes suspicious or it is caught in the next audit by the internal wing of the department or by the Accountant General, provided none other is involved in this racket. Thus the doctor will mix original vouchers for 10000 with bogus vouchers for 90000, present a bill for 100000 rupees in the treasury and encash the amount. It was later revealed that the actual 10000 indeed was utilized in the hospital against original vouchers, another 10000 was spent on silencing a few, 30000 became the doctor’s lavish money to be spent at his will and the rest 50000 straight went to the clerk in the District Surgeon’s Office. A very lucrative deal indeed, until caught.

Perpetrators of a crime taking their own lives, one, two, three, except the original plotter.

Burning currency is a serious crime. Those officers who went after the burned, semi burned and unburned bundles of notes in the hotel room eventually found out that the clerk in the District Surgeon’s Office was the original planner and founder of this racket, that he was simply captivating a convenient doctor from a peripheral institution to execute his agenda and that they had already stolen 32 Lakhs rupees within a period of one year. It was also found out that the treasury officials could easily have detected this theft when inconceivably high bills began to be presented from a minor institution while annual such expenditure from other similar lower hospitals remained below just two lakhs rupees during those decades, and that not less than two treasury officials were receiving their share of the loot. The peon of the hospital who was assigned the duty of going to treasury for cashing the bills was satisfied with just his liquor money. When investigations progressed and the vigilance net came closer and closer, this person took his life, leaving his family orphans. Then there was the clerk of the institution who actually prepared the ballooned up bills. The next mysterious death was his, which also was supposed to be suicide. The death toll now has reached six. The stealing of 32 lakhs rupees from government coffers took the lives of three men, one woman and two innocent children. Now, of the four perpetrators of the crime, only one person is alive – the clerk in the District Surgeon’s Office, the original plotter of the crime. Newspapers happily brought out how many cars he bought, how many bungalows he bought and how many acres of land he bought in Trivandrum city. A heinous crime committed by a greedy government official resulted in leaving behind it a trail of suicides, the unwanted death of six persons, including two infants. Any alert administration and people will shake the world with news of apt immediate punishment, but not civilized Kerala. When faced with such sinful a situation, some will suicide, some will confess and go to the confines and solitude of prison and some others will repent, but not our man. The greatest wonder in Kerala is that even the loss of six human lives and 32 lakhs rupees from government treasury caused no prosecution, conviction and jail terms. This was an incident which seriously raised the question, whether any real laws are really existing there in Kerala or is Kerala simply boasting about civilization.

Steal 32 lakhs from government, join ranks of caste zealots, escape punishment, and get promoted as officer.  

Now we come to our character, Harry Vinoir, the original plotter and designer of the scheme. He is now the only alive perpetrator of the crime which took the toll of six human lives. Everything regarding his past and present have been brought out by the newspapers. His two bungalows, three cars, five bank deposits and four stretches of purchased land in the city are now public knowledge. The department could do only one thing decent-promote him. He deserves it, considering the department standards. But due to public pressure and wide media attention they reluctantly had to suspend him from service, ordering a departmental enquiry the order for which was issued not by the reluctant department but by the government in the face of public accusation and considering the gravity of the situation after six deaths. Been recruited into service following the death of a relative in service, this employee had strong family supporters in the department. Moreover, he belonged to the forward Vinoir community of Kerala, the rotten caste system of which land is famous all over the world for its notoriety and unjust favouritism. He did not hesitate to join their ranks and make his way to the upper leadership of the caste organization. The Vinoir community in Trivandrum did not find it an abomination and shame to elect him a leader in the Vazhuthanakkadu branch of their organization which assured him impunity from punishment for his crimes. They simply became bound to help him in spite of the notoriety of his crimes.

If one is skilled enough to steal millions from government, generous enough to share it and belongs to some upper caste, Kerala is God’s Own Country for him.  

We will think that the person, our Harry Vinoir, is now spending his life in jail or he is engaged in some other employment after serving his jail term. Actually his protectors in the department, the community figure heads, by stalling the enquiry, gave him enough time and lee way to argue that the enquiry is belated, he is already punished psychologically, there is no evidence against him and that he should be retaken into service. With lightning speed, they sent him to some remote institution where it was some fouled up doctor’s duty to re-enter him in service by simply writing in his service book ‘reinstated in service and rejoined duty’ without mention of number or date of a reinstatement order or even affixing a copy of the suspension and reinstatement orders in the book. In fact, the government that suspended him later revealed that it never issued an order reinstating him. Neither the department did, for that matter. It was another trick employed by devious minded government officials. Wait for one or two years till the uproar over the issue silences, simply fabricate orders, simply sent the favourite to some distant institution and simply write that some he has rejoined duty. It is that simple in Kerala, provided one is a member of the crooks’ clan. Now there is no hindrance to promoting him and the machinery moved on, well oiled up. The fact that the top authorities who reviewed his requests for these many promotions failed to note that copies of suspension and reinstatement orders and number and date of reinstatement order were absent in his service book serves as proof for how wide and omnipotent the hold of the crook’s clan and caste zealots is in the administration in the state. Within a few years Harry Vinoir was first promoted as an Upper Division Clerk, then as a Head Clerk, then as a Junior Superintendent and now he is on the brink of promotion to the post of a Superintendent. If one is skilled enough to steal millions from government, generous enough to share it and belongs to some upper caste, anything is possible in Kerala: Kerala is God’s Own Country for him. It is the benefit of being a darling of the department. Not one government official from the top most to the bottom ever asked that most feared question: “Why was the money stolen from government not ever recovered?”

Some sinners, when they reach the tranquil abodes of saints and holy people will repent deeply and redeem part of what humanity was lost from them.  

Sin is something that creates in some of us the false notions of religion. When we know that everyone knows we are crooked thieves who did unspeakable crimes, some of us will decide it is time to make a show of religion and piety. So Harry Vinoir decided to lean on some respected man of miracles so that the blood of half a dozen human lives could be somewhat washed from his hands. Now we are entering a part of our story which never should have happened. Who served hundred thousands of acres of parched fields and villages in dry Andhra Pradesh with water? Who inspired thousands and thousands of writers, singers and dancers with sweet melodious songs in the bygone era? Who solaced desolate millions, sitting in a bamboo hut in the midst of a vast yellow mustard field in his rustic native hamlet? Who founded and directed the biggest free hospital in Asia? Our animal which is Harry Vinoir selected the learned Satya Sai Baba to lean on. What can Baba do against such sinners and hypocrites joining and maligning his sacred organizations? Vinoir made it a great show, sang bhajans and went pilgrimages. Some sinners, when they reach the tranquil abodes of saints and holy people will repent deeply and transform their minds into other configurations without knowing, redeeming a part of humanity that was lost from them, but not our man! He is in his heart and blood a beast that wallows deep in the wormy pits of fleshly pleasures. One will wonder if this creation has a family of his own and why his wife and children did not enter anywhere in our story. Let us not further pain them, those pining human souls who on their way to eternity, though for a very short time, got entangled in the clutches of this wretched god-abandoned thing.

He, in his heart and blood, is a beast which wallows deep in the wormy pits of fleshly pleasures.

Flesh is something important and influential in government services. When a fleshy, protein-rich lady with sufficient curves and projections comes to work in an office, several changes in seating arrangements and sections would be made there to sit her as lightly and cozily as the sex-starving officers of that office could do. In a particular government office, the clerks were previously sitting in two rows facing each other. One saw the face of the other and communicated well. With the arrival of one such lady, the junior superintendent of that office ordered the seats to be placed one behind the other, all facing him so that he can feast on the face and curves of the new arrival. Now all see another’s back, which is taboo in the East and now there is no communication between anyone but discord. The officer looked up some book, coined a new phrase and said it was Ahmadabad- Model Administrative Change! When the new arrival did not like one particular section since it involved actual work, another rearrangement in sections was made to suit her disturbing all others and when she did not like the second one too, a third rearrangement was ordered. One senior and reliable officer of that institution commented that the girl had to learn to do actual work, not show curves. Curvaceous flesh can move officers but not office files. It needs learned work and dedication to move them. Then one day the husband of this lady came to that office shouting that his wife has been going out with that junior superintendent, their family is on the brink of ruin and that this cannot go on. Following advice from her new lover, she filed law suit for divorce and her two little children thus lost a father. It needn’t be specially told here that this junior superintendent was our Harry Vinoir. So now we know that a born sinner will never repent and that heaven will not touch the devil. A mad dog will not cure and that is why the world kills it. A person who is left at liberty and freedom to destroy human lives everywhere will continue to do it without remorse or hesitance. He leaves a trail of destruction behind him, his intolerance for having been exposed once brutally expressing itself in causing him to destruct whatever solid human creations and relations he comes across. Learning about this incident of the birth of two new orphans and the prospect of two more suicides, many wondered how long he will continue this destruction of human lives. A few say, till he also takes his own life.

Dear Reader, If you cannot access all pages of P.S.Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum, kindly access them via this link provided here: https://sites.google.com/site/timeuponmywindowsill/wiki-nut-articles

To read about the life and people of Kerala, visit KERALA COMMENTARY here.

More similar articles can be read in Bloom Books, Trivandrum or Sahyadri Books here.

Tags  

Caste Zealots And Criminals, Crimes That Went Unpunished, Darlings Of The Department, Escapees From Crimes, Hospital Crimes, Kerala, Kerala Commentary, Kerala Life, P S Remesh Chandran, Sahyadri Books And Bloom Books Trivandrum, Short Fiction, Short Stories, The Hospital Window Series Stories, The Story Of Harry Vinoir, True Stories

Meet the author  

PSRemeshChandra Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of ‘Swan, The Intelligent Picture Book’. Unmarried and single. 

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Student Mobs. J.B.Priestley Essay. Reintroduced By P.S.Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum.

040.

Student Mobs. J.B.Priestley Essay Reintroduced By P.S.Remesh Chandran.

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum.

By PSRemeshChandra, 1st Dec 2011  Short URL http://nut.bz/3dpl.fk1/

Posted in Wikinut Essays

Disciplined students under strict masters have created empires and dynasties in this world. The lone Chandragupta captivated by the severe Chaanakya Gupta founded the famous Maurya Empire inNorth Indiaand the twaine created classical political theories the world still reveres. Alexander found his master in Aristotle and the pair was responsible for the greatest changes in the political and cultural structure of the world. This article is homage to those good old days of studentship.

Simplicity, humbleness and discipline were the characteristic distinguishing marks of a student in the ancient times.

T.V, show me something creative. Emmy The Great.

We have the ancient belief that ‘a school is an assembly of teachers and a class is an assembly of students.’ In many countries this conviction is changing fast. Before Plato came, instituted his Academy and founded the academic system of education where teachers and students would come to and be assembled at the same place and lessons were taught according to a pre-determined syllabus, students had to search far and wide for a teacher’s house, perhaps miles and miles away or sometimes in other states where he had to go and reside, do all kinds of manual labour in the master’s house, please him somewhat and secure a bit of knowledge if the master so consented to. But this system no doubt produced great teachers, scholars, poets and playwrights. Simplicity, humbleness and discipline were characteristics and distinguishing marks of a student in those times. Not one unruly student could complete his education with a master.

When Britain speaks, all England listens.

 An orderly students meeting. Michael Linder.

One of the books written by the famous writer John Boynton Priestley was aptly titled ‘Britain Speaks’ and another ‘All England Listens’. It was true; when this great British orator spoke the whole world listened. Here he is analyzing the reasons for the unrest and violence among students. His finding is that students delight in destruction for destruction’s sake. He expects students to behave as true guardians of society and provide support to the families they come from. Any dutiful student will have to agree with his arguments against unruly behaviour.

They should be learning books, not burning them.

Preparation against student march. Bobby D’Marca.

Priestley joined college after a few years of soldiery in the First World War. Therefore it was no wonder he was irritated by the irresponsibility he found common among the student community in general. Irresponsible students, in their craze for establishing an identity, form mobs, take to destruction and behave like vandalists. ‘They should be learning books, not burning them.’ Peasants in the villages are losing much, particularly their favourite meals and good clothes, to send their sons to colleges. So these sons should have a manly responsibility towards them and shall not join howling destructive mobs. Priestley is of the opinion that stupid, ignorant and irresponsible students should summarily be sent out and shall not be given higher education at the expense of the community. They are wasting everyone’s time, money and energy. This right attitude towards students, which could be adopted by all members of the community, shall not be interpreted as prejudice against students.

When we see a student mob demonstration we will wonder whether those brute faces are our own sons’.

 Ideal place to watch student strike. Zaniol Simone

Most often, angry student mobs demonstrate through streets with banners, slogans and mindless grinning faces, breaking windows and smashing cars, burning books and furniture, terrifying children and women on their way, reducing laws and customs to chaos. Such demonstrations shall not be shown on the T.V. If it continues to be shown, the whole fabric of civilization, which is the work of centuries, shall be torn apart by students.

They will pass with honours B.A. in Window Smashing, Furniture Firing and Car Overturning.

 Disciplined strike, books, cut hair. Partridge Ron

Sometimes these demonstrations would be against governments but at times the governments themselves would be organizing them secretly on a rent-a-mob basis. Many governments play a leading role in the antics of student mobs. When two official policies clash, embassies are instantly surrounded by students and attacked as if in a political circus. Priestley here gives society a severe warning: ‘The time may come when ambassadors will have to move around in tanks. In the universities, students on admission will be given machine guns and flame throwers. They will pass with honours the B.A. in Window Smashing, Furniture Firing and Car Overturning. They may be weak in the sciences and the arts, the medicine and the law but they would have first-rate skills in Hooliganism.’ He wonders what type of doctors, lawyers, engineers, chemists and teachers of language they will make.

Kids are now not kids but creatures come from other planets, putting things on the railway lines for derailing expresses.

Playing Post Office. We make them mobs. S.Francis.

That students delight in destruction is a universal truth. ‘Soon there may appear in college campuses those huge iron balls of the demolition squads with whichNew Yorksky scrapers are crumbled down.’ Such massive, mobile and deep-seated would become the desire for destruction in students. ‘Whether they grow under capitalism or socialism, our children will certainly care about vandalism.’ They will take special trains to foot ball matches and burn them on their way back. Full-fed and well-paid youths are the most destructive. An old school teacher once remarked that ‘kids are now not kids but creatures come from other planets, putting things on the railway lines for derailing expresses.’

Some among us don’t seem to belong to human race.

Will our colleges rest. Trinity. Kenneth Yarham.

Priestley feels the contrast between the rough life led by him as a boy in his native village and the excessive student violence in the present times. In Priestley’s boyhood also there were fights in schools. Players and spectators of football both behaved roughly. But there were no heartlessness or hatred of life. There indeed were fights between equals but helpless people were never harmed. Now the young arrives eager to destroy, not to create. Some among us don’t seem to belong to human race. They set fire on society and purposefully discredit the techniques and apparatus of a world civilization. ‘Threats of violence rise like puffs of steam in New York city streets at night’ (in his times), he observes.

Newsreel films please show me students making something, not breaking something.

Going for making something. Mike Fernwood.

There are many reasons for this turbulence among students in their tender ages-hydrogen bomb, bad homes, no religion, irresponsible parents, boring environment and the like, all contribute. Also there are those other modern day factors as the thirst of political parties and misled organizations for young martyrs and maimed victims to pivot them to political and administrative power. And there is some unknown factor, a vast ‘X’ in the dark. Priestley prays, news reels in films in theatres show him students making something, instead of breaking something; like some scene of students marching to build a house, not to knock one down.

Dedicated to those girl scholars who rise up early, go to fields and forests to cut grass for cattle, and walk kilometers away to colleges.

Education, their gateway to future. Irving Rusinow

Many girl students in some districts in Kerala, especially in the Quilon district, studying for post graduate courses, will rise up early in the morning and go to fields and forests to cut grass for their cattle. Carrying this heavy load of fodder on their heads they rush back to their houses, wash and breakfast and walk kilometers away to their colleges. In the evenings they walk back, go to the forests with their books, collect firewood for their kitchen and a few green twigs for their goats and carrying this burden return home in the dusk and complete the household chores. They pass their examinations with first class and gold medals and become college lecturers and school teachers. That is what education and studentship is. Dutiful work cleanses the soul and prepares one as a diligent learner. My nation’s future is safe in their hands. This article is dedicated to those hard working diligent girl scholars, a few of whom I was fortunate enough to teach.

(Originally written in April 1995)

_______________________________________________________
Pictures Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons.
There are many pictures of students rioting and breaking things
in almost all nations. But we respect the vision and wishes of Priestley and so chose pictures accordingly.
_______________________________________________________

Dear Reader,
If you cannot access all pages of P.S.Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum, kindly access them via this link provided here:
https://sites.google.com/site/timeuponmywindowsill/wiki-nut-articles

Translations of this article in French, German, Spanish and Italian published in Knol.com can be read by clicking here. BLOOM BOOKS TRANSLATIONS.

Tags

Appreciations, Articles, British Authors, British Writers, English Literature, Essays, J B Priestley, John Boynton Priestley, P S Remesh Chandran, Reintroductions, Reviews, Sahyadri Books Bloom Books Trivandrum, Student Agitations, Student Mobs, Student Strikes, Student Unrest, Student Violence

Meet the author

PSRemeshChandra
Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of ‘Swan, The Intelligent Picture Book’.

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