Wednesday, 5 April 2017

The need to reaffirm inquiry in education

Arjun
MEd scholar


Does god exist? It is indeed a very important question which probably our whole generation has forgotten to ask itself. God and religion are two extremely influential dimensions of belief much of human life goes through. Accepting god's existence may not require many questions to be raised or challenge our curiosity. But raising questions about god's existence certainly requires some intellectual problems to be solved. Saying that there is no god requires a great deal of research and imagination, especially when there is a large number of people who have already accepted god's existence a priori. Research and imagination may not find out the final answer but this trajectory of inquiry definitely fuels our curiosity to know more and it certainly changes our attitude about many aspects of our behaviour patterns. It does not just stop here but it gives rise to further questions not only in the domain of religion and god but in almost every aspect of life. But just believing in the existence of god simply stops this process from taking place in our young years. And because faith in religion and god is considered to be such a central part of our daily life and behaviour and we do not encourage or even tolerate questions on these issues, ultimately we stop questioning our selves and our behaviour. This is a very broad conception which shapes our cognition and outlook on the world around us. I feel that the outlook which can be said to be scientific and empirical originates from raising questions on our behaviour. This is the same scientific temper or outlook which all our education policies have been talking of and strongly proposing ever since independence. 
Moreover, I feel that this raising of questions and inquiry will not only help in developing a scientific temper but will also promote research, discovery and invention in many fields in which India has really been lagging since very long. I do not know how exactly can we create this habit of raising questions, curiosity and the spirit of inquiry but I do feel that our education system has a very important role to play in this matter. I am quite sure that this spirit of inquiry will help India become a secular country in the real sense of the term which is a very crucial need of our times. When we challenge the supreme (assumed) authority (of religion and god), we need to study, to engage in healthy and reasoned debates, to enlarge our imagination, to expand the horizons of our research, to go back in history with the tools and lenses of evidence and thereby come up with a better understanding of our world. These searches themselves, irrespective of what convictions they lead to, are very essential for the practice of democracy itself. For democracy can not flourish or even survive without a full engagement with reason and inquiry.    

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