GANDHI ON EDUCATION(With Special Reference to Educational Reforms in India and Thailand) Dr.Sauvakon Junphongsri
GANDHI ON EDUCATION(With Special Reference to Educational Reforms Contentsin India and Thailand)Dr.Sauvakon Junphongsri Acknowledgements Part-I 1. Introduction What is Education : Meaning, Concept, Purpose 2. Mahatma Gandhi and Education : Opinion and Concept 3. Education in India : Problems; Relevance of make education worthy and conducive 4. Education in Thailand : Problems and Expectations 5. Conclusion : Gandhi’s Suggestions to Reform Education Part – II 6. Selected Writings 7. Glossary of Indian Terms 8. Bibliography 9. IndexPrinted at: Nitidhamma Press Thailand. Tel : 0-2449-2525, 08-13095215 Email: email@example.com
Chapter – One IntroductionWhat is Education : Meaning, Concept, Purpose Generally, when we ask people the meaning of educationmost of them may reply that – ‘a process of going to school,or a college, studying there, passing examinations, one afterthe other and finally obtaining a degree, which makes a man orwoman qualified for securing a job is education’. But, in fact,it is not a definition of education; it is not the meaning of it. Then what is education ? How can we define it ? To geta concrete answer of this question, it is indispensable to getacquainted with some of the definitions given for it by scholarsof repute time to time. According to an ancient Indian scholar : “Education makes one polite and politeness promotes worthiness.”1 Sri Aurobindo, a contemporary thinker of India pointedout : “In education, imparted in schools, colleges and universities, include grading to national mind, soul and character…”.2 Likewise, Vivekananda, a great Hindu reformist andcontemporary scholar comes to conclusion : “We want thateducation by which character is formed, strength of mind is
6 ƒ GANDHI ON EDUCATION Dr.Sauvakon Junphongsri ƒ 7increased, intellect is expanded and by which one can stand on Being a life-long process, i.e. started from pregnancy,one’s feet. Education is manifestation of perfection….”3 where a foetus start to learn through its mother’s education leads a human being to the ultimate stage of salvation. In Another thinker of modern age, J.Krishnamurthi says:“Education is not merely to give you knowledge, but also the Mahabharata – a well-known Hindu scripture, there isgive you the capacity to look at the world objectively…the an episode of Abhimanyu, who started learning even in hisfunction of education is to assist you to face the world in a mother’s womb. Another story pertaining to Shukdeva, in thetotally different ands intelligent way.”4 Puranas, tells us how he stayed twelve years in his mother’s womb to learn and after his birth he was more intelligent Amartya Sen, too, writes : and knowledgeable even than his father Vyasa. In Vedic “Education is one of the most fundamental element philosophy, it is called education by Samskara. It is said that to build the nation to create more equitable society during pregnancy period, the immature baby gets through the and to improve the over all quality of life.”5 inner or outer environment of his mother; and through it his personality and psychology are developed to a great extent. Thus, in the light of views expressed by some well knownscholars we arrived at the conclusion that education is a process, Now, we can definitely say that formal education, iswhich makes a man capable to his all-round development and not much important for a baby in comparison with his informala real social being. Whether it si formal or informal, the aim education by his first school, i.e. family where mother is the firstand objective of education is to make the man developed – teacher. But as it a process of motivation or a life-long process,physicaly, mentally; also to build his personality as a practical, family, friends, neighbors, society and other human beings ofopen minded and an independent human being. Moreover, to different institutions, including schools, colleges etc. contributemake a man self dependent, and soun-morally and ethically. to it make a man worthy and capable through a proper execrciseAnd that’s why the Hindu Sanatana Dharma emphasizes equally and training of bodily organs to walk on the pathway of progresson moral and ethical education calls upon : “No education is and to reach the end, that is the aim, objective and real meaningcomplete without moral and ethical education.”6 of education. Thus, education is an important pillar of a country and In a true education, it may be repeated, the developmentits system on the one hand, and an essential condition of real of the mind and body, both, is essential; it goes hand in handdevelopment of an individual, society and the nation on the with a corresponding awakening of the soul, which cannot beother. Side-by-side it is on of the fine necessities to service and possible only studying in a school, college and university, butthe only means to make a man worthy. in the presence of proper coordination and harmony among various facilities mentioned above. A country cannot prosper and progress unless its citizensare abysmally backward in education.
8 ƒ GANDHI ON EDUCATIONReferences :1. Global Peace – An International Journal of Philosophy, Chapter – Two Peace, Culture and Civilization….Vol.1, No.1, September, Mahatama Gandhi and Education 2001.2. Global Peace, Vol. 5, No.4, June, 2006.3. Ibid. Opinion and Concept4. Ibid. Mahatama Gandhi, too, is of the opinion that education5. Ibid. is a life-long process; it is for the total development and all-round growth of a man from beginning till end. In this6. Ibid. regard he also said :7. The other four are : food, clothing, shelter and medicine. “Education means an all-round drawing out of the best of in child and man-body, mind and spirit.”1 Although Mahatma Gandhi has not written any particular book on education, and he is no considered and educationist in the academic world, but his views published in diferent journals like Young India, Harijan, Navajivan and Harijan Sewak, time-to-time on various aspects related to education, definitely help us to understand his concept of education. In this connection scholar like Dr.Ravindra Kumar is right when he says : “Gandhiji expressed his views on education, as a common man, which are of utmost importance. They provide us a guideline to proceed towards value education.”2 And significance of Mahatma Gandhi’s views on education multiplies in the light of the fact that he always discusses the matter concerned as an adaptable solution to the problem, no matter if the problem relates to Indian context.
10 ƒ GANDHI ON EDUCATION Dr.Sauvakon Junphongsri ƒ 11 As per the surface knowledge of Gandhian approach on that wasting time is a sin, he can teach his student to utilizesubject, I may divide the views of Mahatma Gandhi on education the maximum time and can make aware his duties and respon-in sub-parts as follows – sibilities towards society and nation. 1. Moral Education About Basic or Fundamental Education, Mahatma 2. Value Education Gandhi says, “Basic education is the education of life and for the 3. Basic/Fundamental Education sake of life. Whatever satisfies our basic needs is the medium 4. Physical Education of our scheme of education.” Gandhi’s basic education leads 5. Mental Education to self-dependency through which the goal of ‘Sarvodaya’ – 6. Emotional Education welfare of all can be achieved. 7. National Education According to Gandhiji, “ All the various social and class 8. Co-Education divisions are only artificial”.3 Our society is basically divided 9. True Education into two classes – One – who works with their hands, another 10. Self Defendant / Self Supporting Education – who works with their brains. Gandhiji insisted on the equal 11. Self-employed Education value of both. According to him, “One should not be regarded 12. Asharam Education as more important than the other”.4 In fact physical labor is as 13. Technical Education important as intellectual labor. It’s Gandhi’s theory that man 14. Religious / Spiritual Education has some natural and inherent qualities since childhood. These 15. Sex Education qualities must be developed with the help of education to achieve In Moral Education, Mahatma Gandhi says that the self-dependency.value of education is based on moral and ethical knowledge. He wanted that Physical Education must be encouragedWithout these two, on education system can be termed as by the society because healthy mind and soul live in a healthygood because morality and ethics makes the student healthy body. Physical education is important for all because a healthyin mental and physical terms by making him controlled and of person can think positive and can do his mental work better.good character. Except that India is an agriculture and labor based society. In Value Education, Mahatma Gandhi emphasizes Here healthy body is required. According to their physic, somethat nobody can learn and can be taught value by books or in physical labor must be essential. Physical labor increase theinstitutions. Values can develop by the ideal of their own char- stamina of a person.acter. For example, an ideal teacher should be free from any About Mental Education, Gandhi said, “Education isaddiction, he should be simple, polite, open minded, helpful, an unending exercise till death. Only it can act as a means of asimple liver and high thinker etc. when a teacher remembers successful life. It can help to mold and shape human body, mind
12 ƒ GANDHI ON EDUCATION Dr.Sauvakon Junphongsri ƒ 13and character in such a manner that they may act as a means the supervision of an educationist. The special aptitude of eachto achieve joys and efficiency.”5 Education must be helpful to child should be recognized in determining the kind of work heopen the door of mind, to prepare a human being to do work or she should do. He further said that mine to sixteen constituteswith joy and maintain their efficiency. Education must develop the second that boys and girls should have co-education duringthe broad mindedness, ideal and good characteristics, dignity the second stage also as far as possible.of labor and job-satisfaction. True Education means a real knowledge of their society, In Emotional Education, Gandhi desired to produce a circumstances and problems with solutions. Merely writing,balanced character in society so he emphasized to accept simple reading or alphabetic knowledge does not amount to any gainliving and high thinking and he himself did wear very simple from education. Also getting education in real sense means toclothes. By it, he wanted to indicate that the flow of emotions sharpen intellect to get rid of day-to-day problems and to bringcould enrich the society or bring down the society. about complete development of personality on the basis of equality. Gandhi said, “Education should not bound with Gandhi has said that every student must have national degrees or heavy bags. Educationist should acquire a generalfeeling. This national feeling can develop by National Education knowledge of world history and geography, botany, astronomy,which also means the education should be same in the whole arithmetic, geometry and algebra. Each child should be taughtnation. India is a country based on agriculture; it has different to sew and to cook. He wants that every student should becastes religions, languages and a composite culture. After getting self-dependant, healthy, wealthy, aware about their socio-true education, he desires…..to develop the country. He was of cultural aspects, self-reliant and educate at mental level.the opinion. “If we will leave our nation for better salary and Nothing should be taught to a child by force. A student shouldfor better bread and butter than how can we prove ourselves to learn to respect their elders and love to youngers. By truebe real Indians”. So, to become a real Indian, a student should education we can judge the capability of a student and a manknow about his national language, qualities and specialities. or woman for society, family and also for occupation.He should try to remove different types of problems. Truth, In Self Dependent or Self Supporting Education, Gandhi,Non-violence, natural environment, healthy feelings, broth- without discriminating between boy or girl, emphasized uponerhoodness, humanity, feeling of justice, moral judgment etc. learning of wool-spinning, weaving, sewing, cooking, makingshould be the ornament of a student. Gandhi said that man handicrafts or any other work for their betterment in socio-should be able to rule over himself to control his senses and economic field. If our education can’t provide us a job, clearhis thoughts. views and concepts about past, present and future, a knowledge About Co-Education, he says, that young boys and for making our family, society and nation……., than what is thegirls should have co-education till they are eight years of age. use of our education system? So Gandhi called upon studentsTheir education should mainly consist manual training under to proceed towards self employment according to Indian requirements.
14 ƒ GANDHI ON EDUCATION Dr.Sauvakon Junphongsri ƒ 15 Talking of ‘Self-employed Education’, Gandhi brought Mahatma Gandhi advocated the introduction ofout that Indian atmosphere was not ready to provide jobs to Religious Education. He says, “By the religious education,everyone, so it is the duty of educators to prepare students for a human can learn the value of tolerance, endurance andswarojgar. Swarojgar, according to Gandhi is the work done veneration.” He writes in ‘Young India’ of Dec.6th, 1923, “ Aby own hands by limited equipments and at one’s own place. curriculum of religious instructions should include a study ofThrough sarojgar, every Indian will be able to earn bread & the tenets of faiths other than one’s own. For this purpose thebutter for himself and contribute to the national income. For students should be trained to cultivate the habit of understand-this, his concept to promote “khadi” and to make available the ing and appreciating the doctrine of various great religions ofbest quality of garments in cheap rates by manufacturers is the world in a spirit of reverence and broad-minded tolerance”.still…………….. He wants that Hindu children should, now, be taught Samskrit In his concept of Aashram Education, Gandhi calls along with Arabic and Muslim children Arabic with Samskrit.upon co-education, manual training, special work as students Spiritual Education is meant to prevent religious feeling but notaptitude, explanation of every process, improvement of general bound in religious blindness.knowledge, drawing simple geometrical figures in starting, Spiritual Education, I understand, indicates spiritualreading, writing and games as essential parts of education; growth. Spiritual Growth as it is said, ‘Sa Vidhya ya Vimuktaye’,he…………….of teaching national language followed by can be gained only through morality and ethics. Gandhi was amother tongue, knowledge of their religions, customs, faiths religious person. According to him, people must not be dividedetc. Character building is easily possible in Aashram education in religious circles. By the introduction of spiritual educationand it is most essential part of his views. he meant to achieve proximity to almighty. Spiritual education is the source of moral up liftment of man. Therefore, spiritual About Technical Education, Gandhi has absolutelyclear thoughts. He wants the students to prepare themselves for education may be imparted in terms of moral education. Hetechnical knowledge or in his own terms ‘Buniyadi Shiksha’, emphasized on Satya, Ahimsa and Astey as the means of spiritual education. This education leads the man towardsright from the days of his primary level of education. This salvation and undisturbed peace for soul.technical or vocational education will help to get economicsatisfaction. In this education, Gandhi urges the school adminis- Through Sex Education, Gandhi wanted such type oftration to teach the students – some works related to handicrafts, education, which can be imparted in schools, colleges andlike sewing, stitching, cooking, manufacturing, hygiene and even in Aashrams with the real meaning of sex. He was of thesanitation, also he suggest to make the manners proper to keep opinion that violence and sex are two different things. He wasa man happy, healthy and wealthy. He says that if we will do not interested of student education in Public schools.our work by ourselves, we will not depend on others and willnot waste money in all these nonsenses.
16 ƒ GANDHI ON EDUCATIONReferences :1. Harijan, July 7, 1937. In this context he further wrote, CHAPTER – THREE “Literacy is not the end of education nor even the beginning. EDUCATION IN INDIA It is only one of the means whereby man and woman can be educated. Literacy in itself is no education. I would therefore begin the child’s education by teaching it a useful handicraft and enabling it to produce from the moment it begin its Problems; Relevance of Gandhian Approach to Make training. I hold that the highest development of the mind and Education Worthy and Conducive the soul is possible under such a system of education. Only Since ancient times, India took a lead as far as the every handicraft has to be taught not merely mechanically question of education is concerned countless thinkers, schol- as is done today but scientifically, i.e. the child should know ars and educationist, time-to-time gave dimensions one after the way and the wherefore of every process.” the other to it. “Sa Vidya ya Vimuktaye”1 has been nucleus in2. Kumar, Ravindra Dr., ‘Gandhi on Value Education’, Gandhi thoughts pertaining to education in India, which essentially Marg, Gandhi Peace Foundation, New Delhi, Vol.25, No.4, contains the message of self-reliance to make a man developed pages 485-7, January-March, 2004. in all walks of life.3. India of My Dreams. But under alien rule, especially during British India,4. Ibid. the education as imparted to Indians was somewhat filtered education, foundation of which was laid by Macauly.5. Kumar, Ravindra, Essays on Gandhism and Peace, Krishna, Meerut, India, 1999, page 2. Macauly, as pointed out, “Introduced education to achieve two objectives; one to prepare a class of bureaucrats from among Indians who had the appearance of the natives, but the mind and thinking of the British ruler and could help to rule over the country on behalf of the British Empire; and the other to prepare a class of ‘babus’ to work in offices.”2 He further mentions, “Macauly had little regard for Indian culture and literature present or past…” and “The medium of instruction was English, the syllabuses loaded with English language, literature, history, culture and the information incompatible with Indian thought and culture.”3
18 ƒ GANDHI ON EDUCATION Dr.Sauvakon Junphongsri ƒ 19 Thus, the education did not reach the masses and most IIof the people reminded illiterate. At present, Indian education system is interested in During national liberation movement of India, Gandhi educating every Indian and wants to give degree to them for theirstarted work, to reform education according to circumstances future. The population of India cross the figure of one hundredprevailing in the country and time, as one of his programs core. Educationists are busy to perform their duties and studentsrelating to national renaissance and called for two kind of are also busy to perform their duties, but the ratio of educatededucation : employed people is decreasing. What is the reason behind 1. Moral and Ethical Education; and this ? 2. Technical or Buniyadi Education. For centuries, Indian education system had been based Moral and ethical education is the first and most on traditions and culture; at present it is running behind foreignimportant point on which Mahatma Gandhi tried to base it. He culture. In this situation, it is neither fully Indian nor completelybelieved that any education that lacks morality and ethics cannot foreigner; it is semi-Indian. Play schools, primary schoolsbe termed as true education. He called upon teachers, parents, and public schools governed on old British pattern are therestudents and those in the administration to ensure that morality degrees for graduation, post-graduation, Ph.D., Engineering,and ethics became an essential part of education right from the Medical etc. are being given by universities. But there is lack ofbeginning, i.e. primary level.4 morality, and self-discipline; and in such a terrible system, there is no hope, no satisfaction is expected. The second important point which Mahatma Gandhisuggested was technical or buniyadi education to make Although in India education is imparted on the name ofeducation worthy and valuable. The main purpose of Mahatma jobs, but nobody is interested to understand the basic themes,Gandhi’s suggestion pertaining to it was to make students, nobody is interested in deep study and nobody is interested tomale and female both, self-reliant in the economic field. His do miracle in education life. Everyone want degrees, certificates,views of buniyadi or technical education are well-working grading, prize and awards, but large number of people are notfor a country like India because his concept is fully for job interested in their traditional work, as agriculture, Kuteer Udyogoriented education. They are very important and worth giving and some other creative work.a thought and to a great extent acceptable to make education I can express my views about Indian Education in twomeaningful. categories – Positive & Negative. In the positive way education is a medium of getting job in India and other’s country; it is a medium of showing themselves as high profile persons; a medium of showing themselves educated and to be ready of getting and waiting for
20 ƒ GANDHI ON EDUCATIONhigh standard. But in fact is achievement started for some shortterm and long term certificate or diploma courses, which are CHAPTER – FOURready to arrange a job for someone. EDUCATION IN THAILAND In the negative aspect, I want to say that due to corrup-tion, misunderstandings, unemploymacy, misuse of techniqueand physical strength, misguiding, lack of job satisfaction,showmanship and slogan based political system education is Problems and Expectationsbringing negative results. To follow corrupt leaders, money Thailand, previously know as Siam, is a country ofmakers, disputed characters and artificial high profile persons, rich and old culture and civilization. Like India, Siam hadand not showers interest in good characteristics is dorgerms. the beginning of its civilization and culture since pre-historic Parents and students are suffering with high expectations. era; both, morality and ethics have been its part, and peopleThey forget that only one person can lead. And in my views, education based on them was especially considered sacred inthe system and infrastructure of public and convent schools are Siam’s culture.not co-relating with our Indian traditional and old culture as per Since ancient past, it has been the characteristic of peoplethe expectation of Mahatma Gandhi. Everyone is seeking for education in Siam that it must be value-based on the one hand,heavy salary jobs and status. How can the pot of everyone with and it should make people self-reliant on the other.job, money and status be filled? To base education on values, there have been twelve Anyway, feeling of satisfaction with true education chief principle as guide-lines, including panca-sila, Majj-without government job and to become ready to self-reliant is himapatpada, Cakkavatti-vatta or Cakkavatti-cariya andquite possible and Indian traditions themselves and Gandhiji Raja-samgahavattu. These principles are, even today, appliedcan lead through his worthy views in the matter. in day-to-day practices of all-general and particular. Alongwith this , to lead a life of right way, i.e. to pro-References : ceed on the way of all-around development, polity, society and1. Meaning thereby : Education is that which ultimately takes economy were connected with education process, so that each to the door of salvation. and everyone could cone within its scope. This can be seen from pages of history of the country pertaining to the time of2. Kumar, Ravindra, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel : The Maker of beginning of Buddhism or even before it. i.e. during the time United India, Gyan Publishing House, New Delhi, India, of Brahamanism. As such, the ideal of education has been very 2005, page 178. capable in ancient Thailand with the aim to prepare humans for3. Ibid. completeness of life; and in order to attain this goal the method
22 ƒ GANDHI ON EDUCATION Dr.Sauvakon Junphongsri ƒ 23was based upon simple living and high thinking of people of encourage promotion of high technology in Southeast Asia, butthis agricultural country. due to lack of value education, especially morality and ethics, we are facing numerous problems on the one hand; and due to lack of planned job-oriented education system, we are not II becoming able to make each and every one self-dependent in Like other nations of South and Southeast Asia, the country on the other. Also we are not able to maintain anespecially India, Thailand, too, saw ups and dawns in all walks expected standard of education.of life, including education. And in comparison to other nations, In these circumstances, the call of Mahatma Gandhi toespecially India and China, Thailand, during the 20th century, adopt a method of buniyadi/basic education, ‘in which educationcould not proceed on the way, which was necessary according is not given for the sake of knowledge only, but to prepareto changed circumstances and the demand of time. students for self-reliance and to lead a life with work’, is If we peruse the matter relating to education in Thailand important and worth giving a thought even in a country likein 20 century, we see the first formal comprehensive education th Thailand.plan introduce in 1932, especially for primary and secondary In Thailand, too, there is an absolute necessity ofeducation.2 adopting an employment-oriented education system; alongwith We find another plan in 1936 providing five levels of this, there is a necessity to make it value-based. In this connec-study – from pre-primary to higher education.3 Simultaneously, tion Mahatma Gandhi’s opinion ‘that education system can bein 1960, 1977 and 1983, more comprehensive and refined effective only when it is disposed towards the circumstances andplan to reform education system in Thailand were introduced. space’ cannot be denied. That’s why the guidelines suggestedBut, still a large portion of people is far from that education, by him are equally relevant for Thailand.which is needed. With keeping pace in the 21st century, there are more References :than seventy million people are there in Thailand, but literacyis still not cent percent; in the country nine year schooling 1. Twelve chief principles include : The Five Precepts(Panca-is compulsory, but education is not bringing results of sila); The Middle way(majjhimapatipada); Four Principlesexpectation; more than 12,000,000 students are enrolled in of the great person or holy abidings(Brahma-vihara 4); Fourprimary and secondary schools, but the number of unemployed Virtues for a good household life (4 Garavasa-dhamma); Four Principles of unity in society or virtues making foris considerable. group integration and leadership(Samgahavatthu 4); Thirty We, in Thailand, are engaged in computer, garments, eight principles for the prosperous life(Momkol 38); Royalintegrated circuits, gems and jewelry industries; we try to virtues or virtues of a ruler(Dasabidh-rajadhmma); Twelve
24 ƒ GANDHI ON EDUCATION Principles of the emperor or duties of a universal king or a great ruler(Cakkavatti-vatta or Cakkavati-cariya); CHAPTER – FIVE Royal acts of doing favours or virtues making for national CONCLUSION integration(Raja-samgahavatthu); The Law of action or deed(Kamma); The Three Characteristics(Tilakkhana); and The Threefold Training(Tisikkha).2. This plan highlights primary education for four years and Gandhi’s Suggestions to Reform Education in India secondary education of eight years. and Thailand3. Comprising five levels of education. No doubt, that we want change in education and education system. Everywhere there is competition for the4. Kumar, Ravindra, Mahatma Gandhi in the Beginning of best. In this regard Gandhiji’s fundamental views on education 21st century, Gyan Publishing House, New Delhi, India, are relevant to a great extent even today. We should try to start page 325. satisfactory and job oriented education from primary level as Gandhiji emphasized through ‘Swarojgar’ scheme. We should make education for everyone but we should screen their qualities, their state, their circumstances and their necessities. In the beginning of 21st century, we should open our views and mind for everyone’s betterment. Education system should not try to make the good profession to get money only. Education should be helpful to solve the problems of each and everyone in society. Also it should not make generation gaps. Education should try to fill gap between two and many generations. Only a well directed education, equipped with feasible method according to the need and demand of time can be helpful towards solving the problems and to lead human beings towards all round development of personality. Gandhiji, a great philosopher, a great Mahatma, a great psychologist and a great educationist guided not only to fight for freedom and justice, he showed an adaptable way to fight with illiteracy, superstitions, untouchablitiy, favourism, corruption
26 ƒ GANDHI ON EDUCATIONetc. He is really a Mahatma, a Loknayak, a Loknirmata and aYugpurusha and a guide for all human beings whether they are PART – IIin India or in Thailand. He was a practical man and his viewsregarding buniyadi education and most important to make SECECTED WRITINGsociety balanced, happy, satisfied, cultured and morallystrong. Although Gandhiji has laid more emphasis on impart-ing of education according to ancient culture, yet it is of a great 1. TO THE STUDENTS OF INDIA1significance in the modern times. The standards of education “I approach you at the juncture for a heart to heartfixed by him are fully within the scope to instruct the world talk with you. You will agree with me that we have reached acommunity, conditions prevailing in the country concerned and stage in our national struggle when you can no longer remainthey are useful for the future generations as well. passive spectators, or consider the interest in your books as of greater importance than the interest of the national struggle. It is true that the response that your community has given to the Conclusion call of non-co-operation is more extensive than the response Mahatma Gandhiji was a great man his views on given by other sections of our countrymen who feed and fatteneducation are relevant and if they are considered in present the present system of bureaucratic Government in India andcircumstance of countries like India and Thailand, they can participate though indirectly in all its unrighteous and immoralprove to be very helpful to give a dimension to education acts. For they strengthen it by their own strength and add lifesyllabus. So, it’s the demand of time that we try to reform our to it by contributing the best in them for its maintenance. Theeducation techniques, methods and system having firm belief struggle of non-co-operation for the past eighteen months hasin mind that Gandhiji can never be old and his views also can abundantly illustrated this proposition. Had they not beennever be out of time. helped by our own countrymen, this Government would have long ago vanished from India and Swaraj would have been by now an established fact even without any recourses to civil disobedience. Our duty is to wean these countrymen of ours from their loyalty and adherence to a system of Government which is guilty of such strocious crimes as the Punjab and of such grievous wrongs as the Khilafat. You represent the flower of India, her glory, her hope and the builders of her future destiny. You have, therefore, always a special duty towards here.
28 ƒ GANDHI ON EDUCATION Dr.Sauvakon Junphongsri ƒ 29I appeal, therefore, in all humility to those of you who have construction on our part of a system which can take charge of allnot yet thought fit to serve their connection with Government the functions of Government. The final stroke of the offensiveInstitutions to reconsider your position as to whether you can was to have been delivered at Bardoli, had not Chauri Chauraany longer lend yourselves to be ranged on the Government intervened. But God willed it otherwise. He in his mercy hasside in this non-violent war of simple, inalienable human right shown our weakness, how we lack in the spirit of non-violence,against organized might and brute strength. how the constructive sid of our activity, our organization, is “There is some misconception among some of your rank behind the desired standard. This is the key to the Bardolithat having suspended mass civil disobedience at Bardoli on resolution. It does not mean the cessation of hostility. It meansaccount of the crime of Chauri Chaura and finally on account only the consolidation of ground already gained by us, in theof the absence of that spirit of non-violence in the country meantime allowing the Government to take the offensive whichwhich is as if the breath of nostril of the present movement, the being conducted in favour of unrighteousness and wrong wouldCongress has abandoned the whole policy of non-co-operation. expose that wrong and unrighteousness to the eyes of humanityI want to explain to you that nothing of the sort has happened. in all its viciousness and gross intensity, so that the moment ofOne student friend from Dehra Dun actually wrote to us his their triumph may really be the moment of their greatest defeat.difficulty that although the Congress had wanted him back to “And so has it been in reality. The country can thereforehis school he feared that the Government or Government aided rejoice over Mr.Gandhi’s arrest. But at the same time it shouldschool or college authorities would refuse to admit him for his remind us of our duty in a special measure. What are you goingparticipation in the national movement by joining the boycott, to do? The Congress being weded to the constructive programmeand in his perplexity he wanted Mr.Gandhi’s help to be admit- may not issue any more appeal to you. Nevertheless, you shouldted to the Benaras Hindu University through his influence over not think that you have no duty in the matter. I appeal to yourPandit Malaviaji. This shows how the Bardoli resolutions have reason and to your sentiment to think anew your position.been misunderstood by some of our countrymen. There are two We want able and conscientious workers in every part of thesides to our activities- offensive and defensive. In the offensive country to carry out the constructive programme, which is :campaign we wanted to lop off all the limbs of this Govern- “1. To enlisht one crore members of the Indian Nationalment by leading direct assault on them. We were progressing Congress.magnificently from day to day. We considerably weakenedthe Government’s tight hold on the country. We damaged their “2. To popularize the spinning wheel and manufactureprestige at good deal. The awe and the terror of the ‘British khaddar.Lion’ was vanishing with great rapidity. The complete absence “3. To organize national schools.of that terror means the attainment of freedom. But that isits negative aspect. The positive aspect is the simultaneous “4. To organize the depressed classes to better life.
30 ƒ GANDHI ON EDUCATION Dr.Sauvakon Junphongsri ƒ 31 “5. To carry on the temperance campaign by house to for it, i.e. all Government control. But so long as we do nothouse visits. co-operate with our ‘untouchable’ brethren, so long as there is “6. To organize village and town panchayats. no heart-unity between men of different faiths, so long as we do not co-oerate with the millions of our countrymen by according “7. To promote unity among all classes and races by to the spinning whel and Khaddar the sacred place they desrve,social service irrespective of any consideration of class or race. the negative prefix is entirely nugatory. That non-cooperation “8. To continue the Tilak Memorial Swaraj Fund. will not be based on Ahimsa, but himsa i.e. hatred. A negative injunction without a positive obligation is like body without soul, “You must feel that in Mr.Gandhi’s absence, the worthy to be consigned to the flames. There are 7,000 railwayresponsibility of each one of us has grown increasingly stations for the 700,000villages of India. We do not even claimgreater. He has left the programme before the country. It is for to know these 7,000 villages. We know only through history thethe country to carry it out and win its way towards Swaraj.” condition of villages not within easy reach of railway stations. The only loving tie of service that can bind the villages to us is the spinning wheel. Those who have not yet understood this2. Message to the students2 basic truth are in this institution to no purpose. The education “Please do not think that I am striking a melancholy note. is not ‘national’ that takes no count of the starving millions ofWe are not going back, our country is not going back. We have India and that devises no means for their relief. Governmentgone five years nearer Swaraj and there can be no doubt about contact with the village ends with the collection of revenue.it. If some one say that it was very nearly achieved in 1921 Our contact with them begins with their service through theand today it is far away, no one know how far, do not believe spinning wheel, but it does not end there. The spinning wheelit. Prayerful well-meaning effort never goes in vain, and man’s is the centre of that service. If you spend your next vacation insuccess lies only in such and effort. The result is in his hands. some far-off village in the interior you will see the truth of my “Strength of numbers is the delight of the timid. The remark. You will find the people cheerless and fear-stricken. Youvaliant of spirit glory in fighting alone. And you are all here will find houses in rains. You will look in vain for any sanitaryto cultivate that valour of the spirit. Be you one or many, this or hygienic conditions. You will find the cattle in a miserablevalur is the only true valour, all else is false. And the valour of way, and yet you will see idleness stalking there. The peoplethe spirit canot be achieved without sacrifice, determination, will tell you of the spinning wheel having been in their homesfaith and humility. long ago, but today they will entertain no talk of it or of any other cottage industry. They have no hope left in them. They “We have built our Vidyalaya on the foundation of live, for they cannot die at will. They will spin only if you spin.self-purification. Non-violent Non-co-operation is one aspect of Even if a hundred out of a population of 300 in a village spin,it. The ‘non’ means renunciation of violence and all that stands you assure them of an additional income of Rs.1,800 a year.
32 ƒ GANDHI ON EDUCATION Dr.Sauvakon Junphongsri ƒ 33You can lay the foundation of solid reform on this income in They are all ex-students of the Vidyalaya and well may we takeevery village. It is easy I know to say this, but difficult to do. a pardonable pride in the fact. Let their industrious scholarshipFaith can make it easy. ‘I am alone, how can I reach seven be a source of honour to us. May God bless you with long lifehundred thousand villages?’ – This is the argument that pride for the selfless service of the country.”whispers to us. Start with the faith that if you fix yourself up inone single village and succeed, the rest will follow. Progress isthen assured. The Vidyalaya wants to make you workers of that 3. Students’ Duty3type. If it is a cheerless job, the Vidyalaya is indeed cheerless “Man can make a trough, can he lead unwilling horsesand fit to be deserted. to it? I sympathize with these splendid young men but I am “You will see that we open this term with a few changes unable to blame myself for their drifting. If they obeyed may call,in our staff. Acharya Gidwani whose sacrifice rendered the what is there to prevent them doing so now? I am speaking withopening of this College possible, and who won the affection of no uncertain voice, to all who will listen, to take up the gospelstudents, has at my instance accepted the office of Principal- of the Charkha. But the fact is that in 1920 they listened not toship of Prem Maha Vidyalaya. Brindaban. I know that students me(and that very properly) but to the Congress. What is perhapswere agitated over this. I congratulate them on their devotion more accurate, they listened to the inner voice. The Congressto their principal. I give you today the consolation that I gave call was an echo of their own longings. They were ready forthe students that saw me the other day. We have to put up with the negative part. The call of the Charkha which is the positivethese partings. We can but treasure the good things of our part of the congress programme, for let it be remembered thatloved ones and follow them. Rest assured that we have done it is still the Congress call, seems to make no appeal to them.everything in the interests of the College. Fortunately we have If so, there is still another much needed work which is alsoSjt.Nrisinhaprasad to serve us as Vice-Chancellor. He has lived part of the positive programme of the Congress – the servicewith students for years and he often comes in contact with of the untouchables. Here too there is more than enough workyou. Trust yourselves to him. My doors are always open for for all the students who are pining to do national service. Leteveryone of you. It has been a constant source of sorrow to me them understand that all those who raise the moral tone of thethat I have not been able to come as closely in contact with you community as a whole, all those who find occupation for theas I have wished. idle millions, are real builders of Swaraj. They will make easy even the purely political work. This positive work will evoke “Professors Athavie, Dalal, Mazumdar and Shah have the best in the students. It is both post-graduate and pregraduateleft the college. Their resignations were unavoidable. It is to work. It is the only real graduating.be regretted that we shall no more have the benefit of theirscholarship. But in their stand we have as Professor Sjts. “But is may be that neither the Charkha work nor theKkubhai, Jinabhai Desai, Nagindas, Gopaldas and Gandhi. untouchability work is exciting enough for them. Then let them
34 ƒ GANDHI ON EDUCATION Dr.Sauvakon Junphongsri ƒ 35know that I am useless as a physician. I have but a limited stock the student Brahmachari is poisoned at the very spring. Thoughof prescriptions, I believe in unity of disease and therefore there is nothing left of the Ashramas today which we mayalso of cure. But most a physician be blame for his limitations, hold up to the present generation as something to learn fromespecially when he declares them from the house-top? and copy, we may still hark back to the ideals that inspired the “The students for whom the correspondent writes original Ashramas.must be resourceful enough to find their own course in life. “How can we understand the duty of students today?Self-reliance is Swaraj.” We have fallen so much from the ideal. The parents take the lead in giving the wrong direction. They feel that their children should be educated only in order that they may earn, wealth and4. THE DUTY OF STUDENTS4 position. Education and knowledge are thus being prostituted, “I have to speak today on the dharma or duty of students. and we look in vain for the peace, innocence and bliss that theThat dharma is as easy as it is difficult. According to Hinduism, life of a student ought to be. Our students are weighed downthe student is a Brahmachari, and Brahmacharyashram is the with cares and worries, when they should really be ‘careful forstudent-state. Celibacy is a narrow interpretation of Brahmacha- nothing.’ They have simply to receive and to assimilate. Theyrya. The original meaning is the life or the state of a student. should know only to discriminate between what should beThat means control of the senses, but the whole period of study received and what rejected. It is the duty of the teacher to teachor acquirement of knowledge by means of control of the senses his pupils discrimination. If we go on taking in indiscriminatelycame to be regarded as Brahmacharyashram. This period of life we would be no better than machines. We are thinking, knowingnecessarily means very much taking and very little giving. We beings and we must in this period distinguish truth from untruth,are mainly recipients in this state-taking whatever we can get sweet from bitter language, clean from unclean things and sofrom parents, teachers and from the world. But the taking, if it on. But the student’s path today is strewn with more difficultiescarries – as it did – no obligation of simultaneous repayment than the one of distinguishing good from bad things. He has torepayment it necessarily carried an obligation to repay the fight the hostile atmosphere around him. Instead of the sacredwhole debt, with compound interest, at the proper time. That surroundings of a Rishi Guru’s asharam and his paternal care,is why the Hindu maintain Brahmacharyashram as a matter of he has the atmosphere of a broken down home, and the artificialreligious duty. surroundings created by the modern system of education. The Rishis taught their pupils without books. They only gave them “The life of a Brahmachari and a Sanyasi are regarded a few mantras which the pupils treasured in their memoriesas spiritually similar. The Brahmachari must needs be a Sanyasi and translated in practical life. The present day student has tofi he is to be a Brahmachari. For the Sanyasi it is a matter of live in the midst of heaps of books, sufficient to choke him.choice. The four Asharamas of Hinduism have nowadays lost In my own days Reynolds was mch in vogue among studentstheir sacred character, and exist, if at all, in name. the life of
36 ƒ GANDHI ON EDUCATION Dr.Sauvakon Junphongsri ƒ 37and I escaped him only because I was far from being a brilliant the same with Col.Maddock, and when Mrs.Mddock come fromstudent and never cared to peep out of the school text books. England, I presented her with a Khaddar and asked her to carryWhen I went to England however I saw that these novels were the message from house to house.tabooed in decent circles and that I had lost nothing by having “I am not tired of preaching this message of the Wheelnever read them. Similarly there are many other things which a on all occasions at all hours, I see it is such an innocentstudent might do worse than reject. One such thing is the craze thing, and yet so potential good. It may not be relishing, but nofor earning a career. Only the Grihasth – house holder – has to health-giving food had the relish of spicy foods so detrimentalthink of it, it is none of the brahmachari students’ dharma. He health. And so the Gita in a memorable text asks all thinkinghas to acquaint himself with the condition of things in his own people to take things of which the first taste is bitter, but whichcountry, try to realize the magnitude of the crisis with which it are ultimately conducive to immortality. Such a thing today isis faced, and the work that it requires of him. I dare say many the spinning wheel and its product. There is no yogna(sacrifice)amongst you read newspapers, I do not think I can ask you to greater than spinning, calculated to bring peace to the troubledeschew them altogether. But I would ask you to eschew every- spirit, to soothe the distracted students mind, to spiritualise histhing of ephemeral interest, and I can tell you that newspapers life. I have today no better prescription for the country – notafford nothing of permanent interest. They offer nothing to even the Gayatri – in this practical age which looks for imme-help the formation of character. And yet I know the craze for diate results. Gayatri I would fain offer, but I cannot promisenewspapers. It is pitiable, terrible. I am talking in this strain as I immediate result, whilst the thing I offer is such as you can takehave myself made some experiments in education. Out of those to, with God’s name on your lips, and expect immediate result.experiments I learnt the meaning of education, I discovered And English friend wrote saying his English commonsenseSatyagraha and Non-cooperation and launched on those new told him that spinning was an excellent hobby. I said to him,experiments. I assure you I have never regretted having tried ‘It may be a hobby for you, for us it is the Tree of Plenty’. Ithese last, nor have I undertaken them simply with the object do not like many Western ways, but there are certain things inof winning potical Swaraj. I have ventured to place them even them for which I can not disguise my liking. Their ‘hobby’ isbefore students. For they are innocent. They are today summed a thing full of meaning. Col. Maddock, who was an efficientup in the spinning-wheel. First it was hailed with ridicule, then Surgeon and took supreme delight in his task, did not devotecame scorn, and presently it will be received with joy. The all his hours to his work. Two hours he had set apart for hisCongress has adopted it, and I would not hesitate to offer it hobby which was gardening and it was this gardening that lentrespectfully even to Lord Reading. I would not hesitate to do zest and savour to his life.so, as I know that I would lose nothing in so doing. The lserwould be Lord Reading if he chose to reject it. I did not hesitate “I have pleasure therefore in placing the spinning-wheelto deliver the message of the wheel to the Bishop of Calcutta before you, even as a hobby if you will, in order that your lifewhen I had the honour to make his acquaintance in Delhi. I did may have zest and savor, in order that you may find peace and
38 ƒ GANDHI ON EDUCATION Dr.Sauvakon Junphongsri ƒ 39bliss. It will help you to lead a life of Brahmacharya. Faith “The organizers of this Conference are endeavoring theiris a thing of great moment in the student state. There are so utmost to make this Conference as interesting and instructivemany things which you have to take for granted. Kyou accept as possible. ****We intend organizing a series of educationalthem simply because you get them from your teacher. Some discourses and we request you to give us the benefit **** Thepropositions in geometry, for instance, were very difficult of problem of female education here in Sind deserves a specialcomprehension for me. I took them for granted, and today I consideration. **** We are not blind to the other necessitiesnot only can understand them, but can lose myself in a study of students. Sports competitions are being organized and alongof geometry as easily as I can do in my present work. If you with elocution competitions they will, it is hoped, make thehave faith, and ply the wheel, you take it from me that some Conference more interesting. Nor have we eliminated dramaday you will admit that what an old man once told you about and music from our programme. *** Pieces in Urdu and Englishit was literally true. No wonder that one learned in the lore will also be staged.”applied the following text from the Gita to the spinning-wheel : “I have not omitted a single operative sentence that “ ‘In this there is no waste of effort; neither is there any would give one an idea of what the Conference was expectedobstacle. Even a little practice of this Dharma saves a man from to do, and yet one fails to find a single reference to things ofdire calamity’”. permanent interest to the student world. I have no doubt that the dramatic and musical and gymnastic performances were all5. STUDENTS IN CONFERENCE5 provided on a “grand scale” I take the phrase in inverted comas from the circular. I have no doubt also that the Conference had “The Secretary of the sixth Sindh Students’ Conference attractive papers on female education but so far as the circularsent me a printed circular asking for a message. I received a is concerned, there is no mention of the disgraceful dtiwire also asking for the same thing. But being in a somewhat leti(dowry) practices, from which the students have not freedinaccessible place, both circular letter and the telegram were themselves and which in many respects makes the lives ofreceived too late for me to send a message. Nor am I in a posi- Sindhi girls a hell upon earth and of parents of daughterstion to comply with numerous requests for message, articles a torture. There is nothing in the circular to show, that theand what not. But as I profess to be interested in everything Conference intended to tackle the question of the morals of theconnected with students as I am somewhat in touch with the students. Nor is there anything to show, that the Conference wasstudent world all over India. I could not help criticizing within to do anything to show the students the way to become fearlessmyself the programme sketched in the circular letter. Thinking nation-builders. It is a matter of no small credit to Sindh that itthat it might be helpful, I reduce some of it to writing and pres- is supplying so many institutions with brilliant professors, butent it to the student world. I take the following from the circular more is always expected from those who give much. And I, wholetter which by the way is badly printed and contains mistakes have every reason to be grateful to Sindhi friends for givingwhich are hardly pardonable for a students’ society :
40 ƒ GANDHI ON EDUCATION Dr.Sauvakon Junphongsri ƒ 41me fine co-workers for the Gujarat Vidyapith, am not going to by kings and elders. They were a voluntary change on thebe satisfied with getting professors and Khadi workers. Sindh nation, and in return they gave to the nation a hundredfoldhas got its Sadhu Vasvani. It can boast of a number of great strong souls, strong brains, strong arms. Students in the modernreformers. But the students will put themselves in the wrong, world, wherever they are to be found among fallen nations, areif they will be contented with appropriation of the merit gained considered to be their hope, and have become the self-sacrificingby the sadhus and reformers of Sindh. They have got to become leaders of reforms in every department. Not that we have nonation-builders. The base imitation of the West, the ability to such examples in India; but they are far too few. What I pleadspeak and write correct and polished English, will not add one for is that students’ conferences should stand for this kind ofbrick to the temple of freedom. The student would, which is organized work befitting the states of brahmacharis.receiving an education far too expensive for starving India aneducation which only a microscopic minority can ever hope toreceive, is expected to qualify itself for it by giving its life-blood 6. TEACHERS’ CONDITION6to the nation. Students must become pioneers in conservative “A deputation from the All Bengal Teachers’Associationreform, conserving all that is good in the nation and fearlessly waited upon me some time ago and asked me to advise themridding society of the innumerable abuses that have crept into it. how they could better their condition and be of service to the These conferences should open the eyes of students to country. They admitted that at the present moment they werethe realities before them. They should result in making them not doing much good to the country. This is how they describedthink of things which, in the class room adapted to its foreign their condition : “The teachers are now engaged in perform-setting, they do not get an opportunity of learning. They may ing a thankless task under a heavy personal sacrifice. They arenot be able in these conferences to discuss questions regarded imparting an education which is unprofitable and uninterest-as purely political. But they can and they must study and discuss ing through no fault of their own. They are to mechanicallysocial and economic questions which are as important to our follow a curriculum of studies which provides for no religious,generation as the highest political question. A nation-building moral and vocational training. The education given today inprogramme can leave no part of the nation untouched. Students Bengal through nearly 900 schools and by 20,000 teachers ishave to react upon the dumb millions. They have to learn to domineered over by an examination system which only encour-think not in terms of a province, or a town, or a class, or a caste, ages cramming. The teachers are looked down upon as theybut in terms of a continent and of the millions who include are miserably underpaid. There is a large number of cases ofuntouchables, drunkards, hooligans and even prostitutes, for mutual distrust and lack of sympathy between the teachers andwhose existence in our midst every one of us is responsible. the school authorities as well as the guardians. Education doesStudents in olden times were called brahmacharis, that is those not provide for physical training and is imparted through thewho walked with and in the fear of God. They were honored foreign median, resulting in a huge waste of national energy”.
42 ƒ GANDHI ON EDUCATION Dr.Sauvakon Junphongsri ƒ 43 “To all this the teachers might have added that the pupils some other labour. They must not expect their pupils to labor,are devitalized and have lost al initiative. I gave them an answer if the teacher will not labour themselves and I have suggestedwhich satisfied them for the time-being but they took from me spinning because all can be engaged in it not for private profita promise that I would deal with the problem in these pages. but for discipline and national profit. Self-government means “In my opinion the root of the evil lies in the foreign continuous effort to be independent of government controldomination, and the root of foreign domination lies in ourselves. whether it is foreign government or whether it is national. SwarajI am aware that we shall never deal with these problems unless government will be a sorry affair if people lock up to it for theand until we deal with the root-evil. If we had our own govern- regulation of every detail of life. Do the teachers realize thement, the teachers would be able to vindicate their position. pupils are an exaggerated edition of what they themselves are?Having our own government means a government never strong If they will have the initiative the pupils will soon begin to haveenough to override by force of arms the wishes of the majority, in it. The examination system as it is, becomes doubly oppressiveother words a government responsible to public opinion. Today by reason of the mechanical method of instruction. Only thethe teachers have public opinion behind them in many things other day, inspecting a school, I asked a boy to tell me whatbut it is helpless against a power that is armed for dealing with and where Pataliputra – about which he had read to me fromany possible physical combination on the part of the people of his book – was. He could not tell. This was neither the fault ofIndia. No government in the world is so irresponsible and so the Government nor the pupils, assuredly the teacher’s. teach-unresponsive to the opinion of the millions of men and women ers can, if they will make their tuition interesting and effectiveof India as the Government of India. It was the realization of this in spite of the deadening weight of the examination system. Infact that made Gokhale postpone everything else to the effort spite of the medium of instruction being the English languagefor winning self-government. Lokamanya was so impatient that in the higher classes it is open to the teachers to take care ofhe made his formula, “Swaraj is my birthright,” ring from one the mother-tongue of the boys under them. There is no ruleend of India to the other. He suppressed his taste for scholarship preventing them talking to the boys in their mother tongues. Theand philosophy in favour of Swaraj. Deshabandhu laid down fact is that most teachers do not know the vernacular names forhis life in the same pursuit. All those who are like the teachers technical expressions and find it difficult to make themselveshave, therefore, no remedy for their disease save that of gain- intelligible in the vernacular when the subject of their discourseing Swaraj as quickly as possible. How is that to be attained? is technical. We have got into the very slovenly habit, in orderI have pointed out the remedy and the country is supposed to as we faney to give point to our conversation of using Englishhave adopted it. The only change is that to the effort within adjectives, adverbs and even phrases of the English language.must be added the effort without, viz, entry into the legislature. If the teachers wish it many of the defects of the present systemThe teachers cannot enter these institutions, they cannot take could be cured by them.part in active politics, but they can all spin or if they like do
44 ƒ GANDHI ON EDUCATION Dr.Sauvakon Junphongsri ƒ 45 “I have given only a few out of many possible illustra- a good enough ideal for those times. Circumstances have nowtions of what can be done under the present system. It was my changed. There is a general insistent demand for literary train-recognition of the evil of the system that made me conceive non ing. The masses claim the same attention as the classes. Howco-operation, but a revival of it just now seems to be almost an far it is possible and beneficial to mankind generally cannotimpossibility. I am, therefore, recommending what is in some be discussed here. There is nothing inherently wrong in therespects more difficult of accomplishment. It is easier for the desire for learning. If it is directed in a healthy channel it canaverage man to run away from evil than remain in it and still only do good. Without, therefore, stopping to devise means forremain unaffected by it. Many men can shun grog-shops and avoiding the inevitable, we must make the best use possible ofremain teetotalers, but not many can remain in these pestilential it. Thousands of teachers can not be had for asking, nor willplaces and avoid the contagion. they live by begging. They must have a salary guaranteed and “However the teachers have asked for advice and I can as we shall require quite an army of teachers their remunerationbut place it before them so that each may then respond to the cannot be in proportion to the intrinsic worth of their calling butbest of his ability. The unfortunate position is that educated it will have to be in proportion to the capacity of the nation forIndians take to teaching, not for the love of it, but because they payment. We may expect a steady rise as we realize the relativehave nothing better and nothing else for giving them a liveli- merits of the different callings. The rise must be painfully slow.hood. Many of them even enter the teaching profession with There must therefore arise a class of men and women in Indiaa view to preparing for what they regard as a better thing. The who will from patriotic motives choose teaching as a profes-wonder is that in spite of this self imposed initial handicap so sion, irrespective of the material gain that it may bring them.many teachers are not worse than they are. By well-ordered Then the nation will not underrate the calling of the teacher.agitation no doubt they may better their pecuniary prospects, On the contrary it will give the first place in its affection tobut I see no chance even under a Swaraj government of the scale these self-sacrificing men and women. And so we come to thisof salary being raised much higher than it is today. I believe that as our Swaraj is impossible largely by our own efforts, soin the ancient idea of teachers teaching for the love of it and is the teachers’ rise possible mainly by their own effort. Theyreceiving the barest maintenance. The Roman Catholics have must bravely and patiently cut their way through to success.”retained that idea and they are responsible for some of the besteducational institutions in the world. The Rishis of old did even 7. THE PLIGHT OF TEACHERS7better. They made their pupils members of their families, butin those days that class of teaching which they imparted was “After describing the declining condition of nationalnot intended for the masses. They simply brought up a race of schools in a district, where out of fourteen seven have died outreal teachers of mankind in India. The masses got their train- and the rest are sinking, and where attendance is reduced froming in their homes and in their hereditary occupations. It was 2000 to 500, the head-master of one of them writes :-
46 ƒ GANDHI ON EDUCATION Dr.Sauvakon Junphongsri ƒ 47 “To be frank, the hearts of many of us, teachers of the died out and the moisture of public support has dried up, onlynational schools, sink when they think of their half-starved the hardiest plants will survive. Let me hope the schools andfamilies and their crushing debts, and misgivings arise as to the school-masters that still remain are of the right staff. Theywhether it is wise or foolish for a man embarrassed with debts must beg from door to door for maintenance and not feel shamedto undergo so much suffering and whether it is advisable or if they are honest workers.not to serve the country in other ways then as starving schools “The head masters has asked also specific questionsmasters. I should mention here that some of these teachers gave which being of general utility I copy and answer below :up at the call of the country much more lucrative situations.” “Q. “ How long can the poor teacher embarrassed with “This tale of woe need not frighten us. Nations are made increasing debts continue to have connection with those schoolsafter much travail. Either we must die lie flies in an armed working on starvation allowance?”rebellion, then submit to military autocracy and in the distant anddim future hope to have democratic rule or by patient, natured, “ A. Till death, even as a soldier fights till he is victori-unperceived suffering evolve as a self-ruling, self-respecting ous of, which is the same thing, drops down dead.nation. It is by sufferings such as the correspondent describes “Q. “How long will; the authorities continue thesethat we shall find a remedy for the difficulties that face us. These schools at a great loss of money, if even 1 percent of the peopleconstitute the real training in Swaraj. The fault is not wholly do not want them?”the parents’. It is inherent in our surroundings. We have notyet learnt the virtue of sustained work in defiance of all adds. “ A. No school has a right to exist if the people do notTeachers are the center round whom the whole of the national want it. But I would blame the authorities if the people whoeducation system must revolve. If they lose their balance, the brought a school into being afterwards do not want it.system must topple. But the teachers have been inexperienced. “Q. “Education can be suspended and workers canThey have not all had the unquenchable fire for keeping alive suffer for one year or two years or three years, but what willthe taste for national education. They have not the organizing be the case if the fight for Swaraj continues for an indefiniteability, nor the power of concentration and consecration. Every- period?”where the worker instead of specializing in one branch of service “A. Those who can suffer for one to three years will findhave dabbled in everything with the result that they have been themselves inured to suffering for thirty years.able to do nothing thoroughly. But this was inevitable. We arenow to the game. Our rulers have trained us as clerks and put us “Q. “How can the few boys that really want nationalto work requiring little thinking and less initiative. But the old education read where no national school exists.”order is changing. In the first flush of enthusiasm we seemed “A. If the parents or the boys or girls for that matterto be doing well if not very well. Now that the enthusiasm has are resourceful, they will find out a way. It is a superstition to
48 ƒ GANDHI ON EDUCATION Dr.Sauvakon Junphongsri ƒ 49think that education can only be had at schools or only through include also thirteen high schools, 15 middle schools, 15 specialEnglish or in a particular orthodox style. To learn spinning and schools for untouchables teaching over 300 boys and girls. Theweaving is an education of first class importance at the present number of girls studying in these institutions are not more thanmoment. Let us also remember that the majority of Indian 500. The Vidyapith has acquired a plot of land and has alreadyvillages have no schools at all. erected a fine boarding house which is to serve the purpose “Q. “How long should our countrymen be allowed to also of lecture rooms till a separate building is erected. Thesevote for a resolution which they will never carry out in practice. figures do not include the national schools not affiliated to theAll will vote for boycott of Government schools but very few Vidyapith. Nor do they represent the highest water-mark. Thatof these voters will send their boys to national schools.” was reached in 1921. Several schools have since closed, some others are likely to close in course of time. The attendance too “A. Not one minute longer than I can help. All my is not on the increase. Gujarat like every other province hasfight in the A.I.C.C. was directed towards our being true to our suffered fom the general depression in the Congress ranks.resolution. “Notwithstanding the depression however the record “ I know that the replies I have given will be considered is highly creditable to Gujarat which was and probably stillunsatisfactory by many. But I dare say that they are the only is, educationally, one of the most backward of our provinces.correct and practical answers. We must do away with camou- Measured by the Swaraj standard the experiment may not beflage. If the nation as a whole does not want national schools regarded as an achievement but judged by itself the experimentis answer to the boycott of (not supplementary to) Government is an amazing record of progress for its four years’ existence.schools, it must be altered. The minority that may still want It shows considerable organizing power, financial ability andthe boycott must make good their desire by running their own faith in non-cooperation regarding education. I can say all thisnational schools, but not under the Congress aegis. These schools with complete detachment as, though resident in Gujarat, Iwill be run only where they are wanted. If there be only one have lived least in it whilst the experiment was in progresssuch school, it will continue without being disheartened. Faith and had no hand in working it. The credit belongs solely toknows no disappointment.” Vallabhbhai and his very able lieutenants. During the stormiest and the longest eriod. I was resting in Yerawada and therefore was not available even as an adviser.8. TEACHERS IN CONFERENCE8 “No wonder then that the teachers met in conference “The Gujarat Vidyapith has at the present moment nearly last week and whilst taking stock of their position and shaping30,000 children in its national schools who are being taught their future policy wanted me to guide their deliberations. Iby over 800 teachers in nearly 140 institutions of which two wish that I could have done better justice to the task entrustedare colleges and one devoted to ancient research. The figures to me. My indifferent health and my heavy preoccupations
50 ƒ GANDHI ON EDUCATION Dr.Sauvakon Junphongsri ƒ 51rendered previous study and preparation(adequate for the care and attention. The teachers were not to wait for Mussalmanpurpose) impossible. and Parsi agents to send their children but it was necessary to “Whilst I was able heartily to congratulate the numerous invite such parents to send their children. A national teacherteachers who attended the conference on the success that the must become a Swaraj missionary within his own sphere. Hefigures I have quoted signified, I had to point out the serious should know the history of every child under his care and knowand obvious flaws and weaknesses of the several institutions the children not in his school. He should know their parents andthey were conducting. National schools, to be worth the name in understand why they did not send their children to his school.terms of Swaraj, for the attainment of which they were brought He would do all this work not in an intolerant spirit but lovingly.into existence, must be conducted with a view to advancing the Thus and thus only would national schools be truly national innational programme in so far as it was applicable to educational terms of the Congress resolution.institutions. Thus for instance national schools must be the most “The difficulty of the task is unmistakable. Thispotent means of propagating the message of the charkha, of Government has made everything mercenary. Character is nobringing Hidus, Mussalmans and others closer together and of test for anything. Mechanical ability to go through a superficialeducating the untouchables and abolishing the curse of untouch- syllabus is the sole test. Every profession has been degradedability from the schools. Judged by this standard the experiment to mean a career. We become lawyers, doctors and school-must be pronounced. If not a failure, certainly a very dismal masters not to serve our countrymen but to bring us money.success. Out of 30000 boys and girls hardly one thousand are The Vidyapith therefore had to recruit for teachers in such aspinning on 100 charkhas at the rate of ½ hour per day. Hun- soul-killing atmosphere. The majority of the teachers havedreds of charkhas are lying idle and neglected. Whilst in theory had to rise superior to themselves and their surroundings. Thethe schools are open to the untouchables, very few as a matter wonder is that they have at all responded to the call of theof fact have untouchable children in them. The Mussalman country.attendance at the schools is poor. I had therefore no hesitation “But now after nearly four years’ experience, we mustin advising that now we were to strive not after quantity but turn over a new leaf. We cannot afford to remain at a stand-quality. The test for admission must be progressively stiffer. still and not sink. We must therefore insist upon the boys andParents who did not like their children to learn spinning or to girls plying the charkha for at least half an hour daily. It is anmix with ‘untouchable’ children might if they chose withdraw education of no mean sort for thirty thousand boys and girlsthem. I had no hesitation in advising that teachers should run the and eight hundred teachers to be spinning i.e., laboring for therisk of closing down their schools. If the condition of running country for half an hour every day. It is a daily practical lessonthem required the exclusion of untouchables and the charkha. in patriotism, useful toil and giving. That a boy should beginIt was not enough to tolerate untouchable children if they stole giving even during his education without expectation of returnin, but it was necessary to draw them into our schools by loving is an object-lesson in sacrifice he will not forget in after-life.