Same, not Separate!

Unconventional thinking has always been my insistence. When it comes to executing some out-of-the-box idea, I feel I would require still more courage to put theory into practice. One of my relatives was once agitated at his son deciding not to pursue college education but set up his business at 16. Though it was an unconventional decision, I couldn’t tell the dad bluntly to let the kid follow heart. Instead I opted for a ‘sober’ ‘‘Do at least your graduation and get into business simultaneously.’’ In my mind, however, I knew if the boy had conviction, ‘at least graduation’ was not required. I told myself “When you know education is not everything, why can’t you dare air a candid opinion? It’s not your responsibility if the son doesn’t prove his mettle…” I was wondering why I couldn’t call a spade a spade.
Is education all important? We aren’t ruling out the importance of academics but haven’t we heard of Einstein, Richard Branson, Bill Gates, our own Dhirubhai Ambani and Steve Jobs, none of whom took the routine path? These are the stalwarts with vision beyond the convention. Of course, they aren’t the rules but exceptions. Masterminds walking out of great varsities also have made phenomenal contributions. Their names might be known or unknown but their academic backgrounds have always stood in good stead for them.  
The other day, I flipped through the list of world’s best varsities and surprisingly, none of the Indian institute figured it the top 250. Cambridge, Oxford, Harvard and Massachusetts continue raising the bar year after year. The West has indeed a better quality of education and also more people who experiment and explore. Westerners are more open to new ideas. In India, we still insist too much on the intelligent quotient and formal education. On one hand facing the problem of illiteracy, education has become so important in India that we have closed our doors of mind to welcome everything that is beyond academics. 
Awareness created by education in the West has made them know the importance as well as limitations of education. Wisdom alone can understand wisdom. It grows with education. In India, awareness about education is limited and so is growth of wisdom.
Still advantages come with their own set of problems. It has happened with openness and unconventional thinking of the West. Material growth in the West unfolded new problems for Gen Y. The glimpse of it we saw in the recent London riots where unemployed youth and students set buses and cars ablaze and looted shops.
Basically, it’s not about the East or the West. An unconventional outlook has little to do with region and culture. Education is important to create awareness that it is not everything. Academics can groom and nurture a talent, which, in turn, can give back something to enrich education. A perfect combo of education and awareness can script success stories.
Yes, the beauty lies in this balance. I can now surely back my unconventional thinking.
  - KanChan


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