Monday, 20 November 2017

Learning from Padmavati film row and Miss World win

Learning for educators and parents from Padmavati film row and Miss World win. 

Media has been going berserk on the Padmavati film row, with arguments and shouting matches by those who support the film and those who don’t! And in this frenzy came the news about our girl from Haryana winning the Miss World crown and bringing it back to India after 17 years by replying, ‘mother’, to the end of the pageant question- ‘Which profession should be the highest paid and why?’ And her reply again has those that think it was an apt reply and those that don’t.

Both the news are splashed everywhere, so much so that it is difficult to ignore them and kids, especially youngsters are definitely influenced by both the news. This is where we as educators need to step in and help them analyze, deliberate and decide otherwise they will end up taking sides without learning the most essential skills of logical thinking so required in understanding conflict.  If we really want to change our education system then its time to start discussing contemporary issues with students. Discussing not arguing or judging!

Our children and youth have a question regarding the Padmavati film row- ‘Who is right?’ Many educators and mothers applauded the reply given by Ms. Chillar to clinch the crown, and our students have a question, ‘She did not answer the question, so will we also be applauded if we don’t answer questions in the right context?’

The Padmavati film row is the right opportunity to teach our children and youth the following-
1.    There is never a complete right and wrong in such conflicts, the important part is resolving the conflict to the benefit of both parties and without any harm to a third party.
Discussions are raging about proving each side wrong or each side right but we must realize that in this situation like many such conflicts there is no innocent party or the right and wrong party as both parties have broken rules and have erred. The choice now is either to continue to argue that this party is less guilty or more violent than the other or to ensure that both parties are brought face to face to resolve the conflict. Youth need our help to understand how media also has two sides, the ‘reporting’ and the ‘rehashing’, it is the rehashing that we need to be careful about and train our children to understand that it happens for TRP and once they understand the difference they will be able to make logical choices instead of depending on the ‘brain washing’ of the rehashing!
2.    Creative liberty or liberty of speech is our right but we also have to respect the right of beliefs and sentiments.
We are a proud democratic country and we have the right to speak our mind, our thoughts and practice creativity. But with every right, comes a responsibility and it is this combination that we need to make our children and youth aware about. What they speak and how they speak can hurt someone’s beliefs and sentiments, are they aware of the same? Or are they clueless about the same? Or are they aware but choose to ignore the same? This requires intelligence, sensitivity and empathy, all signs of a good leader. So help students to analyze their decisions, thoughts, and speech on these guidelines before they decide to speak, print or go public.
3.    Tackling upset people by becoming more upset with them does not diffuse the situation. What helps is knowledge of conflict resolution.
Our children need to be given the understanding that Violence can never be condoned and any kind of violence is deplorable. But violence cannot be defused by sarcasm, mocking or shouting. Violence happens when the thinking brain has stopped thinking and is now on flight or fight mode. The more you shout, threaten or mock such a brain it will resort to more violence as it is on ‘shut down mode’. The only way to calm violence is to bring in conflict resolution. This needs to be practiced at the micro level by teachers in schools and parents at home by not resorting to violence when tackling an angry child or teenager or by shouting and mocking their behavior. This will only ignite and incite them to do more bad behavior. If children see adults handling a volatile situation in a clam manner and succeeding in diffusing the same then they will grow up learning conflict resolution skills that will go a long way in ensuring that they become law abiding citizens that contribute to a peaceful society and world. Our children will face violence in the form of bullies and bullies cannot be done away with more bullying! Conflict resolution is a 21st century life skill that we need to ingrain and pass on to our youth.

The Miss World win is the perfect opportunity to help young impressionable minds understand the following:
1.    Ms. Chillar is a young budding medical student, so she is a perfect example of beauty and brains. In today’s world it is important to understand the meaning of beauty is not just in being born with great looks but making yourself beautiful with exercise, a good food plan and grooming. All that is possible for everyone. And the earlier we make them aware of the same is better. Healthy food should not be confused with dieting and exercise should not become exercise binging! Grooming is all about health and hygiene.
2.    So what is a good figure? Will be a common topic of discussion in young boys and girls, well, its time to help them understand that a good figure is one that makes you feel comfortable and healthy.  Going on life threatening diets or severe gym plans is only a temporary and dangerous solution.
3.    Even in a beauty pageant the clincher is always the question and answer round, so you may win all the beauty and fashion rounds but it is your presence of mind, confidence and smartness that ultimately gets you the crown or keeps it at arms length from you. This helps children understand that nothing in life is dependent on just good looks!
But a teenager asked me the most important queries on the question Ms. Chillar was asked and the reply she gave, the query,  ‘Was her reply correct?’, to which I said well she did not answer the question but replied to it in a different context. Because after the entire question posed was, ‘Which profession should be paid the highest salary and why?’ and the meaning of the word profession is  - a paid occupation, especially one that involves prolonged training and a formal qualification. So yes her reply, ‘Mother’ is not the apt reply to the question but she smartly gave it a different context and thus won the heart of the jury.

And now the teenager asked me a second question- ‘So should not schools also allow us to answer questions in a different context? Why do they insist on having a right answer…only one answer?’

And this is what I leave to all educators and parents to think about, especially those that are applauding Ms. Chillar’s reply, why cant we give our students the same freedom when it comes to replying to questions that can have more than one context?

Its time we used contemporary everyday affairs to help us teach our students and children so that they are better equipped to face the world and its trails and tribulations on their own with confidence, zeal, determination and logic

Dr.Swati Popat Vats


  1. Thank you so much mam for sharing your views because I myself had queries regarding Padmavati film row and Ms.World's reply.It's good to stand for historical facts but without watching, the decision is not worthy. We have education system where some of the topics and questions need perfect answer.Whereas some of them may have another aspects. But conventionally what is going on is Craming,learning the answers. So some teachers want answers which they have learned or read.

  2. Rightly said ma'am...the children should be allowed to answer as per their perception or understanding and not forced to follow blindly what is said...then if they are wrong can be guided accordingly...but the opportunity of expressing should be given

  3. Madam ... so beautifully explained by you. Let us ,all,resolve to find out one point where we all find a balance so that there remains no conflict.After all this is what we are going to teach the generation next.

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  5. Again a great thought on paper madam,you have taught us how to tackle the issues faced by this generation.

  6. Right to speak comes with responsibility, very well said. Of course today we need to differentiate these things. Questioning, that too disciplined questioning is a must if we want logical thinkers around us. It's good that we are able to judge a right or wrong answer but what is more important is perspective thinking skills. In today's world it's essential that our kids are equipped with these skills
    Sunitha sagar jadhav
    Pjk, Nashik

  7. Very truly said in the article that our youngsters are definitely influenced by both the news.As a parent and educator it is really important to discuss such issues with our children with out arguing or debating or judging.

  8. A wonderful article Ma'am.It really helps us to understand how important it is to know our responsiblities which comes with the rights.Also as educators , we need to discuss such issues with children.

  9. Thankyou Maam for this wonderful article.It is very essential to build civic sense in our youth so that they become responsible citizens of our country.As parents,teachers and educators it is our duty to follow discipline and become role models of our children. Also children of upcoming generations have unlimited potential in their ideas and thoughts which should surely be nurtured and accepted.
    Sejal Pandya
    PJK Nashik

  10. Thankyou Ma'am for this useful article.This will surely help to understand how we should follow the rules and discipline ,so that our children will imitate.
    Ashwini mungi
    PJK Nashik

  11. Thank you ma'am for thie wonderful article.As teacher,parent and educator its our responsibility to reach our kids how to tackle the situation.
    Your article will really help us to guide our little ones.
    Shaikh shahnaaz

  12. Enthralled by your way of thinking ma'am!!! In complete awe of this article.

  13. Thank you for this insightful article, Ma'am.Conflict definitely does not resolve any issue. A disciplined and responsible approach to any adverse situation is always more fruitful. Using contemporary affairs to teach our students and children to form their own views and opinions is the right way to help them in facing the world with confidence.

    Warm regards,
    Rashmi Gawde.
    PJK - Nashik

  14. Thank you ma'am for the wonderful article.yes ma'am,we should help students to analyze their decisions, thoughts, and speech.

  15. Best article in short simple words put down how you can bring up our youth thank you for sharing here each and every point mentioned make us think about question and answer discuss and help them to teach students to be better equipped to face the world with experience also giving them liberty wonderful article.

  16. I would like to share one of my friend's experience after Manushi become Miss World.
    My friend had shared the question asked to Manushi with her daughter. And also asked her daughter, "What reply you would have given if you would have in place of Manushi...?" Her daughter had replied that I would have said, according to me the best profession is cleaning servant. Because on this earth, only human beings make garbage in large quanyity and who cleans it...Only cleaner servants. They are cleaning it so we all can breathe in fresh environment. Then my friend told to her daughter that the answer given by Manushi was 'MOTHER'. Her daughter immediately said that, "How mother will be profession mom? And what about them those who are not mothers or can not become mothers?" My friend was speechless.
    Thank you for sharing the wonderful article ma'am. It is helpful to parents and educators.
    Mrs. Jyoti Swami