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Re: [alt-ed-india] Happy Independence Day?

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  • Jinankb
    Dear Clive Thank you for raising this issue.I think more than children It is we,adults who need to re examine these important issues.I was reading Carlos
    Message 1 of 18 , Aug 17, 2003
      Dear Clive
      Thank you for raising this issue.I think more than children It is we,adults who need to re examine these important issues.I was reading Carlos Casteneda few days ago.Don Juan talks about our minds as foriegn installations.We need to uninstall quite a lot.I dont think alternative education is about teaching all the nonsense that are taught at schools at home.It is about creating authentic and independent learners.I think even asking children to write essay on sanskrit etc boils down to the same attitude.leave children alone/create enviornment for them to learn just as they learned to walk and talk.
      Jinan
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Sunday, August 17, 2003 5:51 AM
      Subject: Re: [alt-ed-india] Happy Independence Day?

      Hello Everyone
       
      I wonder why one should encourage children to feel "love" for a country. Actually the feeling of patriotism is not love, but I will use that word. Why should we encourage nationalism in our children? Do we want to kill them?
       
      Children in India are encouraged to love their country, to feel fervour, stirred up at ceremonies, at the sight of military parades. In short, to identify with a particular nation. At the same time children in Pakistan, in China are encouraged to feel exactly the same about their country. And the result of this conditioning is all too evident. Hatred, Antagonism, conflict and ultimately war.
       
      Of course this is happening pretty much all over the world, I'm not picking on India especially.
       
      Patriotism is a poison. Why should we encourage it? I heard the other day that people have killed 1,600, 00,000 people in the last 100 years in war.  Many people lived through that others saw it on TV, read about it, today we see documentaries, books, eyewitness accounts, interviews, see it on TV live etc. and it has not changed us! What will it take to change man?  What will it take for a man, you and me to change? 
       If we want to bring about a change in our children and in ourselves, shouldn't we show them that divisions between people are products of our mind, of our conditioning? Because these divisions, divisions of nationality, of religion, of race, of politics, of caste, and so on, do actually kill people, as one can read about every day in the newspapers.
       
      Doesn't this demand a different kind of education?
       
      Clive
       
      Original Message -----
      Sent: Friday, August 15, 2003 2:52 AM
      Subject: [alt-ed-india] Happy Independence Day

      Warm Wishes to all Members and Homeschoolers in India a very Happy Independence Day.
       
      On this occassion, I wonder if it will be a good idea to include Civic Sense and Love for our Country as a "Practicals" curriculum in our Home Education efforts.
       
      May be we could start off by working with our kids to write an essay of about 2 pages on the above mentioned topic and then share it with this group.
       
      I will work with my kids on this and post in this group once they complete.
       
      Regards
      Prashanth


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      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      This mailing list is primarily for the use of families who are home educating in India, and those who are considering doing so. However, all those with a deep interest in serious education are welcome to participate. The list's intentions are to facilitate enquiry into fundamental educational questions, to learn together, to share, and to  support those who are home educating.


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    • Jinankb
      Neela What you are telling is mere theory.What we have heard or read and not lived.The issue of education or learning is precisely this.The India that you are
      Message 2 of 18 , Aug 17, 2003
        Neela
        What you are telling is mere theory.What we have heard or read and not lived.The issue of education or learning is precisely this.The India that you are talking about is lost in the process of getting 'educated'.our whole worldview changes.We lead a life quite contrary to the ethos of this once great civilisation.I was invited to a seminar by architects on protecting and preserving heritage.My reponse was whose culture/whose hertage.I am including the writeup .
         

        Whose Heritage?

        Whose culture?

        Can we the so- called educated Indians claim to be the true inheritors of that heritage that we want to conserve. Aren’t we also looking at the whole issue of heritage in the same way as the British did when they arrived a few centuries ago? How did we become strangers in our own country? Do we acknowledge this situation of cultural rootlessnes? What aspect of that culture do we represent today? Our world view is no longer the same, a world view in which human beings were not the center of life, a world view which prevented greed, a world view which never created waste and a world view in which use of material resources reflected concern for future generations.

        I remember reading a "sloka" on the use of materials in one of the books on traditional architecture. It said that it has taken millions of years for a rock to evolve. That was the reason why traditional cultures used rock, only to build temples which for them symbolized permanence, continuity of culture and sanctity. Even the palaces where made of mud.

        It is clear that looking at the complexity of the temples there was technology and ability. But what prevented them from making more and more permanent structures? Imagine the situation where all these centuries of human existence permanent houses were built.

        Look at the situation today. Total absence of wisdom; total insensitivity to ones own context- social, cultural and spiritual.

        * That 40 villages in Rajasthan facing scarcity of water due to marble mining is of no concern.

        * That the poverty of inland fisherfolk due to exhaustive sand mining from the 44 rivers in Kerala is of no concern.

        * That in a city likeMadras where there is acute shortage of water it doesn’t concern us to make a lawn.

        We have delinked beauty and ethics, beauty from culture.

        Aren’t we digging our own graves? I’m reminded of something called "boiling frog syndrome in which a frog is swimming happily in a vessel of water which is being gradually heated. The change is gradual and the frog insensitive to the change and does not respond even until it is too late.

        How have we reached this situation? Is it of the legacy of the colonial education and its worldview?

        For the time being let’s forget these ethical and moral issues and look at the formal and aesthetic aspects. What is the role of culture in conditioning the aesthetic sense? Why did the ancient civilizations create distinct forms so markedly different and distinguishable from one another?

        How did the ‘Nalu Kettu" happen? Or the havelies in Rajasthan or the round houses called ‘bongas' in Kutch ? In this country alone there would be at least 200 different and distinct types of traditional houses, all of which served the same function. Are these traditions unchanging and frozen in time? This is what we are made to believe. That tradition is static and the so-called modernity creative. Traditions have always responded creatively to challenges thrown up by time. To give an example, after the earthquake of the 19th century in Kutch the traditional way of building changed to round shaped houses to counter the effects of the earthquakes on buildings. The testimony to their genius is in the fact of their survival in the recent earthquake that brought down every other type of buildings.

        How did this knowledge happen?

        Look at the situation today? All urban houses, towns and cities all over the world look the same. How is it that modern architect from Nagaland and from Kerala or from Kutch produce exactly the same kind of architecture? What happened to their cultural identities and aesthetic sense?

        I think we should look more deeply into the issues. When and how did this happen? Is there a way out? Are we willing to face our rootlessness? Due to which today we have become totally mediocre and imitators of the west. One need not go very deeply into the history. Introduction of colonial education in order to serve the needs of the colonizers by replacing a very well organized systems of learning which served the traditional societies needs those days is the beginning of the death of our culture.

        After all culture is nothing but what and how one learns and the worldview thus created.

        Just look at what is being taught in art, architecture and design schools in this country. Western history, western designs process and western aesthetic sense.

        This is happening all over the world.

        If ones sense of beauty is conditioned then what is left to be called ones own. This situation is worse in the elitist institutions like the IIT’s and NID etc and the other institutions in the metros.

        What is really dangerous of the education in this country that the more we learn the less we know about this country.

        It was at NID, that I started addressing this issue of aesthetics, creativity, spontaneity, design process etc. I realized that only by working with culturally rooted people one can begin to decolonize and deschool oneself to recover ones culture and identity. One could either learn from children provided we don’t teach them or from rural tribal communities provided we don’t treat them as laborers. Last 17 years were spent with traditional culture, learning from them and helping them in whatever little way possible to retain their culture.

        Unlike the usual experts my method of working with traditional craft communities were to initiate process creativity there by rebuilding self-respect which is the only way to strengthen the traditional cultures. With this non-intrusive methods I’m still able to develop forms, which do have strong cultural identity. A potter in Orissa and one in Karnataka or Kerala are creating very distinct forms. I call this method ‘do nothing method" where the participants are very free to create whatever they feel like and even the tools are developed then and there. Unlike the modern people I felt that their reference for creating beautiful things are internal. Unlike us whose method of creating beautiful things are by constantly seeking external sources.

        I limit my role to giving the functional aspect as I’m more exposed to the urban needs. In this process I have come to realize the immense potential for craft in architecture. I have explored pottery, bomboo, brass etc for this purpose.

        I also see this opportunity as a situation for the colonized architect to decolonize themselves by a creative and non-intrusive interaction with the craft people. For that purpose I propose setting up of centre for craft in architecture. This will ensure the continuation of traditional craft skills also. This also means the heritage maker also will continue to live.

        But the actual crisis we are facing is far too enormous.

        How do we begin and where do we search for solutions?

        Isn’t time to re-look at our worldview?

        Isn’t it time to reconnect with the mother earth again?

        Pokkudan in Kannur and Salamarada Thimmakka   in Karnataka are typical examples of traditional culture’s response to the environmental crisis in their respective places.

        Pokkudan is some one who has never been to a school who has been consistently protecting and planting acres of mangroves single-handedly.

        Salamarada Thimmakka has been planting trees for the past 15 years and that too about 4000 per year.She considers these trees as her children.She has never been to a school and never travelled out of Magadi road where she stays.

        What is this knowledge that makes them do these things.

        May be we need to learn from traditional wisdom which has sustained this earth for centuaries.

         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: HSIM
        Sent: Sunday, August 17, 2003 11:36 PM
        Subject: Re: [alt-ed-india] Happy Independence Day?

        Hi Clive,
         
        Quite a thought-provoking test question, and not easily answered!  Let me pitch in my two cents' worth.
         
        In India, a country is not viewed as a piece of inanimate land.  All things are considered to be living, including the land we tread upon, the rocks we climb, the houses we build.  NOTHING is taken for granted.  Which is why, when dancers get onto stage or even daily practice, they first prostrate to the earth below.  For treading on Her, and causing hurt to so many insects with their 'careless' feet.  So beautiful, no Clive?
         
        The country where one is born is considered equal to one's MOTHER.  Or father I guess, for those who prefer that version.  The same love one has for one's mother, and the same distinctions one makes between one's mother and the rest of womankind, hold for one's homeland versus rest of the world!  Now that doesn't mean that the relationship of mother and child SHOULD never exist with anyone else.  That is, we may come across other individuals/ countries/ peoples who represent 'mother' or motherhood to us, and evoke the same (or more) reverence and love.  At such a point, we can embrace that individual/ concept as well.  I feel that - only when we can identify ourselves with something, is there SCOPE to transcend that identity and to embrace more.  Without ANY IDENTITY, what is there to transcend?  A benchmark, if you will, meant to transcend at the ripe moment.
         
        Even as homeschoolers we all share an identity, and may be required to fight for our rights.  Why fight, some may ask.  Fighting is not at all necessary if everyone can honor each other's identity.  If even one person fails to do so, however, some retaliation may be necessary.  I don't want to sit around twiddling my thumbs if some authoritative body comes and tries to prevent me from asserting my freedom of choice in education.  I will do something about it.  With this freedom comes responsibility, of course, and that responsibility may INCLUDE fighting for my child's rights and my own!
         
        But let me not ramble.  What do you propose as an alternative to celebrating, say, Independence Days of different countries?  What is the alternative to war, and how can war be prevented?  Unless we have a workable alternative, how can we embrace the concept of no identity? 
         
        Of course, having said all this, I must also add that it is very Indian to say 'VASUDHAIVA KUTUMBAKAM' (the world is our family)!  :).  But I needed the Indian translation even to say so.  So perhaps we can grow, like Matsya avatar, from the small "I" to the more encompassing world view and universal view.  And this our country TEACHES us how to, if only we will listen... and learn.
         
        Incidentally, I did not view the Independence day parade.  ;)!!
         
        Regards,
        -Neela.

        Clive Elwell <cliveelwell@...> wrote:
        Hello Everyone
         
        I wonder why one should encourage children to feel "love" for a country. Actually the feeling of patriotism is not love, but I will use that word. Why should we encourage nationalism in our children? Do we want to kill them?
         
        Children in India are encouraged to love their country, to feel fervour, stirred up at ceremonies, at the sight of military parades. In short, to identify with a particular nation. At the same time children in Pakistan, in China are encouraged to feel exactly the same about their country. And the result of this conditioning is all too evident. Hatred, Antagonism, conflict and ultimately war.
         
        Of course this is happening pretty much all over the world, I'm not picking on India especially.
         
        Patriotism is a poison. Why should we encourage it? I heard the other day that people have killed 1,600, 00,000 people in the last 100 years in war.  Many people lived through that others saw it on TV, read about it, today we see documentaries, books, eyewitness accounts, interviews, see it on TV live etc. and it has not changed us! What will it take to change man?  What will it take for a man, you and me to change? 
         If we want to bring about a change in our children and in ourselves, shouldn't we show them that divisions between people are products of our mind, of our conditioning? Because these divisions, divisions of nationality, of religion, of race, of politics, of caste, and so on, do actually kill people, as one can read about every day in the newspapers.
         
        Doesn't this demand a different kind of education?
         
        Clive
         
        Original Message -----
        From:


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        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        This mailing list is primarily for the use of families who are home educating in India, and those who are considering doing so. However, all those with a deep interest in serious education are welcome to participate. The list's intentions are to facilitate enquiry into fundamental educational questions, to learn together, to share, and to  support those who are home educating.


        If you have a web-based subscription, you can learn more about the Alternative Education in India group, and view the archives, by visiting: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/alt-ed-india

        To start sending messages to members of the group, simply send emails to:  alt-ed-india@yahoogroups.com

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        There are associated web pages at:
        www.alternativeeducationindia.net

        Here you can if you wish add yourself to the local contact groups data base, which is to enable members of the group to make personal contact with others who live nearby.

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      • Satish Natarajan
        This is a good point raised. We have to remember that mind is only a tool to be used for living. We should not identify ourselves with the knowledge that is
        Message 3 of 18 , Aug 17, 2003
          This is a good point raised. We have to remember that
          mind is only a tool to be used for living. We should
          not identify ourselves with the knowledge that is
          aquired at the mind level. In the olden days it was
          the skill of the hands which were important for a
          living but now the skills are knowledge based. But
          what is important is how to use the mind as a tool and
          detach from it after use. All that we feed to the
          mind including patriotism is going to rot and create
          havoc if the individual identifies with the mind. The
          important thing to learn is how to use the mind. All
          other knowledge is only about knowing and it is not
          very important because once the mind is exposed to it,
          the mind knows it. The education should be about how
          to be able to focus all the energy on a task, how to
          give 100% to a task and how to detach from it once it
          is done.

          Satish

          --- Jinankb <jinankb@...> wrote:
          > Dear Clive
          > Thank you for raising this issue.I think more than
          > children It is we,adults who need to re examine
          > these important issues.I was reading Carlos
          > Casteneda few days ago.Don Juan talks about our
          > minds as foriegn installations.We need to uninstall
          > quite a lot.I dont think alternative education is
          > about teaching all the nonsense that are taught at
          > schools at home.It is about creating authentic and
          > independent learners.I think even asking children to
          > write essay on sanskrit etc boils down to the same
          > attitude.leave children alone/create enviornment for
          > them to learn just as they learned to walk and talk.
          > Jinan
          > ----- Original Message -----
          > From: Clive Elwell
          > To: alt-ed-india@yahoogroups.com
          > Sent: Sunday, August 17, 2003 5:51 AM
          > Subject: Re: [alt-ed-india] Happy Independence
          > Day?
          >
          >
          > Hello Everyone
          >
          > I wonder why one should encourage children to feel
          > "love" for a country. Actually the feeling of
          > patriotism is not love, but I will use that word.
          > Why should we encourage nationalism in our children?
          > Do we want to kill them?
          >
          > Children in India are encouraged to love their
          > country, to feel fervour, stirred up at ceremonies,
          > at the sight of military parades. In short, to
          > identify with a particular nation. At the same time
          > children in Pakistan, in China are encouraged to
          > feel exactly the same about their country. And the
          > result of this conditioning is all too evident.
          > Hatred, Antagonism, conflict and ultimately war.
          >
          > Of course this is happening pretty much all over
          > the world, I'm not picking on India especially.
          >
          > Patriotism is a poison. Why should we encourage
          > it? I heard the other day that people have killed
          > 1,600, 00,000 people in the last 100 years in war.
          > Many people lived through that others saw it on TV,
          > read about it, today we see documentaries, books,
          > eyewitness accounts, interviews, see it on TV live
          > etc. and it has not changed us! What will it take to
          > change man? What will it take for a man, you and me
          > to change?
          > If we want to bring about a change in our
          > children and in ourselves, shouldn't we show them
          > that divisions between people are products of our
          > mind, of our conditioning? Because these divisions,
          > divisions of nationality, of religion, of race, of
          > politics, of caste, and so on, do actually kill
          > people, as one can read about every day in the
          > newspapers.
          >
          > Doesn't this demand a different kind of education?
          >
          > Clive
          >
          > Original Message -----
          > From: Prashanth Visweswaran
          > To: Alternative Education India
          > Sent: Friday, August 15, 2003 2:52 AM
          > Subject: [alt-ed-india] Happy Independence Day
          >
          >
          > Warm Wishes to all Members and Homeschoolers in
          > India a very Happy Independence Day.
          >
          > On this occassion, I wonder if it will be a good
          > idea to include Civic Sense and Love for our Country
          > as a "Practicals" curriculum in our Home Education
          > efforts.
          >
          > May be we could start off by working with our
          > kids to write an essay of about 2 pages on the above
          > mentioned topic and then share it with this group.
          >
          > I will work with my kids on this and post in
          > this group once they complete.
          >
          > Regards
          > Prashanth
          >
          >
          >
          ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
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          > design software
          >
          >
          >
          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
          > This mailing list is primarily for the use of
          > families who are home educating in India, and those
          > who are considering doing so. However, all those
          > with a deep interest in serious education are
          > welcome to participate. The list's intentions are to
          > facilitate enquiry into fundamental educational
          > questions, to learn together, to share, and to
          > support those who are home educating.
          >
          >
          > If you have a web-based subscription, you can
          > learn more about the Alternative Education in India
          > group, and view the archives, by visiting:
          > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/alt-ed-india
          >
          > To start sending messages to members of the
          > group, simply send emails to:
          > alt-ed-india@yahoogroups.com
          >
          > If you do not wish to belong to
          > home_educating_india, you may unsubscribe by sending
          > an email to:
          > alt-ed-india-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
          >
          > There are associated web pages at:
          > www.alternativeeducationindia.net
          >
          > Here you can if you wish add yourself to the
          > local contact groups data base, which is to enable
          > members of the group to make personal contact with
          > others who live nearby.
          >
          > list owner: alt-ed-india-owner@yahoogroups.com
          >
          >
          >
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          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
          > This mailing list is primarily for the use of
          > families who are home educating in India, and those
          > who are considering doing so. However, all those
          > with a deep interest in serious education are
          > welcome to participate. The list's intentions are to
          > facilitate enquiry into fundamental educational
          > questions, to learn together, to share, and to
          > support those who are home educating.
          >
          >
          > If you have a web-based subscription, you can
          > learn more about the Alternative Education in India
          > group, and view the archives, by visiting:
          > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/alt-ed-india
          >
          > To start sending messages to members of the group,
          > simply send emails to: alt-ed-india@yahoogroups.com
          >
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          > an email to:
          > alt-ed-india-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
          >
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          > www.alternativeeducationindia.net
          >
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          > contact groups data base, which is to enable members
          > of the group to make personal contact with others
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        • HSIM
          Hello Jinan, I am yet to understand WHAT of what I said is mere theory. In e-mail discussions there are a few limitations, and one of them is immediate
          Message 4 of 18 , Aug 18, 2003
            Hello Jinan,
             
            I am yet to understand WHAT of what I said is mere theory.  In e-mail discussions there are a few limitations, and one of them is immediate clarification of content and purpose.  And of course, another limitation is that it is a bit impersonal.  If I had known you personally, perhaps my family would have invited you for lunch, Indian style, and we could have carried on a very pleasant and practical conversation on the same topic :).
             
            Unless I know WHAT in my message has been viewed as mere theory, and why, I cannot proceed with either agreeing with you nor refuting your claims. 
             
            I for one am quite delighted to be Indian and, while I am not content with revelling in past glory, I see no reason why I should not be happy about the past and in our roots.  They fill me with admiration and awe.  Yes, today we have numerous problems in the country but why shouldn't we visit the past for inspiration or guidance?  This is such a beautiful country and I am so proud of my association with her, both past and present. 
             
            What is so theoretical about my happiness and pride, which I practically FEEL each time I visit?  What is merely theoretical about the tears I shed when I speak to some of her lovely people, or view how even the poor and 'deprived' class deals with trials and tribulations?  What is theoretical about sitting here in my music class and getting amazed at the teacher's skill in constructing intricate musical patterns ad hoc?  Or talking with Sanskrit scholars about the brilliant, somewhat unparalleled organization of the Sanskrit language?  All very practical, all things which make me immensely happy, emotional, sad, and proud in turn.  And no, all of this is not irrelevant or past glory - my music teacher is ALIVE, my Sanskrit teacher is ALIVE, my friends are ALIVE, the graceful women walking on the road with pots on their heads, are NOT a figment of my imagination :)!!  No past, any of this.  All current, no theories.  And I identify myself with it all, both 'good' and 'bad'.  So I speak of identity, and viewing land as alive.  All this is alive, throbbing with life, throbbing with problems waiting to be solved.  WOW!
             
            I have absolutely no apology for feeling any of this and I am happy that I can STILL FEEL :)!  I don't want to be all theory, definitely not, but I have plenty of respect for our past and our elders and our scriptural wisdon, because I am not so self-styled that all my views can be formulated independently.  I want support and I seek it from good people, which I guess is kind of practical too - for someone like me at least. 
             
            Thank you for including your write up; it was nice of you.  I await your detailed critique :).
             
            Plenty of good wishes.
             
            -Neela.


            Jinankb <jinankb@...> wrote:
            Neela
            What you are telling is mere theory.What we have heard or read and not lived.The issue of education or learning is precisely this.The India that you are talking about is lost in the process of getting 'educated'.our whole worldview changes.We lead a life quite contrary to the ethos of this once great civilisation.I was invited to a seminar by architects on protecting and preserving heritage.My reponse was whose culture/whose hertage.I am including the writeup .
             

            Whose Heritage?

            Whose culture?

            Can we the so- called educated Indians claim to be the true inheritors of that heritage that we want to conserve. Aren�t we also looking at the whole issue of heritage in the same way as the British did when they arrived a few centuries ago? How did we become strangers in our own country? Do we acknowledge this situation of cultural rootlessnes? What aspect of that culture do we represent today? Our world view is no longer the same, a world view in which human beings were not the center of life, a world view which prevented greed, a world view which never created waste and a world view in which use of material resources reflected concern for future generations.


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          • Prashanth Visweswaran
            Hello All, Wow Wow. A simple class exercise of writing an essay needs so much explanation and we discuss about the mind. Well let me confirm from my HEART and
            Message 5 of 18 , Aug 18, 2003
              Hello All,
               
              Wow Wow. A simple class exercise of writing an essay needs so much explanation and we discuss about the mind. Well let me confirm from my HEART and not Mind, I am proud of my Indian nationality and culture.
               
              My kids are doing good with the essay and will share with those interested.
               
              With Love
              Prashanth

              HSIM <hsim95@...> wrote:
              Hello Jinan,
               
              I am yet to understand WHAT of what I said is mere theory.  In e-mail discussions there are a few limitations, and one of them is immediate clarification of content and purpose.  And of course, another limitation is that it is a bit impersonal.  If I had known you personally, perhaps my family would have invited you for lunch, Indian style, and we could have carried on a very pleasant and practical conversation on the same topic :).
               
              Unless I know WHAT in my message has been viewed as mere theory, and why, I cannot proceed with either agreeing with you nor refuting your claims. 
               
              I for one am quite delighted to be Indian and, while I am not content with revelling in past glory, I see no reason why I should not be happy about the past and in our roots.  They fill me with admiration and awe.  Yes, today we have numerous problems in the country but why shouldn't we visit the past for inspiration or guidance?  This is such a beautiful country and I am so proud of my association with her, both past and present. 
               
              What is so theoretical about my happiness and pride, which I practically FEEL each time I visit?  What is merely theoretical about the tears I shed when I speak to some of her lovely people, or view how even the poor and 'deprived' class deals with trials and tribulations?  What is theoretical about sitting here in my music class and getting amazed at the teacher's skill in constructing intricate musical patterns ad hoc?  Or talking with Sanskrit scholars about the brilliant, somewhat unparalleled organization of the Sanskrit language?  All very practical, all things which make me immensely happy, emotional, sad, and proud in turn.  And no, all of this is not irrelevant or past glory - my music teacher is ALIVE, my Sanskrit teacher is ALIVE, my friends are ALIVE, the graceful women walking on the road with pots on their heads, are NOT a figment of my imagination :)!!  No past, any of this.  All current, no theories.  And I identify myself with it all, both 'good' and 'bad'.  So I speak of identity, and viewing land as alive.  All this is alive, throbbing with life, throbbing with problems waiting to be solved.  WOW!
               
              I have absolutely no apology for feeling any of this and I am happy that I can STILL FEEL :)!  I don't want to be all theory, definitely not, but I have plenty of respect for our past and our elders and our scriptural wisdon, because I am not so self-styled that all my views can be formulated independently.  I want support and I seek it from good people, which I guess is kind of practical too - for someone like me at least. 
               
              Thank you for including your write up; it was nice of you.  I await your detailed critique :).
               
              Plenty of good wishes.
               
              -Neela.


              Jinankb <jinankb@...> wrote:
              Neela
              What you are telling is mere theory.What we have heard or read and not lived.The issue of education or learning is precisely this.The India that you are talking about is lost in the process of getting 'educated'.our whole worldview changes.We lead a life quite contrary to the ethos of this once great civilisation.I was invited to a seminar by architects on protecting and preserving heritage.My reponse was whose culture/whose hertage.I am including the writeup .
               

              Whose Heritage?

              Whose culture?

              Can we the so- called educated Indians claim to be the true inheritors of that heritage that we want to conserve. Aren�t we also looking at the whole issue of heritage in the same way as the British did when they arrived a few centuries ago? How did we become strangers in our own country? Do we acknowledge this situation of cultural rootlessnes? What aspect of that culture do we represent today? Our world view is no longer the same, a world view in which human beings were not the center of life, a world view which prevented greed, a world view which never created waste and a world view in which use of material resources reflected concern for future generations.


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            • Clive Elwell
              Hi Satish Two more bombs today. Both by organisations who fiercely and absolutely identify with a principle, with a group of people. And no doubt claim to
              Message 6 of 18 , Aug 19, 2003
                Hi Satish

                Two more bombs today. Both by organisations who fiercely and absolutely
                identify with a principle, with a group of people. And no doubt claim to
                love their country, or their "religion". More destructive that the bombs and
                all the weapons mankind has ever created is this "trick" the mind has of
                identifying with things.
                Education must be concerned with understanding the limits of thought. But
                where are the teachers who understand this?

                regards
                Clive

                ----- Original Message -----
                From: "Satish Natarajan" <satish_en@...>
                To: <alt-ed-india@yahoogroups.com>
                Sent: Monday, August 18, 2003 5:57 PM
                Subject: Re: [alt-ed-india] Happy Independence Day?


                > This is a good point raised. We have to remember that
                > mind is only a tool to be used for living. We should
                > not identify ourselves with the knowledge that is
                > aquired at the mind level. In the olden days it was
                > the skill of the hands which were important for a
                > living but now the skills are knowledge based. But
                > what is important is how to use the mind as a tool and
                > detach from it after use. All that we feed to the
                > mind including patriotism is going to rot and create
                > havoc if the individual identifies with the mind. The
                > important thing to learn is how to use the mind. All
                > other knowledge is only about knowing and it is not
                > very important because once the mind is exposed to it,
                > the mind knows it. The education should be about how
                > to be able to focus all the energy on a task, how to
                > give 100% to a task and how to detach from it once it
                > is done.
                >
                > Satish
                >
                > --- Jinankb <jinankb@...> wrote:
                > > Dear Clive
                > > Thank you for raising this issue.I think more than
                > > children It is we,adults who need to re examine
                > > these important issues.I was reading Carlos
                > > Casteneda few days ago.Don Juan talks about our
                > > minds as foriegn installations.We need to uninstall
                > > quite a lot.I dont think alternative education is
                > > about teaching all the nonsense that are taught at
                > > schools at home.It is about creating authentic and
                > > independent learners.I think even asking children to
                > > write essay on sanskrit etc boils down to the same
                > > attitude.leave children alone/create enviornment for
                > > them to learn just as they learned to walk and talk.
                > > Jinan
                > > ----- Original Message -----
                > > From: Clive Elwell
                > > To: alt-ed-india@yahoogroups.com
                > > Sent: Sunday, August 17, 2003 5:51 AM
                > > Subject: Re: [alt-ed-india] Happy Independence
                > > Day?
                > >
                > >
                > > Hello Everyone
                > >
                > > I wonder why one should encourage children to feel
                > > "love" for a country. Actually the feeling of
                > > patriotism is not love, but I will use that word.
                > > Why should we encourage nationalism in our children?
                > > Do we want to kill them?
                > >
                > > Children in India are encouraged to love their
                > > country, to feel fervour, stirred up at ceremonies,
                > > at the sight of military parades. In short, to
                > > identify with a particular nation. At the same time
                > > children in Pakistan, in China are encouraged to
                > > feel exactly the same about their country. And the
                > > result of this conditioning is all too evident.
                > > Hatred, Antagonism, conflict and ultimately war.
                > >
                > > Of course this is happening pretty much all over
                > > the world, I'm not picking on India especially.
                > >
                > > Patriotism is a poison. Why should we encourage
                > > it? I heard the other day that people have killed
                > > 1,600, 00,000 people in the last 100 years in war.
                > > Many people lived through that others saw it on TV,
                > > read about it, today we see documentaries, books,
                > > eyewitness accounts, interviews, see it on TV live
                > > etc. and it has not changed us! What will it take to
                > > change man? What will it take for a man, you and me
                > > to change?
                > > If we want to bring about a change in our
                > > children and in ourselves, shouldn't we show them
                > > that divisions between people are products of our
                > > mind, of our conditioning? Because these divisions,
                > > divisions of nationality, of religion, of race, of
                > > politics, of caste, and so on, do actually kill
                > > people, as one can read about every day in the
                > > newspapers.
                > >
                > > Doesn't this demand a different kind of education?
                > >
                > > Clive
                > >
                > > Original Message -----
                > > From: Prashanth Visweswaran
                > > To: Alternative Education India
                > > Sent: Friday, August 15, 2003 2:52 AM
                > > Subject: [alt-ed-india] Happy Independence Day
                > >
                > >
                > > Warm Wishes to all Members and Homeschoolers in
                > > India a very Happy Independence Day.
                > >
                > > On this occassion, I wonder if it will be a good
                > > idea to include Civic Sense and Love for our Country
                > > as a "Practicals" curriculum in our Home Education
                > > efforts.
                > >
                > > May be we could start off by working with our
                > > kids to write an essay of about 2 pages on the above
                > > mentioned topic and then share it with this group.
                > >
                > > I will work with my kids on this and post in
                > > this group once they complete.
                > >
                > > Regards
                > > Prashanth
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > --------------------------------------------------------------------------
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                > >
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                > > learn more about the Alternative Education in India
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                > > facilitate enquiry into fundamental educational
                > > questions, to learn together, to share, and to
                > > support those who are home educating.
                > >
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                > > If you have a web-based subscription, you can
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              • Clive Elwell
                Hello Neela, I have interpossed some comments to your letter below, in italics Hi Clive, Quite a thought-provoking test question, and not easily answered! Let
                Message 7 of 18 , Aug 19, 2003
                  Hello Neela,
                  I have interpossed some comments to your letter below, in italics
                   
                  Hi Clive,
                   
                  Quite a thought-provoking test question, and not easily answered!  Let me pitch in my two cents' worth.
                   
                  In India, a country is not viewed as a piece of inanimate land.  All things are considered to be living, including the land we tread upon, the rocks we climb, the houses we build.  NOTHING is taken for granted.  Which is why, when dancers get onto stage or even daily practice, they first prostrate to the earth below.  For treading on Her, and causing hurt to so many insects with their 'careless' feet.  So beautiful, no Clive?
                   
                  Clive : It is beautiful if it is done with awareness, with an understanding and feeling for the Earth and our realtionship with it. If it is is done as a ritual, automatically, as something one has practiced, it is not beautiful.
                   
                  The country where one is born is considered equal to one's MOTHER.  Or father I guess, for those who prefer that version. 
                   
                  Clive:  One Adolph Hitler prefered the term Vaterland, the fatherland. He used the term often, at the top of his voice, when he was arrousing fervour in the crowds he was making speaches to. Stirring them up to hatred of others nations; prooving the German nation was superior to others, no doubt talking about love of ones country.I think it was 24 million dead in the second world war.
                   
                   The same love one has for one's mother, and the same distinctions one makes between one's mother and the rest of womankind, hold for one's homeland versus rest of the world!  Now that doesn't mean that the relationship of mother and child SHOULD never exist with anyone else.  That is, we may come across other individuals/ countries/ peoples who represent 'mother' or motherhood to us, and evoke the same (or more) reverence and love.  At such a point, we can embrace that individual/ concept as well.  I feel that - only when we can identify ourselves with something, is there SCOPE to transcend that identity and to embrace more.  Without ANY IDENTITY, what is there to transcend?  A benchmark, if you will, meant to transcend at the ripe moment.
                   
                  Clive: Without any identity, there is indeed nothing to transcend. Nothing to defend, no bias, no inequality in one's relationships. No conflict with others, no fear of anything. Only without identification is there space for true love. Love which isn't mine or yours, and isn't directed to some and not others.
                   
                  Even as homeschoolers we all share an identity, and may be required to fight for our rights. 
                   
                  Clive: exactly. Having identified we are prepared to fight, to defend that identity. To throw bombs, to burn children alive. This is not imagination, romanticism, this actually happens , and in India. You know this is a fact. I home educate because i see the necessity, and I will do what is necessary - I don't have to fight others for this, I will simply act appropriately and intelligently.
                   
                   Why fight, some may ask.  Fighting is not at all necessary if everyone can honor each other's identity.  If even one person fails to do so, however, some retaliation may be necessary.  I don't want to sit around twiddling my thumbs if some authoritative body comes and tries to prevent me from asserting my freedom of choice in education.  I will do something about it.  With this freedom comes responsibility, of course, and that responsibility may INCLUDE fighting for my child's rights and my own!
                   
                  But let me not ramble.  What do you propose as an alternative to celebrating, say, Independence Days of different countries? 
                   
                  Clive: Why do you ask for an alternative?
                   
                   What is the alternative to war,
                   
                  Clive: I must be missing something here, please explain. When you see danger, say a snake on the ground in front of you, do you walk on, saying  "what is the alternative". If you know something is poisonous, do you say "I will drink it unless you provide me with an alternative?" And do you feed that poison to your children if there is no alternative?
                   
                  and how can war be prevented? 
                   
                  Clive: by not identifying, and by not raising one's children as Indians. Pakistanis, Chinese, Americans, Hindus, Muslims, Christians, and so on.
                   
                   Unless we have a workable alternative, how can we embrace the concept of no identity? 
                   
                  Clive: There is no "how". When you see identification clearly as a poison, you will not drink it. 
                   
                  Of course, having said all this, I must also add that it is very Indian to say 'VASUDHAIVA KUTUMBAKAM' (the world is our family)!  :). 
                   
                  Clive : It may be common to say it, like Nameste. But how common is it to live it?
                   
                  But I needed the Indian translation even to say so.  So perhaps we can grow, like Matsya avatar, from the small "I" to the more encompassing world view and universal view.  And this our country TEACHES us how to, if only we will listen... and learn.
                   
                  Incidentally, I did not view the Independence day parade.  ;)!!
                   
                  Regards,
                  -Neela.
                   
                  And warm regards to you
                  Clive
                • HSIM
                  Clive, I will respond in detail over several e-mail messages, but one point you made is very striking and I am impelled to retort immediately! I hope that your
                  Message 8 of 18 , Aug 19, 2003
                    Clive,
                     
                    I will respond in detail over several e-mail messages, but one point you made is very striking and I am impelled to retort immediately!
                     
                    I hope that your embedded quote did NOT imply the following: that all patriotic Indians/ others are Hitlerian.  But, perchance it did, then here is my argument:
                     
                    To make out that all patriotism is identifiable with Hitlerian values is to make a gross error in logical skills and reason.  It is like saying that just because 'a' and 'b' share some one common  trait, that 'a' = 'b'.  Hitler had a nose, and so do most human beings.  So does everyone with a nose, BECOME Hitler?  I hope that my point is understood.  ;).
                     
                    To say that Indians are Hitlerian if they display patriotism, to make such a comparison merely on such a ground, tantamounts to calumny which Indians have been a target of for a rather long time.  In fact, there is nothing original or new about people criticising India.  Many people do it and many don't even know why - peer pressure on an adult note.
                     
                    All patriotism does not lead to war.  Indians are pretty peaceful people, overall.  And we did not need to be subjugated by any other set of invaders, and then be PEACEFUL in return.  Let everyone leave everyone alone, which not everyone is capable of. 
                     
                    I do not justify war all the time, either.  There are a few times when it can be justified, after all peacekeeping and peacemaking efforts have failed. 
                     
                    By the way, most of my friends are either Muslim or Christian and of different nationalities.  They respect me for being myself, and I like them for being themselves.  I have worn my symbols of Indian identity through college days abroad, and not TOO long ago!  Many people liked my identity :); and enjoyed seeing someone looking a little - ahem - different.  Those who did not, well, they did not matter.  So many beautiful Indian women are there clad in their symbols of identity and national costumes; how can we rob them of that identity?  And after enjoying my identity, I have donned Western costumes and Muslim costumes as well.  I have neither become too seamlessly integrated nor have I stuck out like a sore thumb.  In fact, I LOVE reading Peace Pilgrim and she has been one of my heroines in life.  Even Peace Pilgrim speaks of giving children some roots, before giving them wings.  And when I evolve a great deal, I may be able to express my point without anyone even 'FEELING' like refuting :)!  Until then, my debates...
                     
                    I am quite happy, and pretty peaceful, and I have never warred with anyone nor do I ever intend to.  Assuming of course, that expressing myself in a discussion forum candidly and courageously is not INTERPRETED as warring :).
                     
                    We can certainly continue this conversation if you like, but I guess I would enjoy hearing the views of some of the others out here as well. 
                      
                    Very warm regards,
                    -Neela.
                     

                    Clive Elwell <cliveelwell@...> wrote:
                    Hello Neela,
                    I have interpossed some comments to your letter below, in italics
                     
                     
                    The country where one is born is considered equal to one's MOTHER.  Or father I guess, for those who prefer that version. 
                     
                    Clive:  One Adolph Hitler prefered the term Vaterland, the fatherland. He used the term often, at the top of his voice, when he was arrousing fervour in the crowds he was making speaches to. Stirring them up to hatred of others nations; prooving the German nation was superior to others, no doubt talking about love of ones country.I think it was 24 million dead in the second world war.
                     
                    Even as homeschoolers we all share an identity, and may be required to fight for our rights. 
                     
                    Clive: exactly. Having identified we are prepared to fight, to defend that identity. To throw bombs, to burn children alive. This is not imagination, romanticism, this actually happens , and in India. You know this is a fact. I home educate because i see the necessity, and I will do what is necessary - I don't have to fight others for this, I will simply act appropriately and intelligently.
                     
                     
                    But let me not ramble.  What do you propose as an alternative to celebrating, say, Independence Days of different countries? 
                     
                    Clive: Why do you ask for an alternative?
                     
                     What is the alternative to war,
                     
                    Clive: I must be missing something here, please explain. When you see danger, say a snake on the ground in front of you, do you walk on, saying  "what is the alternative". If you know something is poisonous, do you say "I will drink it unless you provide me with an alternative?" And do you feed that poison to your children if there is no alternative?
                     
                    and how can war be prevented? 
                     
                    Clive: by not identifying, and by not raising one's children as Indians. Pakistanis, Chinese, Americans, Hindus, Muslims, Christians, and so on.
                     
                     Unless we have a workable alternative, how can we embrace the concept of no identity? 
                     
                    Clive: There is no "how". When you see identification clearly as a poison, you will not drink it. 
                     
                    Of course, having said all this, I must also add that it is very Indian to say 'VASUDHAIVA KUTUMBAKAM' (the world is our family)!  :). 
                     
                    Clive : It may be common to say it, like Nameste. But how common is it to live it?
                     
                     


                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                    This mailing list is primarily for the use of families who are home educating in India, and those who are considering doing so. However, all those with a deep interest in serious education are welcome to participate. The list's intentions are to facilitate enquiry into fundamental educational questions, to learn together, to share, and to  support those who are home educating.


                    If you have a web-based subscription, you can learn more about the Alternative Education in India group, and view the archives, by visiting: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/alt-ed-india

                    To start sending messages to members of the group, simply send emails to:  alt-ed-india@yahoogroups.com

                    If you do not wish to belong to home_educating_india, you may unsubscribe by sending an email to:
                    alt-ed-india-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com

                    There are associated web pages at:
                    www.alternativeeducationindia.net

                    Here you can if you wish add yourself to the local contact groups data base, which is to enable members of the group to make personal contact with others who live nearby.

                    list owner: alt-ed-india-owner@yahoogroups.com

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                  • HSIM
                    Hi everyone, In retrospect, the entire posting for or against patriotism seems a bit humorous, especially since it is not a new debate at all. And no matter
                    Message 9 of 18 , Aug 20, 2003
                      Hi everyone,
                       
                      In retrospect, the entire posting for or against patriotism seems a bit humorous, especially since it is not a new debate at all.  And no matter how much we debate this, I doubt if either side will go away acknowledging all the other's points.  Chris Griscom once said that putting ourselves in the opposing viewpoint from time to time is a useful exercise, and I am trying her approach without relinquishing my position in favor of identity.
                       
                      I do find that homeschoolers tend to get more interested in examining opposing viewpoints on all kinds of controversial topics.  The process is pretty educational!  I have had discussions on certain other "volatile" topics including whether children should be exposed to Harry Potter or not, about unschooling versus structured schooling, J Krishnamurthi for and against, etc.  A discussion can even be had on whether these topics are indeed volatile or not.  Incidentally, I'd be happy to discuss Krishnamurthi with anyone who is interested :)!
                       
                      For those of you who want to find some points for/ against patriotism, do take a look at this URL:
                       
                      Of course, I continue on the same line of thinking as I did previously, and believe that one's Motherland/ Fatherland is sacred - for those who have one, even if citizenship has changed during life.  But I read the opposing viewpoints with interest.  Read and enjoy (or lose your composure!) if you like this kind of thing.
                       
                      Warm regards,
                      -Neela.


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                    • HSIM
                      Hi everyone, In retrospect, the entire posting for or against patriotism seems a bit humorous, especially since it is not a new debate at all. And no matter
                      Message 10 of 18 , Aug 20, 2003
                        Hi everyone,
                         
                        In retrospect, the entire posting for or against patriotism seems a bit humorous, especially since it is not a new debate at all.  And no matter how much we debate this, I doubt if either side will go away acknowledging all the other's points.  Chris Griscom once said that putting ourselves in the opposing viewpoint from time to time is a useful exercise, and I am trying her approach without relinquishing my position (which is in favor of identity).
                         
                        I do find that homeschoolers tend to get more interested in examining opposing viewpoints on all kinds of controversial topics.  The process is pretty educational!  I have had discussions on certain other "volatile" topics including whether children should be exposed to Harry Potter or not, about unschooling versus structured schooling, J Krishnamurthi for and against, etc.  A discussion can even be had on whether these topics are indeed volatile or not.  Incidentally, I'd be happy to discuss Krishnamurthi with anyone who is interested :)!
                         
                        For those of you who want to find some points for/ against patriotism, do take a look at this URL:
                         
                        Of course, I continue on the same line of thinking as I did previously, and believe that one's Motherland/ Fatherland is sacred - for those who have one, even if citizenship has changed during life.  But I read the opposing viewpoints with interest.  Read and enjoy (or lose your composure!) if you like this kind of thing.
                         
                        Warm regards,
                        -Neela.


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                      • Satish Natarajan
                        Hi Everyone, My understanding of Alternative education is an education which helps the children to retain their innocence, their wonder. They are the closest
                        Message 11 of 18 , Aug 20, 2003
                          Hi Everyone,

                          My understanding of Alternative education is an
                          education which helps the children to retain their
                          innocence, their wonder. They are the closest to the
                          Self. As they grow older they gather knowledge either
                          from external sources or from their own experience and
                          they slowly identify themselves with it. But this is
                          not them or their nature. Their nature is unlimited
                          potential. Everyone of us have unlimited potential
                          but our limitations are in the mind, the mind that we
                          are identified with. The importance of education is
                          to help them learn to live in the NOW. The NOW is not
                          something that can be defined in words, it is an
                          experience. The Now cannot be understood with the
                          help of the mind. An individual as we know and
                          understand is a product of the knowledge of past. Sri
                          Ramana Maharshi says "Find out Who am I?". The "I" is
                          an experience and not something of an identity. What
                          we see and understand in our lives are all based on
                          the past knowledge, except for that occasional glimpse
                          of reality, the elusive reality. The identity of
                          Humans to an idealogy is what is creating the trouble
                          in the world. There are only a very few who are able
                          to live in the NOW. All the great Saints lived in the
                          NOW. They experienced their Self. When they say that
                          the whole world is living in Maya (Illusion or
                          Measure) they mean that the what we experience is
                          filtered thru the memory or the mind. The world as we
                          experience is not real as it is, it is measured with
                          the past that we know and hence it is an illusion.

                          The goal of education is to help learn how to live in
                          the NOW. Education as I see it will help a child to
                          flower into a beautiful human being. As Ekhart Tolle
                          says "You are here to enable the Divine purpose of the
                          universe to unfold, that is how important you are".
                          Our education should help us experience our life and
                          the Divine purpose.

                          Love
                          Satish



                          --- HSIM <hsim95@...> wrote:
                          > Hi everyone,
                          >
                          > In retrospect, the entire posting for or against
                          > patriotism seems a bit humorous, especially since it
                          > is not a new debate at all. And no matter how much
                          > we debate this, I doubt if either side will go away
                          > acknowledging all the other's points. Chris Griscom
                          > once said that putting ourselves in the opposing
                          > viewpoint from time to time is a useful exercise,
                          > and I am trying her approach without relinquishing
                          > my position in favor of identity.
                          >
                          > I do find that homeschoolers tend to get more
                          > interested in examining opposing viewpoints on all
                          > kinds of controversial topics. The process is
                          > pretty educational! I have had discussions on
                          > certain other "volatile" topics including whether
                          > children should be exposed to Harry Potter or not,
                          > about unschooling versus structured schooling, J
                          > Krishnamurthi for and against, etc. A discussion
                          > can even be had on whether these topics are indeed
                          > volatile or not. Incidentally, I'd be happy to
                          > discuss Krishnamurthi with anyone who is interested
                          > :)!
                          >
                          > For those of you who want to find some points for/
                          > against patriotism, do take a look at this URL:
                          >
                          http://www.dooyoo.co.uk/speakers_corner/discussion/patriotism/_review/326633/
                          >
                          > Of course, I continue on the same line of thinking
                          > as I did previously, and believe that one's
                          > Motherland/ Fatherland is sacred - for those who
                          > have one, even if citizenship has changed during
                          > life. But I read the opposing viewpoints with
                          > interest. Read and enjoy (or lose your composure!)
                          > if you like this kind of thing.
                          >
                          > Warm regards,
                          > -Neela.
                          >
                          >
                          > ---------------------------------
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                          > Yahoo! SiteBuilder - Free, easy-to-use web site
                          > design software


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                        • HSIM
                          Well said, Prashanth. I agree with you and I pass on my share of apologies for any hurt feelings caused to anyone on this group... and for any that I may
                          Message 12 of 18 , Aug 20, 2003
                            Well said, Prashanth.  I agree with you and I pass on my share of apologies for any hurt feelings caused to anyone on this group... and for any that I may unwittingly cause in the future.
                             
                            Let us reap from the glory that is India, and of course from the rest of the world too! 
                             
                            Warm regards,
                            -Neela.

                            Prashanth Visweswaran <prashvis@...> wrote:
                            Dear All,
                             
                            I deeply deeply regret if I have hurt anyone. Celebrating Independence is a joyous occassion. I feel good about being Indian and there are several groups for homeschooling. The reason I am involved with this group is because home education in the Indian context is discussed. Isn't the website www.alternativeeducationINDIA.net ??
                             
                            These are not nationalistic or religious bombs. This is what I would call common goals.....home education in India. I think in the recent few months, this group has shaped very well and there is a lot that can be shared and developed. Let us focus on that good work than getting intensely possesive about one's own views.
                             
                            Hope we could work better together.
                             
                            Regards
                            Prashanth

                            HSIM <hsim95@...> wrote:
                             


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                          • Clive Elwell
                            It is very interesting, and I think significant, that a lot of the posting on this theme have been concerned with defending India and things Indian. But in
                            Message 13 of 18 , Aug 20, 2003
                              It is very interesting, and I think significant, that a lot of the posting on this theme have been concerned with defending India and things Indian. But in what way is India being attacked here? The issue is not India, but is nationalism or patriotism, the so called love of one's country. We are talking - at least I am - of all countries equally, this phenomena of dividing up the world into separate units, and all the division and conflict implied. I think I made that clear from the start.
                              If it is causing offence to use India as an example, let us drop all reference to India in the discussion. By the way, I see this exchange as a discussion, a dialogue, not an argument. It is far too serious an issue to mere have an intellectual arguments about.
                               
                              Regards
                              Clive
                              ----- Original Message -----
                              From: HSIM
                              Sent: Wednesday, August 20, 2003 3:36 PM
                              Subject: Re: [alt-ed-india] Happy Independence Day?

                              Clive,
                               
                              I will respond in detail over several e-mail messages, but one point you made is very striking and I am impelled to retort immediately!
                               
                              I hope that your embedded quote did NOT imply the following: that all patriotic Indians/ others are Hitlerian.  But, perchance it did, then here is my argument:
                               
                              To make out that all patriotism is identifiable with Hitlerian values is to make a gross error in logical skills and reason.  It is like saying that just because 'a' and 'b' share some one common  trait, that 'a' = 'b'.  Hitler had a nose, and so do most human beings.  So does everyone with a nose, BECOME Hitler?  I hope that my point is understood.  ;).
                               
                              To say that Indians are Hitlerian if they display patriotism, to make such a comparison merely on such a ground, tantamounts to calumny which Indians have been a target of for a rather long time.  In fact, there is nothing original or new about people criticising India.  Many people do it and many don't even know why - peer pressure on an adult note.
                               
                              All patriotism does not lead to war.  Indians are pretty peaceful people, overall.  And we did not need to be subjugated by any other set of invaders, and then be PEACEFUL in return.  Let everyone leave everyone alone, which not everyone is capable of. 
                               
                              I do not justify war all the time, either.  There are a few times when it can be justified, after all peacekeeping and peacemaking efforts have failed. 
                               
                              By the way, most of my friends are either Muslim or Christian and of different nationalities.  They respect me for being myself, and I like them for being themselves.  I have worn my symbols of Indian identity through college days abroad, and not TOO long ago!  Many people liked my identity :); and enjoyed seeing someone looking a little - ahem - different.  Those who did not, well, they did not matter.  So many beautiful Indian women are there clad in their symbols of identity and national costumes; how can we rob them of that identity?  And after enjoying my identity, I have donned Western costumes and Muslim costumes as well.  I have neither become too seamlessly integrated nor have I stuck out like a sore thumb.  In fact, I LOVE reading Peace Pilgrim and she has been one of my heroines in life.  Even Peace Pilgrim speaks of giving children some roots, before giving them wings.  And when I evolve a great deal, I may be able to express my point without anyone even 'FEELING' like refuting :)!  Until then, my debates...
                               
                              I am quite happy, and pretty peaceful, and I have never warred with anyone nor do I ever intend to.  Assuming of course, that expressing myself in a discussion forum candidly and courageously is not INTERPRETED as warring :).
                               
                              We can certainly continue this conversation if you like, but I guess I would enjoy hearing the views of some of the others out here as well. 
                                
                              Very warm regards,
                              -Neela.
                               

                              Clive Elwell <cliveelwell@...> wrote:
                              Hello Neela,
                              I have interpossed some comments to your letter below, in italics
                               
                               
                              The country where one is born is considered equal to one's MOTHER.  Or father I guess, for those who prefer that version. 
                               
                              Clive:  One Adolph Hitler prefered the term Vaterland, the fatherland. He used the term often, at the top of his voice, when he was arrousing fervour in the crowds he was making speaches to. Stirring them up to hatred of others nations; prooving the German nation was superior to others, no doubt talking about love of ones country.I think it was 24 million dead in the second world war.
                               
                              Even as homeschoolers we all share an identity, and may be required to fight for our rights. 
                               
                              Clive: exactly. Having identified we are prepared to fight, to defend that identity. To throw bombs, to burn children alive. This is not imagination, romanticism, this actually happens , and in India. You know this is a fact. I home educate because i see the necessity, and I will do what is necessary - I don't have to fight others for this, I will simply act appropriately and intelligently.
                               
                               
                              But let me not ramble.  What do you propose as an alternative to celebrating, say, Independence Days of different countries? 
                               
                              Clive: Why do you ask for an alternative?
                               
                               What is the alternative to war,
                               
                              Clive: I must be missing something here, please explain. When you see danger, say a snake on the ground in front of you, do you walk on, saying  "what is the alternative". If you know something is poisonous, do you say "I will drink it unless you provide me with an alternative?" And do you feed that poison to your children if there is no alternative?
                               
                              and how can war be prevented? 
                               
                              Clive: by not identifying, and by not raising one's children as Indians. Pakistanis, Chinese, Americans, Hindus, Muslims, Christians, and so on.
                               
                               Unless we have a workable alternative, how can we embrace the concept of no identity? 
                               
                              Clive: There is no "how". When you see identification clearly as a poison, you will not drink it. 
                               
                              Of course, having said all this, I must also add that it is very Indian to say 'VASUDHAIVA KUTUMBAKAM' (the world is our family)!  :). 
                               
                              Clive : It may be common to say it, like Nameste. But how common is it to live it?
                               
                               


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                            • Jinankb
                              Hi Neela I am also strugling to put my thoughts on paper with out creating misunderstanding.I did my postgraduation from NID(National Institute of Design).
                              Message 14 of 18 , Aug 20, 2003
                                Hi Neela
                                I am also strugling to put my thoughts on paper with out creating misunderstanding.I did my postgraduation from NID(National Institute of Design). What bothered me most was the realisation that through our art/design and architectural schools even our sense of beauty is being westernised(conditioned).Imgine if our sense of beauty is not ours then what is left of us to call ours.This search to find roots/authenticity etc has led me to rural tribal people of this country whom we the educated call as illitirates etc.I realised that we learn by second hand means as there is no experience involved.None of our senes are utilised.Where as in indegenous communities knowing is through direct experience.We have our books written by 'experts' telling us our culture is great etc etc with out us living it.I think even at the cognitive level the world we get know through books and the world we get to know through senes and experience are very diffrent.The destruction of the ecosystem is the result of the second hand knowledge.The western knowledge system is second hand knowledge which is being practiesd all over the world today.The biological element in knowledge which sustains life is absent in the head knowledge of the west.West no longer means the geographical west but the so called educated minds.
                                Jinan
                                ----- Original Message -----
                                From: HSIM
                                Sent: Monday, August 18, 2003 3:31 PM
                                Subject: Re: [alt-ed-india] Happy Independence Day?

                                Hello Jinan,
                                 
                                I am yet to understand WHAT of what I said is mere theory.  In e-mail discussions there are a few limitations, and one of them is immediate clarification of content and purpose.  And of course, another limitation is that it is a bit impersonal.  If I had known you personally, perhaps my family would have invited you for lunch, Indian style, and we could have carried on a very pleasant and practical conversation on the same topic :).
                                 
                                Unless I know WHAT in my message has been viewed as mere theory, and why, I cannot proceed with either agreeing with you nor refuting your claims. 
                                 
                                I for one am quite delighted to be Indian and, while I am not content with revelling in past glory, I see no reason why I should not be happy about the past and in our roots.  They fill me with admiration and awe.  Yes, today we have numerous problems in the country but why shouldn't we visit the past for inspiration or guidance?  This is such a beautiful country and I am so proud of my association with her, both past and present. 
                                 
                                What is so theoretical about my happiness and pride, which I practically FEEL each time I visit?  What is merely theoretical about the tears I shed when I speak to some of her lovely people, or view how even the poor and 'deprived' class deals with trials and tribulations?  What is theoretical about sitting here in my music class and getting amazed at the teacher's skill in constructing intricate musical patterns ad hoc?  Or talking with Sanskrit scholars about the brilliant, somewhat unparalleled organization of the Sanskrit language?  All very practical, all things which make me immensely happy, emotional, sad, and proud in turn.  And no, all of this is not irrelevant or past glory - my music teacher is ALIVE, my Sanskrit teacher is ALIVE, my friends are ALIVE, the graceful women walking on the road with pots on their heads, are NOT a figment of my imagination :)!!  No past, any of this.  All current, no theories.  And I identify myself with it all, both 'good' and 'bad'.  So I speak of identity, and viewing land as alive.  All this is alive, throbbing with life, throbbing with problems waiting to be solved.  WOW!
                                 
                                I have absolutely no apology for feeling any of this and I am happy that I can STILL FEEL :)!  I don't want to be all theory, definitely not, but I have plenty of respect for our past and our elders and our scriptural wisdon, because I am not so self-styled that all my views can be formulated independently.  I want support and I seek it from good people, which I guess is kind of practical too - for someone like me at least. 
                                 
                                Thank you for including your write up; it was nice of you.  I await your detailed critique :).
                                 
                                Plenty of good wishes.
                                 
                                -Neela.


                                Jinankb <jinankb@...> wrote:
                                Neela
                                What you are telling is mere theory.What we have heard or read and not lived.The issue of education or learning is precisely this.The India that you are talking about is lost in the process of getting 'educated'.our whole worldview changes.We lead a life quite contrary to the ethos of this once great civilisation.I was invited to a seminar by architects on protecting and preserving heritage.My reponse was whose culture/whose hertage.I am including the writeup .
                                 

                                Whose Heritage?

                                Whose culture?

                                Can we the so- called educated Indians claim to be the true inheritors of that heritage that we want to conserve. Aren’t we also looking at the whole issue of heritage in the same way as the British did when they arrived a few centuries ago? How did we become strangers in our own country? Do we acknowledge this situation of cultural rootlessnes? What aspect of that culture do we represent today? Our world view is no longer the same, a world view in which human beings were not the center of life, a world view which prevented greed, a world view which never created waste and a world view in which use of material resources reflected concern for future generations.


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                              • HSIM
                                Hi Clive, Valid point. I for one have probably been more defensive (if that is how it is indeed viewed) of things Indian, than the rest of this gathering
                                Message 15 of 18 , Aug 20, 2003
                                  Hi Clive,
                                   
                                  Valid point.  I for one have probably been more 'defensive' (if that is how it is indeed viewed) of things Indian, than the rest of this gathering :), and perhaps I should take the responsibility of answering your post above all the rest.  Everyone else has been pretty tactful and diplomatic in their expression :), so you can blame me for being forthright/ blunt in comparison.  Indians by and large DO want to blend in, and be as seamless and inconspicuous as possible.  In general, Indians do not like offending anyone, and in extreme cases, we occasionally do 'arrange' our beliefs to fit the group, at the risk of sacrificing or even misinterpreting.  Indians generally prefer to argue/ debate among themselves but we will seldom EVER displease a person from outside.  You must factor in the Indian psyche, when you direct questions to a group of Indians.  We are a rather sensitive set of people, and really, truly, may often agree with you just so we do not offend, or so that we can carry on with our other activities freely without spending too much time on a discussion forum. 
                                   
                                  You will not often come across someone like me :), (thank God ?) who will spend upto an hour sending responses of this nature, with the intention of deeply unearthing Indianism.  Of course, I may well and truly be mistaken.  Some others may also end up spending tons of time on this dialogue with you. Like you, I am taking all this a bit seriously and want to share as much as I can so that we reach a common platform of understanding. 
                                   
                                  To reiterate, here is what I sought when I came to this group.  I thought it would deal with Indian homeschoolers and their special needs, and also give me a chance to share ideas about issues regarding India especially in the context of homeschooling.  The very usage of "altedINDIA" creates or brings to mind an identification with a group that is Indian in leaning.  Not necessarily Indian origin, mind you :). 
                                   
                                  If this had been a general homeschooling group, I would perhaps accept that the focus of discussions or dialogue be more generalized or free of identification, but coming from a group that is not "alt-ed" but "alt-ed-India", I find it rather strange to just blend in and sound too universal.  With due apology, I cannot.
                                   
                                  To get the true feel and understanding for Hinduism (another bestowed title), the people who can most genuinely help you are those who have mastered Sanskrit, and/ or ACTUALLY experienced its ancient culture in some remarkable ways.  Otherwise you may run a risk of getting media renditions or filtered or modified versions about this culture, its traditions, its people, why - even its HISTORY!!  Sanskrit is a tough language.  It is easily misunderstood.  There is some danger in reading other people's interpretations of the scriptures, unless we are absolutely sure how evolved these interpreters were.  Most Sanskrit  texts are pithy, poetical, and condensed explanations for the highest of wisdom.  It is not easy to access the original texts. 
                                   
                                  Incidentally, as I know it, some texts were also pilfered out of the country; some were taken out by Indian (alas) scholars themselves out of the country for bribes, with a few verses REWRITTEN, and brought back.  So the most pragmatic (though difficult) approach to TRULY understand this country is to ensure that we are reading the original works and under a Master, and meeting a broad heterogeneous mix of the people here.  Most people fail in this attempt, which is what makes India an eternal mystery and enigma both to Indians and to Westerners.
                                   
                                  I don't know if you have visited the country.  I am assuming you were born in a Western land (ok, I won't give you an identification :)).  Many Westerners have visited India, lived for many years studying with some Masters, and then brought out books with tears in their eyes.  Others have had more superficial experiences, and their expositions have been flawed.  The same is true of Indian authors, some of whom we must take with a pinch of salt.  I will go into the reasons another time.
                                   
                                  As to the goal of Indian scriptures, it is enlightenment, but through a path that is especially suited to the individual.  For some people, intellection is the best choice (dialogue/ discussions on God/ transcending identifications at the outset).  Even so, the transcending is internal.  Even the saintly are not absolved of their duties to their household and wives and children!  Herein, the external identifications...
                                   
                                  For others, devotion may be more appropriate.  Some may prefer to transcend by viewing God as a human being worthy of their love/ nurturing :)!/ even romantic adorations.
                                   
                                  Others may prefer just reaching enlightenment through being atheistic, and this 'religion' is such that you can call yourself Hindu even if you are aetheist.
                                   
                                  And so on, which will hog the frontlines of all the e-mail in this group which I don't want to be guilty of!
                                   
                                  And I am not a Master.
                                   
                                  Warm regards,
                                  -Neela.
                                   
                                   

                                  Clive Elwell <cliveelwell@...> wrote:
                                  It is very interesting, and I think significant, that a lot of the posting on this theme have been concerned with defending India and things Indian. But in what way is India being attacked here? The issue is not India, but is nationalism or patriotism, the so called love of one's country. We are talking - at least I am - of all countries equally, this phenomena of dividing up the world into separate units, and all the division and conflict implied. I think I made that clear from the start.
                                  If it is causing offence to use India as an example, let us drop all reference to India in the discussion. By the way, I see this exchange as a discussion, a dialogue, not an argument. It is far too serious an issue to mere have an intellectual arguments about.
                                   
                                  Regards
                                  Clive
                                  -----

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                                  This mailing list is primarily for the use of families who are home educating in India, and those who are considering doing so. However, all those with a deep interest in serious education are welcome to participate. The list's intentions are to facilitate enquiry into fundamental educational questions, to learn together, to share, and to  support those who are home educating.


                                  If you have a web-based subscription, you can learn more about the Alternative Education in India group, and view the archives, by visiting: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/alt-ed-india

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                                • HSIM
                                  Hi Jinan, Wow - NID? I do agree that it is sometimes hard to put our thoughts very clearly on the internet without somehow causing some misunderstandings. No
                                  Message 16 of 18 , Aug 20, 2003
                                    Hi Jinan,
                                     
                                    Wow - NID?   
                                     
                                    I do agree that it is sometimes hard to put our thoughts very clearly on the internet without somehow causing some misunderstandings.  No matter how articulate we may be, the personal element is missing.  Besides, I am writing to people I have never met and may not meet in a long time to come.  It takes us a while to understand the group dynamics, for sure...
                                     
                                    Your concern is very valid; do let me know if there is any way I can be of help in this context.  I LOVE interior decorating, and a sense of aesthetics exists, but it is all based on what I like and not been really influenced much by anything.  If you can enlighten me more on this topic (architecture) it would be nice.
                                     
                                    I can say a few things about music, if anything - I learn Indian classical vocal now, Hindustani style.  Lessons have been erratic but I feel so grateful when I can get a lesson.  I am also interested in learning the basics of Western Classical music.
                                     
                                    Cheers,
                                    -Neela.


                                    Jinankb <jinankb@...> wrote:
                                    Hi Neela
                                    I am also strugling to put my thoughts on paper with out creating misunderstanding.I did my postgraduation from NID(National Institute of Design). What bothered me most was the realisation that through our art/design and architectural schools even our sense of beauty is being westernised(conditioned).Imgine if our sense of beauty is not ours then what is left of us to call ours.This search to find roots/authenticity etc has led me to rural tribal people of this country whom we the educated call as illitirates etc.I realised that we learn by second hand means as there is no experience involved.None of our senes are utilised.Where as in indegenous communities knowing is through direct experience.We have our books written by 'experts' telling us our culture is great etc etc with out us living it.I think even at the cognitive level the world we get know through books and the world we get to know through senes and experience are very diffrent.The destruction of the ecosystem is the result of the second hand knowledge.The western knowledge system is second hand knowledge which is being practiesd all over the world today.The biological element in knowledge which sustains life is absent in the head knowledge of the west.West no longer means the geographical west but the so called educated minds.
                                    Jinan


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                                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                    This mailing list is primarily for the use of families who are home educating in India, and those who are considering doing so. However, all those with a deep interest in serious education are welcome to participate. The list's intentions are to facilitate enquiry into fundamental educational questions, to learn together, to share, and to  support those who are home educating.


                                    If you have a web-based subscription, you can learn more about the Alternative Education in India group, and view the archives, by visiting: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/alt-ed-india

                                    To start sending messages to members of the group, simply send emails to:  alt-ed-india@yahoogroups.com

                                    If you do not wish to belong to home_educating_india, you may unsubscribe by sending an email to:
                                    alt-ed-india-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com

                                    There are associated web pages at:
                                    www.alternativeeducationindia.net

                                    Here you can if you wish add yourself to the local contact groups data base, which is to enable members of the group to make personal contact with others who live nearby.

                                    list owner: alt-ed-india-owner@yahoogroups.com

                                    **********************************************************************


                                    Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.



                                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                    This mailing list is primarily for the use of families who are home educating in India, and those who are considering doing so. However, all those with a deep interest in serious education are welcome to participate. The list's intentions are to facilitate enquiry into fundamental educational questions, to learn together, to share, and to  support those who are home educating.


                                    If you have a web-based subscription, you can learn more about the Alternative Education in India group, and view the archives, by visiting: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/alt-ed-india

                                    To start sending messages to members of the group, simply send emails to:  alt-ed-india@yahoogroups.com

                                    If you do not wish to belong to home_educating_india, you may unsubscribe by sending an email to:
                                    alt-ed-india-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com

                                    There are associated web pages at:
                                    www.alternativeeducationindia.net

                                    Here you can if you wish add yourself to the local contact groups data base, which is to enable members of the group to make personal contact with others who live nearby.

                                    list owner: alt-ed-india-owner@yahoogroups.com

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