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A little knowledge is dangerous. But then, ignorance kills. We know how ignorance has wrecked havoc across the Earth. Stories with painful morals are all over our history books. The trouble is, we don’t consider them as anything more than just stories. Let me put it in Haile Selassie’s words:
“Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.”
It’s almost like insulting your intelligence to state here that indifference and inaction both rise only from a foundation of ignorance and lack of understanding. To believe that being ignorant is one’s right, would be like inviting injustice and serfdom on oneself. There’s no way ignorance can be ignored… none at all, especially if there are problems around [and we’ve got them in abundance, of course].
Ignorance simply means the lack of knowledge, but I believe it can also mean the termination of learning. When learning is stopped, we don’t stagnate… we tend to go down. It is curious how after a certain time, some of us just forget to learn.
I have always been really happy and proud of how much I really knew about India. I’ve read blogs [Atanu Dey’s blog on India’s development, The Acorn, India Together] and books [Arindham Choudary’s ‘The Great Indian Dream’, a book about the Citizen’s role in protecting the Constitution of India, Abdul Kalam’s ‘Ignited Minds’ and my history books (just kidding)]. So naturally, in all my glory of having read that much about the country, I thought that I had learnt enough. I figured it was time I did something about everything I read and didn’t like. But I’ve just realized that I was only party correct.
It was about time I did something. That was true, but I was wrong about having read enough. This light of illumination hit me hard in the head as I took up Narayan Moorthy’s ‘A Better India a Better World’. I then took in the hard fact which I had so far refused to apprehend, though it had been before my eyes for so long. There’s a proverb in Tamil – “Katradhu kaiyalavu, kallaadadhu ulagalavu” [What one has learnt is handful, what one hasn’t learnt can fill the whole Earth]. It then struck me how silly it was for me to have thought that whatever I had learnt was enough. I had learnt nothing at all. Well, it will take a lifetime to learn about Madurai city alone… And come to think of it… India’s pretty huge.
There is no way I could stop learning and that’s a pretty important lesson I learnt. No one can learn just enough, because the Universe isn’t just made that way. There’s always something more, that one needs to learn. Something important and as Henry Ford says, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty.”
But learning cannot be just an individual’s gain. When it’s just one, it’s a drop but when it’s together with many of its kind, then it’s an ocean. Learning can change the world, because through learning, we can make a difference. Correction: Only through continuous learning can we make a difference. Else, it will become the case of the monkey who tried to save the fish from drowning.