Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore were prominent figures in India’s freedom struggle and cultural renaissance, each advocating distinct philosophies regarding education and nationalism.
Their ideologies, though aimed at the betterment of India, showcased differing paths and methodologies.
Approach towards Education
- Basic Education:
Gandhi introduced the “Nai Talim” system, incorporated into the Wardha education scheme in 1937, emphasizing craft-centered education.
For example, spinning was considered a fundamental skill, promoting self-sufficiency and self-reliance.
- Moral Development:
Gandhi prioritized moral education, as evident in his autobiography “The Story of My Experiments with Truth.”
Life lessons and moral values were emphasized over formal education, shaping character development.
- Rural Centric:
Gandhi’s famous quote, “The real India lives in villages,” underlined his focus on rural development.
He believed in empowering rural communities through education and self-sustenance.
- Holistic Development:
Tagore’s curriculum at Shantiniketan emphasized music, art, and nature for holistic education.
Festivals like ‘Basanta Utsav’ celebrated creativity with music, dance, and colors.
The design of Shantiniketan, with classes held under trees and in open spaces, departed from traditional classroom-bound education.
It encouraged a connection with nature and freedom of thought.
- Global and Universal:
Tagore’s invitation to scholars from around the world, like Stella Kramrisch, enriched the global perspective at Shantiniketan.
He aimed for a universal approach to education that transcended geographical boundaries.
Approach towards Nationalism
1 . Mahatma Gandhi:
Gandhi advocated Hindu-Muslim unity during the Khilafat Movement, demonstrating his commitment to inclusive nationalism.
He believed in uniting all communities for the common goal of independence.
The Dandi March in 1930 symbolized Gandhi’s method of active resistance against the British salt tax.
It showcased his belief in nonviolent civil disobedience as a means to attain political goals.
Gandhi viewed Swaraj as a moral concept, not just political independence.
He emphasized self-rule and self-restraint as essential elements of true nationalism.
2. Rabindranath Tagore:
Critical of Aggressive Nationalism:
Tagore expressed criticism of aggressive nationalism, especially during World War I, in his essays compiled in “Nationalism” (1917).
He cautioned against divisive and confrontational nationalism.
Tagore’s composition “Jana Gana Mana,” adopted as India’s national anthem, reflects unity among diverse Indian regions without favoring any particular group.
It promotes the idea of a harmonious and united India.
Emphasis on Spiritual Unity:
Tagore’s poem “Bharat Tirtha” described India as a pilgrimage site, emphasizing the convergence of various cultures and spiritual traditions from all directions.
Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore, through their distinctive approaches, left lasting impacts on India’s ethos.
Gandhi’s methods were rooted in grassroots activism and moral values, while Tagore’s vision integrated India’s traditions with a universal spirit.
These legacies, though distinct, continue to guide India’s philosophical and moral compass, shaping the nation’s education and nationalism ideologies.