I have a dream…

Questions

Yesterday’s class was about questions, opinions, and dreams. There were several things that came up. For example: is it better to be fair-skinned or dark-skinned? Is it better to be poor or rich?…

अमीर लोग घमंडी होते हैं। गरीब को देख कर बोलते हैं ‘अबे  चल हट, निकल यहाँ से।’

Rich people are arrogant. When they see a poor person, they rudely push him/her aside.

As we discussed further, there were counter-points. Even the poor could be bad… Students mentioned examples of situations where poor men and women exploited young kids by forcing them to beg on the streets. Eventually, we by-and-large concluded that it’s not the color, not the wealth, it is the character that a person good or bad.

The Kids Feel Cut-off

However, lurking beneath the answers of the kids is a sense of being distanced or alienated from the society, especially from those who are better off. This alienation is not unfounded in a society that is becoming too busy to pause even for the desperately needy. Such a sense of being cut-off can quickly grow in to helplessness or frustration, if unaddressed.

Hopes and Dreams 

This is where hopes and dreams come to our rescue in life. In the busy lives of the kids, hopes and dreams are the prime route to constructive engagement in society.

We shared the story of Martin Luther King in our class. I found a Hindi translation of his speech, and narrated it to the students. We went over the speech, and I gave them some background of the context and situation at the time. The young students quickly empathized with discrimination faced by fellow human beings in a different time at a different place.  They also found the courage of Rosa Parks inspiring and exemplary.

As we concluded, I asked them “आपका क्या सपना है? (what is your dream?)”. Pinky stood up and said she wanted to become a police officer and do her family proud. Soni said she’d like to see her self become a Hindi teacher. Our class polled 2 doctors, several aspiring teachers, and 1 police officer. (In contrast, there were at least 3 aspiring engineers when I discussed the same topic with a class of ~9 boys).

One common theme when I asked the kids about their dream was their desire to end prejudice in the society, whether it’s based on caste, religion, or economic status. I am optimistic.

Prema Jayakumar’s story, an inspiration

We ended by watching the interview of Prema Jayakumar. A daughter of an auto-rickshaw driver, she beat all odds to secure first rank in India’s CA (Chartered accountancy) examination.

The girls connect, and smile. “Hum bhi Prema didi ki tarah banna chahte hain. Yeh humaara sapna hai” (We also want to become like Prema didi; this is our dream).

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One thought on “I have a dream…

  1. Saurabh, I have been following your blog and this post in specific shows the impressions our society (media/news/community etc) makes on the minds of these small children- What I admire is their aspirations to change this unequal and unjust society we live in. However, in practicality it is an uphill battle which requires perseverance and patience. I hope their passion for change stands the test of time.

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