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Education and liberalism

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“The more educated an individual is, the more liberal he will be.”, is what I have grown up hearing. “Only education can remove your superstitious views and make you moderate from a radical.” To some extent, these views are shoved down the throat of every urban student as soon as they steps into the world of awareness of difference- whether it is difference of race, language, ethnicity, culture or religion.

However, my views are slightly different from the mainstream belief. Why is it that man needs the influence of education in order to be liberal? Is it actually education that “makes” man liberal? Or is it the society and religion that “makes” him conservative? The latter part seems to incline me slightly more towards it. A man is born liberal. It is the ideology under who’s influence he becomes conservative, dogmatic and even superstitious. Then what is the role of education? Education gives the man words to express his opinions even for a matter of fact, against the culture, religion, set of beliefs and society he is born into.

Education gives him courage to ask questions which would otherwise simply be suppressed in his deeper thoughts with no source to reach out to, for who is ready to hear the opinions of someone who does not know how to read and write? “Radicalism, terrorism and extremism are causes of poverty” is another argument for the same debate. Osama Bin Laden, a civil engineer by profession was one of the richest Saudi Arabians (had studied science too!) What was the result of his education? Was he of any help to the society? Did his education help him become a “moderate” from the “radical” he was prone to be? No. education could not “make” him a liberal because religion over weighed the quest and influence of education that it could not even reach the point wherein he would be able to question things that were taught to him.Taking another example of the same.

The entire Sindhi and a large chunk of the Punjabi Hindu community found themselves in India in the year 1947. They had no family, friends, relatives or houses here and so did a large number of the Hindu Kashmiri Pandits in several parts of the world post the 1990 mass Exodus. So many of them had to quit their education in order to serve the survival needs of their family. They were in a state of poverty too! How many of them became terrorists, extremists or radicals? Ironically, none.

“If you are emotionally attached to your tribe, religion or political leaning to the point that truth and justice become secondary considerations, your education and exposure is useless. If you cannot reason beyond petty sentiments, you are a liability.” -Chuba Okadigbo

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