India had a glorious tradition of learning and education. It is unfortunate that we left this glorious tradition of knowledge and learning systems behind. What is tragic is that we today think that these systems are outdated and unsuited to the contemporary world. Academic and classroom teaching has overtaken heuristics based learning. We have somehow established a strong connection between modernity and western civilization.
If we take a close look at our knowledge systems, you will understand that it is possible to be modern without being western. And if we look at some of the westernized men and women in our society, the conclusion is inescapable that it is possible to be most western and be horribly retrograde. Behind the curtains of westernization of language, dress and mannerisms, we find a lot of people who are unbelievably backward in their thinking.
It has to be clearly understood that our knowledge and learning systems are good not only for spiritual but also material well being and prosperity. Most don’t understand this. Until 1600 BC, India’s share in world trade was 35%, the highest in the world. This wouldn’t have been possible without having the best practices of trade, manufacturing, accounting, education, material sciences and operation sciences. I feel that now that Indians have a better say in the world affairs, we must make a collective effort to break the myth that being modern and being western are one and the same things.