Hindi Medium

Abhishek Gupta
4 min readMay 31, 2017

I remember when I used to mess up between the o and aw sounds, with a touch of Haryanvi accent in my speech. The post isn’t about how the “Hindi Medium” movie left me with a question on the relevance of English, or if it is a must watch. On one hand, I found the entire movie way too dramatic and far from reality. At the same time, it seems to be striking a chord with the people.

But I believe, more than not knowing English, it also capitalised on a different and a deeper problem. Problem of having a poor and namesake access to public education. People are spending their hard earned money on affordable private schools, against the public funded schools where the education is free.

Privileged folks like you and me, have access to conventional education. It is a separate matter, that this education itself is flawed to the core. Yet, we had access to some education which enabled us to achieve most of the things we have been able to achieve in our individual lives. Even if we weren’t educated properly, a lot of us could have run businesses bootstrapped with money, our network, and informational power held by us. For people who aren’t privileged, challenges are much harder, and hence education even more important.

A research done by Rishabh reveals how a student with surname “Khan” scored 58% on an average, “Yadav” doing marginally better at 62%, while “Agarwal” scores 75.1% on an average in the CBSE board examinations. This highlights, how certain groups are suffering more than the others in the most formative years. This stays with them not only with their lives, but to the generations ahead. It is no wonder then that in the movie, Shyam (Deepak Dobriyal) talked about how he is a “Shudh Gareeb”, who including his previous generations have not experienced a comfortable life.

Movie painted a false picture at times, while just being focusing on English whereas problem lies much deeper. Some examples:

  • In the Government school, students are shown to be super engaged and being brilliant in their own way. While every child is brilliant in his/her own way, they need grooming. Schools with no infra, no good teachers, no learning environment wouldn’t be able to nurture the level of creativity.
  • Shows how our dear media is really concerned about education, and actually talked about RTE Scandals. In reality, our media just care about a few toppers as a customary report. I haven’t seen any sensible reporting on education so far.
  • It suggested how donation didn’t work for Raj (Irfan). I seriously doubt this. Sadly, school admissions are driven a lot through personal connections and money. The struggle of someone rich as Raj, looked artificial to me at a lot of times. With money, you can buy far too many things today. Admission in an elite school, does appear to be one such thing.
  • Poverty was stereotyped like crazy. Shyam just casually mentions, a lot of poor people jump in front of a car to extort money. I don’t have any data, but I find it hard to imagine. We are callous people on roads, we would kill someone and not twitch our eyelids.
Still from the “Hindi Medium” movie

That being said, I should give credits to the movie for

  • Highlighting the general apathy of the parents, who continue to sit meekly Irfan is giving his final speech. They simply never had any fucks to give, as most of us.
  • Learning slogans or anthems isn’t going to bring about any change. Real change is going to come when we are going to experience the same. Raj (Irfan) learnt “Sharing is caring” for the interviews, yet could only understand and act on it once he experienced it himself.
  • Shyam had some amazing dialogues (sadly, appears to be the only one with the right dialogues) describing poverty, and more importantly, his acceptance of it owing to lack of a solution.

Well, if you are still reading, here are a few extra interesting points:

  • Imagine you were the CEO of the country, and then think what would be the most important problem you would like to solve?
  • It is sad that education isn’t an election issue. People simply don’t care enough, why would politicians bother about it? Why would they work on fixing it? I dream of an election, fought on the agenda and performance of education.
  • Education in its current avatar, tests a student and penalise for what he/she doesn’t know. Seldom, it appreciates the student for what he/she knows. Employability on the other hand heavily relies on what you know well. What you don’t know, you can pick up along the way. In more than 300+ interviews that I have taken so far, I have never rejected someone because someone didn’t know a particular thing. I rather focus on trying to understand what someone is good at, and if I can make use of that in our organisation.
  • With the threat of automation and job loss, education and skilling can’t be more relevant than they are relevant today.
  • Kudos to Delhi Government, for making the education the primary focus area. We can build bridges and flyovers, but can we bridge the learning gaps and enable our students to fly over their poverty to live a life that they aspire to?

Should you watch the movie or not? Maybe yes, maybe not. It is certainly much better than most of the other movies out there. I am deeply critical and hence may have enjoyed the movie lesser than others.

We are trying to solve some of these problems at NavGurukul.org. Feel free to read about it, and let me know if you have any comments or would like to contribute in any possible way.