Vision For Education : Integral Education
RSS-inspired organisations successfully attempted to provide alternative to the education system given by the British and created the atmosphere for the holistic and participatory education
The people frequently ask as to what the RSS did in the country during 90 years. I think of the reply in another way as to what would have happened if there was no RSS? If we see the history of the nation for last 90 years, turn back and see the past, we find that the RSS stands at every turn of the nation. Be it the independence struggle, be it the moment of partition, be it the question of helping the immigrants coming from Pakistan, be it the foreign aggression, natural calamities, man-made accidents, be it serving the victims during drought, flood, earthquake etc., we find RSS standing committed towards serving the humanity in every moment of crisis before the nation and standing in the joys and pains of the society. Likewise, the RSS or the swayamsevaks inspired by RSS have brought the positive change in the different sectors of the society as per the requirements of that sector and worked for the reestablishment and service of the Bharatiya thinking. One of the important and fundamental sectors among these is the education sector. This article tries to shed light on this aspect.
An RSS shakha itself is the important centre of life education. However, when we think of the formal education, which is given in the schools/colleges/universities, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, Vidya Bharati, Bharatiya Shikshan Mandal, Sanskrit Bharati, Akhil Bharatiya Rashtriya Shaikshik Mahasangh and Shiksha Bachao Andolan as also the Shiksha Sanskriti Utthan Nyas have played a crucial role in giving the right direction to the education in the country.
Restoring the Lost Glory
A myth was spread as a part of the conspiracy after the independence that the actual nation was formed only after the arrival of the British. This is how they gifted all systems including education and otherwise Bharat was a nation of the peasants and superstitious people. However, what is the reality? As far as the education sector is concerned, Gandhian thinker Shri Dharmpal has written in his book 'The Beautiful Tree' based on the documents of the British officers and intellectuals and according to the survey done by former priest Shri Williams Adam, that there were more than one lakh schools in the Bengal state while every village in Madras Presidency had school.
This was the situation in our country after about 1000 years of aggression. Therefore, the situation prior to it must have been much better than that. This becomes clearer through the statements of many foreign learned men like Chinese traveller Huan Sang. Anyone who wanted to have good education in those times would come to Bharat. Universities like Takshshila, Vikramshila, Nalanda etc. existed even when there was no concept of university in the world. However, the real course of the education in the country could not be fixed even today as the result of the attempts by the British to uproot the noble tradition of education in India.
On this background, the RSS-inspired organisations took the first work in hand to create awareness among the compatriots, especially the educated and intellectuals, to change their mindset and successfully attempted to change the country's education systems given by the British. Consequently, an atmosphere of total transformation has been created in the education field of the country.
‘Bharatiyata’ in Education
Along with this, they have taken firm steps to reinstate the fundamental Bharatiya concepts pertaining to education. Today, education is considered as another form of business. In such a scenario, Vidya Bharati has established more than 13,000 schools in the country and played an important role in establishing an ideal by charging nominal fees from the students, building schools in the tribal and hilly areas and showing that this was not a trade or business but a means of service.
In this connection, the Vidya Bharati has adopted the scientific view that the education should be in the mother tongue and has achieved success in a sizable measure to bring it in practice by making Bharatiya languages as the medium of instruction in its schools. All organisations including Bharatiya Shikshan Mandal have created widespread awareness in the country so that the education should be in the mother tongue and tried to establish this fact in the country. The Shiksha Sanskriti Utthan Nyas started Bharatiya Bhasha Manch and Bharatiya Bhasha Abhiyan for this purpose and an effective work was started by bringing together various organisations and intellectuals as also the language learners who work on the Bharatiya languages.
Sanskrit Bharati has done an immense awareness in the country against the attempts to declare Sanskrit as the dead language. By publishing literature and organising thousands of Sanskrit dialogue camps in the country as well as overseas, it has taken firm steps in the direction of reinstating the view that Sanskrit was not a dead language, but the best and ancient language of the world.
Similarly, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad is doing substantial work for rebuilding the nation through the disciplined student power so that campus culture in the higher education institutes should develop on the basis of Bharatiyata; the students should play the role of citizens along with being their studies and the student-power in the country should become nation-power. As a result, seminars, conferences and panel discussions have been organised by the students associated with the ABVP to establish Bharatiyata and substantive proposals regarding the country's education policy have been presented to the state and central governments from time to time. Many significant results have come to fore through them.
Akhil Bharatiya Rashtriya Shaikshik Mahasangh is trying that there should be no union but an organisation of the teachers. Therefore, their motto is “Education in the interest of nation, teachers in the interest of education, society in the interest of teachers”. Through this, the teachers in the country are not just employees, but they are in the roles of acharya and guru. A successful attempt has been made to give a new vision to the teachers' organisation to remind them of this by organising programs like Shikshak Kartavyabodh and Guru Vandana that inspire the teachers.
Bharatiya Shiksha Mandal has tried to create an atmosphere in the country to bring Bharatiyata in the education ever since its foundation through seminars and discussions. For this purpose, it has given an important contribution to the formation of the New Education Policy of 1986 to current the National Education Policy of the Bharatiya government. In addition, it has started steadfast efforts to bring the quality in the research in the education sector as per the country's needs.
The perversions and contradictions in the curriculums in this country are the gifts of the British. The children of Marx and Macaulay of our own continued the same tradition further. Thus, the Shiksha Bachao Andolan successfully tried to agitate against the insult being done to the culture, religion, great men, language and the tradition of this country because of which the curriculums became the point of nationwide debate. Shiksha Sanskriti Utthan Nyas was formed to take this effort further and a substantial work to provide a new alternative to the education in the country was done. Many effective works in the current education systems, from preparing curriculums on the fundamental dimensions of the
education, have been initiated within a short time. The alternative nature of the education based on Bharatiyata has become clear through it and a confidence has been built that the change through Bharatiyata can be brought in the education sector.
Bharatiya Education with Modernity
The RSS' work in the education sector started from 1948. However, the educational institutes were started in Nagpur immediately after RSS' inception with the inspiration from Dr Hedgewar. Taking the same tradition further, swayamsevaks are running thousands of educational institutes all over the country. Similarly, Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Vidya Bharti are running thousands of single teacher schools in the tribal areas. The Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram and Rashtra Sevika Samiti are also running schools in the same fashion. All of them are contributing immensely to the educational emancipation of the nation.
The organisations inspired by the RSS and working in the educational sector have in a sense developed the theoretical basis of the basic concepts of the education like character building and personality development, value-based education, morality and spirituality in the education, freedom of the education, learning in mother tongue, inclusion of Bharatiyata knowledge tradition in the education, practicality of the curriculum, education that generates employment, education being service and not business, making of ideal teachers etc. Moreover, it has practised them in reality and did great work in building ideals. In a sense, the work is being done to establish a new educational order in the country as per the fundamental principles of the Bharatiya education along with modernity.
To take this issue ahead, the education should become a priority subject in the country, the educational institutes working with above thinking and direction should come on one platform, there should be efforts to create consensus in the country by rising above the politics and ideology and the society and government should work together. Special efforts should be done to improve the quality of the government educational institutes. The nature of the education in the country should be such that through the character building of the students and overall development of the personality and awakening of the sense of nationality, they should provide important contribution to the emancipation of the society. The work to make Bharat equipped with character, affluent, rich and strong has been started through this. A real change in the country is impossible as long as the education does not change. The RSS is committed to realise this goal by creating awareness for this and this yagya-like work will go on until this work is not finished.
The writer is national secretary of Shiksha Sanskriti Utthan Nyas