Thursday, 7 August 2014

Today is Rabindranath Tagore's death anniversary. This story written by him as a satire on the education system is sadly relevant even today.   


Once upon a time there was a bird.  It was ignorant.  It sang all right, but never recited scriptures.  It hopped pretty frequently, but lacked manners.

Said the Raja to himself.  “Ignorance in costly in the long run.  For fools consume as much food as their betters, and yet give nothing in return.”

He called his nephews to his presence and told them that the bird must have a sound schooling.

The pundits were summoned, and at once went to the root of the matter.  They decided that the ignorance of birds was due to their natural habit of living in poor nests.  Therefore, according to the pundits, the first thing necessary for this bird’s education was a suitable cage.

The pundits had their rewards and went home happy.

A golden cage was built with gorgeous decorations.  Crowds came to see it from all parts of the world.

“Culture, captured and caged!” Exclaimed some in a rapture of ecstasy, and burst into tears.

Others remarked: “Even if culture be missed, the cage will remain, to the end, a substantial fact.  How fortunate for the bird!”

The goldsmith filled his bag with money and lost no time in sailing homewards.

The pundit sat down to educate the bird.  With proper deliberation he took his pinch of snuff, as he said: “Textbooks can never be too many for our purpose!”

The nephews brought together an enormous crowd of scribes.  They copied from books, and copied from copies, till the manuscripts were piled up to an unreachable height.

Men murmured in amazement: “Oh, the tower of culture, egregiously high! The end of it lost in the clouds!”

The scribes with light hearts, hurried home, their pockets heavily laden.

The nephews were furiously busy keeping the cage in proper trim.

As their constant scrubbing and polishing went on the people said with satisfaction : “This is progress indeed!”

Men were employed in large numbers, and supervisors were still more numerous.  These with their cousins of all different degrees of distance, built a palace for themselves and lived there happily ever after.

Whatever may be its other deficiencies, the world is never in want of fault-finders; and they went about saying that every creature remotely connected with the cage flourished beyond words, excepting only the bird.

When this remark reached the Raja’s ears, he summoned his nephews, what is this that we hear!”

The nephews said in answer: “Sir, let the testimony of the goldsmiths and the pundits, the scribes and the supervisors, be taken, if the truth is to be known.  Food is scare with the fault-finders, and that is why their tongues have gained in sharpness”.

The explanation was so luminously satisfactory that the Raja decorated each one of his nephews with his own rate jewels.

The Raja at length, being desirous of seeing with his own eyes how his Education Department busied itself with the little bird, made his appearance one day at the great Hall of Learning.

From the gate rose the sounds of conch-shells and gongs, horns, bugles and trumpets, cymbals, drums and kettledrums, tomtoms, tambourines, flutes, fifes, barrel-organs and bagpipes.  The pundits began chanting mantras with their topmost voices, while the goldsmiths, scribes, supervisors, and their numberless cousins of all different degrees of distance, loudly raised a round of cheers.
            The nephews smiled and said: “Sir, what do you think of it all?”

            The Raja said: “It does seem so fearfully like a sound principle of           Education!”

Mightily pleased, the Raja was about to remount his elephant, when the fault-finder, from behind some bush, cried out: “Maharaja, have you seen the bird?”

            “Indeed, I have not!”  Exclaimed the Raja, “I completely forgot about the bird.”

            Turning back, he asked the pundits about the method they followed in instructing the bird.  It was shown to him.  He was immensely impressed.  The method was so stupendous that the bird looked ridiculously unimportant in comparison.  The Raja was satisfied that there was no flaw in the arrangements.  As for any complaint from the bird itself, that simply could not be expected.  Its throat was so completely chocked with the leaves from the books that it could neither whistle nor whisper.  It sent a thrill through one’s body to watch the process.

            The time, while remounting his elephant, the Raja ordered his State Ear-puller to give a thorough good pull at both the ears of the fault-finder.   The bird thus crawled on, duly and properly, to the safest verge of inanity.  In fact, its progress was satisfactory in the extreme.  Nevertheless, nature occasionally triumphed over training, and when the morning light peeped into the bird’s cage it sometimes fluttered its wings in a reprehensible manner.  And, though it is hard to believe, it pitifully pecked at its bars with the feeble beak.

            “What impertinence!” Growled the kotwal.
            The blacksmith, with his forge and hammer tool his place in the Raja’s Department of Education.  Oh, what resounding blows!  The iron chair was soon completed, and the bird’s wings were clipped.

            The Raja’s brothers-in-law looked black, and shook their heads, saying: “These birds not only lack good sense, but also gratitude!”

            With text-book in one hand and baton in the other, the pundits gave the poor bird what may fitly be called lessons!
            The kotwal was honoured with a title for his watchfulness, and the blacksmith for his skill in forging chains.
            The bird died.

Nobody had the least notion how long ago this had happened.  The fault-finder was the first man to spread the rumour.

The Raja called his nephews and asked them:  “My dear nephews, what is this that we hear?”
The     nephews said: “Sire, the bird’s education has been completed.”

“Does it hop?”  The Raja enquired.

“Never!” Said the nephews.

“Does it fly?”


“Bring me the bird,” said the Raja.

The bird was brought to him, guarded by the kotwal and the sepoys and the sowars.  The Raja poked its body with his finger.  Only its inner stuffing of book-leaves rustled.

Outside the window, the murmur of the spring breeze amongst the newly budded Asoka leaves made the April, morning wistful.


Jumbo Kids, Chakan said...

It is very sad that now a days we are forgetting our great philosopher Rabindranath Tagore.He was an educator for all times and his ideas are as relevant today,as they were when he lived.In the story everyone seems to be happy except the poor parrot.This story teaches us what constitutes teaching and learning.

Sonali Karmakar said...

Thank you Swati Ma'am for sharing such a wonderful story...

Ankita Suchak said...

Thank you Ma`am for sharing such an important message for parents & today's education system.It's high time we have to be aware & stop the way kids are getting education & their condition is just like the sad Parrot in the story.

PJK Wagholi said...

Yes, Madam this teaches a lot as we must not do something just to please the higher authority and for rewards.We must learn to connect and understand the feeling,thinking,reasoning of an individual who is with us and give the best what we can to make that particular life (animal/human).And not like let the parrot the person may be more interested in getting the rewards and make the king happy.Its an important message for each one of us.

namrata singh said...

Thank you Ma'am for sharing a wonderful story.We have to be aware of today's education system and we must give the best to an individual according to there need.

Mentor Sarina said...

It is wonderful to go through something like this not only because we are in education industry also because we are parents.
Thank You swati maam.

Usha Bhagat said...

Respected Ma'am, Thank you for sharing such a wonderful story. As educators it teaches us a lot about the education system. In current time we should take care of the education system that is being followed. The poor parrot was bounded and at last he was just over stuffed with the book leaves.This tells us to corelate the story with present time and to be aware of the kind of education children are getting. As educators it is an important message to focus on for all of us.

Jumbo kids Chakan II said...

Thank you Ma'am for sharing such a wonderful story.

Bhusawal PJK said...

Thank you Ma'am for sharing such a wonderful story...which has a great message for both parents and educationist. We should be a nurturer while at the same time not impeding on the child’s self discovery.

Uma Nagdeo said...

Education should always be child centered and should have practical approach which will help in taking best out of each individual.
Thank you for sharing the wonderful story.

Jumbo Kids Nashik said...

Thank you Ma'am for sharing the wonderful story which conveys a very important message for all of us.

PJK Koradi said...

The Parrot story co-relate with present time education system and make us aware about the kind of education which children are getting. Yes, indeed it is really very sad that we are forgetting great philosopher Rabindranath Tagore’s education system. We should learn to connect and understand the feeling of a studentl who is with us and also give our best as per his/her needs. As an educators it is an important message for all of us to focus on .Thank you so much Ma'am for sharing a wonderful story.

PJK Koradi said...

The Parrot story co-relate with present time education system and make us aware about the kind of education which children are getting. Yes, indeed it is really very sad that we are forgetting great philosopher Rabindranath Tagore’s education system. We should learn to connect and understand the feeling of a studentl who is with us and also give our best as per his/her needs. As an educators it is an important message for all of us to focus on .Thank you so much Ma'am for sharing a wonderful story.

vaishali joshi said...

Ma'am, Thank you! once again a great learning. Education should be child centered. Every parent need to think that are we just stuffing the child....

jayshree shah said...

Tagore is very famous & eminent writer.
We are proud to follow a love for nature.Hence gardening is a very integral part of the curriculum .A great way to convey the message through story,the story is metaphorical as a child has been substituted by parrot.the plight of children in education is unchanged
till today.

Uma Wagh PJK Jalgaon said...

Ma'am read this story in How to teach so kids can learn book.Rabindranath Tagore believed that every human being has potentialities to become super human being.According to him aim of education should be self realization.And nowadays education does not develop the imagination & thinking power of the child.Only stress is given on education which gives lot of stress on memory & less thinking & imagination.And learning happens only with freedom which is missing .
Ma'am very happy connected with Kiducation because it follows Rabindranath Tagore's philosophy.

Manju Joshi said...

Many of us who are members of this blog belong to Education world, are we training like parrot was done in story think?... Government of India has also started working for Early childhood education and brought about many reforms which are yet to be followed in many institutions. Its time for us to check that. I am proud that I am from institution working for (Kid)Parrot not other things.

Sridevi Mentor said...

First of all thank you ma'am memorizing Tagore's day and his philosophy of educating people through his fascinating teachings. Reading this story is so easy but to understand and to aim to pass a message that how ungrateful educationalists made the bird as a victim of education which is quite similar to at present education system.

Many of the educational system's are planning and designing their syllabus to impress the parents but they don't look from the view of the needs of a child. It's very sad to say that we entered 21st century but still many educational academies were not able to know exact meaning of education.

The dream of Tagore's educating philosophy is alive in very few schools, as an adult it's our duty to identify such schools and approach for your child's growth in a natural way of teaching by looking from the view of the child.

Pjk Bengaluru CBSE said...

Ma'am, this story reminds me "how to teach so kids can learn" where I read this story. This story has been highlighted to our team of teachers when they come up with issues about children.

PJK Vadgaonsheri 2 said...

There is, in fact, no teaching without learning. One requires the other.
Learning is more than the acquisition of the ability to think; it is the acquisition of many specialized abilities for thinking about a variety of things.
This story truly is an eye opener for all whether parent or teachers.
Thank you ma'am for a beautiful reminder to all...

Snehal Pjk said...

Effective teachers use a variety of approaches over the course of a day, taking into consideration the learning objective, the number of children involved, the children's characteristics, the resources available, and so on. In childhood, instead of putting the entire burden on then memory, the power of thinking, and the power of imagination should also be given opportunities for free exercise .

shilpa said...

Rabindranath Tagore- best story thank you for sharing it.It is sad to realise that till date almost years past there is no change in education system hardly handful school we have now it is time for all to work for the change to develop practical approach which will help each child to give best education.Thank you

Pjk Gwalior said...

Education means to know yourself and educators gives an enlightening experience to their students.Thank You Ma'am for sharing this valuable story with all of us.

Pimpri Standalone PJK OWN said...

As educators we should understand and follow correct Technics for educating children ,this story is helpful to all teachers and parents to understand our responsibility .Thankyou ma'am for sharing this story.

kamal said...

Best story shared of Rabindranath Tagore. Whereby its about to bring the change in the education system. So that we could give the best to the children

Indu Chanda said...

Indeed a brilliant story by Rabindranath Tagore an equally brilliant poet and author. We in Jumbo Kids follow his philosophy and hence we understand the nature of small children and also the importance of nature in their life. As rightly said Nature is the best teacher we keep this in mind while our students are learning. We do not believe in drill and rote learning as done in the story to train the parrot but provide a learning environment to the students for them to get the holistic development. Thank you ma'am for sharing such a lovely story which indeed is the mirror image of our present education system.

PJK Patiala said...

It is really a great story from where the educators must learn not to become Teachers of Parrot. Teaching is a noble profession and we must honour this nobility...Thank you Madam for conveying a valuable message by sharing this short story.

Bhosari Pjk said...

Thank you ma'am for sharing with us this story. This shows that Education should be child centered & we all as an educators should first understand the child's need & than work on it accordingly, as every child is born with unique features & every child's learning style & potentiality of grasping the things are different.

PJK,Nigdi said...

Than you maam for sharing a wonderful story which gives a message "education should be in the point of view of a child"'.

Veena Sangli said...

After reading the story we realize till today the stress on children in education is unchanged in most of the schools in India.Its time to change the whole education system.

Veena Sangli said...
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sunita Duggal said...
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Abhaya K said...

Thank you for the wonderful story.
Nowadays most of the schools indulge merely in window dressing instead of concentrating on the holistic development of the child.

Aparna PJK Chinchwad-2 said...

Thank You Ma'am for sharing this wonderful story.

We, as individuals should focus that if the child cannot learn in the way we teach, we must teach in a way the child can learn.

Megha Raje Bhosale said...

Teaching today must not be restricted just to finish off the lesson . Teaching must be in a way the children can understand and realize what is being taught .
Thank you Mam for such a teaching which directly hits the heart .

pjkparbhani said...

The story itself a very important message for all. It was worth reading for me. Thank you ma'am for sharing with us.