In a conversation I had a few years ago with a staff member from Jamia Millia Islamia University, he expressed his concern about the lack of literacy in some parts of the Indian education system. He was not talking about the ability to read and write. He was concerned with something he called “global literacy” which he defined as awareness of how the rest of the world thinks. Many of today’s university students in India, he said, were not globally literate.
The Okhla population is not immune to this lack of global literacy. In an area where so many people are competing for limited resources, most people are concerned with issues such as getting their children into good schools, paying for food in the midst of rising prices, and even how to get to work in the morning. They are not concerned with uprisings in the Middle East, or who wins the election in France. Those are issues that seem far away and irrelevant.
However, it is becoming more and more dangerous to live in our own little corner of the world and shut out the bigger concerns. Those big concerns eventually affect us in our little corners: Middle East uprising = rising petrol prices. Conflict in Pakistan = less food imports and rising food prices. Election in America = fewer visas and therefore fewer opportunities for our children. Fortunately though, it’s easier now than it has ever been to become a globally literate person. Internet, mobile phones, and the availability of periodicals such as The Economist, Newsweek, Time, and Business Week all help us get a better picture of the world as a whole.
A more globally literate Okhla population can only have positive effects on the condition and welfare of our community.