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      Gandhiji had a philosophy or a policy on education.  It was formed mostly due to the way British set up the education system in India.  He did not like that.   British educational system was to make graduates as their workers.  It encouraged feelings against manual labour work, and purely profession oriented.  It separated children from families.  It increased the problems in India due to industrialization and urbanization.

      Gandhiji was against the education in English medium in India, as it took the place of local languages and made people aliens to their own land and culture.  He wished children to lean in local language and to be able to teach knowledge their illiterate family members.

     Gandhiji wanted an integrated development to allround personality that includes physical, moral development in addition to intellectual development.  He clearly identified the distinction between literacy and lessons, between learning and education, and between knowledge and wisdom.  That is, he wanted education, wisdom and lessons in life.  He said that literacy in itself is no education.  That was found to be happening.  Education finally should lead to spiritual path and not stop at careers and social status.  It should enable a higher role in the society.  Education must produce enlightened souls.   He also found that the education at that time was not at all connected with home life, village life, and the requirements of the country.  He did not like students to do nuisances, smoke or drink.  He preferred students to lead celibate life (brahmacharya) and discipline.

     He formed his ideas into “Nai Talim” in 1937.  It is a spiritual principle expressing his philosophy.  It means “Best education for all”.  In that philosophy, knowledge and work (profession to earn one’s living) are not separate.  Education should be a complete process for the development of a person along with morals and a good social character.  His philosophy is an idealism formed through the impressions of Tolstoy on him in South Africa as well as his life at Sabarmati Ashram.  His approach was more rural oriented and traditional to make a person a wholistic ideal person.  Nai Talim was to eradicate illiteracy, superstitions and the development of the attitude of slavery (in British rule).  Education is supposed to remove all taboos that inhibit free thinking.

    The ideas in Nai Talim were sort of revolutionary.  However his philosophy was not adopted in Independent India by Nehru.  Nehru supported industrialization, centralization, centrally planned and controlled economy.

     Handicrafts, arts and sketching (painting) are also part of Nai Talim, to develop the young minds in an unstressed and informal environment.  In fact, these are to be used even before teaching alphabets.  Spinning and weaving were also part of the pedagogy.  They were suited to the situation India was in at that time.

    Gandhiji’s education philosophy was influenced by famous intellectuals world over and the ancient Hindu scriptures.  He believed that education was to be passed from one (guru) to another.  Many of those principles are implemented over the last few decades, even though not in the name of Nai Talim.  There are many residential schools in India that follow his principles.  Aim of Nai Talim was to create a free and good society rather than a free India sans good society.
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