Friday October 18, 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

Three Scientists Win Nobel Prize in Physics for Contributions to Cosmology

The committee said Peebles developed the framework that forms "the basis of our contemporary ideas about the universe"

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Scientists, Nobel Prize, Physics
A screen displays the portraits of the laureates of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physics (L-R) James Peebles, Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz, during a news conference at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm, Sweden, October 8, 2019. VOA

Three scientists have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for their work in helping understand “the evolution of the universe and the Earth’s place in the cosmos.”

The Nobel Committee announced Tuesday that half of the $918,000 prize was going to James Peebles, citing contributions to understanding how the universe evolved after the Big Bang.

The committee said Peebles developed the framework that forms “the basis of our contemporary ideas about the universe.”

The other half of the award went to Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz.

Scientists, Nobel Prize, Physics
The Nobel Committee announced Tuesday that half of the $918,000 prize was going to James Peebles, citing contributions to understanding how the universe evolved after the Big Bang. Pixabay

In 1995, they announced the first discovery of a planet outside of our solar system that orbits a solar-type star.

Since then, researchers have found more than 4,000 exoplanets in the Milky Way galaxy.

Also Read- Climate Change Activists Camp Out during World Protests by Extinction Rebellion Movement

“With numerous projects planned to start searching for exoplanets, we may eventually find an answer to the eternal question of whether other life is out there,” the committee said. (VOA)