#7. Good students vs dropouts

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” ― Mahatma Gandhi.There is a growing belief that ‘Good students become Good employees, Self learners (may be the back benchers with brains) become employers’. Modern education robes one of fearlessness and makes prisoner of dogmas.

👍. प्रस्ताव / For the motion

  1. Rabindranath Tagore attended Presidency College for only one day and left law school after attending it for only a few months. Emphasising free and self learning he says “Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high, Where knowledge is free, ….Where words come out from the depths of truth……. my father, let my country awake”. Formal education gives training which comes along with indoctrination of ideas. Freedom from indoctrination has a great competitive advantage. Life and experiences teach valuable lessons. Self-educated teach themselves how to think different!, not what to think. They learn how to create things not just follow instructions solving the problem. 
  2. Henry Ford, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Azim Premji, Gautam Adani… in the league of dropouts. Serving them are Nadellas, Pichai, Soota et al, who have enviable pedigrees. The comfort of a secure future lists at the top and the fear of loosing lurks high on the minds of educated youth. It is a pity that luck also does not favour the fearless self educated businessmen in match making either in some communities, especially, eastern India. An educated employee stands better chance in getting a spouse of choice than an employer (educated or otherwise).
  3. “I have never allowed schooling interfere with my education” – Mark Twain. Proper teaching does not explain things but stokes curiosity. Creativity thrives in freedom and fearlessness. But Social change is so sudden that people find it difficult to adjust to the pace. Modern education teaches to aspire but lacks in instilling courage. Treading oft taken path is a norm; deviating from it is fraught with enormous risk. When we don’t dread to deviate, we succumb to the temptation of repeating ourselves. Time to be 2.0 version of ourselves!

अप्रस्ताव / Against the motion:

  1. Equating dropout with success is naive. While it’s true that there are successful college dropouts, statistically speaking, they are not the norm. A case of sampling bias…only success stories of dropouts get published; failures don’t get attention in hindsight. A vast majority of the success stories are well educated college graduates, such as Sheryl Sandberg (Harvard), Jeff Bezos (Princeton) and Marissa Mayer (Stanford), Ambani Brothers (Wharton), Tata Sons directors to name here. A list of who’s who of business world is helmed by well educated people. Education fuels the desire to make it to the top and also make difference to other’s life. College dropouts who rule the world are rare exceptions – not the rule…a la the mythical Ekalavya of Mahabharata. 
  2. What makes a human being different is his rational, spiritual and analytical facets. All other creatures are just satisfied by a full belly but problems start with a human when he is full. Fear basically arises through insecurity and most importantly by the habit of comparison gifted to us by our education system. If not our teachers then our parents compare us with their notion of set benchmarks. 
  3. Entrepreneurship and by extension leadership is a forward engineering process. The better the bedrock the more secure is the edifice. Good education makes it possible to sustain the business lead. As automation, AI, and new job models reconfigure the business world, lifelong learning, formally or informally, is an economic imperative.


The 1976 movie Manthan directed by Shyam Benegal, was based on the dairy co-operative movement spearheaded by the “Milkman of India”, Dr. Varghese Kurien. Dr Kurien along with Vijay Tendulkar scripted the story. 5 Lakh farmers contributed Rs.2 each to ensure that the story of the famed AMUL (Anand Milk Udyog Limited) reaches every household of India. The song “Mero Gaam Katha Parey” sung by Preeti Sagar won the Filmfare Award for Best Female Playback Singer for that year.The song was later used as the soundtrack for the television commercial for Amul.


स्वाध्यायादिष्टदेवतासंप्रयोगः॥ (svādhyāyāt-iṣṭa-devatā-saṁprayogaḥ)
Study thy self, discover the divine.

— Yoga Sutras of Patanjalirecommend Svādhyāya (Self-Study or Reading the Self) as one of the the five recommended observances (niyamas) along with purity, contentment, austerity, and self-surrender. 

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