Keeping kids in school is a tall order — sometimes sky high, as the Jharkhand government has discovered. The free lunch is passé. Today’s children are turning their noses up at free haircuts too, forcing the grey eminences in the Ranchi secretariat to look up to the heavens for an answer. And their Eureka moment: a 15-minute joyride in the clouds for those longest with their nose to the grindstone. A spin in a motor glider is more than just rewards for regular trudges to and from the schoolhouse, it could also provide tribal kids a loftier worldview than the Din-e-Ilahi.
The spin-off for the country, too, is immense. If Jharkhand’s best and brightest take a shine to flying so early in life, maybe a tribe of bright-eyed aviators from the state could be carting the rest of us around in tin cans some years from now. A safer bet, if you ask us, than those foreign blokes with a severe English handicap. India should be watching this pilot project in Dumka with more than mere passing interest.
The other bright idea — getting MS Dhoni to preach against the vicissitudes of playing truant — has some merit as PepsiCo has realised. But cricketing icon does not hold as much promise as the infrequent flier programme. If you take the game seriously, the square leg is wont to demur to the square root.