Rabindranath Tagore and Adult Education in Rural Reconstruction.

•-Adult Educationin India: National and International Perspectives•-
Rabindranath Tagore and Adult Education in Rural Reconstruction.

Today i am going to talk on rabindranath tegar and adult education in rural reconstruction tegu's views on education let's talk about that tego's educational writings are mostly scattered in his voluminous literature in independent issues numerous speeches and invaluable letters a small number of which have been collected in books and journals very less have been through the lengths of researchers as these were in bengali and have not yet been translated into english his literary genius has been overpowered his work on education shiksha haifa written while he was just 31 years old is considered as first ever comprehensive criticism of educational system of the country at that time he was staunch believer in the value of education as the most fundamental prerequisite of the progress of a nation while he welcomed the desire for self-determination in education he apple to his countrymen to consider national problems in an objective and rational manner and to focus on national reconstruction with the village as the center he kept on writing about the subject in the editorial columns of sadhana under the general title of prashanga katha in 1905 in the article titled purboprusner anubriti he are good it is necessary to remember that if we place education in the hands of government they will attempt through that education to build their own interests and not ours they will so arrange that a farmer may remain farmer in his village they will not bother to make him a true citizen of india we can impart education according to our desire only if we take education in our hands it's absurd both to beg and to order a much stronger statement of tego's educational philosophy is found in his article siksa shamasya according to his opinion true national education is one which is originally linked with the life of a nation and which is natural process through the accumulated endeavors and the cherished ideals and traditions of the people of the land his thoughts couldn't match up with then official policy of national education council having idea of launching western type of political agitation which mainly appealed for fervors to the ruling power during colonial period after initial excitement of the movement subsided they got drifted from this western thoughts towards building his own evolving ideology is writing on this direction reflected in tapoban where he introduced a new idea of the education of feeling buddha and he clearly distinguished it from the education of the senses and the education of the intellect this education of feeling consists of realization of man's bond of union with the universe through the spirit through the soul through the deeper intuition of feeling they go visualize the educational system of india to attain the characteristic truth of her civilization pursued through centuries by her prophets thinkers and sins and that truth is not commercialism imperialism or nationalism that truth is universalism a letter of tagore titled shiksha bidhi the method of education reflected philosophy of educational method in the context of then existing socio-political and educational conditions of india he said that education can be imparted only by a teacher and never by a method man can learn only from a man just as the water tank can be filled only with water and fire can be kind of only with fire life can be inspired only with life the mere pill or a method instead shall bring us to no salvation the above discussion brings home the point that tagore visualized education as not mere and equipment to progress in life materialistically but a process of making of human being amidst its natural surroundings where life has deep rooted relationship with its entire ecology this idea link between life and education is experimented as srinikitan experiment in later part of his life where he tried to build a constant interaction between the peasants of the villages around srinagar students let's talk about sunni kitan experiment how did it start at the end of 1880's as directed by his father tegor had shouldered the responsibility to look after the family estates in chileda and patisser which is now in bangladesh thus began his navigation with village folk mostly the underprivileged he spent his days and nights on board of a houseboat on the river padma and observed the varied landscape of countryside bequeathed with the natural offerings of six seasons of bengal and the way local people got entwined their lives with nature he not only achieved the pinnacle of his literary creation in that milieu but get aligned with the local people in their pain of daily drudgery and struggle against at the frick of natures atrocious stoicism of state castism rats of feudal lords communalism colonialism all of these made him empathize with hapless poor village folk of rural bengal perhaps here his belief got shaped on the principle of self-help and enlightenment for the future program of rural reconstruction which reinforced by painful memories of his own school days where mechanical lifeless rote learning was the order of the day obliged him to take up on himself the role of an educationalist and social reformer now how has he started his renegade experiment where he introduced adult education we know rabindranath tagore as a poet thinker teacher playwright philosopher and he has unfathomable knowledge of the society and mankind as the base of universalism he founded shantiniketan in natural surrounding thereby giving a vent of his dream of living life with education during his journey of life to discover the emergence of ideal bond between mankind and society he visited japan in 1916. by 1918 december 18 he narrated his ideas about bishvarati an ideal seat of learning as follows to seek to realize in a common fellowship of study the meeting of east and west and thus ultimately to strengthen the fundamental conditions of world peace through the establishment of free communications of ideas between the two hemisphere while the constitution of bishopharati was still being made the work at srinagatan was at its nascent stage although by the time poet had already tied up with surul samiti situated in the village surul next to srinikitan it culminated a full-faced rural reconstruction srini ketan only by 19th november 1921. under the leadership of leonard elmerst a british agro-economist from cornell the first ever meeting held to initiate the work in rural reconstruction this meeting was considered as the meeting of provisional board of gov directors department of agriculture the framework of rural reconstruction and its activities were planned in this meeting itself where it was decided that alberst would be the director to initiate the work at surul srini ketan later during december to 1921 an estimate of expenditure was prepared and eventually the journey of srinikitan started on february 6 1922. srinikitan witness the creation of different departments as required gradually initially it had only two departments that were surul department and village welfare department later craft school which called as silpa bhavan village economics which known as gram shamiksa shiksha satra etc were created rural reconstruction was looked after by the village welfare department this was the department which brought forth the activities like health creation of cooperative societies night school welfare of untouchable and tribal and women welfare etc to take care of village development holistically the revolutionary attempt that had been taken during this space was to start a chalantika granthagar which is a mobile library in 1925 with 200 books it was introduced to reach the women in the villages who were not allowed to step out of their homes cycles were used as the vehicle to reach the woman for long and later part the cars were procured to sustain this interfere but unfortunately it was noticed that elites of rural bengal tried their level base to capture the benefits of such initiative and not letting it to spread among commons tagore's idea of adult education was never been an isolated plant but always a part of larger agenda of rural reconstruction where the adult education evolved naturally in search of the root of such thinking we got an indication of the very idea of adult education as part of education system itself in bhandar magazine edited by ravindernath tego's elder brother wrote a piece titled lok shikh shar upai the way to adult education in this article jyotirindranath tegar the elder brother of tegor emphasized that knowledge and science arts and crafts and inculcation of expressions these are not merely for inculcation if it is not being spread among the commons and inculcate then there is no well-being of us conspicuously elmers also proposed to start peripatetic university to reach the main and women in rural bengal where education would knock at the door of the people who are underprivileged and marginalized tagore's idea of adult education got enraged with such proposal and he was determined to reach the totally marginalized people men and women who were illiterate orphaned and socially being existed at the bottom of society at that point of time in 1924 in prabhasi magazine tagore made an apple to the citizens of the country for financial assistance for women's education although it didn't receive much of attention from his countrymen he continued his efforts in 1930 he traveled to russia and his letter from russia he praised the initiative how this education is spreading with great energy in all parts of the society here surprises me not only in number but in fullness and without work not only in white russia but also among the half enlightened peoples of central asia they are spreading education like a great flood there is no death in their endeavor so that these people receive the best of the latest scientific discovery in february 1936 he addressed education conference in calcutta during bengal education week in which he pleaded for home university scheme he made the observations there in if examination centers are started in towns and cities of different states those men and women in the country who are for various reasons deprived of the benefit of school education then many will feel encouraged to educate themselves at home in their leisure hours their education can be properly directed if their syllabus and textbooks are clearly prescribed from the lowest to highest stages the degrees that will be awarded through these examinations will be valuable in so far as they will bring social prestige and will be useful for earning a livelihood on 18 september 1936 he wrote to then education minister of bengal sir ajijul hawk for changing the law for promotion of distance education bengal by incorporating possible provisions it has been reported that the government did not implement dagor's distant education model in bengal that time it was reported there was no open university or there was no well-established distance education centers in the world eventually while tego's proposal was turned down by the education ministry of bengal he placed it before the authorities of vishwaharati who undertook to organize mass education on the line suggested by him in 1936 there were three examinations adeya madhya and upadhi which were roughly corresponding to the matriculation intermediate and ba standard although initially the work of this department was directed by shantini ketan later it got shifted to srini kaitan and merged with rural reconstruction officially in 1943 bhubantanga shurul and mahidapur these three villages were the first places where from sriniketan experiment for adult education started its sojourn the syllabus included bengali language bengali literature history geography arithmetic general knowledge elementary hindi hygiene and science in different combinations for different standards under tego's direction and editorship vishvarati undertook the publication of a series of books in bengali known as lok shiksha granthamala on various subjects of scientific and general interests specially written in easy language for general public there were six subjects division of bishopharti publication which were earmarked to be laid by six set of different experts these six divisions were like philosophy where editors were acharya brajandra natsil and narendra nad sengupta signs were having the editors scholars like ramen rashunda trivedi and prashanta chandra mahalanobis history geography and economics were having editor as jodunat sarkar literature and history of literature edited by pramatha chaudhary art editors where adhindu shekhar ganguly and surendranat takur and educational science was being headed by temporary editorship of ravindranath himself there were eight types of instructions like a book cannot be more than 200 to 250 pages language should be easy and the prices should be limited only to 12 anna's to reach such publication to its logical destinations the users at the village tagger arranged to reach those in the rural reconstruction centers at the villages so that people could get the access of these books the process of publication was headed by the head of the department of vishvarthi publication sri chaaru chandra bhattacharya and pulin bihari shin first book from this initiative was of tagos named pathe sanchoi books were kept at the rural reconstruction centers in almost 15 villages in 1949 as it was mentioned in the chalantika granthagar's report these centers were located in jadhavpur nuedanga shittalpur shanthalpara he ushered many changes in bishop bharati regulations to get the lok shiksha shamstad as recognized academic body act of loksiksha shamsad in the bishvarati act 1951 says section 7a notwithstanding anything contained in section 7 the university may establish and maintain at any place in india examination centers for home study courses conducted by its lokshuksa samsart and recognized for such purposes as may be provided in the ordinances the certificates awarded by the said lok shiksha samsa which is known as people's education council on the results of examination conducted by it about the certificates and residence of students of people's education council there were information from the bishopharti act 1951 number 29 the purposes for which certificates awarded by the lok shiksha shamsa that is people's education council of the university may be recognized by the university 32 residents every student of university other than a student of its loksiksa samsung which is people's education council who shall reside in a chatrabas too or under such conditions as may be prescribed by the statutes and the ordinances one conspicuous point of this endeavor of facilitating adult education was the continuous efforts of rectification of the examination processes tegur himself was part of the process by creating the question papers which not only required the students to learn the respective subjects to answer but also incorporate the capability to be creative enough to express one's own thinking through such answers professors from santiniketan used to meet the students at these rural reconstruction centers to discuss with the students from vicinity and they never charge the fees for such a contribution that they have met while lok shiksha samsara started its journey with two centers it grew over the time other than undivided bengal the centers were opened in bihar orissa madhya pradesh and bombay in 1941 they were all together 11 centers which grew in 1942 to 64 in 1943 to 109 and the final blow to this endeavor most of the adult education centers were in east pakistan and due to partition it did become impossible to continue there it was reported in the annual report of lok shiksha that while in 1948 there were 933 centers in 1949 it grew up to 986. since the numbers of centers were increasing formation of patha chakra consisting of the adult education students were given priority to expand the light of education among commons while there was a steady increase in students number as it was reported in 1951 as one lakh 91 528 but 1954 and 1959 registered only 998 and 674 as students respectively the examination centers were arranged in different places like educational institutions libraries literature academy etc this initiative received the blows thereafter the decentralized examination centers were withdrawn first by bishopharti for economic reasons and the examinations were arranged only in chantiniketan then the students of adult education schemes were denied to participate in convocation and thus lowering the position of lok siksha shamsa itself the decision reflected that adult education was not equal to conventional education and the final nail on the coffin came as in 1969 bishop bharati authority declared through its declaration that the titles given by lok saksha samsa was going to be considered as eligibility only for job opportunities but not for higher studies contextually adult education was conceptualized by tagore as social reconstruction through rural reconstruction to build a strong contingent of able citizen for the country in that dream to be achieved tagore emphasized to bring life in education to create an ideal society over the years the changes that had been brought forth into the system in different pretext didn't really facilitated the foundation rather necessarily weaken the efforts and thereby crust the very dream and therefore the movement of adult education system itself received a big blow which was not at all a very positive sign in case of movement of adult education system finally adult education movement received a blow and died its natural death in that time but what tiggers tried to achieve through this educational system was a boon towards the country's people's educational advancement thank you very much

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