Tuesday 3 April 2018

Sister Nivedita: The Dedicated - Who gave her all to India – 42

यतो धर्म: ततो जय:

Nivedita as an Educationalist - 5

Nivedita was very keen that the students should know their mother tongue well and she herself was also very fond of the Bengali language. Whenever she found it possible, she would pick up small Bengali words. On occasion, she would learn Bengali words from her small girl students also and at that time, she would behave like the most obedient student. One day a girl, while drawing a line on her slate, said, 'Drawing the line.' The word 'line' struck the ears of Nivedita who approached the girl and said to her. 'Line is an English word. Speak in your own language.' But none of the girls could say the Bengali world for 'line'. All of them kept saying. 'Sister, we always use the word "line".' Nivedita's face turned red out of disgust and sadness and she said. 'What a pity! You've forgotten even your own language!' Suddenly a girl remembered the word and shouted. 'The Bengali word for "line" is rekha. 'Then Nivedita's joy knew no bounds. She appeared to have found one of her dearest treasures, which she had lost, and kept muttering 'rekha, rekha, rekha.'

Whatever may be the field of action, the well-being of India and the awakening of Indian national consciousness, was her topmost concern. She wanted, "Indian educators to extend and fulfill the vision of Swami Vivekananda". How would it be done? She explained, "This thought that education is not only good for child himself but should be more so for Jana-Desh-Dharma should always be present in the minds of educators. There is no fear of weakness and selfishness for one whose whole training has been formed round this nucleus. Each day should begin with some conscious act of reference to it. Education in India today has to be not only national but Nation-making. We must surround our children with the thought of their nation and their country. …The centre of gravity must lie for them outside the family. We must demand from them sacrifices for India; Bhakti for India; learning for India. The ideal for its own sake! India for the sake of India! This must be as the breath of life to them.

…It is a mistake to think that heroes are born. Nothing of the sort. They are made not born; made by the pressure of heroic thought. All human beings long at bottom of their heart for self sacrifice. No other thirst is so deep as this. Let us recognize this direct this towards single thought ie love for the country. …The universe is the creation of mind not matter. And can any force in the world resist a single thought held with intensity by 700 million of people? …How to do that? A national education then must be made up of familiar elements. Our Imagination must be based upon our heroic literature. Geographical ideals must be built up first through the ideals of India. Same is for history. All other histories should run around the Indian History."
Nivedita had many plans for education. She wanted the school should become a training institute for Indians (and the foreigners who would identify with India) to promote the cause of national education even in the face of Government's opposition. Another idea she had was to start a Boys' Home. The boys would stay in the Home for six months and study and spend six months going round the country as that would create in them love and knowledge of the country. The Home was immediately started but the second idea of taking the boys to see the country was carried out for two years. For paucity of funds, the ideas could not be carried out. But we can still understand that success of the school from the fact that when Rabindranath Tagore started Shantiniketan most of the lady teachers there were the students of Nivedita's School.

To be continued...

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