WHEN the nation is celebrating yet another Republic Day, there are few things that should come to our minds. True that we had not been independent for not so long a time, but the time that had lapsed is also not too short. Certain things had been done, but for a nationalist, more things could have been done, and in much better and fruitful manner during these years that have gone by.
One area where we had failed considerably is the area of education in general and Higher Education in particular, during these long years of Independence.
The real strength of any nation shall come from within only. This means the togetherness of the citizens of the given nation States. For nations in Europe, their solidarity is often on the basis of the languages they speak, as it is in the cases of Germany, France and the like. In some other cases, it becomes religion. But for a nation like Bharat, this is all different; Bharat had been one neither through language, nor through faith systems, but through sanskara. Political unity was certainly not the unity of Bharat; it had always been cultural unity. That is the reason that some short sighted British made the claim that it is they who united this nation, and they simply thought that Bharat will fall apart once they leave this nation. Another real reason for their confusion is the epistemology of this land, to which I shall return shortly. Thus, education ought to be education of Bharatiya Sanskriti also, apart from other formal teaching and learning. Hence the need of for the unity and strength of Bharat.
The Unique Epistemology
Bharat has a distinct and unique epistemology of its own right from time immemorial. This can easily be understood through the concepts of plurality and multiplicity and how we look at them, as well as how others look at them. Both plurality and multiplicity are the nature of nature: each blade of grass in this universe is distinct and unique. There cannot be another one like one, of past, of present and also of future. Now if one sees them as different from one another, then their inter relations shall become one that of differences, and such theories of differences shall eventually lead to contradiction and conflict. From such epistemologies came religions which claim that I am the only right one and all others are wrong; and theories like Marxism. Contradiction and conflict had become the only “reality” for the Marxists subsequently. On the other hand, Bharatiya Epistemology looks at the same phenomena of plurality through the notions of samanvaya and samabhava. The plurality and multiplicity are simply varieties and variations of one ultimate reality, and they are not contradictory at all. Thus they co-exist without contradicting one another and there is no conflict among them. It is this epistemology that eventually becomes Vedanta in our philosophical system.
On a practical side, this epistemology is evident from the Hindu Dharma and the nation of Bharat itself. The Hindu Dharma has many faith systems, rituals, rites etc., apparently different from one another. But they all had co-existed as one organic whole through centuries making the Hindu Dharma ‘Sanatana’. Exactly, this is the case also with Bharat. This nation had been existing as one organic whole in spite of the apparent differences such as language, faith systems and so on.
The Colonial Hang Over
Our education still suffer from the colonial hang over or Euro Centricism. There are areas like empirical sciences where Europe and the US had made much progress where it shall be natural for us to learn from them. But there are also areas where we have our own fully developed and consistent understandings from long time, which if we overlook in our race to copy Europe, shall be nothing short of suicide. Copying Europe is surely a short cut for our academics to make career advancements, by finding out what is appreciated in Europe and conducting researches in those areas and getting them published in their journals in their manner. On the other hand, Indo Centric researches are more challenging and not rewarding materially for the time being. Fetishisms of minds and politics equally contribute to this phenomenon. One such fetishism is such that Marxist tools are the best and that alone is ‘progressive’. Younger generation is much mislead and confused in this connection.
What is to be done?
An archetype Bharatiya education is yet to be designed and evolved. An autochthon of Bharatiya education would say that we should remain rooted in our tradition and then connected to the western knowledge system, which shall make our education Indo Centric and complete. Such education shall be the only methodology for our national integration, togetherness, oneness, and strength. Once the people of any nation are united and one, all other progresses and development including economic well being shall be at once and spontaneous. But then we do have challenges also from outside, there are ‘friends’ who wish to disintegrate and divide us, and at the same time we also do not have a proper and meaningful Indo Centric approach to educating the next generation. Perhaps this is already late, much late, and we ought to be working towards such curriculum building and education to train archetype Bharatiya citizens, who would be model to the entire world.