Nuclear Civics anybody ?

It was a week ago that i heard Teesta Setalvad amongst many others speak. Many aspects of what she spoke stays firm. But if there was one element that stood out starkly, that was the brief discussion on ‘civics‘ lessons in school.

So, i asked a kid i know what kind of Civics lessons they had in school. She was a small kid. And she said, without bating an eyelid that she is yet to receive a driving licence. Only a while later, did it strike me that she was talking of a different civic(s). The Honda variety.

I ran. And ran. And ran. And came here to write this post !

Am not sure how many of you recall fondly, the civics lessons that you studied in school. I recall vividly. Not fondly. There were are few lessons on the Indian Constitution. I distinctly recall sitting up late nights to memorise those acts and articles ! Fundamental Rights. Directive Principles of State Policy. Some lessons on parliament. Its formation etc. And invariably mix up the years !

And i still remember, the chap who scored the highest marks was the one who could memorise those acts, amendments to the acts, the year in which the amendment was made etc. etc. For example, It made a big difference, if i wrote ‘Arbid Blogger’s bill of 2006′ while in reality it was ‘Arbid Bloggers Bill, 2007′ !

Aside : (I wonder whats come of the brilliant soul who got the year right, repeatedly. (The last heard, he had emigrated, if that was any consolation). But i know whats become of the soul, who got the stats and spells wrong. Repeatedly. He finally has a go at the chap who got the year right. By writing this post !

Thinking about it seems to bring to the fore many of my ideas to the fore. I suddenly seem to have found an answer to the nations woes. Even the world’s woes. Civics it is !!! Reforming Civics education suddenly seems to be such an obvious solution to the worlds problems! Yes. That is my eureka moment in a long while !

How wonderful would it be if the children of the world all understood different constitutions. Cultures. Different laws. Rules. By understanding, i mean understanding. Not learning by rote !

Think about these as actionables

How about making young minds think and reason out between the right and wrong. According to the constitution.

How about focusing on the essence behind each law and not the year on which it was passed.

How about giving children, assignments to research on how the constitution is working. Of it is at all working ?

How about getting children to understand different constitutions of the world ? Ok. At least a few countries ? Ok, at least a few frameworks ?

How about getting Civics back to the forefront and give it a status akin to Physics or Chemistry or other important subjects ?

At one point we needed Physics and Chemistry like nobodys business. But now we have enough abuses of those subjects by mankind that we need ‘Nuclear civics’ more than ‘Nuclear physics’ !

The world can definitely do with some more civics sense ! What say ?

7 thoughts on “Nuclear Civics anybody ?

  1. I think there is some semblance of change. We just need some really innovative abd brave educators. I see these days, a decent respect for humanities subjects, unlike the early days when science and engineering types kind of looked down from their, lofty perches.

    As for the cause of your running, I think the little girl’s answer was typical of that sort of society where cars are bought more for fashion etc rather than as a means of transport, maybe?

  2. Aleta says:

    You touched on a part of my history. I never liked civics for the smallest detail could fail the class. Dates of civic history did NOT interest me as a student.

    Now… had the class been structured where the students could live out or delve into the structures of each constitution ~ what a joy that would have been.

    Can a blog reform a curriculum? One never knows. It’s something I’ll talk with my Mom about. She teaches Math and Science to young children. Word of mouth is a powerful trigger.


  3. Pearl says:

    If only we could get all people to agree on this.


    Too often it is the petty details of something that becomes the measure by which learning is judged, not by the ability to apply it to other situations.

    Not sure if I’m being clear… I do notice, in my own country, that we have become less analytical, less critical, and more apt to swallow what is put in front of us without questioning where it came from…

  4. dinu says:

    sorry for being off topic : please remove the addon feature, the snaps one .. ( getting preview of the website on link mouseover ) its annoying !!

  5. I did not see that “Honda Civic” coming. Enjoyed it….

    There is a vast difference between the way the western public is responding to financial turmoil and the way the Indian public is responding to any crisis in India.

    In western world, they are mad about their tax dollars being used to suck the toxic mortgages

    ….whereas there is not much sense of belongingness (in terms of ‘my tax rupees’) among Indian public….the obvious answer is the lack of understanding of our civic duties/rights…..

    i loved the movie, “Pay it forward”… which a teacher asks the students to think of an innovative way to change the world……this way the students (like you and i) don’t have to memorize the “Acts” without understanding them……


  6. Kavi says:

    Ugich : I couldnt have said it better ! We need brave educators ! Innovative ones at that.

    Aleta : Am really glad i am not alone on this trip of not being able to memorise arbid years.

    I think blogs can inspire a greater debate in society. And that is something that we can seek to do.

    Your mom can make a difference ! Thanks for that!

    Pearl : I think its great to have a comment about the way things are over there !

    If you say people ‘swallow’ whats handed out to them in the US, i dont know how i should be saying anything about whats happening over here !

    Dinu : Thanks for the feedback. will think that through and write to you. For sure !

    Praveen : That seems like a movie to watch. Thanks for sharing. And those points about how much of apathy we seem to have in the system about our own money was well made. I think we need to spread the importance of education !

  7. Priya says:

    Just enjoyed the civic of honda and very funny. Cudn’t stop laughing. It reminds me of vivek joke in a movie where he says to a little boy do you know law and he replies yes, shakeela.

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