If education has to happen?

(This Monday’s post is a slight twist on a short story written by my favourite author – Vaikkom Muhammad Basheer. The story is called ‘Yuddham avasanikkanamenkil?’ or ‘If war has to end?’. I replaced ‘If war has to end’ with ‘If education has to happen’ and made some other trivial changes to get the story in this format. Here is an excerpt to get you interested…)

“If education has to happen!” – with his teeth clenched, the left corner of his lips twisted and giving out a “shh” sound, happily scratching his eczema, lying spread out on a deck chair, the deep-thinker, the mighty man, the one with the terrible rage, the outstanding author, answered the young journalist’s question with his own:

“You mean, what should I do to make education happen?”

“You don’t have to do anything,” explained the journalist, “What we would like to know is your opinion about all of this. What should people do to make education happen once and for all?”

“Nothing! It’s enough if you go away from here: fool!”

“You must say something. The world is suffering very much. Terrible destruction is occurring in the world. All of this must stop. Calm and peace must rule in the world now. Your valuable advice in this regard is asked for. If education has to happen?”

“Go and ask the other idiotic thinkers; don’t trouble me!

“We already asked them”, said the journalist sheepishly, “Don’t we all know of your rage? It’s only that you were the last in line. Of course we know that your opinion is more important than the opinions of the others.”

“Well, what did the others say; if education has to happen…?”

“The world should accept Krishnamurti, the world should accept Waldorf, the world should listen to the tune of Rabindranath, the world should follow Gandhiji, the world should follow Sri Aurobindo, the world should believe in Montessori, the world should follow Ramakrishna… and so on and so forth.”

“Is that it!”, that one with the terrible rage asked while scratching his eczema furiously, “Didn’t the other set say anything?”

“They did. If education has to happen, the world should accept communism; so said one person. Others said, anarchism should be accepted. Another thinker said that fascism should come. Yet another person said that the principle of non-violence should be accepted. And what do you say- if education has to happen?”

(The full story is available here.

The translation from the original Malayalam to English is done by my son, Srikant. His translation is available here)

About Vaikkom Muhammad Basheer:
I grew up in Delhi but, fortunately, went to a school where they taught me how to read and write Malayalam. Much later, when I was going through a phase of reading Malayalam literature, I came across an intriguing book title, ‘Ntuppuppakkoranendarnnu’ or ‘My-Grandad-Had-An-Elephant’. Written in colloquial Malayalam, it is a gentle, masterful, wisely-told love story. I read it and was hooked! I went through everything Basheer had written and his wise, gentle voice has been a part of my life and a source of inspiration.

Links for further study:
Please read the other stories on my Basheer translations blog linked earlier and available here.
I plan to translate Basheer’s ‘Maantrikappoochcha’ or ‘Magic-cat’ and upload it on this blog soon. This is the best novel I have read. Ever!

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