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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.
Japan has successfully launched a new navigation satellite into orbit that will replace its decade-old navigation satellite.
The satellite, QZS-1R, was launched onboard an H-2A rocket that lifted off from the Tanegashima Space Center at 10.19 p.m. on Monday night, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries said in a statement.
The company builds and operates H-2A rockets the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
QZS-1R is a replacement for Quasi-Zenith Satellite System 1 satellite first launched in 2010. “It was a really beautiful launch," the company said in a tweet after a successful lift-off.
"H-IIA F44 flight proceeded nominally. Approximately 28 minutes 6 seconds after launch, as planned, the payload separated from the launch vehicle," the statement said.
The official QZSS website lists four satellites in the constellation: QZS-1, QZS-2, QZS-3 and QZS-4, Space.com reported.
The QZSS constellation will eventually consist of a total of seven satellites that fly in an orbit passing through a near-zenith (or directly overhead) above Japan, and QZS-R1 is meant to share nearly the same transmission signals as recent GPS satellites, according to JAXA.
It is specially optimised for mountainous and urban regions in Japan, JAXA said.
Mitsubishi's H-2A 202 rocket launch system has been operational since 2003 and has sent satellites to locations such as Venus (Akatsuki) and Mars (Emirates Mars Mission).
The latest H2-A rocket launch is the first since November 29, 2020, when Japan launched an advanced relay satellite with laser communications tech into orbit, the report said. (IANS/JB)
Keywords: Science, Space Satellite, Communications, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, satellite QZS-1R
Everyone loves firecrackers, even the most environment-friendly advocates cannot hide their joy when they see these delightful lights colour the skies. India celebrates Diwali in the true spirit of her culture and heritage by spraying the navy-blue skies with sparkling hues of gold, silver, red, and green. Firecrackers are not just a tradition in this country, they are a legacy.
The original connotation one makes with fireworks in China. The elaborate Chinese celebrations with dragons and zapping firecrackers have left their mark in human memory, but the use of fireworks is not limited to heralding the Chinese New Year. All over the world, fireworks have come to symbolise the ultimate celebration. During Diwali in India, this spirit is re-ignited every year.
Indians have known the use of gunpowder for many centuries now. Sanskrit texts name a substance called 'agnichura' which is described as a 'powder that creates fire'. This is believed to be saltpetre.
A single firecracker ablaze Photo by Unsplash
Sometime during the rule of the Vijayanagar Empire, and the Adil Shah Dynasty in South India, the use of the Chinese pyrotechnic formulae became extensively common in entertaining the royals. Weddings, Festivals, and other special celebrations in the palace were marked with a spectacular display of fireworks.
Between the 1920s and 1940s, the dynamics of fireworks changed in India. Ayya Nadar and Shanmuga Nadar, from Tamil Nadu's Sivakasi who migrated to Kolkata, set up a fireworks factory there. It began as a match factory, but after receiving the required permission, it was converted into a fireworks unit. Within a few years, another factory was set up in Sivakasi. Before long, multiple units were set up there, and today, it is India's fireworks hub. Most of the crackers that are used during Diwali come from Sivakasi.
Recently, environmental concerns have caused the ban of fireworks as it causes air pollution. The sale of crackers has reduced drastically after this new law. During the lockdown, the factory labourers underwent great losses, especially in Sivakasi. But keeping the spirit of Diwali in mind. crackers cannot be entirely done away with, and continue to light up the skies at least for a few hours every year.
Keywords: Diwali festival, Fireworks, Sivakasi, the Vijayanagar Empire, culture and heritage in India.
PARIS — In a decision with potential ramifications across European museums, France is displaying 26 looted colonial-era artifacts for one last time before returning them home to Benin.
The wooden anthropomorphic statues, royal thrones and sacred altars were pilfered by the French army in the 19th century from Western Africa.
President Emmanuel Macron suggested that France now needed to right the wrongs of the past, making a landmark speech in 2017 in which he said he can no longer accept "that a large part of many African countries' cultural heritage lies in France." It laid down a roadmap for the controversial return of the royal treasures taken during the era of empire and colony. The French will have a final glimpse of the objects in the Musée du Quai Branly–Jacques Chirac from 26-31 October.
French Culture Minister Roselyne Bachelot tried to assuage jitters among European museums, emphasizing that this initiative "will not create a legal precedent."
A royal seat of the 'Royal treasures of Abomey kingdom' (Œuvres des tresors royaux d'Abomey) on display at the Musee du quai Branly in Paris, Sept. 10, 2021. Photo Credit: VOA
A French law was passed last year to allow the restitution of the statues to the Republic of Benin, as well as a storied sword to the Army Museum in Senegal.
But she said that the French government's law was intentionally specific in applying solely to the 27 artifacts. "[It] does not establish any general right to restitution" and "in no way calls into question" the right of French museums to hold on to their heritage.
Yet critics of such moves — including London's British Museum that is in a decades-long tug-of-war with the Greek government over a restitution of the Elgin Marbles — argue that it will open the floodgates to emptying Western museums of their collections. Many are made up of objects acquired, or stolen, during colonial times. French museums alone hold at least 90,000 artifacts from sub-Saharan Africa.
A woman looks at the Parthenon Marbles, a collection of stone objects, inscriptions and sculptures. Photo Credit: VOA
The story of the "Abomey Treasures" is as dramatic as their sculpted forms. In November 1892, Colonel Alfred Dodds led a pilfering French expeditionary force into the Kingdom of Danhomè located in the south of present-day Benin. The colonizing troops broke into the Abomey Palace, home of King Behanzin, seizing as they did many royal objects including the 26 artifacts that Dodds donated to the Musée d'Ethnographie du Trocadéro in Paris in the 1890s. Since 2003, the objects have been housed at the Musée du quai Branly–Jacques Chirac.
One hundred and twenty-nine years later, their far-flung journey abroad will finally end.
Benin's Culture Minister Jean-Michel Abimbola called the return of the works, a "historic milestone," and the beginning of further cooperation between the two countries, during a news conference last week. The country is founding a museum in Abomey to house the treasures that will be partly funded by the French government. The French Development Agency will give some 35 million euros toward the "Museum of the Saga of the Amazonians and the Dan home Kings" under a pledge signed this year.
The official transfer of the 26 pieces is expected to be signed in Paris on Nov. 9 in the presence of Macron and the art is expected to be in Benin a few days later, Abimbola said.
While locals say the decision is overdue, what's important is that the art will be returned.
"It was a vacuum created among Benin's historical treasures, which is gradually being reconstituted," said Fortune Sossa, President of the African Cultural Journalists Network. (VOA/RN)
Keywords: Benin art, Emmanuel Macron, European museums, Abomey Treasures, anthropomorphic statues