Presenting to you the case of Mr. Joseph Mudaliar, owner of Alex Jewellery, India’s largest imitation jewellery manufacturer. Now in his late fifties, Mr. Mudaliar once belonged to an impoverished family and was a labourer at some imitation jewellery producing factory in his youth. He must have surely thought about getting himself out of his apathy and enabling himself to lead a life of better means. Today, he owns several cars including one Mini Cooper which his son Alex proudly drives. Mr. Mudaliar is humble and soft spoken inspite of his success which tells us how well rooted he is. I’ve never heard about his educational background or I’m not even sure if he speaks English fluently. But now it might be too late to care about all of that. He owns about six showrooms and a factory outlet all over India, and trust me, they are grand! He employs over a thousand people through his business and many of them might be more qualified than him, but that’s how life works. And that’s how business works.
The entire story, a factual one, is nothing different from many other struggle stories we might have heard. But for me, Joseph Mudaliar is an embodiment to all those stories that I have heard. His existence proves that nothing is impossible. That a dream backed with unending hard work and determination will not fail to come to life. But what really bothers me is there might be a lot more like him in the making. And these struggle and consequent success stories will keep on coming. But where does education come to play in all of this? Nowhere! Most of us reading this blog have been to school for ten years followed by college. But only a few of us are able to make it as big as he did. The question we should be asking to ourselves is ‘Why?’.
Creating a sustainable business is no child’s play. But the way Mr. Mudaliar is so principled and the way he commands respect from even his immediate juniors is impeccable. Manufacturing and distribution was not taught to him in school. He never had the chance to go to college. Otherwise he would never have landed up doing a labour job that pays low wages. But his values surely helped him get on the right track and kept him glued to it. He is not rich, he is wealthy. He is wealthy because of the blessings he receives of those thousands of employees who work under him, the respect he commands, even from his colleagues and the principles he puts into his business to run it the way he does.
Now what I want to say is schools teach us manners and values and principles and morals and ethics through a textbook of personality development which we forget once we are through that class. And for the underprivileged kids who cannot go to good schools as we did, they are never taught the importance of these concepts. Life is the only and the best teacher when it comes to such abstract learning. Our education system fails to be in tandem with reality, leaving millions unemployed every year. Bookish knowledge, as they say it, is what really keeps most Indian men and women one step behind their foreign counterparts. India may always boast about a Satya Nadella or a Sundar Pichai but I don’t know how much they appreciate their time they had in India after educating themselves abroad from the best universities and keeping themselves on billion-dollar salaries.
We should really learn from the example of a few Asian countries collectively called as the Asian Tigers. They are Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. These countries were able to increase the number of students enrolling in secondary or higher education threefold in a period of 25 years from 1966 to 1990, doubling the size of their labour force in the same period and also, doubling the size of their respective economies. The primary focus was on education. In their own country.
The Government after coming to power has launched many new campaigns on a national scale, Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan and Make In India being the flagship ones. India is a country where values and morals are given utmost significance. Now the only thing that needs to be done is to avoid brain drain out of the country. Include subjects like logical reasoning and good literature in curriculums uniformly from the secondary level. This will actually help a student to develop his personality. Having separate lectures where teachers inculcate values among students, not through a textbook or to appear for an examination, to face life is what is actually required. We cannot blame students if they forget about it right after the exams. The teachers should explain them in a verbal manner aided with presentations or pictures, motivating them to learn, relieving the pressure on students to score.
In my opinion, when all of this will come together, our country will actually become a better place to live in. When citizens will themselves have a sense of improving the state of our country from what it is right now and then there will be no need to launch separate campaigns for keeping the country clean. So education in the right manner imbibed with values is definitely the way out. And the way up!