What was the difference between Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore in their approach towards education and nationalism? (150 Words - 10 Marks)

Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore, two prominent figures in India's struggle for independence, brought distinct perspectives to the fields of education and nationalism. Their unique approaches had a profound impact on the shaping of modern India.

Approach of Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore towards Education

Mahatma Gandhi:

  • Basic education: Gandhi advocated and emphasised the idea of basic education, emphasising skills that would be directly useful to the masses, such as farming and handicrafts. One of his notable contributions in this regard was the promotion of the Nai Talim, or Basic Education System.
  • Values: He advocated for an education system that drew from Indian cultural and moral values, seeking to reconnect Indians with their rich heritage. He emphasised on character-building.
  • Self-reliance: Gandhi advocated for education as a means to make people self-reliant and self-sufficient. For instance, he popularised the spinning wheel as a symbol of self-sufficiency and economic empowerment during the freedom struggle.

Rabindranath Tagore:

  • Internationalism: Tagore's perspective on education was cosmopolitan and focused on nurturing a global outlook. He founded Visva-Bharati University to combine Indian traditions with international values.
  • Holistic development: Tagore encouraged self-expression, creativity, and individualism, fostering an environment that celebrated freedom of thought and expression. For instance, he promoted exploring arts, literature, and nature. He founded schools and a university in Santiniketan, which aimed to focus on holistic educational development and intercultural understanding.

Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore's Approach Towards Nationalism

Mahatma Gandhi:

  • Non-violence: Gandhi's nationalism was centred on non-violence and satyagraha, advocating for India's independence without resorting to violence. Gandhi believed that non-violence was the most effective way to achieve Indian independence. He led several mass movements against the British, including the Non-Cooperation movement and the Quit India Movement.
  • Inclusive: Gandhi emphasised the inclusion of all sections of society, including the marginalised, in the nationalist movement. For greater mass participation, he promoted Hindu-Muslim unity and upliftment of Dalits through his constructive programme.

Rabindranath Tagore:

  • Humanistic approach: Tagore's approach to nationalism was more cosmopolitan and humanistic. He criticised narrow nationalism, which he believed could lead to intolerance and chauvinism. His contribution to nationalism is reflected in his composition of national anthems for both India and Bangladesh.
  • Global perspective: He believed that nationalism should be inclusive and should respect the diversity of cultures and religions. Tagore's internationalist perspective advocated global cooperation and understanding.

Both Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore had differing approaches to education and nationalism. These differing perspectives enriched India's intellectual and cultural heritage and continue to influence the nation to this day, reflecting the diversity of thought within the independence movement.

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