Thursday, 26 July 2018

Sister Nivedita on Education of Indian Women -2

But the situation to be surveyed, may be more or less complex. And according to its complexity will be the training it requires. Very little intellectual training is needed, to enable a woman to watch her daily bazaar. The great land-owner requires more, for the management of her tenants and estates. Some knowledge of engineering, of agriculture, of the laws of banking and returns upon investments, a far sight about building and afforestation, and a generous identification of interests, will all be of value to the woman-zemindar.

Yet even here, it will be noticed that knowledge itself is nothing, without the wisdom and love that are to use that knowledge. And this discrimination it is that tells the woman what virtue to put in practice on any particular occasion. The mother and housewife must above all things be careful about cleanliness and good habits. The great Hindu queen, Ahalya Bai, shows her wisdom by special consideration for her Mohammedan subjects.

The days that are now upon us, demand of each man and woman a wider outlook than was ever before the case. No single question can be settled today, in the light of its bearing upon the private home. Even the food we eat or the cloth we wear, carries a responsibility with it, to those whose well-being will make or unmake the prosperity of our children and grand-children. The interests of the coolie in Madras are knit up with those of the labourer in the Punjab. In order to understand these facts, and weigh them well, it is clear that a good deal of intellectual preparation is necessary. A very ignorant woman cannot even comprehend what is meant by them. This intellectual training is what we usually call education.

But it is evident that the name is mistake. It is her awakened sense of responsibility that constitutes the truly educated woman. It is her love and pity for her own people, and the wisdom with which she considers their interests, that marks her out as modern and cultivated and great. The geography and history that she had learnt, or the English books she has read, are nothing in themselves, unless they help her to this love and wisdom. Scraps of cloth will not clothe us, however great their quantity ! There must be a unity and a fitness, in the garment that is worn.