30 Days of Devotion
Saraswati is a goddess of wisdom and learning, and in Southern Asia today, she is a major patroness of children’s education. Indeed, the once-local placement of the Saraswati Puja on the seasonal festival of Vasant Panchami has been promoted by the Indian government as a sort of Pan-Indian holiday to promote education.
The government has good reason to promote the holiday, as while the country’s literacy rate has exploded from only 12% since the end of colonial rule in 1947, to nearly 75% 2011, growth in literacy has stagnated while growth in population has not. Currently, literacy stands just beneath 63%.
This of course, does not even touch on the very apparent gender gap in literacy rates. The figures given above are an average of adult literacy. In 2011, male adult literacy was actually at 82%, but female literacy was a mere 65%.
Given the topic of this post, I’m going to do something I’ve never done before. I’m going to ask for help….but not for me. Below are some links for Pratham, an NGO established in part by UNICEF that is working to improve literacy in India. Donate if you can, share the links if you can’t. Please help.