Gandhi's Views On Education
Character cannot be built with
mortar and stone. It cannot be built by hands other than your own. The Principal
and the professor cannot give you character from the pages of the books.
Character building comes from their very lives and really speaking, it must come
Put all tour knowledge, learning &
scholarship in one scale and truth and purity in the other and the latter will
far outweigh the other. The miasma of moral impurity has today spread among our
school going children and like a hidden epidemic is working havoc among them.
All your scholarship, all your study of the scriptures will be in vain if you
fail to translate their teachings into your daily life.....
If teachers impart all the knowledge
in the world to their students but inculcate not truth and purity among them.,
they will have betrayed them and instead of raising them set them on the
downward road to perdition. Knowledge without character is a power for evil
only, as seen in the instances of so many talented thieves and gentlemen rascals
in the world.
As to use of the vacation by
students, if will they approach the work with zeal, they can undoubtedly do many
things. I enumerate a few of them:
1. Conduct night & day schools with
just a short course , well conceived , to last the period of the vacation.
2. Visit Harijan quarters and clean
them, taking the assistance of Harijan if they would give it.
3. Taking Harijan children for
excursions, showing them sights near the villages and teaching them how to study
nature, and generally interesting them in their surroundings giving them by the
way a working knowledge of geography & history.
4. Reading to them simple stories
from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.
5. Teaching them simple Bhajans.
6. Cleaning the Harijan boys of all
the dirt that they would find about their persons and giving both the grown ups
and the children simple lessons in hygiene.
7. Taking a detailed census in
selected areas of the conditions of the Harijans.
8. Taking medical aid to the ailing
Harijans. This is but a sample of what is possible to do among the Harijans. It
is a list hurriedly made, but a thoughtful student will, I have no doubt, add
many other items.
You are at the hope of the future.
You will be called upon, when you are discharged from your colleges and schools,
to enter upon public life to lead the poor people of this country. I would,
therefore like you students to have a sense of your responsibility and show it
in a much tangible manner. It is a remarkable fact, and a regrettable fact, that
in the case of the vast majority of the students, whilst they entertain noble
impulses during their student days, these disappear when they finish their
studies. The vast majority of them look out for loaves and fishes. Surely there
is something wrong in this. There is one reason which is obvious. Every
educational system is faulty. It dos not respond to the requirements of the
country, certainly not to the requirements of pauper India. There is no
correspondence between the education that is given and the home life and the
These are not necessities of life.
There are some who manage to take ten cups of coffee a day.. Is it necessary for
their healthy development and for keeping them awake, let them not drink coffee
or tea but go to sleep. We must not become slaves to these things. But the
majority of the people who drink coffee or tea are slaves to them. Cigars and
Cigarettes, wealth foreign or indigenous must be avoided.
Cigarette smoking is like an opiate
and the cigars that you smoke have a touch of opium about them. They get to your
nerves and you cannot leave them afterwards. How can a single student foul his
mouth in converting it into a chimney.? If you give up these habits of smoking
cigars and cigarettes and drinking coffee and tea you will find out for
yourselves how much you are able to save.
A drunkard in Tolstoy's story is
hesitating to execute his design of murder so long as he has not smoked his
cigar. But he puffs it, and then gets up smiling and saying, "What a coward am
I!" takes the dagger and does the deed. Tolstoy spoke from experience of it. And
he is much more against cigars and cigarettes than against drinks. But do not
make the mistake that between drink and tobacco, drink is a lesser evil. No. If
cigarette is Beelzebub than drink is Satan.
The students should be above all
humble, and correct..... The greatest to remain great has to be the lowliest by
choice. If I can speak from my knowledge of Hindu belief, the life of the
student is to correspond to the life of the sanyasi up to the time his studies
end. He is to be under the strictest discipline. He cannot marry, nor indulge in
dissipation. He cannot indulge in drinks and the like. His behaviour is to be a
pattern of exemplary self-resistant.
This article is taken from the book
"The Selected Works Of Gandhi"
Vol. 6 The Voice of Truth