Recount tales of bravery and social harmony from freedom struggle in school textbooks: Vice President

Vice President releases ‘Dhyaas Panthe Chaalta’ - a historical account of the 160 year legacy of the Maharashtra Education Society

New Delhi: The Vice President Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu today called for honouring unsung national heroes and chronicling anecdotes of their life journeys in an engaging way to inspire school children. He also suggested recounting tales of social harmony from the freedom struggle that reflect India’s civilisational values.

Speaking on the importance of teaching history, Shri Naidu said ‘We must teach our children the stories of such brave heroes this land has seen. Our glorious history must unshackle our minds of any inferiority complex we may harbour. History can indeed educate, enlighten and emancipate us.’

Shri Naidu expressed concern that ‘even after we gained independence, a colonial tinge remained in our education system’. A successful implementation of the National Education Policy should remove this, he said.

The Vice President was releasing a book ‘Dhyaas Panthe Chaalta’ – a historical account of the 160 year legacy of the Maharashtra Education Society (MES) from Upa Rashtrapati Nivas today.

Shri Naidu noted that the Society, established in Pune in 1860, was one of the first private educational institutions to be formed in the country, with the efforts of stalwarts such as the great “Adya Krantikarak” Shri Vasudeo Balavant Phadke, with the intention of imparting scientific education to the youth and fostering nationalist values among people.

Referring to Shri Vasudev Balwant Phadke, Shri Naidu lauded him as one of the earliest revolutionaries who fought for India’s independence from colonial rule. He said the valiant manner in which he fought against the British by preaching the mantra of swaraj and gathering the support of local communities is truly legendary.

Noting similar contributions from the state, the Vice President said that Maharashtra was at the forefront in producing leaders and organisations and laying the ideological foundations for the freedom struggle. He noted the efforts of organisations such as the Paramahansa Mandali, Poona Sarvajanik Sabha and Satyashodhak Samaj with leadership from stalwarts such as Dadoba Pandurang, Ganesh Vasudev Joshi, Mahadev Govind Ranade, and Mahatma Jyotiba Phule “in bringing meaningful social reform in India.”

Observing that institutions such as the Maharashtra Education Society, the Deccan Education Society and others took ‘education as a mission’, Shri Naidu called for a similar spirit now to further the cause of education.

Stressing the need for a ‘21st century touch’ to the education sector, the Vice President urged an enthusiastic implementation of National Education Policy 2020 by States and educational institutions, with emphasis on interdisciplinarity and multidisciplinarity.

Noting that the pandemic has necessitated the use of digital classrooms, smart devices and micro courses, he observed that the mode of education cannot be status quoist anymore and called upon private and public educational institutions to adopt these new hybrid standards in education.

“Vocational courses and distance education delivered through modern technologies can bridge geographical barriers and reach remote areas. They must be fully explored and further scaled up”, he added.

Shri Rajeev Sahasrabudhe, Chairman of Governing Body, MES, Dr. Bharat Vhankate, Secretary, MES, Shri Sudhir Gade, Assistant Secretary, MES, Dr. Ketaki Modak, Author of the book and others participated in the event.

Following is the full text of the speech:

“Friends,

I am very happy to release the book ‘Dhyaas Panthe Chaalta’ – a historical account of the 160 year legacy of the Maharashtra Education Society today. At the outset, I wish to congratulate the management of Maharashtra Education Society (MES) and the author, Dr Ketaki Modak for bringing out this book.

I am sure this book will serve as a useful reference tool for readers to trace the evolution of MES from its humble roots, while recounting various stirring anecdotes in its journey over 160 years.

Sisters and brothers,

It is pertinent to recall that the Maharashtra Education Society was one of the first private educational institutions in Pune, established way back in 1860 with efforts of stalwarts such as the great “Adya Krantikarak” Shri Vasudeo Balavant Phadke, among others.

The noble intention behind setting up this institution was to build an educational platform that would impart scientific education to youth, forge strong character and instil lofty ideals in them. Importantly, it sought to foster the values of nationalism among people.

This organisation was not an exception. Starting from the middle of the 19th century, organisations such as the Paramahansa Mandali, Poona Sarvajanik Sabha and Satyashodhak Samaj with inspired leadership from stalwarts such as Dadoba Pandurang , Ganesh Vasudev Joshi, Mahadev Govind Ranade, and Mahatma Jyotiba Phule were at the forefront in bringing meaningful social reform in India.

The establishment of such institutions eventually led to a wave of nationalism and aroused the patriotic spirit of our great freedom fighters in the years to come.

Their work in democratising education, fighting social evils and spreading scientific temper, challenging the administration on just causes and engendering social reform continued to reap benefits for the region and inspired similar movements elsewhere in the country too.

It is no exaggeration to say that Maharashtra was at the forefront in producing such leaders and organisations during the Indian Renaissance and laying the ideological foundations for the freedom struggle over the next century.

At a time when we are honouring our national heroes through Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, we must not forget the role of these unsung leaders such as MG Ranade, Vasudev Balwant Phadke, and others.

One of the founding members of this organisation, Shri Vasudev Balwant Phadke was also one of the earliest revolutionaries who fought for India’s independence from colonial rule. He rightfully earned the title ‘Adya Krantikarak’. The valiant manner in which he fought against the British by preaching the mantra of swaraj and gathering the support of local communities is truly legendary.

We must teach our children the stories of such brave heroes this land has seen. School textbooks should mention anecdotes in their life journey in an engaging way. It is my conviction that the lives of our freedom fighters must become a source of inspiration for the next generations.

Our glorious history must unshackle our minds of any inferiority complex we may harbour. Tales from our hard-won freedom struggle must remind us of the values of social harmony we have always cherished as a civilisation. History can indeed educate, enlighten and emancipate us.

Sisters and brothers,

One of the noblest aspects of institutions such as the Maharashtra Education Society, the Deccan Education Society and other such organisations is that education for them was a mission.

They understood that imparting the youth modern scientific education was an enlightened way of empowering India with a formidable weapon to fight the British. It was not only important for our industrialisation, but it also gave us much needed self-respect and confidence. It also gave the aspiring young population a chance to prove that Indians are in no way inferior to others in any field—be it science, medicine, arts or law.

I am glad to know that the Maharashtra Education Society is continuing its patriotic mission even today, which is clear from the impressive list of distinguished alumni its institutions boast of.

Sisters and brothers,

Education needs to be driven by the same missionary spirit today. The fast-paced, increasingly interconnected world of the 21st century needs a 21st century touch to the education sector too.

In this quest to redefine our approach towards education, the National Education Policy 2020 is an important milestone. It is truly a futuristic document that can transform the education landscape in India.

By emphasising on interdisciplinarity and multi-disciplinarity, NEP is also well-poised to help India reach its demographic dividend. States and educational institutions must enthusiastically implement the provisions of NEP and give our youth an opportunity to effectively compete with the world in all fields.

The pandemic has also taught us that the mode of education cannot be status quoist anymore. With digital classrooms, smart devices and micro courses on offer on many online platforms, private and public educational institutions should also adopt these new hybrid standards in education. Vocational courses and distance education delivered through modern technologies can bridge geographical barriers and reach remote areas. They must be fully explored and further scaled up.

Sisters and brothers,

In conclusion, let me state once again that I am happy to have released this book today. I commend the effort behind bringing out this research-based informative book that delves into the journey of an important educational institution.

I hope this will inspire many more books on the origins of our various historical organisations.

My best wishes to the Maharashtra Education Society, the publishers and the author for their future endeavours.

Thank you. Namaskar.

Jai Hind.

 

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