– Dr Kuldeep Mahandiratta
Born on 25 December 1861 in Teerth-Raj Prayaga, Madan Mohan Malviya Ji, is remembered for protecting Bharatiya culture and spreading of traditional and modern knowledge through education. In his formal education, he got opportunity to learn general mathematics, cultural, religion, physical education, traditional Bharatiya knowledge and philosophy.
Mahamana was a teacher and a philosophical politician. In 1909 and 1918 he was elected President of the Congress. But the teacher who was present in his heart was upset at the plight of contemporary Bharat and wanted to uplift Bharat through education. He wanted to promote education in order to strengthen the foundation of Bharatiya nation. In order to fulfil this dream, on February 4, 1916, he founded the Kashi Hindu University in Banaras, a city of learning. Throughout his life, he served the country, society and the nation.
Malviya Ji was not an educationist in formal terms, as he did not present his educational views or principles or plans in a systematic way. Indeed, he was more than an educationist as his actions not only produced educational principles but introduced applied aspects also. His educational ideology is clearly revealed by his speeches and writings. Main tenets of educational philosophy of Mahamana are being presented here.
Mahamana considered education to be the most powerful tool for the progress of Bharat. He believed that illiteracy of Bharatiyas is due to the socio-cultural and political-economic decline of Bharat. According to him, education is the only mean to alleviate the country’s plight. Therefore, he spent more important part of his life in education.
Holistic development of the Vidyarthi was the core value of the educational philosophy of Mahamana. In his views, only intellectual development is not the goal of true education. Real education in Mahamana’s view, aims at all-round development of human life. In his view, education is that which can develop the physical, intellectual, mental and emotional aspects of the Vidyarthi. He wanted to make education a power to awaken the nation, so that the new generation can serve the society and the nation with selfless spirit.
Physical development is another important idea of Mahamana as he believed that a person with weak body cannot be a part of the society aimed at building a strong nation. According to him, an important objective of education system is physical development. In the article titled ‘Mera Bachpan’, Mahamana wrote extensively about three pillars of health, i.e. ‘Aahar, Shayan and Brahmacharya.’ He also favoured regular physical exercise, Yogasanas and Pranayama for strengthening body.
Teaching of national values or nationalism is very important for Vidyarthis and according to Mahamana; Hindutva is the basis of Indian nationality. Therefore, he considered achieving nationalism based on Hinduism as one of the aims of education.
Mahamana’s notion of ‘Hindu’ was very broad as today’s narrow Hindu-Muslim dispute is contrary to his concept of Hindutva. Without any religious discrimination, he considered all the inhabitants of this subcontinent Bharat to be Hindu. In fact, he saw Hinduism as the best way of life. He viewed the development of the patriotism spirit as an essential educational goal. In his opinion, an educated person should be selfishly devoted to the nation.
Education of women is another core value of Mahamana’s educational philosophy. Even he considered the education for women more important than the education of men. The idea of Mahamana Ji was that on the basis of a national program, women should have the opportunity to read and understand the better aspects of ancient and modern cultures. According to him, the women should have been so strong that they could play an important role in the reconstruction of Bharat.
Curriculum should be according to need and requirement of Bharat. Mahamana is of the view that every society and country sets the curriculum according to its needs based on country, time and circumstances. In Kashi University, he focused on providing ancient as well as modern education in the forms of ancient Bharatiya culture, philosophy, literature and history, teaching of Veda-Vedang and Sanskrit literature, study of modern science, metallurgy, mining work, engineering and agricultural science, humanities, social science and sciences including medical science, Ayurveda and Astronomy etc.
Moreover Malviya Ji wanted to develop the sense of service and virtue in Vidyarthi from the very beginning. He considered the development of character to be more important than the intellectual and professional development for the growth of the person and the progress of the nation. Thus Mahamana set a very broad objective of education. He wanted to create a patriotic, virtuous, characterful, self-dependent Bharatiya citizen through education.