2023 GS1 Answer

Q. What was the difference between Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore in their approach towards education and nationalism?

Question from UPSC Mains 2023 GS1 Paper

Model Answer: 

Approach Towards Education:

Mahatma Gandhi:
Mahatma Gandhi believed in a practical and pragmatic approach to education. He emphasized on the need for an educational system that would be rooted in the culture and life of the people. He advocated for a curriculum that would focus on the development of the whole person, including physical, mental, and spiritual aspects. Gandhi’s concept of education, known as ‘Nai Talim’ or ‘Basic Education’, called for learning through doing and experiencing. For example, he suggested that students learn arithmetic by relating it to their daily activities, like buying and selling of goods.

Rabindranath Tagore:
Rabindranath Tagore, on the other hand, had a more holistic and humanistic approach to education. He was against the traditional system of rote learning and believed in nurturing the creative instincts of children. He established Visva-Bharati University at Santiniketan with the aim of creating an environment where students could freely express and develop themselves. He believed in connecting education with nature and promoted the concept of learning in a natural environment. For example, classes in his school were often held under trees in open air.

Approach Towards Nationalism:

Mahatma Gandhi:
Mahatma Gandhi’s concept of nationalism was rooted in the idea of ‘Swaraj’ or self-rule. He believed in achieving independence through non-violent means and civil disobedience. His nationalism was inclusive, aiming to unite all sections of the society irrespective of caste, religion or gender. He mobilized the masses through various movements like Non-Cooperation Movement, Salt March, and Quit India Movement, instilling a sense of nationalism among the people.

Rabindranath Tagore:
Rabindranath Tagore, however, had a different perspective on nationalism. He was critical of the aggressive and violent forms of nationalism and warned against the dangers of blind patriotism. He believed in a world where the walls of nationality would be broken down and a universal brotherhood would be established. He was more of an internationalist, advocating for peace and unity among nations. His idea is reflected in his works like ‘Gitanjali’ and ‘The Home and the World’.

In conclusion, while both Gandhi and Tagore had profound impacts on education and nationalism in India, their approaches were distinct. Gandhi’s emphasis was on practicality and mass mobilization, while Tagore focused on creativity, individual development and international harmony.

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