If I had the time or political connections, I would start a high school for human rights.
One in India, perhaps in Calcutta. The other in the U.S., perhaps in New York. Because these are the two places I know. These are the two places I call home.
I’m sure many of us think this way. I’m sure many of us have done exemplary work to promote human rights across the world. The recent, Global Exchange Peoples’ Choice Award that some friends nominated me for, and some others voted, reaffirmed my belief that even in this dark, depressing time — full of war, terrorism and street violence — countless human rights soldiers are doing incredible work for the poor and powerless. I salute them for their commitment, courage and determination.
I also know that many schools, colleges and universities have programs and projects on human rights. Especially here in the United States, I know for the fact that young men and women take on assignments, and travel near and far to experience human rights situations, and with their limited capacity, work hard to instill some hope for the hopeless. I salute them too.
Then, religious organizations small and big such as Red Cross and Red Crescent, and secular organizations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Oxfam have been in the forefront to save millions of needy and destitute. These organizations may have various motives, but I never doubt their passion. I salute them too.
But I am not sure if especially in India and USA, we have high schools established solely to educate young women and men on the various aspects of human rights and justice.
So, I propose we have one.
I don’t have the time, money or political power to do it. I wish I started on this dream long time ago, so that I could see some fruits of my labor before I died. But I never had the intellectual or organizational abilities either. Now that I’ve perhaps come to a point where I do, time is not on my side to build it myself, and see it grow.
Therefore, I’m leaving my ideas behind, for younger women and men who believe in this cause, and want to follow up.
I’d be more than willing to talk more about the idea, should I find opportunities. But right now, I’m leaving a brief outline of the plan. I hope people — my blog readers from all over the world — think about it, and let me know their thoughts. Help me flesh out the idea. Help me implement it, wherever you are.
This is an absolutely urgent cause that we must work on. In spite of the dark, depressing time — full of war, terrorism and street violence — we must strive to educate young minds about the justification of this cause.
Do not tell me it is not pragmatic. Do not tell me it is utopian. Do not tell me how vested interests, war and prison corporations, and big-party politicians and their media would create problems for it.
I would not take no for an answer.
A high school for human rights would have a curriculum rooted in reality.
A high school for human rights would have a curriculum rooted in economics, society, values, traditions, and politics.
A high school for human rights would have curriculum rooted in modernity and science.
A high school for human rights would teach equality for women and men and mixed genders.
A high school for human rights would teach equality for religions, races, castes, colors and lifestyle.
A high school for human rights would put emphasis on the collective and organized 99%, without taking away the importance of individuality.
A high school for human rights would teach history of rights and justice movements around the world, with special reference to the place it is located.
A high school for human rights would teach young people how to create its own news and entertainment media — free of corporate and political powers.
A high school for human rights would show that equality and diversity is actually more sustainable and profitable, not just for employees, but also for employers.
A high school for human rights would envision a world free of war, terrorism and street violence. It would created curriculum to analyze reasons behind them.
A high school for human rights would propose proactive and reactive measures to deal with violation of rights and justice.
A high school for human rights would envision a world free of hunger and disease.
A high school for human rights would educate young people about their birthright to air, food, water and a clean environment.
A high school for human rights would work hard to build bridges across the moderate, nonviolent, ordinary men, women and families around the world.
A high school for human rights would put more emphasis on experience-based education vis-a-vis textbooks, and award degrees to working men and women for their life’s accumulated work experiences.
A high school for human rights would create a modern and futuristic, critical thinking education.
Let me know what your thoughts are.
I do believe it is time we started it.
If I cannot do it in my lifetime, you do it.
But, for heaven’s sake, do it.
Please do it.
Brooklyn, New York