a friend was telling me about his NCC experiences, how they all used to wash up in the open taking water from tanks made out of tyres, of how dirty it used to be and how, in a seven day course, after resisting for four days, he ultimately took bath with that same water, wondering if his body would get cleaner or dirtier with that water.
of how, having been assigned to a tent where he knew no one, after four days of fighting they went on to become a team and competed for the inter tent competition as one, ultimately fighting with his friends during it...
and it has brought back an idea i have had for a long time now, why not make military style training compulsory. by military style i don't mean weapons, but yes, at least physical training, along with studies, carried out at a boarding camp.
first how i envision it working and then its benefits.
so what could happen is that in every state we could have four or five camps, with capacities running in to thousands maybe, where in the 8th and 9th standard, students live and go through all kinds of activities. the students are assigned on no particular basis, absolutely randomly, so u end up with a totally heterogeneous group, coming from all diverse backgrounds. the training should be compulsory for everyone, rich or poor, literate or illiterate, everyone at that age has to go to this training. the training will have two parts, one is the common curricula, which is standardised throughout the country, and another is the camp specific curricula, where for example, camps in forest areas can have treks as the physical activity. the curricula would be macro, acads will be a small part, but life skills a major part, can teach about the country, about values, and it should foster debate(which as a generation we have forgotten) of course the entire camp is tailored on military camp lines, just not as intense. so getting up at 5 is a rule. and also wearing the same stuff, having the same belongings is a rule.
how will it help, well...
will integrate the country, all kids at that very very clayey age will come in contact with different cultures, and learn to be accepting and understanding, the north south divide should end, the country will be more aware of the east, the west will be more aware of the country. will also create a bonding across barriers because no barriers are allowed here.
mental toughness gets developed, kids learn to adapt to the different, living at the worst prepares the kids for life and anything that it throws at 'em. also they start recognising the inner core of others instead of judging them by the external skins, as the external skins over a two years are peeled off.
kids get an opportunity to explore, as they are in a different environment, where they get a chance to see the new and different. they get to explore all different activities available.
staying away from parents and the comfort and security of the home,
creates a fraternity kind of an environment, which means kids start feeling proud and passionate about something, they learn what is self respect, and respect, they get over the chalta hai cavalier attitude, they build teams, leaders are born.
they learn to integrate with nature, live off the earth or close to it.
our vast country can be explored, imagine someone coming from green kerala in dry rajasthan,
well there are many more, and some negatives as well, but i guess this should happen.
why it might not, or is difficult, well economics need to be worked out, who is gonna conduct it...? well my vote is for the paramilitary forces or even the armed forces. it is a vast programme, which at least at the start will eat up the resources of the country, but the long term benefits as a country, it is, i believe worth the money.