Thursday June 27, 2019

Visva Bharati University: No longer an epitome of Rabindranath Tagore’s idea of education?

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By Arnab Mitra

Education could not be complete without knowing your own cultural roots.  – Rabindranath Tagore.

Shantiniketan is a celebrated emblem of Bengal’s art and culture. It ignites the renaissance movement of Bengal and discards the British system of education.

William Evert Greeves, former Vice Chancellor of Calcutta University, once said, “Visva Bharati University does not throw a challenge to the British system of education, but it refurbishes the orthodox education system for the betterment of humanity.”

The journey of Shantiniketan started with Pathabhaban School, and it gradually became one of the best places of learning after the establishment of Visva Bharati University. The English daily, The Nation, had noted, Using the money he (Rabindranath Tagore) received with his Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913, the school was expanded and renamed Visva Bharati University.

Apart from educating, the institute also took a part in building the society. Rabindranath Tagore started ‘Raksha Bandhan’ to unite Hindus and Muslims during the partition of Bengal in the year 1905. The institute adorned with renowned teachers and scholars like C.F. Andrews, Gayatri Devi, Indira Gandhi, Satyajit Ray, Abdul Ghani Khan, Sukriti Chakraberti and Nobel laureate Amartya Sen was a true representative of Indian form of education system.

Rabindranath Tagore did not believe in the formal system of education as he himself had never been to a school and possessed no educational degree. He believed that there was a difference between education imparted and absorbed.  He was disgusted with the imperfect education system that was forced upon Indian children by the British. Therefore, he offered an alternative education system through his Visva Bharati University. He felt that the western mode of education was more harmful, and it channelized the children to learn the textbooks of an unfamiliar culture, resulting in withdrawal from their cultural roots. Therefore, in Tagore’s school, the students were encouraged to be creative and were free to do anything on their wish.

At present, the revered university lacks proper infrastructure and traditional system of education, for which once it was famous worldwide. Also, the university is not competent with the global education. Once the renowned ‘School of Painting,’ now subsumes a few old paintings and sculptures, along with a shabby classroom consisting of less than ten students. The night here turns into an illicit ground for local goons and criminals. The pious ground of education is marred by the illegal activities of playing cards, consumption of alcohol inside the campus.

Once it was the institution of pride and prestige, and now it is the institution of gloom and despair, said an ex-professor of Visva Bharati University.

  • Its time the university should get back to its fame position!! Probably everyone took it for granted and that is a matter of shame! I believe the officials should analyse what has gone wrong and should plug the lapse.

    • Ankita you are right. the best part is that the university is under the central government and it is one of the premier national institutes. we cannot only blame the state government for this situation.

Next Story

Heavy Drenching in Bengal, Cyclone Fani Strongest Storm in Decades

"The rains will continue till early morning on Saturday, and the weather will start improving by evening"

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Kharagpur has so far recorded 95 mm rainfall, which will continue for the next two to three hours. Pixabay

Cyclone Fani, one of the strongest storms to batter the Indian subcontinent in decades, uprooted trees and triggered rains as it entered West Bengal post midnight on Saturday, hours after making landfall and causing havoc in Odisha on Friday.

No loss of life or any injury has been reported so far.

According to the Meteorological department, the extremely severe cyclonic storm relatively weakened after entering coastal Odisha and transformed into “very severe” as it approached Bengal.

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In the sea resort of Digha, the win speed reached 70 kmph in some areas, in Frazerganj the wind velocity was between 60 and 70 kmph. Pixabay

“The severe cyclonic storm Fani entered Bengal at 12.30 a.m. through Odisha’s Balasore. It crossed Kharagpur packing a wind of 70-80 kmph, gusting to 90 kmph,” Regional Meteorological Centre’s Deputy Director General Sanjib Bandyopadhyay, said.

The storm is now lying close to Arambagh in Hooghly district, and is 40 km west of Kolkata.

“It is likely to continue further in north, north east direction, and reach the east Burdwan-Hooghly border, and through Nadia go to Bangladesh on Saturday afternoon, weakening into a cyclonic storm, after having triggered rains,” Bandyopadhyay said.

Fani lashed cities and towns in coastal Bengal including Digha, Mandarmani, Tajpur, Sandehskhali and Contai while the effects of the storm could also be felt in cities like Kharagpur and Burdwan as trees were uprooted and metal hoardings gave way.

Parts of Kolkata and the suburbs also received moderate to heavy rainfall since Friday afternoon.

The epicentre of the storm is expected to hit the city in the early hours on Saturday.

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The storm is now lying close to Arambagh in Hooghly district, and is 40 km west of Kolkata. Pixabay

The rains would continue till early Saturday.

In the sea resort of Digha, the win speed reached 70 kmph in some areas, in Frazerganj the wind velocity was between 60 and 70 kmph.

Kharagpur has so far recorded 95 mm rainfall, which will continue for the next two to three hours.

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“The rains will continue till early morning on Saturday, and the weather will start improving by evening,” he said.

The administration has switched off electricity to prevent any accident as the storm passed through a particular point in the state. (IANS)