Monday, December 07, 2009


The day God created Adam and Eve, a phenomenal divide sealed the fate of the two genders, male and female, of the same species, the homo sapiens.
Human beings, the most intelligent creature on planet Earth, aspiring and determined to conquer the Universe, fail most miserably when it comes to comprehending their own fellow mates – the other sex/gender. Indeed it’s a lifetime’s quest, and unavoidably so, as in every walk of life both the genders are thrown in together, or in contemporary milieu, would it not be more appropriate to say, pitted against each other, be it in the domestic or the work front.
Since coexistence is preordained, ideally it should be an easy-going, peaceful and harmonious bondage based on mutual understanding and empathy. However, experience speaks otherwise. The relationship on surface may be cloaked with cordiality. However, the layer is thin and a deeper probe reveals an antipathy which is symbiotic and almost epidemic. Without any bias towards either gender, we cannot help but wonder whether this antipathy is borne out of misconception or by default purely genetic. “Men are from Mars and women are from Venus”, as the famous caption goes, is accuracy in brevity.
No wonder Sociologists delight in finding a workable remedy to this malady. Alas! There is no sovereign elixir. Peaceful coexistence, evidently, seems next to impossible. Isolation is fatal. Conjugality is fraught with danger. From time immemorial the situation has furnished all the right ingredients for melodrama and high voltage histrionics (with major contribution from the femme fatale) leading nowhere! Then what of the solution?
Since, survival of both is inseparably interlinked, why not try understanding each other from the formative years itself? Of course, the familial backdrop is a great facilitator in this direction. But kinship has its own limitations and impartial understanding of the male/female counterpart may get tampered by blood ties and emotional prejudices. Besides the family, the Indian society, with its obsessive priority for social sanitization, presents very little opportunity for the two genders to come together and enjoy a conducive upbringing.
Hence, and most definitely co-education, although the plea to it may sound too simplistic, even flippant, to many. Dissecting the word co-education, we find that it is a combo pack of cooperation ‘in’ education. We are fated to coexist, so shall we not cooperate to educate each other and thereby get educated in the process? It is healthy as well - as members of various social strata come together to intermingle and forge bonds. In the process, values get exchanged and imbibed, horizons get broadened, interests get sharpened and extended to arenas hitherto unknown and unexplored for the girl as well as the boy child as both suffer from restricted periphery of knowledge and awareness if left to their own society. Needless to say the process increases understanding of each other as well.
However, no social situation is protected from the Marxian axiom of thesis and anti-theses. While closer proximity of the two genders run the significantly high risk of familiarity breeding contempt, at least, by far it would be a better option than an overpowering and tongue-tying reaction of utter puzzlement in accosting and dealing with one of its own kind who proves to be beyond the boundaries of ordinary comprehension in normal course of routine life.
The Sociologists may attach suitable nomenclature to this process of “breaking the ice between the two”, however, for us laymen, the funda at the grass roots is very simple - growing up together and thereby understanding each other, but of course, under familial/social parentage and guidance. The latter may be heavily underlined and perhaps a little “unduly” stressed, especially, in the Indian context, to avoid all those “catastrophes” which we are nowadays getting used to hearing and witnessing quite frequently.
However, having vociferously championed in favour of coeducation, it may be reiterated that coeducation in Indian scenario is a predominantly urban phenomenon and prerogative of the privileged class. The issue which requires imperative address is compulsory education, irrespective of gender, with a special emphasis on rural India where till date tutoring of girl child remains, more or less, restricted to household chores and grooming of boy child is through the hard routine of enforced labour.