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Sri Aurobindo

Bande Mataram

Early Political Writings. 1890 — May 1908

Bande Mataram. July 13, 1907

Swadeshi in Education

There is an interesting article in the Modern Review on Swadeshi in Education, interesting not only because of the subject and its importance, or of the undoubted thought and ability which has1 been devoted to the subject, but also and still more because of the limitations of the present education to which it bears striking evidence. The mind trained by the present system of education, even when it is somewhat above the average, is almost invariably deficient in practicality and the robustness to shake off cherished superstitions and face and recognise facts. The attempt at Swadeshi Education under the official Universities has been made both in Calcutta and under particularly2 favourable circumstances at Poona. At Poona an immense amount of self-sacrifice went to the making of the New English School and the Ferguson College, and some of the best intellects and noblest hearts in the Deccan devoted themselves to the work. Yet the end was failure. The Ferguson College is in no way superior to any other institution in the Bombay University, although also in no way inferior. Its education is the same vicious and defective education utterly unsuited to modern needs academic, scrappy, unscientific, unpractical, unideal. It takes aid from the officials, submits to their dictation and excludes politics at their bidding. Yet the proposal of the Modern Review writer is merely to concentrate the best intellects of the country in the Poona Institution in order to make it “an Indian College superior to any existing College”, and as3 summarily, dismisses the idea of a National University merely on the score of expense. We fail to see how this will meet the problem or how such an institution can really deserve the name of Swadeshi in Education. Swadeshi in Education does not mean teaching by Indian professors only or even management by Indians only. It means an education suited to the temperament and needs of the people fitted to build up a nation equipped for life under modern conditions and absolutely controlled by Indians. The proposed Model College might avail itself of the services of Drs. Bose and Ray and Ziauddin, but they would after all have to teach on the lines and up to the standard of the Bombay University and submit entirely to the rules and orders of the Bombay Government, as conveyed through an officialised Senate and Syndicate. We should still be confined within the vicious circle of which the writer complains. We should be no nearer “taking the higher education of this country into our own hands and ceasing to look to Englishmen for help” than we were thirty years ago. Independence is the first condition and any scheme which disregards it is doomed to failure.

 

Later edition of this work: The Complete Works of Sri Aurobindo.- Set in 37 volumes.- Volumes 6-7.- Bande Mataram: Political Writings and Speeches. 18901908 .- Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram, 2002.- 1182 p.

1 2002 ed. CWSA, vol.6-7: have

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2 2002 ed. CWSA, vol.6-7: peculiarly

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3 2002 ed. CWSA, vol.6-7: he

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