The Role of Education: To Remove Self-Ignorance.

By Somen Banerjee. Somen, 37, is a marketing consultant from Mumbai, India. Please read his article and leave your thoughts and comments below.

Education is a single word in the English vocabulary that consists of all vowels put together. It has seen much advancement, as it has experienced the changes of nature and humanity over the ages. With the passage of time, mankind felt the intensity of colonisation, the pressures of livelihood, security and humanity, and therefore considered the importance of education and the overlapping necessity of a type of residential schooling system that would foster proper education in succeeding generations. The importance of education definitely cannot be limited to the extent of pronouncing the need of it, but requires an intense articulation at every encounter, for the survival of a civilisation which has withstood the crumbling of empires and the changes of society.


Sir Victor Hugo correctly said, “He who opens a school door, closes a prison.” His saying needs no articulation, for it embraces the glowing torch of learning within a highly organised literary sentence. Didn’t he appropriately convey that education is not supposed to be seen as an abstract term because it is manifested in the cultural, economic, individual, philosophical, scientific, social, and spiritual advancements of our society? We must think aloud.


We all know that “Necessity is the mother of invention” but we evade acknowledging the fact that “Necessity arises with an overlapping sense of helplessness.” The annals of civilisation teach us that nature always served as the source of a principal education for mankind. Evidently, it can be observed that ever since the beginning of life on earth, nature gradually bestowed mankind with the necessities and an environment to educate itself on several things, which eventually brought new discoveries, inventions and changed the ways of living. The discovery of fire by mankind centuries ago lifted the darkness from the earth and the invention of wheels thereafter opened the roads of the world. Are these occurrences not enough to learn this lesson, that a sense of helplessness in the absence of light existed before fire was discovered, and thus motivated the invention of wheels?


So the point arises here: what was the role of education in all these occurrences? As apparently it can be observed, the growing necessities of mankind drove it to cover extra miles by removing self-ignorance and extracting as much of nature as had been offered in her lap.  Nature turned into the principal source of education for mankind and thus there had arrived the age of civilisation. Hence, in order to arrive at that, the role of education was to remove self-ignorance and build belief and will – and we all know “where there is a will, there is a way.”


Besides, it is needless to claim that it is only education which turns our mind in the right direction, and that a lack of it may drive us into a panic where we may even commit an offense, having fallen into the prod of necessity. We must not evade the fact that, if necessity is the mother of invention, the same is also the cause of felony. It is only subject to the direction in which we are driven, which can lead our path to glory or to prison. Thus an intellectual always insists upon the necessity of education because it is far better to make someone learn fishing instead of cooking fish daily for him. I remember an old tale which also confirms the necessity of education in order for people to be led in the right direction.


Once there was a King who was known for his justice and kind-heartedness. His glory was not only in his own intellect, but owing also to the wisest and noblest advisers of his court. Justice for every pleader used to be a daily occurrence of his court proceedings and he resorted to his wisest and noblest dignitaries for a point of view before coming to a final judgement. He was also a very religious person who would worship Gods and Goddesses as a daily routine before attending his court and would also offer flowers and garlands to the idols of Gods and Goddesses as daily rituals.


But one day, surprisingly, he could not keep up his habit of offering flowers and garlands. On the one side, this raised his unhappiness for not being able to perform his daily rituals, but on the other, he became annoyed at this irresponsible act of his servants for having failed to arrange flowers and garlands for his daily requirements. He decided that this was an act which deserved a strong punishment; for how could one perform mistakes when in service to his King? He moved to the court with his sword in hand and determination in his mind to order a death sentence upon the offender who was responsible for this act. He told his minister the entire episode and asked him to present the servant who was supposed to look after the arrangement of flowers and garlands. The servant was summoned and as he was made to face the King, he began to plead his innocence. The servant claimed that the reason for his failure in meeting the daily requirement was because the gardener did not provide him with the flowers for that day.


The gardener was summoned and she also pleaded her innocence since she had not slept last night thus could not wake up in early hours of the morning to pluck flowers from the King’s garden. She could not sleep because her fisherwoman friend visited her home last night and stayed there till morning, so she lost her sleep due to the stench of fish.


The fisherwoman friend was summoned into the court and she was also found pleading for her innocence. The fisherwoman’s reason was that she lived in a village at some distance from this town and she visited every day to sell her fish and return in the evening. Since the bullock cart charioteer did not return that evening to take her back to village, she had to resort to her only acquaintance in the town: ‘the gardener lady’ for somewhere to stay that night, so how could she be called guilty?


At last the bullock cart charioteer was summoned into the court and he appeared before the King along with his pregnant wife and his ill son. The charioteer gave the reason that his wife went to her mother’s home the previous night, since she required extreme care owing to her last month of pregnancy. His son was home alone, and was not keeping well on that day and that’s why the charioteer did not come back to town for the fisherwoman, because his son’s condition was seriously bad and he required someone’s presence to take care of him. The charioteer’s wife also gave the reason that her current state would not allow her to perform any duties at home, so she had gone to her mother’s house for rest and delivery – so how could she or her charioteer husband be found guilty in this whole episode?


The King entered the court having been annoyed at some irresponsible human behaviour, but now he became the accused for calling up this judgment. The king nevertheless had to serve justice to everyone pleading before him and order for punishment to be given to the guilty since it now became the matter of a King’s dignity. The King looked to the wisest and noblest advisor in the court for his point of view. The advisor, who was carefully observing and listening to every offender, now faced the King and said that from the point of view of justice, the real guilty party was no other than the King himself, but morally no one should be held responsible for this whole episode. The advisor gave the reason that every one of them (the offenders) and the mighty King had one thing in common, and that was necessity, and because the necessity arose with an overlapping sense of helplessness, it drove everyone in different directions. In other words, if necessity is the mother of invention, it is also the cause of this offence because it made all these poor fellows stand in the offenders’ category and led their lives towards undeserved punishment for no logical reason. The advisor also suggested that the citizen required education and not punishment because until now, all of them behaved like a running programme; one day there was damage and suddenly it put everyone’s life at risk. Had they all removed their self-ignorance through some basic education, they would have been able to think up some alternatives, instead of evading their duties altogether. The King was pleased at the wisest decision and noblest thought of his advisor, and offered everyone release from their accusations, and provided them with the requisite award to compensate for their discomfort due to this whole episode.


The moral of this story also recalls the importance and necessity of education, and also complements Sir Victor Hugo’s quote, “He who opens a school door, closes a prison.”

16 comments on “The Role of Education: To Remove Self-Ignorance.

  1. Piyalee on

    Proper education is instrumental for development of the society, and an educated society can only inspire its people to be developed. The moral has been established very well through this short tale of this king. Overall, a thoughtful article well articulated and inspiring!

  2. Tanmay Parikh on

    Amazing stuff. I liked the elaboration of a sentence ” necessity arises from the overlapping sense of helplessness” followed by apt pointers.

  3. Vishal kumar Jaiswal on

    Hi Somen, First of all I would like to congratulate you for making a point with this blog. SIMPLE AND IMPACTFUL. Education is key to success for any society and Sir Hugo’s statement says it all. We all can make a difference to the society… Can we commit ourselves to the cause and ensure one deprived girl to basic education… I am sure We can!

  4. Sujay Dixit on

    Very well captured! The thought of necessity is followed by a sense of helplessnes is bang on and the emphasis on the role of education is articulated in an apt manner! Good read!

  5. Vikram Surendran on

    Sir Victor Hugo correctly said, “He who opens a school door, closes a prison.” Wonderful line. Captures the essence of the importance of education is shaping ones life. Excellent read!

  6. Adity on

    Absence of light never brings darkness as obscure as presence of ignorance leads us to opaque. Purpose of education to remove self-ignorance has been very well articulated by you on supporting the fact with such a nice and engaging story. Excellent read!

  7. Ashish Kumar Chattoraj on

    I like very much the line – Necessity arises with an overlapping sense of helplessness. It truly captures the state which every common man goes through in his daily life. The point has been very well articulated with this engaging story of the king and his advisor.

  8. A k Banerjee on

    This article has brilliantly put up the importance of education in one’s life. However, I also feel the role of education is to develop some moral values inside the youth and inculcate habits of embracing correct​ attitude toward life.

  9. Abhishek Guha on

    Firstly congratulations Somen for the thought itself.Good read and well articulated.”TRUE”education is the source of light but the world is actually missing on the ” TRUE” element of it.Can we sincerely make an effort in building a future together where we really practice the “TRUE” meaning of education.We can only make the difference.Keep up the meaningful writing.

  10. Dipankar on

    A very nice article and worth reading, really education gives us better society and an better society give inspiration for being educated….


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