We live in a terribly violent world characterized by hyper-nationalism, militarism, war, reckless social Darwinism and massive environmental disaster. Yet, even amid the all-pervading darkness, some of us continue to strive for the lamp of truth. Possibly, Meenakshi Thapan’s book seeks to remind us that we should not give up but try our best to illumine the new generation through a practice of education that radiates the spirit of love, peace, dialogue and the ethic of care. And yes, as a sociologist (and above all, as a teacher/pedagogue deeply engaged with Jiddu Krishnamurti’s thoughts and profound reflections on education), Thapan has done this job with great sincerity. This slim book with five chapters succeeds in communicating with the reader; once you read it with care and alertness, you are bound to realize why we must rethink education in order to sow the seeds of peace in this violent world.
Well, it is possible to argue that some discrete pedagogic experiments in select ‘elite’ schools cannot alter the world because the violence we see around—say, the violence implicit in the heightened socio-economic inequality that neoliberalism has further accelerated, or the institutionalized hierarchy based on caste, ethnicity, gender and race, or the militancy of nationalism that continually invents its ‘enemies’—is rooted in the ‘system’ or ‘structure’ itself. However, it is equally important to realize that even the ‘structure’ cannot be altered without our awakened intelligence and creative agency.