Can the Parents Decide?

By Fr Victor Ferrao
16 August 2016 20:15 IST

Can the poor parents make free choices for their children?  It appears that when it comes to the medium of instructions, the poor  may not have a choice because the choice is  sold for a price.  In fact no one seems to have a choice since it has become commodity that has a price tag written all over it. But this eventual denial of free choice for the poor is viewed as a social good by the leaders of BBSM and RSS combine.   By denying this vital freedom, these leaders think that they are civilising the parents and their children much like the colonizers who exhibited what has been called as the white men’s burden.  

Unfortunately, the fact that this civilizing mission is mimicking the colonizer is not disturbing them. The neo-mimic men of the colonizers seem to carry the batten of the colonizers long after end of political colonization.  Like the colonisers, they too carry forward the burden of the parents and are out save the children from the folly of their parents. Hence, one might find a cord of similarity with the way the British saw the abolition of sati as a case of white men saving the brown women from the tyranny of the brown men.  This is why these masked men who seem to image the colonizers have become clearly identifiable in our society.

The mask of nobility on the face of the leaders of BBSM and RSS falls quickly when we look at the economic interest that is written all over them.  Their discourse claims that there is nothing in the constitution to stop the free trading private schools that are amassing wealth by promoting English. In their view, it is a right given to the free traders of English by the constitution.  While they guard the free choice of the sales men of English, some of whom are in their ranks, they do not extend the same generosity to parents.   

The parents in their view seem to have to buy their choice or live with no choice.  They seem to go all out to civilize the poor parents but surprisingly they do not care about the de-civilizing influence of the private schools on the children studying there. This manifests their selective and discriminating approach. Unfortunately, they seem to think that the poor/ bahujans do not have the capacity to face the so called de-civilizing and denationalizing that is occurring in the English medium. This capacity in their view seem to  automatically emerge/ erupt among the parents who can buy their choice from those who sale it in the private schools.

Moreover, their economic intoxication becomes visible in their choice of silence over privatization of education and the choice of loud cry over the education driven by the grants of the government.   If the Government can make a law to outlaw English as a medium of education in schools where poor study, why can’t the same Government also outlaw private schools trading on English?  If liquor can be outlawed for the good of society why not this free trade on English?  Hence, it is clear which side is chosen by those who pose as civilizing agents in our society.

The issue concerning the capacity to exercise a free choice as parents within our democratic society in Goa is of great importance.  It can open how the poor parents have become objects of political domination, economic exploitation and cultural erasure.  If we enter the orbit of the poor parents, we can discern how they are infantilized and reduced to a status of  children who are incapable of making any decision concerning the education of their children. 

This entry into the orbit of the parents also portrays those who deem them as not fit enough to exercise this freedom over the life of their own children in poor light.  Denial of ability to decide for their children under the cover of promotion of good education has to be viewed as a grave violation and imposition of indignity to these parents. It is clearly a denial of democracy.  if this scenario takes roots, the  poor parents will not  have no voice and would not even have a say regarding the future of their children.  

Besides, under the imperialism of  nagrized Konkani enforced by  some mimic men of the colonizers, they certainly feel a cultural erasure.  In fact, the question boils down to a position that asks, “can they speak Konkani? Does the Konkani that they live with qualifies as Konkani? The parents besides feeling the weight of economic exploitation also have the pain of feeling that their Konkani stands de-konkanized and silenced. Thus, the infantalization and voicelessness of the parents among the Bahujans in Goa  has reaches its full circle.    Hence, it is urgent that we find  ways to speak the truth to power.    

The disabling of the freedom of choice of the parents among the poor is clearly anti-democratic and is more unconstitutional than the denial of the freedom of the free traders of English.  The facts that the leaders of BBSM grant freedom to trade and run private empires of English primary schools while fail to recognize the freedom of the poor parents to choose the same in government aided schools manifest which side they side.

If the rich  Parents who choose   English and the Sales men of private education do not harm our  language and culture  then how the same choice made by the poor parents is going to harm the same language and culture? Why should the basic right for self determination, which is the soul of democracy, be denied to the parents who are poor? Why is BBSM and RSS that actively promotes this denial of self-determination, swaraj to the parents is not anti-democratic and by that token anti-national? 

For too long these tall leaders who are becoming dwarfs day by day have traded on anti-national slogans and silenced the parents among the bhahujans. Now that their true colours are becoming visible, the poor parents have gained a voice and are seeking tenable explanation from these champions of denationalization.  These parents  ask: “how one of our national language, namely English, the language through which we run our parliament, courts, legislature and administrative machinery and bring integration of our country and people speaking different languages   becomes denationalizing?  

That is why the denial of choice of English in indeed a denial of democracy to the poor.  Therefore, the lines of intersections that we have drawn between the colonizers and their mimic men today cannot be dismissed. 

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Fr Victor Ferrao

Fr. Victor Ferrao is a Dean of Philosophy and teaches at Rachol Seminary in Salcete taluka of Goa. He has done his Phd in Philosophy of Science. He writes often on socio-political scenario.

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