National Education by Gandhi: A Complete Study

Mahatma Gandhi was a great saint. He was a fantastic statesman and a great thinker. It is he who led India to independence.This great man was a top class writer of English prose. He wrote many essays and articles. All his essays are beneficial and informative. National Education is one of them. It appeared in Young India, a weekly, on 1 September, 1921. Here Gandhi has analysed the defects in our education system. He has mentioned the possible reforms too.

TEXT
National Education - M.K. Gandhi
(Published in Young India, 01/09/1921)

So many strange things have been said about my views on national education, that it would perhaps not be out of place to formulate them before the public. In my opinion the existing system of education is defective, apart from its association with an utterly unjust Government, in three most important matters:

(1) It is based upon foreign culture to the almost entire exclusion of indigenous culture.
(2) It ignores the culture of the heart and the hand, and confines itself simply to the head.
(3) Real education is impossible through a foreign medium.

Let us examine the three defects. Almost from the commencement, the text-books deal, not with things the boys and the girls have always to deal with in their homes, but things to which they are perfect strangers. It is not through the text-books, that a lad learns what is right and what is wrong in the home life. He is never taught to have any pride in his surroundings. The higher he goes, the farther he is removed from his home, so that at the end of his education he becomes estranged from his surroundings. He feels no poetry about the home life. The village scenes are all a sealed book to him. His own civilization is presented to him as imbecile, barbarous, superstitious and useless for all practical purposes. His education is calculated to wean him from his traditional culture. And if the mass of educated youths are not entirely denationalized, it is because the ancient culture is too deeply embedded in them to be altogether uprooted even by an education adverse to its growth. If I had my way, I would certainly destroy the majority of the present text-books and cause to be written text-books which have a bearing on and correspondence with the home life, so that a boy as he learns may react upon his immediate surroundings.

Secondly, whatever may be true of other countries, in India at any rate where more than eighty percent of the population is agricultural and another ten percent industrial, it is a crime to make education merely literary and to unfit boys and girls for manual work in after-life. Indeed I hold that, as the larger part of our time is devoted to labour for earning our bread, our children must from their infancy be taught the dignity of such labour. Our children should not be so taught as to despise labour. There is no reason, why a peasant’s son after having gone to a school, should become useless, as he does become, as agricultural labourer. It is a sad thing that our school boys look upon manual labour with disfavor, if not contempt. Moreover, in India, if we expect, as we must every boy and girl of school-going age to attend public schools, we have not the means to finance education in accordance with the existing style, nor are millions of parents able to pay the fees that are at present imposed.

Education to be universal must, therefore, be free. I fancy that even under an ideal system of government, we shall not be able to devote two thousand million rupees which we should require for finding education for all the children of school-going age. It follows, therefore, that our children must be made to pay in labour partly or wholly for all the education they receive. Such universal labour to be profitable can only be (to my thinking) hand-spinning and hand-weaving. But for the purposes of my proposition, it is immaterial whether we have spinning or any other form of labour, so long as it can be turned to account. Only, it will be found upon examination, that on a practical, profitable and extensive scale, there is no occupation other than the processes connected with cloth-production which can be introduced in our schools throughout India. The introduction of manual training will serve a double purpose in a poor country like ours. It will pay for the education of our children and teach them an occupation on which they can fall back in after-life, if they choose, for earning a living. Such a system must make our children self-reliant. Nothing will demoralise the nation so much as that we should learn to despise labour.

One word only as to the education of the heart. I do not believe, that this can be imparted through books. It can only be done through the living touch of the teacher. And, who are the teachers in the primary and even secondary schools? Are they men and women of faith and character? Have they themselves received the training of the heart? Are they ever expected to take care of the permanent element in the boys and girls placed under their charge? Is not the method of engaging teachers for lower schools an effective bar against character? Do the teachers get even a living wage? And we know that the teachers of primary schools are not selected for their patriotism. They only come who cannot find any other employment.

Finally, the medium of instruction. My views on this point are too well known to need restating. The foreign medium has caused brain-fag, put an undue strain upon the nerves of our children, made them crammers and imitators, unfitted them for original work and thought, and disabled them for filtrating their learning to the family or the masses. The foreign medium has made our children practically foreigners in their own land. It is the greatest tragedy of the existing system. The foreign medium has prevented the growth of our vernaculars. If I had the powers of a despot, I would to-day stop the tuition of our boys and girls through a foreign medium, and require all the teachers and professors on pain of dismissal to introduce the change forthwith. I would not wait for the preparation of text-books. They will follow the change. It is an evil that needs a summary remedy.

My uncompromising opposition to the foreign medium has resulted in an unwarranted charge being levelled against me of being hostile to foreign culture or the learning of the English language. No reader of Young India could have missed the statement often made by me in these pages, that I regard English as the language of international commerce and diplomacy, and therefore consider its knowledge on the part of some of us as essential. As it contains some of the richest treasures of thought and literature, I would certainly encourage its careful study among those who have linguistic talents and expect them to translate those treasures for the nation in its vernaculars. Nothing can be farther from my thought than that we should become exclusive or erect barriers. But I do respectfully contend that an appreciation of other cultures can fitly follow, never precede, an appreciation and assimilation of our own. It is my firm opinion that no culture has treasures so rich as ours has. We have not known it, we have been made even to deprecate its study and depreciate its value. We have almost ceased to live it. An academic grasp without practice behind it is like an embalmed corpse, perhaps lovely to look at but nothing to inspire or ennoble. My religion forbids me to belittle or disregard other cultures, as it insists under pain of civil suicide upon imbibing and living my own.
(An Anthology of English Literature by Madhya Pradesh Hindi Granth Academy से साभार)

I. About Mahatma Gandhi:

M.K. Gandhi is one of the greatest men of the world. He was a great saint, a fantastic statesman and a grave thinker. It is he who led India to independence. He is called Mahatma, Bapuji and Father of the Nation. Gandhi was born on October 2, 1869 at Porbandar in Gujarat. This great man was a top class writer of English prose. He wrote many essays and articles. All his essays are beneficial and informative. He was assassinated on 30 January, 1948 in the campus of Birla House, New Delhi. After his death he was cremated at Raj Ghat in Delhi.

II. Objective Questions:

1. When was Gandhi born?
a. 1867
b. 1868
c. 1869
d. 1870
Ans: c. 1869
2. Where was Gandhi born?
a. Porbandar
b. Champaran
c. Vardha
d. Rajgir
Ans: a. Porbandar
3. Gandhiji is popular as:
a. Guru.
b. Netaji
c. Iron Man
d. Mahatma
Ans: d. Mahatma 
4. Who called Gandhiji as Mahatma?
a. Nehru
b. Patel
c. Subhash
d. Tagore
Ans: d. Tagore
5. Who is known spiritual guru of M.K. Gandhi?
a. Raja Ram Mohan Roy
b. Tilak
c. Leo Tolstoy
d. Gorky
Ans: c. Leo Tolstoy
6. Who is known as the political guru of Gandhiji?
a  Gokhale
b. Tilak
c. Tagore
d. Leo Tolstoy
Ans: a  Gokhale
7. What is the name of Gandhi's father?
a. Ramdas Gandhi
b. Krishna Das Gandhi
c. Ravidas Gandhi
d. Karamchand Gandhi
Ans:d. Karamchand Gandhi
8. What is the name of Gandhi's mother?
a. Rambai
b. Shyambai
c. Putlibai
d. Hulsibai
Ans: c. Putlibai
9. The name of Gandhi's wife is:
a. Kasturba
b. Ramkumari
c. Lilavati
d. Padmini
Ans: a. Kasturba
10. When was Gandhi assassinated?
a. 1947
b. 1948
c. 1949
d. 1950
Ans: b. 1948
11. Where was Gandhi cremated?
a. Rajghat
b. Banaras Ghat
c. Buxur
d. Allahabad
Ans: a. Rajghat
12. National Education is an essay by:
a. Nehru
b. Indira
c. Gandhi
d. Subhash
Ans: c. Gandhi
13. National Education was published in:
a. Keshri
b. Young India
c. Aryavarta
d. Harijan
Ans: b. Young India
14. When was National Education published?
a. 1 September, 1919
b. 1 September, 1920
c. 1 September, 1921
d. 1 September, 1922
Ans: c. 1 September, 1921

III Short Type Question-Answer:

Q1. How is the existing education system in Gandhi's opinion?
Ans: In Gandhi's opinion the existing education system is defective.
Q2. How many defects of existing education system have been mentioned in this essay?
Ans: Three defects of existing education system have been mentioned in this essay.
Q3. What is the first defect of existing education system according to Gandhi?
Ans: According to Gandhi the first defect of existing education system is that it is based upon foreign culture.
Q4. What is the second defect of existing education system according to Gandhi?
Ans: According to Gandhi the second defect of existing education system is that it ignores the culture of the heart and the hand and confines itself simply to the head.
Q5.What is the opinion of Gandhi about foreign medium?
Ans: The opinion of Gandhi about foreign medium is that real education is impossible through a foreign medium. 
Q6. What is crime according to Gandhi?
Ans: To make education merely literary is a crime according to Gandhi.
Q7. What should be taught to our children?
Ans: The dignity of labour should be taught to our children.
 Q8. What is the greatest tragedy of the existing education system according to Gandhi?
Ans: The greatest tragedy of the existing education system according to Gandhi is the foreign medium which has made our children practically foreigners in their own land.
Q9. What according to Gandhi is the chief barrier in the way of the growth of our vernaculars?
Ans: According to Gandhi the foreign medium is the chief barrier in the way of the growth of our vernaculars.
Q10. What is firm opinion of Gandhi about our own culture?
Ans: The firm opinion of Gandhi about our own culture is that no culture has treasure so rich as ours has.

IV. Summary of National Education.

Mahatma Gandhi is a first rate writer of English prose. He has written many articles. National Education is one of them. It appeared in Young India, a weekly, on 1 September, 1921. Here Gandhi has suitably analysed the defects in our existing education system. He has mentioned the possible reforms too. According to Gandhi the existing education system in India is based upon foreign cultures. It ignores the culture of the heart and the hand and confines itself simply to the head. The foreign medium is the real culprit. According to Gandhi it has made our children practically foreigners in their own land. It has prevented the growth of our vernaculars. In this article Gandhi has advocated revolutionary change in the existing education system. According to him text books should be revised. The dignity of labour should be taught to our children. Education should be free.
Sandal S Anshu, Satna


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Syllabus of UG II Year (BA/BSc/BCom) - FC II ( English) - Session 2022-23 onwards

The Axe by R.K Narayan: A Summary

Syllabus of MA I Sem. English (Paper I- Poetry)- 2022-23