Author: Ajit K Neogy
Publisher: National Book Trust
ISBN/UPC (if available): 9788123757315
FROM THE BOOK PREFACE:
Education is imparted all over the world within the four walls of a school with the teacher as the vehicle of education. But Rabindranath Tagore, the greatest educator of the world, had, in his early life, developed an aversion for school and its method of teaching as mechanical, soulless and uninspiring. The teachers seemed to him robots insensitive to childhood feelings, fancies and frailties. The result was his saying good bye to school. He was sent abroad where his experience was not rosy either. But this did not stop his education. He was his own educator. His range of studies was vast and varied. His aversion for conventional schools, its sterile syllabi and its method of teaching induced him to formulate a new system of education rooted in the ancient tradition and culture of the country. In his school there was no class room, no bench, no table.
Teaching was imparted under the shades of trees in the lap of the nature, under a wide and starry sky. Thus was born the Brahmacharyashram at Bhubandanga in the arid soil of the district of Birbhum in undivided Bengal. Although it was an experiment on a small scale with a simple boarding house, it soon became a pioneer movement in the field of education in many respects. The school went through many ups and downs since its foundation, but it withstood all the jerks and jolts and survived, ensuring the educational ideas of the poet.
Gradually the ideas that prompted the poet to set up Brahmacharya Ashram changed. He intended to give it a wider shape and scope so that students from all corners of the country could come to Santiniketan and get an education capable of confronting the challenges of the modern world. He did not want the students of the Bolpur Ashram School to live in any medieval system of monastic seclusion. He wanted his students to come out into the modern world. Soon the orthodox character of the school disappeared and its name was changed into Ashram Vidyalaya.
Over a century ago, Rabindranath Tagore, as a reaction to the colonial system of education, realized the need for a non-conventional and an integrated system of education. He gave shape to his ideas by founding Visva-Bharati and its two centers – Santiniketan and Sriniketan with different programmes. Focusing on the years 1901-41, this meticulously researched book narrates the evolution and growth of Visva-Bharati from its struggling initial days to its present status as one of the finest centers of learning in the country.
The Early Days of the Brahmavidyalaya
Brahmavidyalaya: Marching Ahead
Brahmavidyalaya: Opening Windows to the West
Foundation of Visva Bharati: A Meeting Place of the East and the West
Elmhirst and the Rural Reconstruction Programme: Visva-Bharati at Work
Santiniketan and Sriniketan: In Progress
Santiniketan and Sriniketan: Fulfilment