This book is likely to prove to be a `cry in the wilderness`. But it is not a, `crying wolf`. In early April this year the author was standing in front of `Swamiji`s mango tree` at Belur Math for the umpteenth time perhaps. This grand old sentinel had been standing there even before Swami Vivekananda had acquired the land for the Ramakrishna Math and Mission on the Western bank of the Ganga. This was in 1898. It has thus been a witness to Divine events, and is perhaps now at least one hundred and twenty-five years old, still bearing mangoes and giving shade.
This book is appearing at a time when education in India is being treated as a `business` sector worth 90 billion per year, when teachers in handsomely remunerative government institutions are resorting to hunger strikes and else for still larger pay packets, etc. It is appearing in a period when heavy-weight opinion-moulders are writing books with titles like − `Fault Lines of Mind Civilization`, `The Siege Within`, `India Unbound` and the like. They do not seem to mind advocating, `compound fracturelines`, or `siege without`, or `borrowed bondages`. They forget, or ignore that this is the land of `guru-gariba-vasa` ages ago Vishnusharma (of Panchatantra fame) had refused to accept any remuneration for educating a King`s children. Education, sbiksha daan was not put for sale. These pages are seeing the light of day also when this author had been summarily put down by two senior IAS officers (once at Mussoorie and once at IIM Calcutta) asserting that Vivekananda was not an authority on Indian culture and whatever he had done was outside India, nothing within. Moreover, it is a time when gross national product (GNP) is soaring while gross national character (GNC) is nosediving. The book is emerging when the world seems to have turned wild. Everything is being made unsustainable: harmony at home, sacred manage, frugal lifestyle, purity of air and water, harmony with Nature, nobility in teacher-student relationships, etc., − Quiet desperation − has yielded to groaning desperation. Yet, ironically, all this is accompanied by the stupid cant of `sustainable development`. The pervasive tendency now is one of ugly duplicity − which this book has tried to avoid.
1. GOD IN PRISON: Agenda for Desh Rin
2. COURTING AFFLUENT PENURY: The Enigma of Education In India
3. EDUCATION FOR `NATIONAL MIND`: Let Sister Nivedita Teach Us
4. THE `BEAR HUG` AND CULTURAL DISEMPOWERMENT
5. SCIENTIFIC TEMPER: A Clinical Probe
6. LEARNING FOR MODERNITY: What Does It Mean?
7. `LEARNING TO DO`: The "Essential" Way of four CEOs.
8. THREE DUTIES AND LEGITIMATE EDUCATION
9. EDUCATION ACROSS A CENTURY: A Bird`s Eyeview
10. DEAR STUDENTS, MIND YOUR CHOICE TO TRUST