Thursday, August 30, 2007

An élite has to be formed which has an adequate understanding of all great national affairs or problems

Re: Vedanta University: a flawed pipe dream by Philip G. Altbach
by RY Deshpande on Wed 29 Aug 2007 04:13 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link
To think big is unusual these days in India and when one sees such a venture one starts wondering whether it is good for India, whether we are not simply imitating the capitalist society, whether something alien is being thrust on us, thrust by the vested interests, we becoming pawns in their game of big money.
The fear is genuine and yet the modern world has different parameters of operation. A deeper and enduring synthesis is the only guarantee if a community and a nation, and with them the world, has to move on in the direction of a larger collective organisation, a must in the truer sense of globalisation. What is required are the aspects which promote human potentials in determining the political, social, cultural and spiritual future of the human race.
Sri Aurobindo mentions in his Independence Message, of 15 August 1947, that one of the tasks the free nation has to attend to is the problem of “the depressed classes”, a problem which must be solved “without schism or fissure”. One way of looking at the big institutions is the possibility of this being worked out through the agency of big organizations which will thrive purely on merit, capability, discipline, commitment, organised functioning, working efficiency.
I think, from that point of view, mass education is something good, something which can act like a catalytic agent for social transformation. But mass education without the élite education may not really fulfill the expectations we cherish. There has to be an optimum mix of the both.
A message was given by Sri Aurobindo to the Andhra University on the occasion of the presentation of the Sir Cattamanchi Ramalinga Reddy National Prize to him at the convocation held at the University on 11 December 1948. In the following I am reproducing relevant extracts to highlight the role of education envisaged by Sri Aurobindo in nation building:..
To reiterate: “Not only Science but Art, not only book knowledge and information but growth in culture and character are parts of a true education; to help the individual to develop his capacities, to help in the forming of thinkers and creators and men of vision and action of the future, this is a part of its work… The life of the nation is the life of the youth. An élite has to be formed which has an adequate understanding of all great national affairs or problems…” RYD

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