The value of education: A Gandhian perspective

Dr Akham Hemabati Devi *

Mohandas K. Gandhi (probably late 1930s)
Mohandas K. Gandhi (probably late 1930s) :: Pix - Wikipedia / (Source

Education is a systematic process through which a child or an adult acquires knowledge, experience, skill and sound attitude. It makes an individual civilized, refined, cultured and educated. For a civilized and socialized society, education is the only means. Its goal is to make an individual perfect. Every society gives importance to education because it is a panacea for all evils. It is the key to solve the various problems of life.

Gandhi was neither an academician nor an educationist in the rigid sense of term. But his view on education has marked a serious and lasting outlook towards education that could be of high value to Indian education system at all times. His concept of education is an all round drawing out of the best in child and man-body mind and spirit.

Literacy is not the end of education not even the beginning. It is one of the means whereby man and women can be educated. Literacy in itself is no education. It is the standpoint of Mahatma Gandhi. He thought that education is closely associated with the socio-economic development of the society. He took up scheme for basic education in which vocational training or work experience is the utmost important. It is due to the fact that it stimulates the human mind for creative thinking or dignity of manual labour.

He thought that such creative thinking should be taken up from primary to higher level education. His view on basic education is greatly influenced by his philosophy of satya (truth), ahimsa (non-violence), firm belief in God, dignity of labour. The Kothari Commission also followed Gandhi's ideal of vocational training in education. This commission said that work experience should be introduced as an integral part of all India education-general or vocational.

We define work experience as participation in productive work in school, in the home, in a workshop, on a farm, in a factory or in any other productive situation. This commission re-emphasizes the Gandhian principle of learning by doing in the modern education. The main aim of education is the development of human personality. He expanded fourfold personality in the individual that is body, mind, heart and spirit. True education stimulates the spiritual, intellectual and physical strength of the individual.

His view on education of heart can brings the idea of sympathy, fellowship and deep feelings of love. The aim of education is not only to produce good individual but also one must understand one's own responsibilities in which one lives. It is closely related to Hindu concept of varnashram dharma (obligation relative to one's caste and stage of life).

In varnashram dharma, some obligation which are binding on a person in virtue of his varna, the caste or class to which he belongs, and in virtue of his ashrama, the specific period of his life-history he is going through. So, the duties of a priest are different from those of a warrior and the obligations of a householder are different from those of a student. One who understood his or her responsibilities would lead to the spirit of social consciousness and social mindedness. Then, all the activities of such persons will have a social content as well as co-operation to others. (To be contd)

He considered 'man' is the most important to bring a peaceful and harmonious society. He said that he individual is the one supreme consideration. Man is neither mere intellect, nor the gross animal body, nor the heart or soul alone but a proper and harmonious combination of all the three which is required for making of the whole man.

He talks about education in terms of discipline. It is regarded as one of the most important parts and parcels of education. Without discipline, the sound education system is impossible. It is a quality that one's self can lead to the regulation of one's intellectual, moral, spiritual and social behaviour. It is stated that the goal of education consists of character-building.

Such character-building requires the moral, intellectual and social behaviour under all circumstances i.e., strength of personality, the virtue of compassion, kindness, fair-mindedness and the spirit of dedication. Gandhi strongly holds that education is not end in itself but it is the most powerful weapon which creates all persons of genuine characters.

There is degeneration of education when the qualities of truthfulness, firmness, tolerance are absence from it. True education is life process which helps in cultivating the spirit of co-operation, tolerance, public spirit and a sense of responsibility. All these qualities are considered as disciplines for the development of human personality.

Such disciplines can create the harmonious balance between the individuals and social aim of education. His principle of 'learning by doing' tries to stimulate the individual's mind to think creatively, independently and critically. His great emphasis on work-culture to the students from the primary stage to higher stage is to enable the students to start producing from the time he started his training. So, his primary information of basic education is Head, Heart and Hand rather than Reading, Writing and Arithmetic.

Gandhi also maintains that education is essential for the attainment of the goal of peace. It can be attained only through morality and ethics. According to Gandhi, education is the realization of the best in man - body, soul and spirit. He maintained that education must be based on ethics and morality. Ethics and morality are integral to Gandhi's life. All his thoughts, actions and speeches are based on these two concepts.

From the ethical perspective, education may be considered as a means of attainment of salvation. It helps to the path of the complete peace. Peace is the absence of violence and hostile thought. As a daily practitioner of non-violence, Gandhi right from his earlier stage considered that non-violence is an indivisible, important and essential part of education.

We cannot be separated education from ethics, morality and spiritualism. For this purpose Gandhi has given some rules for all students so as to ensure that morality and righteousness always be considered as an essential part of their education. Regarding this, such rules can make to right thinking, self-control, service to the society, respect to others and constant awareness for their duties and responsibilities.

Today, the world is suffering from immense crisis from many sides. Crimes, conflict, hatred and distrust between one community and another, hunger, unemployment, poverty and literacy, paucity of resources and pollution of environment, deforestation and desertification, swelling number of migrants and refugees, ethnic and sub-national violence, terrorism, drug trafficking, AIDS etc., all these altogether make a grave danger to peace.

The present day crisis is greater than the crisis that occurred during the time of Gandhi. The world is now full of violence. With the advancement of science and technology human being has invented many new technologies which are very helpful in our life. In some other ways, very few selfish minded people used it as a weapon for gaining his desire wish and pleasures.

Any action done under the motives of selfishness is a kind of violence. Purity of means is an essential condition of realizing good ends. If a good end is to be attained, it is also essential that the means adopted for the realization of the end is also good. He says, "if one takes care of the means, the end will take care of itself."6 End and means are the two important concepts in Gandhian philosophy which play very important implication for his doctrine of truth and non-violence.

His principle of aparigraha is one of the most important to bring simple and peaceful living, co-operation with one another. However, in our present day society we are facing so many conflicts. One of them is based on our knowledge which has been separated from work-ethics. Knowledge is separated in thought, in life as well as in market values by faulty psychology, faulty sociology and faulty economics respectively.

Education plays an important role which helps to equip individuals with the skills and attitudes that are necessary in order to adapt in changing situations and to add the creative spirit in the task of social change. 'Work and knowledge should go together' is the Gandhian principle of education. The educational systems try to develop the individual soul and mind, courage and self-reliance, cultivate the highest intellectual, scientific, moral and ethical accomplishments.

Gandhi's concept of education is of quite significance in the contemporary situation. His philosophical concept of education is entirely based on the development of human personality, to maintain the discipline, to create the manual work with learning and to develop the culture of the peace. He was a great educationist and an individualist par excellence.

He knew that education is the most important means in the society which can be used as an instrument of socio-economic progress, material advancement, political evolution and moral development of an individual. Gandhi's whole philosophy and work was based on ethics and morality. His concept of education is also founded on ethics and morality.

It may be said that his concept of education has full of religious ideas. His idea of religion is different from common concept. His concept of religion is 'service of humanity'. For the spirit of religions he propounded 'Nai Talim' or 'basic education'. His philosophical thought on education is highly pedestal that creates the socio-economic development of the society.

We can draw a conclusion that his concept of education is not only the eradication of illiteracy but learning by doing. He preaches the doctrine of simple living and high thinking. His education system are greatly emphasizing the culture of peace, sincere work, dedication of the cause of the nation, social minded, friendliness, right feelings, economic advancement, physical improvement and socio-cultural progress. It is based on work-centre education which can provide the necessary economic self-sufficiency and self-reliance.

* Dr Akham Hemabati Devi wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on October 02 2015.

* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.

  • PM at Science Congress @MU #1: Gallery
  • Yaoshang Water & color #3: Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • A tribute to Stephen Hawking
  • Draft Asian Declaration: right to justice #3
  • Effect of a Sleepless Night :: Peom
  • Psychology at MIT School of Vedic Sciences
  • So near yet so far
  • Naga CSOs walking with JCILPS
  • Vegetables grown @Thanga #1: Gallery
  • Yaoshang Fancy Dress Contest: Gallery
  • Yaoshang Sport @Khagempalli #2: Gallery
  • Truth of Life :: Poem
  • Celebration of womanhood
  • HQ IGAR (S) celebrates 15th Raising Day
  • Jet Airways for more flights for NE
  • Publicity doing good, Garbage filth continue
  • Other issue overriding education: Class XII
  • Wortam: The Rising Young Mashangva
  • Eidi Ethantani by Eyoom :: Review
  • OMCT : UA on harassment of Ranjeeta
  • Mass destruction of opium poppy cultivation
  • Career options in printing press
  • IBSD launches hi-tech facility for farmers
  • Bangalore Yaoshang - Cheiraoba Thabal
  • Quality over quantity
  • What will the PM have to say ?
  • Zeliang gets fresh summon from NIA
  • Lui-Ngai-Ni @Longmai (TML) #4 : Gallery
  • Nengneingah, Lungkhambou :: eMing
  • Yaoshang Water & color #2: Gallery
  • Draft Asian Declaration: right to justice #2
  • BJP led Govt, not flunk in first year
  • The Killing Fields :: News Timeline
  • Demand handing of Pravish case to CBI
  • PDA Govt claims false credit: NPF
  • Feminism & Path to Women's Liberation
  • Word of caution from Ibobi: BJP to listen
  • Yaoshang Cooking Contest #2 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Mei Loukhatpa #4 : Gallery
  • Radhakumar's Atoppa Sansar Amada #1
  • Nigol :: Poem
  • List of Portfolios : Nagaland Govt
  • Clarify: Report of Zeliang summoned by NIA
  • Academic Programs offered by PHFI
  • Cong speaks: Changes expected in future
  • One year under the BJP: Significant but..
  • Students @ Class X Exam #2 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Sport @Khongman: Gallery
  • Draft Asian Declaration: right to justice #1
  • Cry Of A Dying River...21 :: Peom
  • Manipur-Nagaland border disputes
  • Not a word on beauty on Women's Day
  • Women Religious Tour reaches New Delhi
  • Yaoshang Mei Loukhatpa #3 : Gallery
  • Chirom Indira- Nari Puraskar Award: Gallery
  • Human Rights Defender intimidated by Army
  • Rooftop Solar Power Plants: Gallery
  • Home stay for nature tourism in Manipur
  • Moodle: A learning management system
  • You can't stop small newspapers ...
  • BJP show in NE State: The backroom boys
  • Moldhin Chan: A Thado-Kuki Folktale #2
  • Yaoshang Nakatheng Chatpa #2 : Gallery
  • Mapithel Dam, Thoubal River & Tumukhong
  • Yaoshang Mei Loukhatpa #2 : Gallery
  • Time for "Nokphade" to go global
  • Campaign on International Women's Day
  • War between Left & Right has begun
  • Poppy plantation, destruction & missing link
  • Security beefed up ahead of PM's visit
  • Neroca FC to gear up for Super Cup
  • Yaoshang Halankar #1 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Water & color #1: Gallery
  • Harassment of Ranjeeta (HRA) by Army
  • Women's positions need to change
  • The Weeds :: Poem
  • We now know gold was created in space
  • Issues of women's rights should be priority
  • Protection of paddy land Act
  • Thabal Chongba @Khurai : Gallery
  • Bor-keina race @Yaoshang Fest : Gallery
  • Front Page Photo 2018 #1: Gallery
  • Tanushree @Elecrama Startup Award: Vote
  • Indian Science Congress in MU: Act East?
  • Fulbright 'pathways' for college leaving class
  • Job @ St. Stone Medical Devices
  • Army jawan martyred in Bongjai IED blast
  • National Integration Tour for Women
  • AR conduct Yaoshang sport festival
  • Condemns rising vendetta politics in NE
  • Yaoshang Sport - Marathon #1: Gallery
  • Yaoshang Sport @Keishampat #2: Gallery
  • NERIST Director post vacant since 2014
  • Dynamic Startup 3.0 at MIMS, MU
  • NDPP Legislature 1st Meeting at Kohima
  • 8th Theatre Olympics at Guwahati
  • Naga solution in 6 months: Nagaland Gov
  • All villages to be electrified within month: CM
  • IM denies involvement in attack on Army
  • Yaoshang Cooking Contest #1 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Sport @Keishampat #1: Gallery
  • Sentinel Cup Equestrian #5 : Gallery
  • Translating inclusion into seclusion is..
  • Condemns land acquisition of muslim
  • News erroneously portraying Zeliang
  • Report: Shillong Lajong vs East Bengal
  • Yaoshang Sport @Khagempalli #1: Gallery
  • LGBTQ Yaoshang Sports Meet #1 : Gallery
  • M. Shenbangpu : Akademi Award 2014
  • Tribe: A concept in a state of crisis
  • Neiphiu's NDPP-BJP alliance stakes claim
  • Digital footprints: Blueprints for detection
  • Rio refutes news about 'Naga Peace'
  • Yaoshang Mei Loukhatpa #1 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Nakatheng Chatpa #1 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang with Governor : Gallery
  • Black holes that are neither holes nor black
  • Lingaraja Temple- Lord of Three Worlds
  • Study helps hill student make up lost day
  • Yaoshang Mei Thaba : Gallery
  • Saroi Khangba #3 : Gallery
  • Chirom Indira: Highest Civilian Honour
  • Rejoinder to "MCPCR in dire straits"
  • Poppy destruction: The new norm ?
  • Stop harassment of Urikhimbham
  • Sadar Hills District Demand :: Timeline
  • Understanding the origin & essence
  • Call to reduce Yaoshang days: Make it 3
  • 8th AMWJU Sports Meet : Gallery
  • March Calendar for Year 2018 :: Tools
  • Yaoshang Thabalgi Sen Khaiba #2 : Gallery
  • Stop this shaming of menstruation
  • Yaoshang Greetings from BJP Manipur
  • Self-conscious manhood: Find true self
  • Parl Secy: To be or not to be ?
  • Holi colours can cause side-effects
  • Equality matters
  • Creating nuisance on the roads
  • Lui-Ngai-Ni @Longmai (TML) #3 : Gallery
  • Cultural @ Republic Day #2 : Gallery
  • Nonsense is Sense : Guv's attention invited
  • Protection of Human Rights: Resolution
  • Protection of Human Right Defender: Meet
  • Mapithel dam chapter before NGT
  • GOC 3 corps calls on the Governor
  • Gangnam style is better
  • From boycott call to verbal duel: NPF, BJP
  • Festival of Colours to Sports Festival
  • Food Processing Training @Oinam : Gallery
  • Time to ban malicious Moreh products
  • Cry of a Dying River - 20 : Poem
  • Training prog on Food Processing at Oinam
  • One year - now a doomsday ahead..
  • Thought on full five days of Yaoshang
  • Loree Kaju Luita Phanit #3 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Thabalgi Sen Khaiba #1 : Gallery
  • Death trolls :: Poem
  • Culinary arts as career option
  • Wetlands for a sustainable urban future
  • 12th Annual Damms Sports Meet 2018
  • NPF files complaint with ECI
  • Social Media for Empowerment
  • The perfect leader
  • NPF on the offensive against BJP
  • Lui-Ngai-ni Token Celebration at Chadong
  • Sannaroisingee Numit 2018 : Gallery
  • Reminiscence of career as an aerobiologist
  • Automation in microbiology laboratory
  • India's 'Act East' policy : Unlocking Manipur
  • Indo-Naga Peace Process :: Articles
  • No question of merger with anybody: NDPP
  • SC/ST wants reservation in Private Sector
  • Delhi-da Thabal MSAD na sougatchade
  • Students @ Class X Exam #1 : Gallery
  • AoNna tEnaba :: Seireng
  • Thanga Keithel : Gallery
  • Catholic education : A Global perspective
  • Don't flaunt your license gun
  • Home-made hair oil
  • Meet on Natural Resources Protection
  • Tackling the traffic menace
  • Religion as poll propaganda : Disturbing
  • Lui-Ngai-Ni @Longmai (TML) #2 : Gallery
  • Sentinel Cup Equestrian #4 : Gallery
  • The Peculiar Cut :: EI
  • 61st CC Meet Football postponed
  • A Late-Night Song :: Poem
  • Cyber stalking - Omnipotent danger
  • Math in the Indic Scientific Tradition
  • Rebooting efficient governance
  • Ongoing campaign for ST status: Opposition
  • Moldhin Chan: A Thado-Kuki Folktale #1
  • Saroi Khangba #2 : Gallery
  • Konthoujam Kunjo :: Akademi Award
  • NEROCA Vs Churchill Brothers #2: Gallery
  • Chaotic road traffic system of Manipur
  • King maker vs King saver
  • NIT students meet Union Sports Minister
  • Think of connectivity with new technology
  • Congress down, not out
  • Phases of Manipur Culture #2
  • Loree Kaju Luita Phanit #2 : Gallery
  • Prof N. Irabanta : Legendary Aerobiologist
  • Cry of a Dying River - 19 :: Poem
  • Folk Dance @ Republic Day #2 : Gallery
  • Shopping for Shivaratri #2 : Gallery
  • March Past @Republic Day #3 : Gallery
  • Indo-Naga Talks 2017 :: News Timeline
  • Temples of Manipur : Gallery
  • Thanga Landscape with Loktak : Gallery
  • Likkon Sanaba @ Lamshang : Gallery
  • MaiOn - Scenes #3 :: eRang
  • Singcha Wuya Won @Kamjong #5: Gallery
  • Recipients of Akademi Awards for 2014
  • List of MLA (Jan 2018) #2 : Gallery
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic