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Saturday, 28 September 2019

Nai Talim and Modern Education- Mahatma Gandhi (గాంధీజీ - నయీ - తాలీం)

  Nayee Talim and Modern Education- Mahatma Gandhi(గాంధీజీ - నయీ - తాలీం) Nayee Talim means teaching through craft. That basic craft has to be selected in the light of the conditions and produce of the region. For instance, it would not be proper to have khadi as a means of teaching in a region where cotton does not grow, but has to be imported for the purpose. If Nayee Talim can be proved to be self-supporting through khadi, then the same thing can be applied to other industries too. What I mean by making education self-sustaining is this. Just as the expense on food and clothing for the children studying in Government schools is borne by their parents, similarly, in Nayee Talim schools, parents will have to bear the expenses on food and clothing of their children. But the expenses incurred in the schools of today on books and fees will be saved. There should be no place for books in Nayee Talim. Initially some expenses may have to be incurred on cotton, carding-bow, and takli and so on.    Afterwards the only expenses will be on the teachers’ salaries, stationery, and the salaries of peons, etc., if they have to be engaged. Suppose, there are thirty boys in one school. They will handle all the processes right from collecting cotton from the field to spinning and weaving the yarn into cloth. Through every process the teacher will educate them so that their intellect sharpens day by day. This will result in students’ making ever new discoveries in the methods employed in the khadi industry which will make it more productive and profitable. The cloth produced by students will be purchased by their parents at any price. It will be the teacher’s duty to see that through his students he creates awareness in their parents that they may not even touch foreign and mill-made cloth. We should also see that an atmosphere of self-sufficiency in cloth and khadi is created. We shall have to create an atmosphere of our own. For bringing khadi to the stage it has reached today, we had to make efforts and create the climate. As a result no one now can root out khadi. The same thing can be said of Nayee Talim also. If the teacher is unable to create the necessary atmosphere, Nayee Talim cannot become self-reliant and cannot make headway. If he succeeds in creating the atmosphere and sharpening the intellect of the students, then the entire expenditure from beginning to end on Nayee Talim can be met from the sale of cloth produced by students. Students will be equipped for earning when they leave our schools. We do not promise them jobs. The Government also does not promise employment to students who are trained at enormous expense in Government schools. But our students will be brighter than the students of Government schools and will easily find occupations for them.    We must remember that when atmosphere had to be created for Government schools, they had to put in considerable effort in spite of the way being clear. The atmosphere we have to create is for revival. That which has been destroyed has to be revived in a new way and we look upon it as a peaceful way of attaining swaraj. It should be easy to do this. We do not find it easy as we have not gone to the villages with the correct attitude and have made no real attempts at all. Now we have Nayee Talim. If it does not work a miracle and develop power, then what is it good for? We do not realize the full significance of boys and girls being entrusted to our care from their childhood and undergoing craft based education in our schools for seven years or more. And the modern education which is being imparted to us teaches us that schooling can never become self-supporting. This creates some confusion in our minds. It is my firm belief that if Nayee Talim cannot become self-supporting, then the teachers do not understand what it is. In my view, amongst other characteristics self-reliance is the most important characteristic of Nayee Talim. If this is so for the education of boys and girls, then adult education must also be self-supporting. If we believe that it is difficult to convince adults about the value of education, then I have to say that this is nothing but an old illusion. And the teaching of the three R’s in adult education is no part of our Nayee Talim. The meaning of adult education is that we will give them, through their own language, all-round education of a pure and socially useful life. And if they do not easily become self-supporting, in my view there is some serious defect in that education. We should not also forget that complete cooperation should be the basis from the very beginning. Those who know the full meaning of co-operation will raise no doubts about self-reliance.    Q. Today only those students go to Government schools whose parents can pay for their food and clothing. We expect that under Nayee Talim, all the children of a village will go to school. There may be many among them who do not have the necessary food and clothing in their homes. What is the responsibility of Nayee Talim in such cases?    A. I have just stated the ideal that parents will provide for food and clothes. Even now boys do eat and wear clothes. The parents will pay to school whatever they spend on their children’s food and clothing. The diet we give will have a scientific basis. The expense will be a little more because of the milk. That expense will be met by the school. But when we persuade the parents to bear the expense on food, then they will pay for milk too. Those who are very poor will be very few; but if they are really poor then we can certainly bear the entire expense. I shall not worry about what clothes the girls and boys should wear because my ideal for them is a loin-cloth or clothes that a baby wears. It may be a brief kuchchha. We can easily make it. When girls develop breasts something will have to be done to cover them. The answer is a piece of cloth of the kind that is in vogue in the South. It is a different matter what provision is to be made in winters. You may not provide them any wraps but you must give them enough to wear. All this will be our property the boys and girls of the same age group will wear them. One thing should be kept in mind that these boys and girls will stay with us most of the time. We can easily bear all this expense. According to us the clothes for the poor and the rich will be the same. If the clothes are clean and of the right size, they will look as neat and tidy as naked children look.    Q. (a) Will there be an increase in the demand for cloth if an atmosphere of self-reliance in cloth is generated?   (b) Even if parents want to purchase cloth produced by their children, do they have the means to pay the price that we may ask for it?     A. Any price must of course mean reasonable price. This merely means that those who do not even touch khadi today will certainly buy the cloth made by their children if we sell it at a reasonable price. There will be no question of making a large profit on it. The price of every item will be different but by and large the difference between the cost price and the selling price will be almost the same. Even if the price of fancy goods is higher, still comparatively it will be much cheaper. Those who buy them will pay the price willingly. When self-reliance in cloth is achieved, everyone will accept khadi and will do so willingly. Then Nayee Talim will have reached its peak. No one will even care for me if this happens during my lifetime. All my answers apply to the present time, the present conditions.    Q. Training of teachers is a vast field that we have before us. In what way are we to practice self-reliance in this training?    A. Your question is how can those who have come here to be teachers become self-reliant? If young students can become self-reliant, the teachers must become self-reliant. The question is only one of bearing the expense of one’s own food, clothing and education. My point is that if teachers themselves cannot become self-reliant, how can they make the students self-reliant? In fact well-to-do persons, who have come here not for salary but for service, will not need any supervision. They will learn all occupations attentively and carefully. They will not waste anything because of carelessness. Such people will be able to meet their entire expenses from whatever occupation they undertake. Your curriculum ought to be such that teachers and students can earn enough for their expenses while they learn. You too will be put to the test in preparing such a curriculum. I like this question very much because it is a good sign that you have raised this question in the very beginning. Aryanayakam has written: “I have understood and agree with it.” This means that I also should have the same thing in mind that he has. If your syllabus is not based on the above lines, let me know. Perhaps I may be able to make it with your help. I go so far as to say that even wood should not be available free of charge. Bear in mind that we want to work in co-operation. We also want to learn true cooperation. Hence the fruits of everyone’s intelligence and skill should go into one pool. As I go on writing the subject becomes more and more interesting to me. I become more and more confirmed in my belief that self-reliance is the key to our success. This is proved by long experience.

Nai Talim and Modern Education- Mahatma Gandhi(గాంధీజీ - నయీ - తాలీం)

Nayee Talim means teaching through craft. That basic craft has to be selected in the light of the conditions and produce of the region. For instance, it would not be proper to have khadi as a means of teaching in a region where cotton does not grow, but has to be imported for the purpose. If Nayee Talim can be proved to be self-supporting through khadi, then the same thing can be applied to other industries too. What I mean by making education self-sustaining is this. Just as the expense on food and clothing for the children studying in Government schools is borne by their parents, similarly, in Nayee Talim schools, parents will have to bear the expenses on food and clothing of their children. But the expenses incurred in the schools of today on books and fees will be saved. There should be no place for books in Nayee Talim. Initially some expenses may have to be incurred on cotton, carding-bow, and takli and so on.

Afterwards the only expenses will be on the teachers’ salaries, stationery, and the salaries of peons, etc., if they have to be engaged. Suppose, there are thirty boys in one school. They will handle all the processes right from collecting cotton from the field to spinning and weaving the yarn into cloth. Through every process the teacher will educate them so that their intellect sharpens day by day. This will result in students’ making ever new discoveries in the methods employed in the khadi industry which will make it more productive and profitable. The cloth produced by students will be purchased by their parents at any price. It will be the teacher’s duty to see that through his students he creates awareness in their parents that they may not even touch foreign and mill-made cloth. We should also see that an atmosphere of self-sufficiency in cloth and khadi is created. We shall have to create an atmosphere of our own. For bringing khadi to the stage it has reached today, we had to make efforts and create the climate. As a result no one now can root out khadi. The same thing can be said of Nayee Talim also. If the teacher is unable to create the necessary atmosphere, Nayee Talim cannot become self-reliant and cannot make headway. If he succeeds in creating the atmosphere and sharpening the intellect of the students, then the entire expenditure from beginning to end on Nayee Talim can be met from the sale of cloth produced by students. Students will be equipped for earning when they leave our schools. We do not promise them jobs. The Government also does not promise employment to students who are trained at enormous expense in Government schools. But our students will be brighter than the students of Government schools and will easily find occupations for them.

We must remember that when atmosphere had to be created for Government schools, they had to put in considerable effort in spite of the way being clear. The atmosphere we have to create is for revival. That which has been destroyed has to be revived in a new way and we look upon it as a peaceful way of attaining swaraj. It should be easy to do this. We do not find it easy as we have not gone to the villages with the correct attitude and have made no real attempts at all. Now we have Nayee Talim. If it does not work a miracle and develop power, then what is it good for? We do not realize the full significance of boys and girls being entrusted to our care from their childhood and undergoing craft based education in our schools for seven years or more. And the modern education which is being imparted to us teaches us that schooling can never become self-supporting. This creates some confusion in our minds. It is my firm belief that if Nayee Talim cannot become self-supporting, then the teachers do not understand what it is. In my view, amongst other characteristics self-reliance is the most important characteristic of Nayee Talim. If this is so for the education of boys and girls, then adult education must also be self-supporting. If we believe that it is difficult to convince adults about the value of education, then I have to say that this is nothing but an old illusion. And the teaching of the three R’s in adult education is no part of our Nayee Talim. The meaning of adult education is that we will give them, through their own language, all-round education of a pure and socially useful life. And if they do not easily become self-supporting, in my view there is some serious defect in that education. We should not also forget that complete cooperation should be the basis from the very beginning. Those who know the full meaning of co-operation will raise no doubts about self-reliance.

Q. Today only those students go to Government schools whose parents can pay for their food and clothing. We expect that under Nayee Talim, all the children of a village will go to school. There may be many among them who do not have the necessary food and clothing in their homes. What is the responsibility of Nayee Talim in such cases?

A. I have just stated the ideal that parents will provide for food and clothes. Even now boys do eat and wear clothes. The parents will pay to school whatever they spend on their children’s food and clothing. The diet we give will have a scientific basis. The expense will be a little more because of the milk. That expense will be met by the school. But when we persuade the parents to bear the expense on food, then they will pay for milk too. Those who are very poor will be very few; but if they are really poor then we can certainly bear the entire expense. I shall not worry about what clothes the girls and boys should wear because my ideal for them is a loin-cloth or clothes that a baby wears. It may be a brief kuchchha. We can easily make it. When girls develop breasts something will have to be done to cover them. The answer is a piece of cloth of the kind that is in vogue in the South. It is a different matter what provision is to be made in winters. You may not provide them any wraps but you must give them enough to wear. All this will be our property the boys and girls of the same age group will wear them. One thing should be kept in mind that these boys and girls will stay with us most of the time. We can easily bear all this expense. According to us the clothes for the poor and the rich will be the same. If the clothes are clean and of the right size, they will look as neat and tidy as naked children look.

Q. (a) Will there be an increase in the demand for cloth if an atmosphere of self-reliance in cloth is generated?

(b) Even if parents want to purchase cloth produced by their children, do they have the means to pay the price that we may ask for it?

 A. Any price must of course mean reasonable price. This merely means that those who do not even touch khadi today will certainly buy the cloth made by their children if we sell it at a reasonable price. There will be no question of making a large profit on it. The price of every item will be different but by and large the difference between the cost price and the selling price will be almost the same. Even if the price of fancy goods is higher, still comparatively it will be much cheaper. Those who buy them will pay the price willingly. When self-reliance in cloth is achieved, everyone will accept khadi and will do so willingly. Then Nayee Talim will have reached its peak. No one will even care for me if this happens during my lifetime. All my answers apply to the present time, the present conditions.

Q. Training of teachers is a vast field that we have before us. In what way are we to practice self-reliance in this training?

A. Your question is how can those who have come here to be teachers become self-reliant? If young students can become self-reliant, the teachers must become self-reliant. The question is only one of bearing the expense of one’s own food, clothing and education. My point is that if teachers themselves cannot become self-reliant, how can they make the students self-reliant? In fact well-to-do persons, who have come here not for salary but for service, will not need any supervision. They will learn all occupations attentively and carefully. They will not waste anything because of carelessness. Such people will be able to meet their entire expenses from whatever occupation they undertake. Your curriculum ought to be such that teachers and students can earn enough for their expenses while they learn. You too will be put to the test in preparing such a curriculum. I like this question very much because it is a good sign that you have raised this question in the very beginning. Aryanayakam has written: “I have understood and agree with it.” This means that I also should have the same thing in mind that he has. If your syllabus is not based on the above lines, let me know. Perhaps I may be able to make it with your help. I go so far as to say that even wood should not be available free of charge. Bear in mind that we want to work in co-operation. We also want to learn true cooperation. Hence the fruits of everyone’s intelligence and skill should go into one pool. As I go on writing the subject becomes more and more interesting to me. I become more and more confirmed in my belief that self-reliance is the key to our success. This is proved by long experience.

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