Located in the domain of cultural politics, the book with rich ethnographical data from Mizoram, a lesser known and understood state, brings the community, state and culture to centre-stage, along with family and stratification of the sociological discourse in education. The book argues for a re-look at school education in Mizoram, besides providing critical insights into the North East region as a whole. It also points to the dilemmas of development in that region and suggests possible ways out of the impasse.
Marking a significant departure from conventional thinking on education as 'human capital' as reflected in North-East Vision: 2020, the book strongly advocates the need for critical pedagogies based on learning from conflict; inculcating the values of tolerance and compassion as a precursor to peace; reconceptualising `development, not merely as 'economic' but as indicator of national happiness and valuing lives equally besides respect for traditional institutions, thus marking a break from the much resented paternalism that underpins all state interventions in education.
One of the first studies of its kind regarding experience and practice of education, the book makes an important contribution to the role that education can play to usher in peace and promote respect for differences.
Lakshmi Bhatia is Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Aditi Mahavidyalaya, Delhi.