Opinion | Vidya Bharati: Model of An Ancient Education

Ancient Indian educational system focused on building a disciplined and value based culture. Human values such as trust, respect, honesty, dignity, and courtesy are the building blocks of any free, advanced society. These values and authentic culture have crowned the title of ‘Vishwaguru’ to India.  But India has lost the title of ‘Vishwaguru’  due to prolonged struggle and weakening of moral strength. India weakened by losing its rich values and culture. Under a conspiracy, the British weakened the powerful ancient education system of India. By declaring our superior Vedas knowledge; a myth & impractical and disrupted the basic stream of education. During the freedom struggle, the freedom fighters had understood this deeply, but the governments formed after independence did not pay attention to it and adopted the education system of the British, which by erasing the ethical values and filling western thinking which has become fatal for the country.

As a protest against British education, Rabindranath Thakur was first followed by Maharishi Arvind, Swami Vivekananda, Sister Nivedita, Swami Dayanand Saraswati, Lal-Bal-Pal and Gandhiji kept the flame of national education lit. At the same time, a holistic and coordinated campaign of ancient and modern education started in the form of Vidya Bharati according to Hindu ideology. When non-Indian education continued to be given even in independent India, then Vidya Bharati started the campaign of education of Indian values in the field of education. In 1952, the first Saraswati Shishu Mandir of Vidya Bharati scheme was started in Gorakhpur. Today, about 25 thousand education centers of Vidya Bharati are running, in which education is being given from person building to nation building. The role of Vidya Bharati, the contributor of the education revolution, in building a new India and making the people’s consciousness all-round and strong, is neither in words nor in any medium. This campaign of active education in nation-building is not only unique, wonderful, miraculous but also vast.
Vidya Bharti whose full name is Vidya Bharti All India Institute of Education. This institute has lived up to its name. From Leh in the north, Rameswaram in the south and Munabao along the border with Pakistan in the west to Haflong in the northeast are the Vidya Mandirs of Vidya Bharati. From the prosperous colonies of   big metropolises to the small settlements in Girikandara, the education centers of Vidya Bharati are engaged in this important task of nation building. From the organizational point of view, Vidya Bharti has divided the whole country into eleven regions. There is a regional committee in each region, under whose direction the provincial committees look after the affairs of their respective provinces. Under these provincial committees, the district committee and school committee do direct work. All these eleven committees work under the guidance of the Central Committee.
The head office of the Central Committee is in the capital of the country, Delhi. The total districts in the country are 711, out of which 632 are functional districts. Total formal schools 12,830, total informal centers 11,353, total educational units 24,183, the number of students studying in the country is 34 lakh 47 thousand 856, total teachers are 1.5 lakh. On the basis of this statistics, it can be said that Vidya Bharati is the largest educational institution not only in the country but also in the world at the non-government level. Despite being non-government, Vidya Bharati is also the most effective educational institution.
Education plays an important role in the development of any society and nation. Education is the bridge that animates individual consciousness and group consciousness with national, cultural and spiritual values. Among the problems that are facing India, the costless education policy given on the western pattern has been a burning reason. When education itself becomes worthless, how will the culture of values flourish in the country? At present the aim of education is not to improve life, but to raise the economic level. The aim of Vidya Bharati is – “If India’s future is to be changed, then attention has to be paid to the future generation, they will have to connect with their culture and values.” Acharya Vinoba Bhave gave education according to Indian values instead of English education. But his suggestions and ideas were ignored. Not only this, the education of the country was handed over to those people who were suffering from an English mentality.
In ancient times, there was a 24-hour education system in the Gurukul. All-round development of the student was done by being in front of the Guru all the time, but at present, life is not becoming strong and capable due to the education received in the form of wages, literacy and livelihood. The reason for the need for education of Vidya Bharati was that “in the present day education the concept of livelihood is being taught, but the concept of life is not taught. The whole personality cannot be formed by merely joining the matter of livelihood.” Emphasis is given on the English language, self-languages are neglected. To remove these discrepancies, despite the formation of many commissions, the education system of the country could not prove to be functional. In this situation, Vidya Bharati took the initiative to make up for the shortcomings of education. It is not only through book education that the personality of the students is formed, it is also necessary to give education of character in their life. If good values are given to the students from the beginning, their mind is inspired by value-based education, then they can become a gift for the country. In the absence of proper training, they can also put their lives in the pit of destruction by participating in unrest, disturbance and violent tendencies.
Vidya Bharati’s project is a boon for all round personality formation of students in the field of education. It is not only about bookish knowledge, but it is about building a balanced and all-round personality through experimentation. Physical, mental, intellectual and emotional development is possible through this method. Vidya Bharati wants to develop such a national education system, through which such a young generation can be created which is full of Hindutva and patriotism, is fully developed from physical, vital, mental, intellectual and spiritual point of view and who lives life. The main aim of Vidhya Bharti is to train the students for adverse situations and  successfully face the present challenges of the country and make his life harmonious, prosperous, and cultured.
Be dedicated to creating new chapters of life. There are four dimensions of Vidya Bharati – there is a scholarly council to enhance powerful and practical knowledge in students. There is a research department to do action research in education to make it more useful. There is a cultural awareness project to make a life of Indian culture and for this the values given in our alumni remain indelible, for this there is an alumni council. It is a matter of great pleasure that Vidya Bharti’s Alumni Council has added more than eight lakh alumni to its portal, which has become a world record.
The ability to make this saying ‘Sa Vidya  ya Vimuktaye’ meaningful lies in the education of Vidya Bharati. Here the education is given to the student not only to get more marks by passing the examination, but to become a balanced citizen while facing the challenges of life, to build the nation and to spend life for the entire humanity. Such a life is made not only by reading books, but by imparting education based on action, experience, thought, discretion and sense of responsibility. This is Indian education, through this education one can become capable, character-rich and loyal citizen, this is the realized belief of Vidya Bharati. Realizing this expectation of education, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced the National Education Policy-2020. In this way, Vidya Bharati is in the forefront of the task of re-establishing Indian education in the country. With this, India will not only be self-reliant, but on the strength of its knowledge heritage, once again it will be able to move towards becoming a ‘Vishwaguru’.

– The author is a writer, journalist and columnist. He can be reached at lalitgarg11@gmail.com

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