Education for Man Making Back
December 10, 2017
(Text of the Foreword by Dr. Vinay Sahasrabuddhe to the book by Dr Girish S Bapat, Director of Pune based Jnana Prabodhini. The book, titled “Man-Making: Nurturing Abilities, Motivating the Able” is all about Education as a structured process of Man-Making, which is broadly speaking mentoring, nurturing and cultivating. The book has recently been published by Jnana Prabodhini and could be availed through correspondence with firstname.lastname@example.org )
Education is a subject on which perhaps most books from non-fiction category must have been written all over the world. This is a live wire subject, on which knowledge creation happens practically every day in some part or the other of the world. Besides, every section of the society feels concerned about education and in that sense majority considers that they are the stake holders in education, and rightly so. In India too, Commissions after Commissions (and Committees too) have worked on Education and presented their reports after the independence. And yet, since there are absolutely ‘No Full Stops in India’, this discourse on education continues year after year.
Does the current discourse on education offer anything new? Anything remarkably significant? Does it really make any new value addition? Answers to these questions cannot be in monosyllabic terms of Yes or No. True, we have a habit of reinventing the wheels and hence many of the writings on issues pertaining to education are repetitive in nature and add precious little to the already created knowledge. Also, there are certain areas about which precious little has so far been written and hence certain issues continue to be unattended. One such arena is Indian thought of Education. This issue is important because India has essentially been a knowledge society and education—as process of acquiring and imparting knowledge—has its own importance. Perhaps, there are not many research based books throwing light on the very ‘essence of education’ from Indian point of view, available today. In this backdrop, it is a matter of great satisfaction that Girish S Bapat, Director of Pune’s well-known Jnana Prabodhini, has written this book, which primarily talks about Man Making, which in fact is the very objective of education as per the Indian thought.
This book, as mentioned by the author; is a compilation of several lectures on related subjects presented by the author. Divided in two segments, the first part of this book deals with Education with a Purpose while the second part, about Explorations in Purposeful Education. Broadly speaking, the first part is about the philosophy while the second about practise or, in other words the applied aspect of philosophy.
The importance of this book is basically for three reasons. Firstly, it ads to one’s understanding about the Indian thought of Education. Regardless of the title not suggesting so, this book is all about how the quintessential Indian philosophy looks at Education. Secondly, it touches not just the theory but also practise. The second part of this book provides us some insight into the experiments conducted by the Jnana Prabodhini at schools run by it at various locations. Thirdly, the author of the book is not just an educationist. He is a thinker, beyond doubt! But in addition to that he is an administrator as well. In that sense, the book provides a proper blend of the thought process of a theorist blended with the grass-root level experiences of a practitioner. As a philosopher, he tells us the magnitude of the concepts discussed, taking us deep into their core. At the same time, he reminds us that the theories elaborated upon are grounded enough and have a demonstrably noteworthy practical value too.
While the first part of this book is certainly not less important in any way, the second provides a remarkable insight into the experiments conducted by the Jnana Prabodhini. Chapter 2 of the second section tells us about the Philosophy of Education of the Gifted, something that could rightly be described as the doctrinal foundation of the concept on which Jnana Prabodhini was started some half a century ago. The fundamental premise on which Dr. V V Pendse, founder of Jnana Prabodhini started this school was the realisation that “Motivation (for the student) should come from deeper within the individual” and also “Achievement motivation would not be enough. Gifted individuals should be motivated by ideologies and ideals”! Elaborating about the procedural philosophy of education adopted by Jnana Prabodhini, the writer very effectively underscores that “Since learning experiences are of importance to the student, learning objectives have to be integrated in such a way that experiential objectives are at the core and the cognitive, affective and conative objectives are interspersed in a spiral way around core objectives.” One also comes across a simple and profoundly logical definition of education as “Choosing between Sreyasa over Preyasa!
Another educative chapter is Shaping the Inner Self of Students, something which is theoretically most important but practically extremely hard. Again, the author tells us some simple but important keys to transformation. One of the areas elaborately dealt with is about the art of mentoring. In fact, some key Sutras mentioned by the author are so basic that they could well be straight away incorporated in management science lessons. For example; ‘Children grow up when they are treated as grown-ups’, ‘Even after the formal teaching of the group, the teachers must continue providing guidance and motivation to every single student in the group. Providing the required individual attention and thus building a strong one-to-one bond with students’, ‘As an independent human being, when we come across someone taking interest in our lives, our minds open up and our entire inner being gets ready to internalise new experiences.’ Chapters on ‘Attitude Formation’ and ‘Emotional, Intellectual and Social Commitment’ are also very insightful with their relevance going far beyond schooling.
Leaders, as they say; always end up feeling that right kind of followers are in short supply. Swami Vevekananad wanted some hundred spirited and motivated youths, Dr Shyamaprasad Mukherjee wanted one more Deendayal Upadhyay. Also, there are instances of great men eventually being defeated by their own disciples and associates. Add to this, the crass neglect - whether wanton or compelled by the situation — of the processes of systematically evolving a second line of command in organisations and institutions; and the challenge of ‘Man Making’ gets more and more acute. In a situation like this, Girish S Bapat’s book becomes all the more important.
In India, traditionally, knowledge is considered as a liberating force (Sa Vidya ya Vimuktae). It is also very rightly considered as a journey from darkness to light. Naturally then, Indian thought of education is not confined to bookish knowledge or mere skill development for the pursuit of livelihood. In fact, the traditional view that education could be seen either as pursuit of knowledge or as pursuit of job is erroneous as knowledge here is also a life skill. Education in India has always been looked at as a self-empowering process. In that sense, Indian view of education is more comprehensive as well as more holistic and Girish S Bapat’s book brings these characteristics very effectively to the fore.
Education is a much talked about subject and ironically one of the most neglected as well in so far as resources- Human as well as material—are concerned. One can only hope that a book of this kind that effectively explains theory and also gives practical and implementable action-points; is welcomed by researchers and practitioners alike.
Vice Chairman, Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini