Veteran actress Ratna Pathak Shah, who plays a school principal in the upcoming Netflix original “Selection Day”, has looked at the education system critically and says it has been used to maintain the power equation in society…writes Arundhuti Banerjee
“Education is a very potent force that gives you power. In our country, for centuries we believed that education should be kept for the personal purview of a few. The ‘shastra’ attitude, where we have treated education as a sign of power, knowledge as a sign of power that we all want to hold on to…and that is how the caste system in our country has survived for ages. Education has been used to maintain the power equation in society,” Ratna told IANS in an interview here.
“We have someone to clean our lavatory, otherwise we have to do it by ourselves. So we have controlled and kept a group of people away from education… but this is practiced in many countries. We are not the first ones, and we won’t be the last either.”
The acclaimed theatre and film veteran said it is important to raise questions on the value of education.
“Is the system actually providing education to make a good human being out of a child, or preparing them to become just an employee? In the show, (my character) Neli Weinberg is questioning that.”
The story of “Selection Day” revolves around two young boys who are forced to become cricketers to fulfill the dream of their father, who is obsessed with the game.
Ratna’s character runs a school that is trying to balance children to dream and not get forced to get into a system.
“A lot of young talent of our country, who do not get a chance to grow up like normal human beings, think about Sachin Tendulkar, who had to grow up faster when he played international cricket as young as 17 years old. This school of Neli is trying to make these two budding crickets grounded for their holistic development,” she said.
The mother of two sons — Vivaan Shah and Imaad Shah — said parents being less involved in the upbringing of children is also a negative thing.
The “Sarabhai vs Sarabhai” fame actress said: “Due to the commercialisation of education, parents (have) washed their hands off from children, they send them to school and for various courses for them to become someone. Kids are losing their individuality that way. Parents also believe that children are living in a state of idiocy and they should be told how to live life.”
Produced by Anil Kapoor, “Selection Day” also features Rajesh Tailang, Mahesh Manjrekar and Shiv Pandit. It will stream on Netflix on December 28.