People always asked me what it is about IITs that made them special. For me and majority of the folks there, it was never about the superior technical education. Most of us never cared much about it. However, I always knew and told people that it is the people we are surrounded with that pushed our mindsets to aspire and achieve success.
It was always the ideas, the discussions about every possible topic in the world that germinated new insights and perspectives in our minds, without any discrimination of any kind. Thoughts of our backgrounds – cultural, geographical, caste, religion – never ever as much as crossed our minds.
That is what education is all about.
To be able to understand different perspectives and create your own self. Not to be bogged down by age-old customs and traditions. Respect them but do not chain yourself to them.
And hold them close to your chest so they becomes your self-religion or spiritual self or whatever hipster term you would like to use. It could be a combination of a belief from Quantum mechanics, another one from Quran, another one from Newton’s law, another one from Bhagwad Gita and so on. Religion and science will not be differentiated in that enlightened self. In fact those terms should not exist in the purest sense of spirituality. The ability to approach ideas with a reasoned open mindset would create calm and peace within yourself.
Again, that is what would be education. Learning and appreciating the different perspectives on the same issue within their respective contexts. That is why I believe education is the only solution to several issues facing the world – whether it is global warming or terrorism. My past self would probably just hope for such an ideal future – however, my present self wants to make a difference, in whatever way I can. I need to explore and contribute. I hope I can. Amen!