Remembering Mahatma Gandhi, And His Thoughts On Education

A self-portrait of Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi (full name, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi), who is also known as the Father of the Nation, was born 151 years ago today, October 2nd, in 1869. 

His contribution to India’s freedom struggle is well-known, but did you know he was equally invested in education in India? 

Mahatma Gandhi On Education In India

Seeing more merit in an education system that was free from British influence, Mahatma Gandhi proposed that schools should begin generating their own income via saleable handicrafts, to become more financially stable. He also believed teachers should have freedom in curricula matters, so they could impart originality to students, rather than sticking to a set format and guidelines. He counted the great Russian writer, Leo Tolstoy, as one of his major influences.

Mahatma Gandhi quotes on early education

Did You Know? 

Mahatma Gandhi was an avid reader, with a collection amassing more than 11,000 books (a figure he mentions during his interview conducted on July 27, 1933). This collection was later housed at Sabarmati Ashram, as Mahatma Gandhi had relinquished all claim over his books, allowing them to become ashram property.

A statue honouring Mahatma Gandhi, at his home
Statue of Gandhi at Sabarmati Ashram, Ahmedabad, India (Source: Bernard Gagnon, Wikimedia Commons

In 1933, this entire collection was then donated to the municipal library of Ahmedabad, a gesture he made to commiserate with all those satyagrahis whose properties were confiscated by the British Government, as punishment for participating in the salt satyagraha under the leadership of Gandhi.

Gandhi’s eclectic book collection consisted of works from authors like Charles Darwin (Descent of Man), William Shakespeare and Jonathan Swift, to Assyrian satirist Lucian of Samosata (Trips to the Moon), to mathematician James Jeans (Mysterious Universe). Poetry in English, Hindi, and Gujarati also had a space on his bookshelf, including Goethe’s Faust and The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. His collection also lists multiple translations in English, Hindi, and his native tongue, Gujarati, of the Bible, Quran, Mahabharata, and Ramayana. Apart from this, Mahatma Gandhi also devoured books that taught him about Zoroastrianism, Sikhism, Buddhism, and Vedanta, among others.

Not only was reading books a way to enrich his mind and philosophies, he also read to become more independent and self-reliant; he read books on childbirth and obstetrics in order to aid his wife Kasturba, when she was to deliver their son Devdas! Other similar books in the quest to prepare himself for varied situations include a guide titled ‘How to Launder‘ and a book called ‘Finger Impressions‘ written by a police officer.

His lifelong reading habit, his attitude of self-reflection, and his writing (he authored many famous books during his lifetime), is what Mahatma Gandhi credits as helping him along the path of self-growth. 

To Commemorate This Great Thinker’s Birthday, We’ll Leave You With Some Of His Quotes On Education:

What have these thoughts by Mahatma Gandhi taught you? Comment below.

Written by Square Panda India
Empowering children with the power of literacy and languages, Square Panda India provides an adaptive, multisensory, phonics learning platform to early learners everywhere.