Education does not mean literacy alone; it should prompt people to analyse social injustice and strive for a change,” Qudsia Gandhi, Principal Secretary, Government of Tamil Nadu, and Chairperson and Managing Director, Overseas Manpower Corporation Limited, said on Tuesday.
Even after the definite changes brought in by social crusaders in the past for bridging social inequalities by focussing on educational uplift of the oppressed communities, the persistence of social injustice was a matter of concern, and must be set right through acceleration of awareness initiatives.
Education must reflect in abolition of social injustice, Ms. Qudsia emphasised, while delivering the key-note address at the inaugural of a two-day national seminar on Jyothiba Phule, Ambedkar and Periyar in Indian Social Revolution organised by the Anna Chair of the Bharathidasan University on Tuesday.
The three leaders revolted against the social divisions perpetuated by religious practices and utilised education as a tool for social emancipation of the oppressed and downtrodden communities, and equality of women. They strove for making the subjugated sections in the society to rise up the socio-economic ladder.
She, however, observed that social emancipation of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes was not yet complete. Likewise, despite the rise of women, they were yet to achieve social equality, she said, citing the instance of the country ignoring the human resource output of home makers in the evaluation of gross domestic product. In a scenario of both men and women going to jobs, men must develop the mentality to share works and responsibilities at home, she said. Also, she wondered why the country talks about 33 per cent reservation for women, who constituted 50 per cent of the country's population. The reservation for women should be ideally 50 per cent, Ms. Qudsia stressed.
She presented the first copy of the book on the seminar topic to Principal of St. Joseph's College Rev. Fr. R. Rajarathinam in the presence of the Head of Anna Chair M. Nedunchezhiyan and Director of the Department of Women's Studies, Bharathidasan University, N. Manimekalai.
Presiding over, Fr. Rajarathinam dwelt at length on the complementary roles played by late leaders Ambedkar and Periyar for ushering in social equity, the circumstances in their lives that prompted them to revolt against the social order, and the impact they could together create in remedying the situation.