Published: 04th March 2017
India is creating more politicians than community leaders. We don't need more politicians: Kiran Bedi lashes out after continuing 'war' with Puducherry politicos
Puducherry Lt Governor, former top cop and education activist Kiran Bedi doesn't mince words about how our education system is rooted in wrong principles that produce problematic human beings
Pink Floyd said that we don't need no education. Kiran Bedi did them one better. She said we don't need no more politicans. During an open and outspoken session at TNIE's ThinkEdu Conclave, the education activist, former top cop and Puducherry Lt Governor said that what we really need is more community leaders and not politicians, "This country is creating more politicians than community leaders. We need more community leaders at the grassroots levels. Politicians are not what we really need because all they do is divide and rule," she said
During the last few months in Puducherry, Bedi has been locked in a tussle with Puducherry's ruling party and CM V Narayanaswamy to get reforms cleared. Perhaps this, combined with the freebie culture that TN and Puducherry have been faulted for, are what prompted Bedi to speak out harshly, "We need people who do not create dependence, but push for self reliance instead. That's why people are waiting with a bowl. Giving free rice and free this and free that is fine, but why make give it to people who don't need it and make them dependent?" She was in conversation with actor and activist Gautami Tadimalla.
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At a time when she, as an on-the-move Lt Governor, is grappling with bureaucrats to get them to work faster and implement schemes that reach the people, the lack of pace has admittedly hurt, "The question we must ask orselves is why don't we go back and serve in the villages. Why don't bureaucrats do that? They tour and come back. They don't stay there and work there for change. They have become chair oriented," she said rather starkly.
When a student asked her for tips to clear the UPSC exam, Bedi continued in the same vein, telling her point blank, "Aspire for a position to serve. Not a position to occupy. If that's your DNA, the country will benefit. You will serve millions. If you don't, you're a burden on the taxpayer. So make that choice," she said to rapturous applause. She went on to add, "Your intention is the key. Also, always follow the rules. It is not red tape. You need to interpret it correctly and to do that your intention is important."
Kiran Bedi also responded to queries from a section of the audience. This is what she had to say:
On how to make our education system better:
I found a model. Why are we looking outside and not within? These models are cost effective. and not meant to increase revenue. Of course, we continue to build more schools, but what we need in these schools is to have missionary zeal, love, sacrifice and investment in humanity and not buildings.
On how the gurukul system is the answer:
Why can't every child reach out and teach someone else, like a child in a village. During vacations at least. That is leadership, it is values, it is teaching. Many of them will want to be teachers. Students from bigger schools will want to be doctors and engineers and All India Civil Services toppers, but these people will be teachers. The gurukulam modelof education is fantastic - it is not a revenue model but a model to build good human beings, and that is what is essential. India is made of 1.3 billion and each one is a part of that. Every child you develop is a part of that. Each one matters. Unless we realise that this is our national wealth, it will be a tragedy. That's what gurukul is doing. It is teaching community leadership. Every child is a giver when they teach someone else.
Governors are the chancellors and they could play a transformative role. Without even interfering with the political side of the varsity. I wish I was a Chancellor of Puducherry university. I could have turned it around
Kiran Bedi, Puducherry Lt Governor
On how technology can drive rural upliftment:
Technology can be totally harnessed. All you need is the use of the panchayat property to pass on community awareness. We are not using it for that. Particularly, deprived men and women can be impacted by film shows. We open Raj Nivas to show films twice a month. And it's working. It's transforming kids and they are in tears because of the change. We are showing then that they can be public servants.
On the answer to rape and crimes against women:
Life skills is the answer. In school we are focusing on IQ and rote learning, but we're not focusing on life skills. A life skilled boy will not look with disrespect at women. He will know what nature is all about. That's what humanity is about. It's not to be looked down upon. Women are groomed to be courageous, boys to be responsible. Once that happens things will change. If education is for commercial reasons, like how much dowry one can get or what job you can land, then that is not education. If a girl surrenders to that, it is not education. If living a life becomes a priority then it is totality of education.