I recently had an exchange of views on being educated and wrote the following two paragraphs. Something I sincerely believe in.

Education to most people, means acquiring qualifications, academic or professional. I disagree totally when this is the understanding of the term. Degree holding donkeys are still donkeys and you will find them everywhere.  If by being educated, one means having learnt to learn, you will find millions of them around.  Some of the most interesting and educated persons that I have met have been illiterate peasants in rural India and some remarkably successful but illiterate fisher folk.  With modern communication being universally available, it is increasingly getting to be unnecessary to acquire qualifications to be educated or become wise.

My liberal arts undergraduate degree got me admission to a professional Master’s Degree course which in turn got me a job. What I learnt about my profession was on the job, learning from others in the profession and, observing human nature.  Since I am still undergoing the same experience, I consider myself educated but not expert.  Experts, forgive me, teach.


That brings me to a story that is very popular in Hyderabad. A Nawab regrets that his son is a wastrel and threatens to disinherit him if he does not acquire a proper education. The Nawabzada brings home a Bachelors Degree from a reputed university after a few days and the Nawab is very pleased and gets it framed and hangs it in a prominent place in the drawing room.

After a few days he asks his son how he got the degree and the son explains that there is a shop in the bazaar where he bought one. The Nawab takes details and goes there to the shop and asks for a degree for his much loved horse.

The shop keeper refuses no matter how much the Nawab keeps hiking up the purchase price. Finally giving up, the Nawab asks the shopkeeper as to why he won’t sell his horse a degree to which the shopkeeper responds – “I sell degrees to donkeys, not to horses.”

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