There is only one kind of wealth on earth, which cannot be seized by kings or anyone in a position of authority. This wealth cannot be stolen by robbers, or shared among siblings, even the wedded wife cannot partake in it. If a person can attain this wealth he will become wealthy in every way. This dictum was formulated by Bharthruhari, a famous Sanskrit poet, about a millennium ago. His observation about education is evergreen and is relevant more than ever today!
A person without knowledge or ‘Vidya’ is resigned to the status of a non –entity as ‘Vidya’ is considered to be ‘Sarvatra Dhanam’. Education has the power of the present day ATM. All one has to do is to acquire the knowledge through holistic education and draw from its vast resources from time to time for the benefit of the self and society.
These days schooling is equated with education. Yet, it is a fact that clearing examinations or acquiring degrees do not construe to learning. It is a continuous process which involves learning, re-learning and unlearning throughout one’s life. Biography of Booker Washington, author of, ‘Up from Slavery’ upholds how meaningful education can invigorate a person and inspire him to hold a beacon to those who feel depressed, demoralised and defeated.
Here was a man who was constricted racially, financially and educationally. Yet he had a definite aim in life to overcome all his problems. He realised that education would release him from the clutches of racism and poverty. It was around this time he heard about a free school in Hampton, Virginia. He set out on his pilgrimage on foot. He worked as a labourer on his way to sustain himself. When he reached the portals of the learning centre, he had some loose change on him. Nevertheless the school saw his will to learn. He was subjected to an unusual test of cleaning up a room. He cleaned it four times over to ensure his admission. Sure enough he made it. He worked very hard at studies and also did menial chores to make up for his fees.
While many fellow blacks were wallowing in self-pity and angst, he armed himself with education and surged forth to break new grounds. He proved the power of education all over again to the world at large and went on to open a vocational school as against a conventional one in Alabama and also write his awe-inspiring autobiography.