Illiteracy – A Root Cause of all Social Evils

“If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.” This Scottish proverb reveals that if wishes could make things happen then even the most destitute people would have everything they wanted. Man wishes to see in this worldly life a glimpse of heaven by fulfilling all his desires. But things are not that obvious.

People do fight each other, snatch each others’ properties, and remain jealous of others who have somehow progressed in this worldly life. Even our political leaders don’t possess the virtuous character that ordinary people aspire to see in them. Bertrand Russel in his masterpiece ‘Education and Social Order’, Chapter 16, Page 3 infers: “Holders of powers, almost inevitably, desire their subjects to be emotional rather than rational.”

All these evils prevail upon the consciousness of mankind due to the predominant menace of illiteracy and unlearnedness. Merriam Webster Dictionary defines illiteracy as the inability to read and write. Another way to define illiteracy is the lack of enough and sufficient knowledge.

Illiteracy comes in a variety of forms. Functional illiteracy, cultural illiteracy, moral illiteracy, and healthcare illiteracy to name a few. Functional illiteracy is the incompetence in reading, writing as well as difficulties in calculations.

Cultural illiteracy depicts the lack of basic information needed to thrive and survive in the modern world. The absence of moral values and necessary medical information come under the umbrella of moral and healthcare illiteracy respectively.

Illiteracy is rightly perceived as the root cause of all the evils for it causes economic disparity, class distinction, unemployment, child labor, gendered discrimination, and myriads of other social evils. The interpretation of how exactly illiteracy induces terrorism is elaborated in brief. Illiterate minds can be molded in any way with or without little to no resistance.

It is rather easier for the terror outfits to reorient the inclinations and social beliefs of illiterate ones. It is actually the disobedience for the diversity that helps instigate illiterate minds to engage in verbal spate and physical fights with the people of other ethnicities and religions. A kind of ethnocentrism prevails upon illiterate people and they went into a scuffle without giving it a second thought.

Today we see terror incidents in which scores of people lose their lives. All this happens due to some kind of moral, cultural, as well as social illiteracy. Brenton Tarrant, a 29-year-old Australian and self-confessed white supremacist killed 51 Muslims as they prayed at two mosques in Christchurch. This March 15, 2019 terror incident shocked not only New Zealand but the entire world community. This act points towards the moral and cultural illiteracy of the suspect.

In another such despicable incident that happened in Pakistan, a charged mob of hundreds in the Karak area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province set a temple on fire. Besides, we see many incidents of mob violence across India in which minority people are badly beaten, insulted, and even killed. It is nothing but the religious, moral as well as socio-cultural illiteracy of the people that instigate them to inflict such assaults on mankind.

The solution for these evils lies in some sort of internationalization of education. The Book ‘Education and Social Order’ rightly notifies the problem deep inside the prevailing education systems and cures of such epidemics thereafter. It says: ” The disharmony between nations is encouraged by the education in the present day, and could be brought to an end by the introduction of internationalist propaganda in schools.”

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