Gully Boy - flawed pedagogy on talent, success and its mistaken subalternity

Zoya Akhtar’s Gully Boy is probably one of those rare Bollywood offering that has had both the masses and classes cheering and rooting for it. While we can leave out the masses and the film's box office performance for the moment, does the film really add much more to scratch as it is being made out by some critics? Encomiums for the film has emerged even from more left leaning news media sites i.e. The Scroll, The Wire and Huffington Post who all had very positive reviews. I was finally nudged to view the film when the more academic EPW too carried a piece, effusive of the film's supposed less than formulaic rendering of subaltern dreams. The plot and premise of the film, I avoid going into here which one safely assumes is well known by now. When I came out of the packed multiplex, I was quite overcome with a sense of ambiguity and confusion. While the crowd probably was not dished a Salman Khan trash or Karan Johar’s shameless celebration of affluence, but then I wonde

Tying up in knots...

... Struggles to redeem social sciences Can one ‘train’ ‘trainers’ and render them as experts to help teachers teach social sciences better? In effect can it be taught in ways to help students find meaning and relevance in the world they socialize in? Can the elusive quality of citizenship informed by public reason be provided - social sciences’ raison d'etre, something which it is currently failing to do? We all believe it is feasible and an intense teacher training program will deliver the needful. But in my view and experience the teacher training program today by government, NGOs and other for profits have been able to crack no more than a fissure on this hardened nut of social science education and there are barely any possibilities of criticality germinating. Meaningful learning in social sciences and their morphing into critical citizens still remains elusive. Indeed the focus as such has always been on what will work for students learning and understanding of so

Inane social science textbooks and the debates...

Sharing some thoughts on the ‘new’ social science textbooks recently released in Karnataka, the debates on which are hardly substantive and key questions continue to escape our attention. Once we go through this news report which laments the quality of the revised textbooks, (Click here ) it only goes to show how notions of quality are linked to very simplistic and shallow external attributes in popular educational discourses. For if the textbooks were not bad enough, so are the criticisms against them much of it being puerile. Spelling mistakes, missing pages seem to be the biggest drawback highlighted and more dismal is the criticism of absence of few names of persons and places, both Kannada and national. And while a big deal is being made of some ‘factual’ errors, the more important issue of nature of knowledge and models of historical inquiry that are so problematic in these textbooks remain unquestioned. Information masquerades as knowledge and both the textbook makers and its