June 11, 2015

It was a typical hot summer day in Delhi, with the sun showing absolutely no mercy. The thermostat was soaring over 45˚C. The interesting thing to note is that most of the speakers and the people we meet are people who’ve done the same course as me a few years back. It’s great to see that these guys remained a part of CSE even after the course and I personally look forward to this. “Sir” Gaurav Shorey spoke to us about the 5waraj ( I personally think the Dead Mau5 steal is really cool) movement. I believe that humor is the best way to connect with people. It bridges gaps and breaks the ice. Also it helps in keeping the audience engrossed compared to when you just blankly read off slides. His lecture was probably one of the best I have attended. It had just the right amount of humour, seriousness which brought out a strong message at the end of it.

Ours is known as one of the most modern education systems. I don’t agree with this. We are being trained as horses with blinkers. Taught to think only in one particular way. He brought out a simple example of bird watchers who were only studying the birds and did not know about the trees the birds resided on watching resided on. He spoke about the 5 D’s- Dialects, Diets, Dresses, Dwellings, Dances and songs. Our age old architectures seen in the intricate design of the Hawa Mahal etc.. Foreigners come to our land to seek inspiration, copy our style go back and implement it themselves in their country.

We have 11 different climate zones and the houses in each area differ extremely from each other. The rate at which we are losing our culture and languages is alarming. The earlier generation knew how to speak and write their mother tongues and conversed everyday in their language. The next generation knew how to speak and write their mother tongues but did not use it on a daily basis. The current generation only knows how to speak their language. So by the current rate the next generation will not know anything about their mother tongues and hence the languages are dying.The beauty of India lies in its diversity. We have to believe in ourselves and mend our ways. The solution lies within us. This is the message he was spreading.

The afternoon session was taken by Ms. Jaya Jaitley, it was natural that I was very excited to hear about her experiences. It is these craftsmen who are unique to our country and what is special about India but instead of promoting them we are replacing them with machines. We are losing these special skill sets. She also spoke about how the NREGA scheme is promoting people from actually not working as they are guaranteed a certain amount of money without even working. The icing on the cake was that we shared hot pakodas, roshogullas and tea with Ms Jaitley, talking to her about her different schemes and projects.

The few days that I have spent at CSE has opened my eyes to the different issues and has widened my horizons. I am looking forward to the coming days and also the field trip with great enthusiasm…

–  Vishnu Menon

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