Publish with us

Follow Penguin

Follow Penguinsters

Follow Penguin Swadesh

The Smart and the Dumb

The Smart and the Dumb

The Politics of Education in India

Vishal Vasanthakumar
Select Preferred Format
Buying Options
Paperback / Hardback

When racial and sexual injustice have been reduced, we shall still be left with the grave injustice of the smart and the dumb’—Thomas Nagel

Education achieves many things—it pulls people out of poverty, enables socio-economic mobility and promises a route to dignity. But what does education mean to different people, what does it do and whose needs are being met by education?

Even as globalization and formal education have established themselves as unquestionable truths, only a privileged few have cornered its benefits. In this process, education is being reconceived and its promises are being rewritten. Today, there clearly is more to education than going to school, getting credentials and getting a job.

This book is an attempt to capture what this ‘more’ is, by exploring education’s connections to caste, class and gender and understanding how they affect the promise of education. In documenting the fractured realities of the many children who want guns for Christmas and the psychological trauma of conflict in Manipur, how a ban on toddy-tapping affects educational choices in Tamil Nadu or why a grandmother chose to get her fifteen-year-old granddaughter married to a seventeen-year-old truck driver in rural Rajasthan and many such stories, this book attempts to paint a portrait of the political and cultural processes that affect education.

Imprint: India Viking

Published: Jul/2024

ISBN: 9780670098637

Length : 200 Pages

MRP : ₹599.00

The Smart and the Dumb

The Politics of Education in India

Vishal Vasanthakumar

When racial and sexual injustice have been reduced, we shall still be left with the grave injustice of the smart and the dumb’—Thomas Nagel

Education achieves many things—it pulls people out of poverty, enables socio-economic mobility and promises a route to dignity. But what does education mean to different people, what does it do and whose needs are being met by education?

Even as globalization and formal education have established themselves as unquestionable truths, only a privileged few have cornered its benefits. In this process, education is being reconceived and its promises are being rewritten. Today, there clearly is more to education than going to school, getting credentials and getting a job.

This book is an attempt to capture what this ‘more’ is, by exploring education’s connections to caste, class and gender and understanding how they affect the promise of education. In documenting the fractured realities of the many children who want guns for Christmas and the psychological trauma of conflict in Manipur, how a ban on toddy-tapping affects educational choices in Tamil Nadu or why a grandmother chose to get her fifteen-year-old granddaughter married to a seventeen-year-old truck driver in rural Rajasthan and many such stories, this book attempts to paint a portrait of the political and cultural processes that affect education.

Buying Options
Paperback / Hardback

Vishal Vasanthakumar

Vishal Vasanthakumar was born in Chennai and studied mechanical engineering before switching paths to teaching, which he did for six years. He is currently enrolled for a PhD in Sociology at the University of Cambridge as a Gates Cambridge Scholar. He also has a Masters in International Education Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He has previously worked with the Department of School Education, Government of Tamil Nadu and as a political consultant for a political party. Between 2020 and 2023, Vishal ran a thriving pesto business from his home kitchen. He currently lives and works in Cambridge, UK.

error: Content is protected !!