ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Freire s Legacy

of 1997 remained largely unnoticed in India's academic world. That makes sense, considering how marginal a presence education has as an area of enquiry in our academia. What makes things worse for Freire's memory is the strange fact that in India the left, unlike the right, has no serious concern for education. But even the non-government organisations (NGOs) world, which owes a substantial part of its current key vocabulary and its legitimacy to Freire, paid him no major tribute. To an extent we can attribute this indifference to the general despair prevailing among those who believe that ideas ought to permeate social action. A possible parallel reason relates to the culture of activism which treats any time taken for reflection, for example, reflection on a departee's legacy, as an essentially academic exercise, implying second-rate importance. The concept of activism is a part of Freire's legacy, and though an incomplete part, it now appears to be the only form of resistance that works. Finally, one other reason for the indifference shown to Freire may be the steady decline of Freire's own distinctiveness over the last few years of his life. Freire's rise as a source of dramatic influence, and an eventual 'fair constitute a story of dramatic influence, and an eventual 'fair constitute a story of some historical value, especially from the viewpoint of colonised societies like that of India, Towards the end of the 1960s Freire was thrown into exile by the military rulers of his native Brazil. They had found the 43-year old Freire guilty of encouraging peasants to reflect on their own condition with a view to waging a collective effort towards changing it. For Freire, this was an educational engagement with the people. Out of this experience and the response it received from the people and their military rulers, Freire composed his elaborate philosophical statement which first appeared in English translation in the early 1970s under the title Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Within a short while, the book became a worldwide hit, initially competing with another popular text of the 1970s, namely Deschooling Society by Ivan Illich, but eventually outpacing it. IIIich himself described Freire's book as "a truly revolutionary pedagogy". Several other books by Freire followed, but for the vast majority of his readers the Pedagogy remained his most reliable and distinctive statement. Freire resented this fact as any writer would, but he acknowledged his readers' identification of him with his first book by naming his penultimate book as Pedagogy of Hope. Published in 1994, it provides a collection of personal narratives on the reception of the first Pedagogy, Freire's last book, published just before his death, was Letters to Christina, his niece to whom he wrote some 18 long letters explaining his life and work. The lust letter shows how anxious Freire was in the evening of his life about the threat posed to human dignity and freedom by what he called the rebirth of Nazi-Fascist ideology everywhere and the left's vacillating stance towards its own role.

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