www.hindustantimes.com | October 02, 2018
Kiran Thakur, Adjunct Faculty, Flame School of Communication
India had only seven universities when the British quit India in 1947. These were in Serampore, Bombay (now Mumbai), Calcutta (now Kolkata) and Madras (Chennai), Aligarh Muslim University and Allahabad University. These institutions offered education in English as medium of education.
Gandhiji wrote in Harijan on New Universities on November 2, 1947 and said, “There seems to be a mania for establishing new universities in the provinces.”
He reasoned in the article that there should be a proper background for setting up new universities. They should have feeders in the shape of schools and colleges which would impart instruction through the medium of their respective provincial languages.
Only then can there be a proper milieu.
He said, “In my opinion, it is not for a democratic State to find money for founding universities.
“If the people want them they will supply the funds. Universities so founded will adorn the country which they represent”. He espoused ‘Nai Talim’, a principle which states that knowledge and work are not separate. However, the concept has several layers of meaning. It developed out of Gandhi’s experience with the English educational system and with colonialism in general.
In that system, he saw that Indian children would be alienated and ‘career-based thinking’ would become dominant. The three pillars of Gandhi’s pedagogy were its focus on the lifelong character of education, its social character and its form as a holistic process. For Gandhi, education is ‘the moral development of the person’.