A private body cannot control the public mind
Another graver objection that has been raised and be raised from time to time is that attempts for making a national University a success are more emotional than national, that a University of this type runs in direct contradiction to the policy of the ruling power. Every institution should have laws, and these laws must be enforced by some authority. Who is to give authority to the University laws? What is the sanction of these laws? A private body can, by no means, control the public mind, only a part of the community is brought under personal influence of some popular leader. The Congress though it passes many resolutions vital to the interest of the country, cannot give effect to them only because the vast majority is not prepared to accept it. Now the whole question centres round the most important item of our national activities, namely mass education. When the masses will be enlightened, we shall find the authority or
sanction of the laws in the moral principle or sentiment of the people. We should have recourse to the moral force, the force that controls our society, controls our religion, and controls our numerous private undertakings, trade, business, etc. Can’t we add education to these and still more minimise the small sphere under the direct supervision of the Government? Government should then bless us for giving relief to its already over-burdened officers!
At present we require man-making education, institutions for making men and men for making institutions. They presuppose each other, and though it looks like a fallacy of petitio principii, these fallacies are the very soul of truth. Time is the best cure, evolution will bring reconciliation to these apparent contradictions, and we shall realise what we hanker after, provided we give a proper guidance to our natural activities.
Step by step and stage by stage we are to prepare the country, before we can hope for any reform successfully gaining the ground. The process open to us is slow but sure, and we should avoid all sorts of hasty conducts, for watchful adaptation and gradual development.
Now, let us consider the systems of education to be introduced into the Indian Universities. The methods will be referred to later on. Here Japan will serve as a useful model. Let education,as usual, be primary, secondary and higher. Primary education should be made compulsory, and the boys from 7 to 10 should be taught in their mother-tongue. History of the nation, geography of the peninsula, mensuration, etc., in their elementary forms and religious practices should begin from the pre-school age. Secondary education should begin at the age of 11 and continue up to 15. At this stage various departments shall be opened to train the boys in the general as well as in the technical lines, eg., engineering, agricultural, commercial, etc. These lines should be quite independent of one another, and the boys will have their choice. Those who like to follow the general line, shall be taught the school subjects in their own vernacular, and English should be the second language. On the other hand, those who like to pursue technical line of any kind, should be in touch with their own language and literature (general), over and above their vocational acquisitions. In the higher education, one should continue some of the subjects already taken in the school, general or technical, specialise in one subject, and get the degree. These studies in higher branches of learning are under the direct supervision of professors.
Then the scholar, if proficient, may continue his research work to add to the knowledge of the world. The above programme shows that at the age of 18 or 19, also, when the boy is about to jump out of his teens or break down the bondage of minority, he may live and move as a free citizen seeking his fortune, and making his way in this wide world. Let our boys be men.
How long, my countrymen, shall you make boys of our men? Let them come out, be men, and make men. India requires her young men no longer to be boyish or womanly.
Extracts from Vedanta Kesari, an English monthly of the Ramakrishna Order, published from Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai.