Taking a respite from covid-19 trauma, I along with my friend left our homes to seek the joy and tranquility in the lush nature; which teaches the lessons that books bomb to bring, which soothes the ailing heart and makes it dance like daffodils or floating clouds. Nature teaches the philosophy that each season is bestowed with its own songs which it sings like hymn. The breeze that passes like a salve besides purifying the soul and heart to see the nature with that transparent-eye, as rightly put by Wordsworth, ‘come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher.’
Hence, we two friends took the car and drove towards guiding nature, but in the halfway shockingly, did my friend stop the car, and came out of his vehicle to take the glance of an enchanting playground, which was not less than any eye-catching moment. My friend mused a bit like a poet or a lyricist who contemplates a lot before composing a song or verses and finally said, ‘This place is very close to my heart, as close as the early dew to the vegetation.’ He heaved a sigh before he added, ‘I have spent my best days here , the days which we call salad- days, the days of prime youth, when cricket was the only passion I was after. I did not know then much about books and bags, pen and paper, chapters and lessons; as they would not bring me joy but yes, this place, indisputably though, would save me from depression and hopelessness; as it must be saving many. He paused a bit, heaved a sigh of moan again, in between his sigh and contemplation, I looked around and figured, we were at Hajin Higher Secondary ground which the young boys of Hajin proudly call, ‘Lords of Hajin’.
Being a buccaneer paved many ways to explore myself and while doing so, I have met countless cricketers who were of the opinion that playing at Hajin Higher Secondary ground was not less than any dream coming true. But, for the last few weeks or so, Hajin Higher Secondary ground has stirred a huge debate and controversies especially on social media; as the administration has decided to establish a government college in it, which thus has infuriated and annoyed many kids whom we would see joyfully shouldering sports kits at their back at evening to relieve themselves from stress and anxiety in the already conflict torn zone where every next day we shoulder blood pooling corpses.
Establishing a college and universalizing higher education is a good idea but if it comes at the cost of losing something priceless then the better idea would be finding the better alternative.
Playground plays a pivotal role not only in relieving stress or maintaining physique but also in helping the youth becoming heath conscious and also helps keeping them away from drugs and other harmful adventures that are spreading like a wild fire in our valley and is big menace at the present era.
Another dimension of the matter is not something pleasing and encouraging. My readers will agree with us that the quality of our higher education has deteriorated considerably. A college or university pass out is not able to produce the results as he/she is expected to beget. Our graduates and postgraduates lack that charisma and skill which mere matriculates would possess some decades earlier. A graduate or a postgraduate fails to draft an application, a graduate or a postgraduate fails to teach a 7th or 8th standard kid. Our highly qualified people fail to prove their professionalism in different fields.
Bringing higher education at the doorsteps of people is not bad at all but it should not be at the cost of quality. Many of our colleges are operating from single digit number of rooms. A college is supposed to possess a big library and diverse streams and subject options. But, we all know that how our children are introduced to few selected streams and subjects in newly established colleges. Many colleges would start science and other important streams after many years because it needs desired infrastructure and faculty. Thus, we have not only reduced the career options for our children but destroyed their intellectual domains as well.
Peer learning is an important part of our colleges and universities but the mushrooming of colleges has marred it completely. Reputed universities like Oxford, Cambridge and Harvard are some brand names in higher education at the global level. These institutions of highest learning seek admissions at global level. And it helps students to achieve academic excellence through different ways. Even Jawaharlal Nehru University, Aligarh Muslim University and a few other places of highest learning at national level admit students across the country purely on merit basis. Had these centers of highest learning been confined to a particular geographical area, then these would not have been so famous, result oriented and the first choice of every student.
College at your doorsteps will never acquaint you with the necessary exposure, you need in life. Limited number of students that too from a selected geographical location will never help your intellectual acumen to grow. It cocoons us to our limited and confined academic and intellectual resources and environment. During the contemporary times, when there are many colleges in every district of Jammu and Kashmir, when college education is available to children at the threshold of their homes, many students and their parents still look for a few prestigious ones though they are far away from their homes. Distance from your home should not be a criterion to seek higher education. It is something beyond the realms of money or distance from your home. Higher education is something about passion and love for learning.
Now, coming back to point, college or playground, either should not be the bone of contention for us. If it is necessary and inevitable to open a college at Hajin, then, Hajinitees should identify a suitable piece of land, other than the playground adjacent to higher secondary school Hajin, for the construction of college. It has probably the requisite land available though it is a little away from the main town. And such serene environment is quite feasible for a college to function. We reiterate the fact that the playground is a treasure for the whole area other than Hajin. It has a legacy of our refulgent sports past. We don't know whether this playground has produced great sportsmen or not, but this playground is undoubtedly the first choice of every young man of the area to exhibit his talent. We have enjoyed playing at the famous playfield, and would love to see our future generations exhibiting their talent in the playground. Let it be open to all forever. Our one hurried decision will make us regret and repent for centuries together. Let not our progeny face the consequence of our immature decisions. Moreover, the playground has a tremendous potential to be developed as a sports stadium. Let authorities do the needful, and promote sports and games parallel to academics.