Education of hands, head & heart
   Date :01-Oct-2023

Education is the most important instrument which shapes the character of an individual and the society as a whole. First, it should ensure gainful employment so that the individuals may earn their livelihood. Secondly, education is required to develop the discriminative faculties of individuals so that he may attain a higher realm of knowledge. The most important contribution of education in building the character of individuals and the society is to generateasense of togetherness, compassion, interconnectedness, tolerance , peaceful co-existence and other related human values. So a good educational system is expected to be associated with developing skills, knowledge and human values. A glimpse of Indian history both ancient and mediaeval suggests some very startling facts.
Any authentic books of history by noted authors have accepted the fact that the ancient Indian society was a very evolved society. Yoga, medicine, metallurgy, architecture, mathematics, astronomy, linguistics, literature,music , philosophy, etc were in a very advanced state of development. Handicrafts, textiles, spices, gems, silk, etc were the leading exports of India to the world. Even during the mediaeval period when lots of upheavals took place, the richness and the basic structure of Indian society were more and less the same. The OECD (Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development) conducted a study on the world economy right from the first century AD to 1913 under the leadership of the famous economist, Angus Maddisson. The study used different standard economic methods to study the data of the world during that period in fields of different dimensions of economy and concluded that India was the richest country of the world till the early eighteenth century before the colonisation of India by the British. The world share of GDP of India was about thirty percent.
It clearly means that the skills of Indian craftsmen were very developed and the trading capacity of India was at its peak. Such richness cannot happen without widespread skill development of the larger sections of the society. India has produced one of the best literature during that period in all fields. Grammar and linguistics of Panini, superfine literature of Kalidas, medical skills of Charak and Sushrut, astronomy of Aryabhatta, Brahmgupta and Bhaskaracharya , Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Arthashastra of Chanakya,Bhakti movement literature, Persian writings etc are just a few to mention.
Upanishadic wisdom, all encompassing philosophy of Lord Buddha, non violence of Lord Mahavir, the materialistic philosophy of Charvaka and Lokayatna are indicative of the multidimensional expansion of education. The Beautiful Tree is a very eye opener book written by Dharmapal about the prevalent indigenous educational system in the eighteenth century. This book is primarily based upon writings and reports of the British. According to the findings of this book indigenous education system was carried out through Pathshalas, Madrassahs and Gurukulas. Dharmapal cites the situations in Bengal, Bihar, Madras, Bombay and Punjab Presidencies, using various kinds of reports by William Adam about indigenous education system. In 1830 Williams wrote that there were about 100000 such schools in Bengal and Bihar almost a school per village. The situation was almost the same in other Presidencies also. In terms of the substance and attendance the indigenous system was better than those of England. Students of all categories and classes were imparted education. The subjects varied from literature to language, grammar, mathematics, philosophy, astronomy etc. The education of handicrafts and other technology was group based. Girls were mostly educated in the homes of their parents. Thus it wasavery robust system catering to the then needs of the society, making India so rich and developed. In the changed scenario of new challenges and emerging needs, the educational system which caters to the needs of our hands, head and heart needs to be developed.

(The writer is DG Police & CG, Homeguards, Maharashtra)