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Gurukul system Vs Anglophonic education: Which learning system is better for children?

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By Gaurav Sharma

Education is not about flooding the brain with mass volumes of data. It is not about maximising the economic prospects of an individual, or providing the means to be at the top of the food chain of success.

It is about acquiring a skill set which is to be constantly reinvigorated and reworked. This skill set, apart from providing social and economic well-being and intellectual fulfillment, should usher in a creative revolution in the psyche of the individual.

It is about taking the student beyond the familiar chartered territory into the unknown. Something that emancipates a learner from the shackles of the mind.

But, does our modern education system actually offer such knowledge?

Working towards economic prosperity within certain social structures is the thrust of the present education system. This can be quite clearly seen in the reflection of the society around us.

One of the most developed nations, boasting of the best education systems in the world such as Harvard, MIT among others, is a host to regular bouts of school shootings, binge alcoholism and umpteen suicides.

The pressure created by the Anglophonic education system to get better grades for better pay is pushing more and more students to take refuge of intoxicants and immediate sense pleasures. This leads them further below the mind, instead of taking them beyond it.

So, if our present education system has such massive pitfalls, isn’t it time we evaluate it more broadly and find out the crucial missing link of the puzzle?

When we make a comparative analysis of the traditional Gurukul system with the present system, we can easily find some answers to this pertinent question.

While some people might claim that the Gurukul system was biased as only the sons of Brahmins and the kings were permitted in such schools, the reality was that any worthy student–possessing the required determination, desire and willingness could join the Gurukul.

The shishyas or students, lived together as equals, irrespective of social standing.

Under the guidance of the Guru, the children led a simple life bereft of immoral habits. Moreover, what really set the Gurukul students apart from the present lot of students entering the workforce was their knowledge of Yoga, meditation and Sanskrit language.

The spiritual disciplines that they strictly followed in the Gurukul, provided them with the mastery of body and mind. Also, by serving the Guru in performing menial jobs inculcated humility deep in their hearts.

This was not to say that they were limited in their knowledge. A wide array of knowledge in the Scriptures, Philosophy, Literature, Medicine, Astrology, History, Warfare was imparted to students

The Vedic knowledge that was taught in the Gurukul made the pupils at ease with their own mind and body. The profound spiritual knowledge made them more peaceful, loving and respectful of other living entities.

The real goal of life that of Mukti or liberation from the fourfold cycle of birth, old age, disease and death assumed paramount importance, and artha or wealth was meant to be used for the welfare of the society.

And, it was ensured that this purpose of life was taught with single-pointedness during the fragile formative years of the child, through the Gurukul system.

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Facts About India’s First Female Doctor: Rukhmabai Raut

Rukhmabai worked to a great extent for the upliftment and betterment of women. She even published a pamphlet and called it “Purdah-the need for its abolition.”

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Rukhmabai was born on November 22, 1864, in a Marathi family to Janardhan Pandurang and Jayantibai. Wikimedia Commons
Rukhmabai was born on November 22, 1864, in a Marathi family to Janardhan Pandurang and Jayantibai. Wikimedia Commons
  • Rukhmabai was involved in a landmark legal case involving her marriage as a child bride between 1884 and 1888
  • Rukhmabai was born on November 22, 1864
  • Rukhmabai was married at the age of 11 to a 19-year-old boy Dadaji Bhikaji

Rukhmabai Raut was one of the bold and progressive women of that time. The other notable first Indian females to practice medicine are Anandibai Joshi, Kadambini Ganguly and Chandramukhi Basu.

Rukhmabai was the first Indian physician who is best known for being one of the first Indian women doctors in colonial India as well as being involved in a landmark legal case involving her marriage as a child bride between 1884 and 1888. It was a real big deal back then in India at that time.

Also Read: Rene Laennec: The Man Who Invented Stethoscope

 

Rukhmabai was the first Indian physician. Wikimedia Commons
Rukhmabai was the first Indian physician. Wikimedia Commons

The case raised quite a significant public debate across Indian society, which mostly included law vs tradition, social reform vs conservatism and feminism in both British-ruled India and England. The uproar ultimately contributed to the Age of Consent Act in 1891.

Rukhmabai was born on November 22, 1864, in a Marathi family to Janardhan Pandurang and Jayantibai. Her mother suffered because of the custom of child marriage. Rukhmabai was known for her staunch stand against divorce and her love for higher studies in medicine.

Before becoming one of the pioneers of women emancipation, Rukhmabaihad a life full of struggle

Top 5 Unknown Facts about Rukhmabai Raut?

  1. Rukhmabai was married at the age of 11 to a 19-year-old boy Dadaji Bhikaji. She was just 8 years old when her father. Rukhmabai chose to complete her education. It is said that the couple never lived together

2. Rukhmabai’s Mother Jayantibai transferred all her property to her. Later, Jayantibai remarried and Rukhmabai step-father supported her at every step.

3. Rukhmabai refused to live with her husband and maternal-in-laws because they were after her property that she inherited from his deceased father. She even fought a long legal case against her husband and in the end, Dadaji Bhikaji won the case. The judgment was criticised by Bal Gangadhar Tilak and other prominent Hindu leaders. The court criticized her stance on marriage and her aversion to reuniting with her husband.

4. In 1884, Rukhmabai’s husband filed a petition in the Bombay High Court and pleaded to restore conjugal rights of the husband over his wife. The court in its judgement told Rukhmabai to comply or to go to prison. Rukhmabai refused the judgment and stated that she would suffer imprisonment rather than entering into a marriage she did not want.

5. The case again came to court in 1887. This time, Rukhmabai wrote numerous pieces of letters under a pseudo name,“A Hindu Lady”, stating the condition of women, who became victims of child marriage. Her articles got her the support and public sentiments in her favour.

Also Read: Acharya Charaka: Indian father Of Medicine, Author of Charaka Samhita “science of Ayurveda”

6. Rukhmabai did not take the lying down and pleaded Queen Victoria. But still, she had to shell out  Rs 2000 to her husband as a settlement.

Google India paid a rich tribute to Dr Rukhmabai Raut by dedicating its doodle depicting a lady with a stethoscope around her neck. Wikimedkia Commons
Google India paid a rich tribute to Dr Rukhmabai Raut by dedicating its doodle depicting a lady with a stethoscope around her neck. Wikimedkia Commons

7. A public fund was raised to support her travel and study in England at the London School of Medicine for the 5 years degree course.

8. After her successful completion of medicine course, Rukhmabai returned to India as a qualified physician in 1894 and joined a hospital in Surat as the First practising female doctor in India. There she served as the chief medical officer for 35 long years and retired around 1930. She breathed her last in 1955, at the age of 91.

9. Rukhmabai worked to a great extent for the upliftment and betterment of women. She even published a pamphlet and called it “Purdah-the need for its abolition.”

10. Last year, even Google India paid a rich tribute to Dr Rukhmabai Raut by dedicating its doodle depicting a lady with a stethoscope around her neck, surrounded by women patients and nurses in a hospital.