During my pilgrimage earlier this month, I happened to visit a village called Thingaloor, in the Thiruvayaru district in Tamilnadu (too small to be recognized by Google maps). It is a village of about 50-60 huts and houses the famous Moon temple. I had to walk for about 4Km from the highway to reach the village temple.
It was a beautiful Friday evening and the children were playing on the streets. As I was walking towards the temple, a group of kids stopped me and wanted me to take a picture of them. I took their picture and we sat down by the fields and the following was our conversation (translated from Tamil, the local language):
Myself: Do you all go to school?
Kids: Yes. We all study at the village school of Thiruvayaru. We are students of class 3 and 4.
Myself: That’s wonderful. So what did you learn at school today?
Kids: We learned to sing some songs, learned the Tamil alphabet and about seasons.
Myself: Very good. What do you do after school?
Kids: We walk back to our village and play in the fields.
Myself: Does your teacher give you any homework?
Kids: What’s that?
Myself (a little shocked): Don’t you have to do some studying after school to revise your lessons?
Kids: Why should we? We learn at school and play at home. Our teacher insists that we should concentrate on our lessons in our class and play after school. He has never asked us to study. We don’t have our own books to study either.
Myself: So, are you able to remember what your teacher taught you?
Kids: Yes we do. We see what we learn around us. Our teacher taught us about the climate of our district today. Our parents are farmers and we can see and feel it around us. Why do we need a book for that?
Myself: Have you seen or used a computer?
Kids: We’ve seen them in movies. Computers are used by rich people who go to office and are busy. How can small children like us in villages use them? We don’t need computers.
I then showed them a video on seasons on YouTube in my phone. They did like it but felt that it was no big deal as they were in physical contact with what they learn.