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Jawaharlal Nehru and his views on Education

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Jawaharlal Nehru’s views on education are partly influenced by Karl Marx and partly by Gandhi’s ideas. His theory of knowledge is based on rationalism, empiricism, and positivism. As a rationalist, Nehru kept more faith in science than in religion and based his facts on intelligence, experience, and reason. Philosophical problems were not his concern and his sole focus was the man himself. In this way, he formulated the religion of humanity, where he substituted God with humanity.

Nehru had always criticized organized religion of every kind and felt it was detrimental to progress. He was mainly against superstitions and blind faith as opposed to spirituality and wanted to spread a rational and scientific view of life. His thoughts bore the influence of the teachings of the Gita and he admitted the importance of the text in human society. Dr Radha Krishnan said that Nehru was not a religious man in the sectarian sense but that he had the deepest faith in spiritual values.

Nehru accepted that education was the most important means to social change. “Only through right education can a better order of Society be built up”, said Nehru (Nehru JL, Soviet Russia). He believed that freedom from ignorance is as essential as freedom from hunger (Nehru J L Speeches vol IV). He realized that a country’s problems cannot be solved only through social and political reforms. Improved human relations are also required to achieve social development and that cannot be carried out without adequate mental development.

Nehru, in his address to Allahabad University students, said, “A university stands for humanism, for tolerance, for reason, for the adventure of ideas and for the search for truth” (Nehru JL, Independence and After). Rabindranath Tagore expressed similar ideas when Vishwabharati University was established.

Nehru stressed on the spiritual aspect of social development, without which, “the disintegration of society will proceed in spite of all material advance” (Nehru JL, Speeches vol IV). Nehru supported the Russian approach to education and said that the object of education was to “produce a desire to serve the community as a whole and to apply the Knowledge gained not only for personal but for public welfare” (Nehru JL, Soviet Russia).

Education, according to Nehru had economic as well as social objectives. It should culturally improve a man and also enable him to generate wealth in society.

“Unless you produce the amount you consume you are a burden to society,” he said (Nehru JL, Speeches vol III).

Gandhi’s concept of basic education was welcomed by Nehru who believed education must be based on the actual environment and experiences of the child and it must fit him for the work he will have to do in after life” (Nehru JL, Soviet Russia). Keeping in view the expenses that would be required to educate the millions of uneducated children in India, Nehru believed India’s massive unemployment crisis could be solved with basic education. This gave people the capacity “to coordinate manual labor with mental and intellectual ability” (Nehru JL, Speeches vol III).

Technology and industry are the primary requirements to battle poverty and unemployment. As such, Nehru, who introduced the concept of five-year plans for the overall development of India, laid great importance upon scientific education. This was done so that the nation could produce a workforce, which was skilled enough to implement the plans.

He also established national science laboratories in core areas of science all over India and started the IITs, which together helped take India to great heights in technical development. However, Nehru also warned that “we should accept technology without leaving basic values which are the essence of civilized man” (Nehru JL, Recent Essays and Writings).

Nehru gave equal importance to cultural education as well as it was integral to the development of human personality. He advised for the establishment of special institutions to propagate rapid growth in art and culture in the culture. As the president of Sahitya Academy, he was of the opinion that the government should interfere as little as possible in this field and should only move in if art and culture turned into a social menace.

Developing countries such as India have a huge gap between the different sections of society and one of the aims of education is to shorten this gap by uplifting the backward sections. Nehru brought attention to the fact that educating the nation’s women would make them economically independent and “everybody should be a producer as well as a good citizen” (Nehru JL, Discovery of India). He also felt that educating the rural women would help in the success of family planning and other rural development schemes.

Nehru’s main objective via education was to do away with the narrow religious and communalistic views and promote a scientific and humanitarian mindset. Being Western-educated himself, he believed English education helped broaden India’s horizons and created a “revolt against some customs and aspects of Indian life, and a growing demand for political reform” (Nehru JL, Discovery of India). However, he also believed that regional languages ought to be the primary medium for the success of educational programs.

Nehru is considered the architect of the modern educational system in India as he formulated the educational policy on becoming Independent India’s first Prime Minister. Impressed by the scientific progress of the West, he visualized western aims and means for primary, secondary, and university levels of education. This may be called his weakness, but it was also the strength behind his educational policy.

The ideal education system in present day India would entail an amalgamation of ancient Indian values and the techniques suggested by western educational thinkers. Nehru’s humanism was based upon naturalism, which was different from the idealistic humanism of other contemporary Indian educational thinkers such as Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo, and Swami Dayananda Saraswati.

However, Nehru’s contribution to the scientific development of the country cannot be ignored as it helped India to become of the top five nations in the world to boast of an all-round development.

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‘India Won the 1962 War and Gandhiji was not Murdered’: Are New Textbooks in India Misinforming the Youth?

How can the youth know the struggles of the ancestors of the nation if they believe that we have a all-too-glorified past?

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New School Textbooks in India are not telling the real history to youth. Wikimedia

August 25, 2017: Fake news has become the biggest evil to true information. Exaggerated/ altered facts to support an ideological agenda has become increasingly common, combined with photoshopped images and fabricated videos.

But this misinformation when breaches the sacredness of education and knowledge, it takes the form of the most dangerous thing. Such fabricated tales are now available in the new textbooks in India.

History, in particular, has been twisted and told to young students of India. It is unfortunate that the textbooks which are to shape the able youth of the nation and telling outright lies.

ALSO READ: Politics and Education: A Relationship that contributes a lot in shaping our Future

Below are some of the incidents that have been explained differently than the reality:

THE MUGHALS

The Hindus have always hated the Mughal chapter of the Indian History. The Mughal Dynasty came to India for conquest and occupied the majority of the nation. The Dynasty which came from Central Asia ruled over the Indian subcontinent from 1526-1857 after which the White people took over. The slavery of Hindus in their own nation is a sad but true fact. The Mughal rule was also perceived as the authoritarian nature of Islam, although the interests that the dynasty was pursuing were purely political. The people who opposed the Mughal Dynasty in India included Chattrapati Shivaji, the Maratha King, along with Assam Kings Commander Lachit Borphukan, are well respected among the Hindu sect.

There was also an incident involving Mughal King Akbar and Rajput Chieftain Maharana Pratap. Maharana Pratap rejected becoming subordinate to Akbar. Hence, a war was waged which later came to be known as the Battle of Haldighati. Although Maharana’s Rajput forces gave a tough fight, it was outnumbered by Akbar’s huge military.

In July 2017, India Today reported that in the Class X textbooks of history, it is said that it was the Rajput forces that defeated the Mughals in the battle. This change was approved by the Rajasthan Board of Secondary Education during the period of revising state textbooks.

MAHATMA GANDHI

Nowhere in the Class VIII textbooks do the students find the story of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination. The book does explore Gandhi’s life span, but it does not inform how the father of the nation was killed by Nathuram Godse. The Rajasthan Rajya Pathyapustak Mandal has published the textbook.

JAWAHARLAL NEHRU

The same textbook that has omitted Godse’s name has also forgotten Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first PM and the longest one at that. While Nehru’s decisions during his leadership are of various debates, the book has not discussed the first PM and his role in reconstructing a newly independent and divided nation. However, the book has extensively mentioned the First President Rajendra Prasad and Sardar Patel. Indian Express reported how the political ideology has played a role here to hide the true picture of history. Nehru, for all his secular ideas and a different idea of the country, which was not so popular among some sects.

1962 WAR BETWEEN INDIA AND CHINA

India was taken off guard by an attack from the Chinese troops in 1962. India, which was still recovering from independence, lost embarrassingly. In the recent Dokhlam standoff, Chinese media has reminded India of the humiliating defeat. Needless to say, the 1962 Indo-Sino war left a mark on Indians.

But in Madhya Pradesh’s Sanskrit Textbooks for Class VIII students, it is claimed that India won the war. The book titled ‘Sukritika’ explicitly states, “What famously came to be known as Sino-India war of 1962 was won by India against China,” reports Times of India. The textbook is published by Kriti Prakashan and is used at CBSE affiliated schools in Madhya Pradesh.

THE UNFORTUNATE REALITY

Indian Express had also reported the dire need for improvement in Maharashtra. Important events of world history (and not just western history) such as the French and American Revolution, Magna Carta, Greek Academia, etc. are all replaced by the glorification of the Maratha dynasty.

These incidents are shameful when viewed from a citizen’s lens. How can one expect to believe knowledge and intellect when information itself is a lie? How can the youth know the struggles of the ancestors of the nation if they believe that we have an all-too-glorified past?


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Nehru Largely Responsible for Indo-China Border Dispute

Jawaharlal Nehru was a big failure in international relations as evident from his being the pioneer in spoiling India’s relations with China and creating the Kashmir issue with Pakistan

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Jawaharlal Nehru signing the Indian constitution. Wikimedia

– by Gaurav Tyagi

New Delhi, August 19, 2017: Indian and Chinese troops are locked in a confrontation, since mid-June on a piece of territory claimed by both China and Bhutan.

This dispute is a tripartite one, involving India, China and Bhutan. The aforesaid terrain is claimed by Bhutan, which has no diplomatic ties with Beijing.

India and Bhutan have a treaty of friendship dating back to 1949. This gives India complete influence over Thimphu’s defense and foreign policy.

The stand-off appears irresolvable with India refusing to withdraw its troops back to its side of the international border and China insisting that diplomacy would only be possible once, Indian troops move back.

India’s National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval had a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi on 27th July. It was the first high-level meeting between India and China since, the aforementioned military stand-off between these two nations, which started on 16th June.

Unfortunately, this meeting also failed to resolve the deadlock.

The Chinese accuse India of trespassing into the Chinese territory while the Indian side maintains that it just responded to Bhutan’s request for help.

ALSO READ: Hindu American Foundation (HAF) Releases Online Forms for Second Bullying Survey of Hindu American Youth

India suffered a defeat at the hands of China in the 1962 war between both these countries. This bitter memory still continues to haunt the Indian policy makers.
It’s therefore imperative to analyze the situation leading to the Indo-China battle during 1962 because one cannot face the future with confidence/clarity unless the ghosts of the past are buried.

Australian journalist, Neville Maxwell made portions of the Henderson Brooks report public by putting it on his blog in March 2014.

This report was an internal Indian army enquiry into its loss to China in the 1962 war. Maxwell was the New Delhi correspondent for ‘The Times’, London during that period.
The report was compiled by Lt. General Henderson Brooks and Brigadier P.S. Bhagat.
Successive Indian governments have refused to make the report public because it rightly proves that Nehru, the first Prime Minister of independent India instigated the 1962 war with China.

Indians grow up with the narrative that China attacked India in 1962. This was a trick used by Nehru to enrage public attitude in India against China.

The so called ‘McMahon line’ on the border between China and India is just an Indian claim from the legacy of British imperialism.

Britishers deceptively ensured that India, post-independence inherit a border dispute with China. They did it by moving into the Chinese territory in the Northeast during the 1940’s in spite of repeated complaints by the Chinese government in this regard.

The Chinese wanted to settle the matter of McMahon line. Zhou Enlai, the first Premier of the People’s Republic of China visited India in 1960 asking for an agreement on the McMahon line but due to Nehru’s rigid and illogical stand, no agreement on this issue could take place.

Nehru refused to negotiate with the Chinese. His adamant stand was; “We will decide where the boundary is. It’s not negotiable. Chinese have to accept”.
The Henderson Brooks report clearly mentions that the absurd ‘forward policy’ of Nehru, directing Indian troops to patrol; ‘show the Indian flag’ and establish posts as ‘far forward as possible’ from the existing positions resulted in the Indo-China war of 1962.

BJP also blamed Nehru for the 1962 fiasco. A prominent leader of BJP, Ravi Shankar Prasad in March 2014 asked for the Henderson Brooks report to be made public. BJP under the leadership of Modi won the 2014 parliamentary elections with overwhelming majority.

Modi government is not dependent on any other political party for its survival in the Indian Parliament. Modi must therefore, take decisions, which are in national interest rather than trying to preserve the falsely created lofty image of Nehru.

ALSO READ: Challenges to the Narendra Modi government before the Upcoming 2019 Elections

Past Congress governments in India didn’t do anything in this regard since, Congress party comprises of only sycophants of Nehru clan. They do not have the guts to criticize Nehru and his failed policies.

Modi should make the Henderson Brooks report public and lift the ban imposed on Neville Maxwell’s book; ‘India’s China War’ imposed by the erstwhile Congress government to safeguard the reputation of Nehru in the eyes of the Indian public.

This would go a long way in initiating a meaningful dialogue between India and China resulting in the final resolution of the border dispute to the satisfaction of both nations.
National boundary negotiations are easy, if both sides meet with an open-minded ‘give and take’ attitude. It’s an historical opportunity for Modi to leave his mark on the ‘sands of time’ as the boldest Indian PM, who courageously corrected the blunder committed by Nehru.

– The author is a Master Degree holder in International Tourism & Leisure Studies from Netherlands and is based in China.

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This Day That Year : 5 Things We Bet You Didn’t Know Happened on August 15, 1947

India and Pakistan are twins, but with different birth dates. Do you know why?

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India and Pakistan
India and Pakistan. Wikimedia.
  • Pakistan celebrates its Independence Day on August 14
  • Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru delivered his speech ‘Tryst With Destiny’ to herald the beginning of a new India
  • The decision of India’s date of independence was taken by then Viceroy Lord Mountbatten

New Delhi, August 15, 2017 : It was a Thursday unlike any other. India’s independence on August 15, 1947 marked more than just a date in historical records and text books. One date unchained almost one-fifth of the world’s population at the time from colonial rule.

You will come across numerous articles on the internet that will test you on things that you didn’t know about India’s independence. But this is not just another article on the internet and it is not what this article will do.

Instead, what this article will do is tell you five things that happened on this day that year; that is five things that happened on August 15, 1947 – a day that has been forever etched in history as the Indian Independence Day.

 

  1. The then Viceroy Lord Mountbatten pre-poned the date of Independence by an entire year
  • The 1940s saw the awakening of the Indian masses, courtesy Mahatma Gandhi and Subhash Chandra Bose (by his contribution to the formation of the Indian National Army).
  • By the end of the II World War in 1945, the British were financially weak. This mired them to run their own country, let alone the many colonies.
  • Labour Party emerged victorious in the Britain elections (1945) which promised to grant independence to countries that were British colonies, including India.

Talks had already begun on the transfer of power, to overlook which Lord Mountbatten was appointed as the last Viceroy of the British Empire in February 1947.

According to the original plan, power was to be transferred from Britain to India in June 1948, but Jinnah’s demand for a partition instigated polarization and large scale violence in the territory. Thus, the inability and reluctance to control the warring citizens forced Lord Mountbatten to pre-pone the date of independence by almost a year, from 1948 to 1947.

The decision of the date of indian independence was Lord Mountbatten's
Lord Mountbatten with Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru. Wikimedia

  1. Pakistan chose to shift its date of Independence from August 15 to August 14

Even though Pakistan celebrates 14th August as its Independence Day, technically the day it achieved independence was the same as India, that is August 15th. This can be supplemented with the Independence of India Act which states “as from the fifteenth day of August, nineteen hundred and forty seven, two independent dominions shall be set up in India, to be known respectively as India and Pakistan.” 

However, to commemorate Pakistan’s independence, this date was shifted to August 14 for which a variety of explanations are given,

  • It is widely postulated that Lord Mountbatten delivered the King’s message of independence on August 14 in Karachi because of which the date is considered the official date of the declaration of Independence of Pakistan.
  • Others believe that August 14 was the 27th day of Ramzan which made it an extremely auspicious day in Islam and hence favoring the choice.
  • It is also believed that Lord Mountbatten was supposed to be a part of independence celebrations of both the countries. To ensure his attendance, Pakistan shifted the date to 14th.

This makes India and Pakistan twins, but with different birth dates.

ALSO READ Five Important Eras in Indian History: How the Indian Map was drawn and redrawn!

  1. August 15 was the date of independence but Partition took place two days later

Contrary to popular belief, the activities at Delhi on August 15, 1947 went on very smoothly and two independent dominions emerged. However, the official announcement of the partition of these ‘two’ new countries was yet to be made.

Today, parts of Punjab are very well known to exist on both sides of the border dividing India and Pakistan. Being one of the biggest states of the time, it was expected to witness mass migrations upon partition. To keep things under control, a smart option would have been to announce the partition of the country before announcing independence to steer clear of any confusion and allow people to move to the country they wanted to live in.

The partition led to mass killings and crimes
The partition led to mass migration of people across both sides of the border. Wikimedia

But Lord Mountbatten refused to publish the new boundary guidelines before August 17. This was because the migration was sure to cause large scale chaos, crime and killings. If that happened before independence was announced, the British Raj would have had to hold responsibility.

Hence, the official announcement of the boundary was published on August 17, 1947 which means on the morning of August 15, the people of Punjab did not know whether they were living in India or in Pakistan.

 

  1. Despite succumbing to their rule for over 100 years, Indians bid a tender farewell to their departing colonizers

On the day of the Transfer of Power, while Hindus and Muslims continued to butcher each other in different parts of the country, a whole lot of them united to send-off British colonizers with warmth and affection. This can be supplemented by records from the Indian Army’s journal, Fauji Akhbar which described the events of the day :

“(The Governor-General) was acclaimed as no other Governor-General of India within living memory has been greeted. Cries of ‘Mountbatten Zindabad’ and ‘Lord Sahib Zindabad’ were heard.”

The reception at New Delhi, and eventually the farewell at Bombay given to the British troops and Lord Mountbatten was indeed very warm and overwhelming (not to forget very contradictory) as thousands of people chanted ‘England Zindabad’ and ‘Jai England’ for their ex-colonizers.

 

  1. There was no performance of the National Anthem on 15 August 1947

In the fifth session of the constituent assembly, as it struck midnight and Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru recited words that were to become history, India heralded a new beginning. Power was thus, transferred from Britain to India and ministers were sworn in. However, during the Indian independence ceremony, the national anthem was not sung.

The speech was made at midnight of 15 august 1947
Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru delivering his tryst with destiny speech. Wikimedia

Although Jana Gana Mana had been already written by Rabindranath Tagore in 1911, it was not officially adopted as the national anthem of India until 1950.

 


 

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