National Education Day

In honour of India’s first Education Minister

National Education day is observed every year on November 11th to commemorate the birth anniversary of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the first education minister of Independent India.

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Abul Maulana kalam Azad

Maulana’s name for PM’s post

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was a senior Congress leader.

When the feverish Pre-Partition negotiations were on, between the leaders of Congress and Muslim league, the Congress leaders in order to avoid partition, suggested the name of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad’s for the post of first Prime Minister of India as a compromise with the Muslim League, to prevent Jinnah and other Muslim leaders from going for a partition. Unfortunately, the Muslim league led by Jinnah and other leaders instead decided to go in for partition.

Such was the seniority of Maulana that he was considered fit for the post of Prime Minister of an undivided India.

Education, Etymology

Education in India is termed Shiksha, which comes from the Samskrt word, Shikshan. Shik means ‘to sparkle’ and Shana refers to a ‘touchstone’. Shiksana is a process where the special qualities of a student are identified, brought out and channelized so that at the end of education, the person is sparkling or shining.

Kinds of Education

There are two kinds of education:

  1. One that teaches us how to make a living
  2. One that teaches us how to live

The education system that India followed before the Colonial invasion catered to both the above aspects of education.

5 Tier Education System

Let us see the education system that India had followed.

In every street, there was a Pathashala and in every village, a Gurukula. We also had Vidyalaya for senior students and college level universities were called Mahavidyalaya. International universities were known as Vishva Mahavidyalaya.

This was the 5 tier education system in India before the British arrived.

More on the Indian Education System in our book, Breaking the Myths – Vol-2 About Society.


 The Beautiful Tree

Mahatma Gandhi compares this 5 tier education system to a beautiful tree. Unfortunately, the British uprooted this tree.

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Mahatma Gandhi’s Statement at Chatham House, London, 1931

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The beautiful tree chopped down by the British

Dharam Pal

Dharam Pal, a Gandhian and a renowned socialist wrote his book ‘Beautiful Tree’ bringing out what education system in India was and how it was destroyed by the British.

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The Book 

Nai Talim

Nai Talim as the name suggests, was a new alternate system of education put forth by the eminent leaders of the land like Mahatma Gandhi, Rajaji, Rabindra Nath Tagore and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. This was an education system where half the day was meant for classes and the other half day for vocational training so that students learn vocational skills.

Nai Talim was a system of education where learning and working are not separate.

Farsightedness of our leaders

That was the farsightedness of our leaders in giving importance to skill development.

Present Education, Only Book Learning

Unfortunately, we did not take it seriously and focused only on learning from books. The present education system is a legacy of the colonial rule.

With a new age upon us now, India has initiated efforts to educate her children with an education policy that is contemporary as well as relevant to the land with its ethos, heritage and culture.

– Dr. D.K. Hari & Dr. D.K. Hema Hari

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