That’s how people at Shikshantar refer to what people generally call “dropping out”.

“Today, those who have the good sense to choose to leave the dominant system of education are labeled by it as ‘drop-outs’. This negative term connotes failing and incompetence, and is applied to those who don’t fit in the competitive schooling or college system. We view the decision to walk out (or rise out) of formal educational structures, as a thoughtful and positive choice. Far from signifying incompetence, walking out demonstrates intelligence, creativity and courage of conviction.

It also exposes education for what it is: a deep form of violence against peoples’ minds, bodies and spirits, which cuts them off from nature, their family, communities, culture, work, expression, and themselves. Furthermore, walking out represents a strong form of dissent against the global political economy. It is a powerful indication of reclaiming control over one’s own learning, and therefore, over one’s own life. It is an important step in de-institutionalizing one’s life and moving towards swaraj.”

Our lives are so rigid and institutionalized. Right from age 3 or 4 we are sent to school and “educated” for almost two decades. Then when we are grown, we have to find a job in an organization/industry and build a career. Why do we need these inhuman mega structures- social, political and economic- to depend on?

Why do we need multinational corporations to employ us? Why do we need agribusinesses and retail chains to feed us? Why do we need a degree to certify our worth? Why do we need governments to “take care” of us? Why do we need to depend so much on so many institutions? If I believe that my life so far has not been a complete waste, and that I have developed a few useful skills over the years, then why should I have to sell my time to make a livelihood? Can I not make a livelihood(not necessarily a career) doing the things that I care passionately about?

It’s a question that has been haunting me for a while. In fact, I’m an aspirant of walking out and walking on. Exactly how and when I do not know. But I believe that I will be able to find the way when the right time comes. My biggest dream is to get rid of all those irrelevant stuff that needlessly sophisticate our lives and reclaim all the missing things that really make Life meaningful.

“Relying on your strengths and talents, instead of your degrees, makes you a walkout.”