Worldview

Challenging Fatalism in India

A story from Patrick during his Transformation School outreach in Kolkata in 2013

On outreach we went to a high school to speak to a class. The teachers asked us to speak to them because they were the “noisy” class and they thought they might listen more to foreigners. At first the students were distracted and disruptive but after a while we got them engaged and thinking about the city issues and asked them what they could do to change it. It quickly became clear that what we had learned about fatalism was evident in this Indian classroom, as the students struggled to see the possibility for change to happen. With an underlying caste system and distant, disinterested gods it was no wonder the students struggled to think optimistically about the future.

With an underlying caste system and distant, disinterested gods it was no wonder the students struggled to think optimistically about the future.

One young boy said he wanted to become a police officer. We further talked to the class about pursuing your desires and dreaming big about the future. At the end of the class the young boy changed his mind about becoming a police officer, he now wanted to be the next Prime Minister of India. It encouraged me that we were able to challenge the fatalistic worldview of so many young Indians. The young boy realised that he had responsibility and authority over his own life and was able to make decisions and change situations around him. I don’t know who was more excited, me or him.