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Gandhi's Views On Education
Education As Per Mahatma Gandhi

Medium Of Education

I find daily proof of the increasing & continuing wrong being done to the millions by our false de-Indianizing education.

We seem to have come to think that no one can  hope to be like a Bose unless he knows English. I cannot conceive a grosser superstition than this. No Japanese feels so helpless as we seem to do....

The medium of instruction should be alerted at once, and at any cost, the provincial languages being given their rightful place. I would prefer temporary chaos in higher education to the criminal waste that is daily accumulating.

Education through a foreign Language entails a certain degree of strain, and our boys have to pay  dearly for it. To a large extent, they lose the capacity of shouldering any other burden afterwards., for they become a useless lot who are weak of body, without any zest for work and imitators of the West. They have little interest in original research  or deep thinking, and the qualities of courage, perseverance. bravery and fearlessness are lacking. That is why we are unable to make new plans or carry our projects to meet our problems. In case we make them to fail to implement them. A few who do show promise usually die young.......

We, the English educated people alone are unable to assess the great loss that this factor has caused. Some idea of its immensity would be had if we could estimate how little we have influenced the general mass of our people.

The school must be an extension of home there must be concordance between the impressions which a child gathers at home and at school, if the best results are to be obtained. Education through the medium of strange tongue breaks the concordance which should exist. Those who breaks this relationship are enemies of the people even though their motives may be honest. To be a voluntary victim of this system of education is as good as the betrayal of our duty towards our mothers. The harm done by this alien type of education does not stop here; it goes much further . It has produced a gulf between the educated classes and the masses. The people look on us as beings apart from them.

It is my considered opinion that English education in the manner it has been given has emasculated the English educated Indian, it has put a severe strain upon the Indian students' nervous energy and has made of us imitators. The process of displacing the vernaculars has been one of the saddest chapters in the British connection. Ram Mohan Rai would have been a greater reformer, and Lokmanya Tilak would have been a greater scholar, if they had not to start with the handicap of having to think in English and transmit their thoughts chiefly in English. Their effect on their own people, marvelous as it was, would have been greater  if they would have been brought under a less unnatural system. No dought they both gained from their knowledge of the rich treasures of English literature. But these should have been accessible to them through their own vernaculars. No country can become a nation by producing a race of imitators.

English is today studied because of its commercial and so called political value. Our boys think  and rightly in the present circumstances, that without English they cannot get Government service. Girls are taught English as a passport to marriage. I know several instances of women wanting to learn English so that they may be able to talk in English. I know families in which English is made a mother tongue. Hundreds of youth believe  that without the Knowledge of English. freedom of India is practically impossible. The canker has so eaten into the society that in many cases the only meaning of education is Knowledge of English. All these are for me signs of our slavery and degradation. It is unbearable  to me that the vernaculars should be crushed and starved as they have been. I cannot tolerate the idea of parents writing to their children, or husbands writing to their wives, not in their own vernaculars but in English.

The foreign medium has caused brains fag, put an undue strain upon the nerves of our children, made them crammers and imitators, unfitted them for original work and thought, and disabled them for filtrating their learning to the family or the masses. The foreign medium has made our children practically foreigners in their own lands. It is the greatest tragedy of the existing system. The foreign medium has prevented the growth of our vernaculars. If I had the powers of a despot, I would today stop the tuitions of our boys and girls through a foreign medium and require all the teachers  and professors on pain of dismissal to introduce the change forthwith.  I would not wait for the preparation of Text books. They will follow the change. It is an evil that need a summary remedy.

Among the many evils of foreign rule, this blighting imposition of a foreign medium upon the youth of the country will be counted by history as one of the greatest. It has sapped the energy of the nation, it has estranged them for the masses, it has made education unnecessarily expensive. If this process is still persisted in, it bids fair to rob the nation of its soul. The sooner, therefore educated India shakes itself free from the hypnotic spell of the foreign medium, the better it would be for them and the people.

This article is taken from the book "The Selected Works Of Gandhi"
Vol. 6  The Voice of Truth

 

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