chapter  8
23 Pages

Multiple Identities and Educational Choices: Refl ections on Ansari Students in a School of Banaras

WithNirmali Goswami

In the discourse of modernity it is assumed that in a nation-state, national identities come to replace or marginalise communitybased identities. Industrialisation and capitalism altered the nature of the state; linkages of labour market and education; and their relationship with communities. According to Gellner (1983), a centralised and universal education system is an important feature of the industrial society. In pre-industrial societies, most of the educational needs, especially the need for vocational training, were fulfi lled by the local, self-suffi cient community through direct and intimate exposure to the particular skills to be acquired. But this changed in an industrial society which enabled production at mass scale. The educational needs of a continuously expanding economy and a society with a more complex division of labour cannot be met with the local system of education. Specialised jobs of industrial society required the evolving of a common standard code in which impersonal communication becomes possible. Minimum knowledge of this code is a must for all. So we have an education system which is universal, standardised and common for everyone regardless of community affi liation (Dasgupta and Gumperz 1969; Gellner 1983). The unifi cation of the labour market and educational market is an important feature of industrial society in which a highly centralised system of schooling emerges (Bourdieu 1991). School becomes an important site where the cultural capital for the new labour market could be acquired. However, such unifi cation of the labour market and education is rarely perfect, especially in societies with a colonial past.