The Indian Homeschooling community seems to be pinning their hopes on the Aam Aadmi Party, that they may lend their voice to the aid of aam aadmi parents and children who are scattered across the country with no large numbers enough to be a vote bank, nor the ability (or inclination) to gather in large mobs for their rights.
The one thing homeschoolers have in common with the LGBT community in India is the illegitimacy of a very personal, enriching lifestyle. A lifestyle that harms none. A lifestyle that cherishes those living it.
In the farcical Right To Education Act, with its sanctimonious imposition of school on all children, the Nation has done homeschoolers a grave injustice. Parents who have made conscious choices and sacrifices to throw open the horizon for their children instead of an education system that barely scratches the potential of learning are now on the wrong side of law.
The “Free and Compulsory” education paradox may seem like a minor thing to parents who send their children to school, but for homeschooling parents, it has resulted in deep soul searching and a determined decision that they will court being on the wrong side of the law in order to nurture their child’s learning. In a democracy, this ought not to be happening. Yet, it is.
The “Free” is a lie, because children who really are FREE to choose their learnings are not recognized as learning unless they land up at the same place, sitting in one place, enclosed by walls and obeying rules written by someone else daily in some of the most vibrant years of their life. There isn’t one community on the face of the earth that could be forced in such a manner without activist outrage, and yet our children, those we claim are fragile and must be nurtured must suffer this for years on end, or they are in violation of the nation’s law. Surely this travesty of personal liberty cannot be allowed just because the subjects are too young to vote or raise serious objection?
The realization that Somnath Bharti has helped homeschoolers find voice through the case of Sandeep Srivastava in the Delhi High Court and he is now on Delhi’s cabinet has led many homeschoolers to hope that if the capital can pave the way for recognition of homeschooling and appropriate provisions in the Right To Education Act, it may result in homeschooling eventually being recognized nationwide.
Somnath Bharti as a lawyer presented the interests of homeschoolers where they mattered. Will Somnath Bharti MLA convince the Aam Aadmi Party to take this revolutionary step?
Will it happen? We don’t know. We don’t have the numbers to be an electoral threat.
But surely some things must be done because they are right and because we have a duty toward nurturing the best possible choices for our young ones?