Gandhian Way of Education: M.K. Gandhi’s Educational Philosophy in R.K. Narayan’s Swami and Friends
Keywords:Education, Gandhism, Wardha Scheme, Basic Education, Nai Talim
M.K. Gandhi is a unique paradox. He has been sanctified and idolised for his beliefs and teachings and at the same time has been assumed as an impractical idealist. On the contrary his educational philosophy has been highly practical and in the ever-changing times and challenges of the 21st century, it becomes pertinent to explore it.Education is the facilitator of humanity. It is precisely this understanding of education that Gandhi propounds in his philosophical understanding of the same. The roots of all evils lie in ignorance of education and the roots of all virtuousness lies in adherence to it.R.K. Narayan (1906-2001) and M.K. Gandhi (1869-1948) were two major figures of the 20th century India, owing to the former’s literary and the latter’s political and philosophical sensibilities. Gandhi's ideas and ideals regarding education are multi-faceted. For him education has multiple aims and objectives. For him education is not only a means to serve an individual or a national cause but goes on to serve the still larger cause of humanity. It is this aspect of his teachings which will remain the focal point of this paper. The novel Swami and Friends (1935) is written in the characteristic Narayanian vein which refuses to evolve and incorporate serious issues on the surface. Though primarily it appears to be apolitical and plain in style, the novel nonetheless exhibits some serious issues related to education. Efforts would be made in the paper to show how the educational system portrayed in the novel is in stark contrast to the educational philosophy and the ideals for which Gandhi pined throughout his life. The paper would hence attempt to delineate the Gandhian educational philosophy by placing it in and around the critique of education that R.K. Narayan offers in his debut novel Swami and Friends (1935).
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