A great patriot, a visionary educationist, an outstanding statesman, a great social reformer, an effective lawyer, an ardent journalist, a successful parliamentarian and a great champion of Indian nationalism, Bharat Ratna Mahmana Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya Ji was born on December 25, 1861, in Prayagraj. We remember him on his birthday, who founded a great Temple of Learning, the Banaras Hindu University, which depicts a living form of his contemplation of the role of education and educational institutions in nation-building, which established a new chapter in the history of education in the global arena. He envisioned that a university should serve as a premier centre of world-knowledge, should have an incessant longing for deeper quest and search for knowledge in all possible disciplines ranging from classical ancient Indian culture, philosophy, religion, humanities, and arts to modern science, medicine, agriculture, engineering and technology. Malaviya Ji conceptualised that in our educational institutions’ students should acquire expertise in diverse disciplines of humanities, arts, social sciences, modern science and technology and at the same time should imbibe the high ideals, traditions, culture and values of our glorious ancient Indian civilisation.
It was the vision of Malaviya Ji to blend the best of Indian education called from the ancient Gurukul systems of learning, the ideal educational institutions of ancient India Takshashila, Nalanda, Vikramshila and other hallowed institutions, with the best tradition of modern universities of the west so that an education system is introduced where students can gain proficiency in various aspects of humanities and science and at the same time they imbibe the great ideals of Indian culture. It was Malaviya Ji’s objective to make available a proper vision of education to the society, nation and the world where students would acquire expertise in diverse disciplines of humanities, arts and different branches of modern science and technology, imbibing the thoughts and vision of Indian culture laying full emphasis on character building through ethics and religion as an inalienable part of education. National Education Policy – 2020 is indeed a historic and revolutionary step towards realising the dreams of Mahamana Malaviya ji, which gives the youth an opportunity to imbibe the great ideals and values of India’s culture and traditions while attaining proficiency and mastering in the diverse disciplines of modern art, humanities, science and technology.
Malaviya ji believed that character building in students is more important than intellectual development and favoured education of religion and ethics for character building. He considered religion to be the direct path to character building and considered patriotism as the best power because the spirit of patriotism motivates a man to do a high level of selfless service. According to him, patriotic communication throws selfishness away from our hearts. Ancient India was an advanced knowledge-society where a glorious tradition of education was built in the form of the Gurukul system since the Vedic and Upanishadic periods. This tradition was built by Gurus, Rishis, and eminent scholars possessing knowledge of the highest level with perfection. Saints, poets, philosophers, scientists, astronomers and mathematicians with unparallel knowledge enriched this education system. India was Vishwa Guru only because of an education system that was built on Indian vision aimed at holistic development of individual, development of mind, body and soul, imbibing high ideals and values of great Indian tradition. According to Mahamana Malaviya Ji conforming to the Gurukul system, the aim of education is the all-round development of the personality of youth, the personality which is materially, morally, culturally and spiritually sounds besides being empowered with knowledge and skills. Malaviya ji’s vision was to link materialism with morality so that as the body develops, the mind becomes pure, and the soul also develops. Considering cultural ethos and spiritual wisdom of India, according to Malaviya Ji the youth should possess human values like peace, truthfulness, high-quality thoughts, non-violence, tolerance, patience, compassion, love for all, respect for the motherland and devotion to its culture and ideals. Malaviya ji always said that for the development of physical, mental, and emotional powers, a student should follow the principles of brahmacharya, speak the truth, do exercise, have thrust for learning, show patriotism, should have perseverance in his faith and love for all living beings.
National Education Policy – 2020, encompasses the vision of Malaviya Ji in having provision of the teaching of Indian cultural values, traditions, folk arts, Indian languages, and human values for all the students at all levels from the age of three years to higher education. For which compatible course materials and teaching methods have to be developed. There is also a provision to incorporate Indian knowledge systems, including tribal and indigenous knowledge in the curriculum. With this education policy, students will be educated for India’s cultural heritage, Indian knowledge systems and value-based knowledge, pledging to create students with a multifaceted personality whose body and mind are healthy and can successfully meet the global challenges of the 21st century. Through this education policy, students will derive self-pride, will be built upright character, which will lead to a flow of positive energy in the body and ultimately will help students in leading successful lives. This is the first education policy in the history of independent India which emphasises the need to preserve India’s traditional knowledge systems, languages and cultural values and to impart its education to the students with amazing coordination of global updated knowledge to bring excellence in education so that our educated youth will have their roots in Indianness and will be able to become a successful global citizen by being proficient in different dimensions of knowledge to lead India in various fields.
Devoted to the upliftment of ‘Hindi, Hindu and Hindustan’, Malaviya ji was a strong proponent of education in the mother tongue. He believed that the most significant difficulty of the students is that the medium of instruction is a foreign language and not their mother tongue. In any other part of the civilised world, the medium of instruction of that community is not a foreign language. He was of the clear view that the upliftment of literature and the country is only possible through the language of that country. It is imperative that Sanskrit and Indian languages were the medium of instructions in the Gurukul and higher educational institutions in India from the ancient Vedic period to the mid-19th century. The implementation of the National Education Policy – 2020 will free India from the 185-year-old Macaulay’s slavery education policy, which has an open provision for teaching in the foreign language from very primary classes onwards. With this education policy, students will be able to take education in their mother tongue, local languages or regional languages up to class five from the age of three. This education policy also provides the provision for taking education in Indian languages depending on the wishes of the student from schooling to higher education.
This education policy is committed to the preservation, prosperity and continued development of Indian languages. For this, there are provisions to establish an Indian Institute of Translation and Interpretation and National Institute for Pali, Persian and Prakrit. Along with this, there is a provision to choose between Devbhasha Sanskrit and other traditional languages of India under the trilingual formula and the emphasis is on strengthening the departments of Sanskrit and Indian languages in higher educational institutions. Language is a medium of expression.
Early childhood education in the mother tongue will facilitate thinking, learning and memorising power of the student with a fast pace. Students will develop an affinity with the mother tongue, culture and local traditions. Fundamental thinking is possible only in the mother tongue, so knowledge taken in the mother tongue will have natural acceptance. As a result of this education policy, students will become proficient in various disciplines of knowledge and science through Indian languages. Mahamana Malaviya ji was of the opinion that more books in different disciplines of knowledge including science be written, published and their education is imparted in the mother tongue so that the knowledge including those of science streams could reach the students easily. Keeping this in mind, he himself established a Hindi Publication Cell at Banaras Hindu University in the year 1930. Even today, the writing and publication of university-level original and translated books in various disciplines of science continue to be done in Hindi by the university’s distinguished scientists and outstanding scholars. In line with Malaviya Ji’s vision, in the National Education Policy 2020, there is a clear provision that Indian languages will be promoted to be the conduits of the glorious culture of our nation and it will be the prime responsibility of different language institutes to ensure the availability of scientific literature in Indian languages.
Describing the special qualities of industrial and art skills of ancient India, Malaviya ji had once said that scholars of Europe believed that painting, sculpture, textile-making, jewellery-making, music, theatrical, etc. had reached to the peak of excellence in ancient India at a time when Europe was not even aware of such skills and crafts.
Malaviya ji believed that education is in the root of all reforms. He advocated the principle of education for all. His dream was to have such an arrangement of education that no child could be deprived of education due to poverty. During the period of Malaviya ji, Indian society under British rule was suffering from gross illiteracy. ‘Education should be accessible to all’ and to realise this dream of Malaviya ji, under the Education Policy -2020, a target has been set to bring the gross enrollment ratio to 100 per cent by the year 2030 with the aim of making education available to every person in the country. This 100 per cent literacy is to be achieved over the next ten years through technological interventions, digital technology, making education accessible and inclusive to all segments of the society even to economically deprived and socially marginalised sections in the remote areas of the country. Digital education resources will be developed by technology through which the education infrastructure in remote areas will be strengthened. Digital India Mission will have an important contribution in providing education in different languages, due to which students of rural India will derive more benefits. Besides, in the age group of 18 to 23years, in higher education, the policy targets to increase the present gross enrollment ratio of 26.3 per cent in the year 2018 to 50 per cent by the year 2035.
Obviously, additional expenditure will be required to achieve the target of 100 per cent literacy and higher enrollment ratio in higher education. For this, a provision has been made in the new education policy that 6 per cent of the GDP will be spent on education, which is currently 4.6 per cent. This education policy emphasises the establishment of at least one world-class multi-disciplinary educational institution in every district of the country by 2030 to provide quality education to all sections of the society without any hindrance and to create a developed educated society. Today, where education is considered as an indicator for the development of any society, the new education policy ensures the reach of education to every individual of the society without any social or gender difference.
Malaviya ji considered multi-disciplinary education as essential for the all-round development of the student. He was a strong advocate of the teaching of ancient India’s knowledge traditions, culture, philosophy, art and science and at the same time he emphasised for the teaching of modern science and technology to the students. He believed that Indian higher education institutions should be multi-disciplinary, where education in various disciplines of knowledge could be provided. He was of the view that India’s cultural heritage, traditional knowledge, art, philosophy, ethics, universal human values should be included in the curriculum and at the same time, students should be taught the basic and cutting-edge sciences including engineering, agriculture, medicine, etc. So that all-round developed students are produced who are devoted to the Indian culture, traditions and human values and become top-rated scientists, engineers, industrial-entrepreneurs, businessmen, social workers who can diagnose the problems of the people struggling with poverty using scientific tools and can promote agriculture and industrial development and take India to greater heights in the various field by providing able leadership.
Malaviya ji believed that science and technological education would play an important role in alleviating the poverty of India and India cannot attain its prosperity unless the application of science and technology is naturalised by the countrymen in their everyday life. Under the new education policy, a target has been set to make all higher education institutions multi-disciplinary by the year 2040, where at least 3000 students will study in each. With the implementation of this education policy, single-stream higher education institutions will also become multi-disciplinary over time. Every district in the country will have at least one multi-disciplinary higher education institution. With this gross enrollment ratio in education will increase, vocational and skill-based education will be promoted, and it will be possible to produce an all-round developed lot of students.
Malaviya ji was in favour of promoting teaching-learning of modern science and technology and knowledge creation in various fields with innovative research so that conservation, development and profitable planning of our national natural wealth can be undertaken and economic prosperity of the people and employment generation can be ascertained. Research is the basis of discovery and creation of knowledge from where new theories and new techniques originate. With knowledge creation, human civilisation excels and glorifies. Therefore, it is necessary that higher educational institutions be consistently engaged in teaching-learning with new technology. To arouse the tendency of continuous learning in the individual, educational institutions should have updated facilities and infrastructure. It is, therefore, necessary that innovative research be promoted in educational institutions. With special emphasis on innovative research, the new education policy talks about creating research-intensive universities, which will be equipped with world-class facilities to undertake basic and applied research in frontline areas. The new education policy proposes the establishment of a National Research Foundation, NRF, to promote the culture of quality intensive research in the country. The research will be properly fostered and stimulated. NRF will competitively fund research in all multi-disciplinary areas.
If our research is multi-disciplinary, it will foster the multifaceted growth of education. For the development of entrepreneurship in the society, it is necessary to have undergraduate, postgraduate and research level education compatible with global standards. We can improve our economic, social environment by using new knowledge emanating from research. For this, it is necessary that intensive research should be done in cutting edge areas of humanities, science, agriculture, medicine, and engineering, etc. India has a rich tradition of knowledge creation in various disciplines of knowledge and science since time immemorial. The implementation of this education policy will accelerate research in educational institutions according to the needs of society. India will soon be able to establish itself internationally as a strong and enlightened knowledge-based society. This vision is based on the spirit of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ which is rooted in the core of our glorious Indian cultural tradition in which all the members of the world are connected with each other and with the Mother Nature. All are descendants of the same globe, and all are members of the same family.
Today significant progress has been made towards making human life comfortable, but we are distancing ourselves from the vision of Malaviya ji and similarly great persons. Today in order to check the erosion of human values and devaluation of character in the society it becomes the responsibility of educational institutions to inculcate the morality, character building, patriotism in youth in conformity to the vision of Malaviya Ji. A clear commitment to this sentiment is reflected in the National Education Policy – 2020 for the first time in independent India.
The new education policy endows with the commitment that our educational institutions will keep on updating their curriculum regularly keeping in pace with the changing environment, making them dynamic to match global standards. More and more skill and employment-oriented courses need to be included as per the requirement of the society and the nation. Only dedicated and scholarly teachers can educate and mentor students and provide them with proper guidance to enable them to face the multifaceted challenges of society. In the era of globalisation, there is a need to create high-quality manpower that can successfully take on global challenges. With this education policy, it is possible that the educational institutions will have purposeful teachers, and with their specialised knowledge, they will be able to properly train and guide the students.
Malaviya ji’s vision of education had a deep sense of service to humanity so that there could be happiness in the lives of all individuals, society, nation, and the entire world. Along with scientific temper and technological competence, the youth of our country should have the entrepreneurial skill, with upright character and possessing human values enshrined in the Indian tradition, and these points are fully integrated into the National Education Policy – 2020. Bharat Ratna Mahamana Malaviya ji passed away prior to India got independence, but today, 73 years after attaining independence, the National Education Policy-2020 announced by the Central Government is in a true sense a great attempt to shape Malaviya Ji’s dreams. With the implementation of this policy educational institutions will become multi-disciplinary, students of all ages will have opportunity to get educated with the high ideals of glorious India, internationally compatible courses will be available to all in Indian languages as per the requirements; the courses will be a skill and employment-oriented. New dimensions of research will emerge. The amalgamation of all these will enable the creation of highly capable, skilled, enterprising youth who will be able to provide leadership in various sectors of society and will be competent to face global challenges with a dedication to human values, and respect to glorious Indian culture and traditions.