Learning from zero base !

Chetan Shah
29-04-2013

My 14-year old international-school going daughter's campus ecology consists of mostly Western teachers, Western syllabus and books, Western outlook and students of truly global backgrounds. A few times in her few years at the school, her Arab and Pakistani classmates, who are often 'best friends' otherwise, have asked her with a smirk, “Do you worship cows?” They did not need an answer.

Finally she confided in me when it happened the last time. I spoke to her in detail about the relevance of animals and plants in the Eastern wisdom and culture, and how they connect with the modern ecology concepts like carbon footprint, global warming, and organizations like PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals).  She debated with me about the concept of God and religion in the Abrahamic traditions as compared to the Eastern traditions. I nudged her to accept only those parts of religion which appealed to her intellect, leaving nothing to faith or Dad says so. She was free to choose from God and no-God. She made her decision, with a right to update and revise it as her experiences grew.

However, this is not about my daughter. This is about how human beings have been trained to look at this varied universe through their narrow vision. The unspoken culture is that everything different from my way must be wrong! Everyone different from me must be ignorant!

The universe has been created and it is still growing with abundance of hues, features and visions. It was not meant to be monolithic, for if it was, then it would have been created so. There should not have been millions of species of life form, different skin colours and different molecules, planets and gases, different languages, food habits, arts and civilizations.

Why do not we accept that our interpretation of the universe is as narrow as the view of a mountain peak from one lowly corner? Why do not we try understanding what is foreign to us? Why do we presume foreign wisdom to be in the need of guidance of our own  preconceived right path? Why do not we challenge and energise our own wisdom and beliefs?

Why do not we approach the universe like a baby who is curious to crawl, walk, taste and touch everything with the benefit of prior ignorance rather than the burden of inherited belief? 

Why do not we start learning from zero base !

Category :- English Bazaar Patrika / OPED