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The completion of this study would not have been 
possible without the help and support of a number of in- 
dividuals. The writer wishes to express her sincere 
appreciation to her chairman. Dr. Hal G. Lewis, for his 
interest. in and understanding guidance through all phases 
of this study until its completion. The assistance of the 
other members of her committee was invaluable, and 
appreciation is expressed to Dr. Austin B. Creel and Dr. 
Vynce A. Hines. Appreciation is also expressed to Mrs. 
Voncile Sanders for her expert typing of the final copy. 
The writer is grateful to her husband Vinod, and our 
daughter, for their sacrifice, devotion, and inspiration. 








Tagore's Selected Writings on 
Education ........... 

Some Significant Works on Tagore 


Background for Tagore ' s Theory . 

Characteristics of Indian 
Education During Tagore's 
Time . 

Tagore's Childhood Ex- 
periences Regarding 

Aims of Education 

Summary. . . . . . 

Ideal Education. ... 


Congruency Between Education 

and Society 














Origin and Development of 

the Institution 50 

Main Divisions of the 

Institution 57 

Patha-Bhavana (The School). . 68 

Siksha-Bhavana . 70 

Vidya-Bhavana 71 

Centre of Advanced Study 

in Philosophy 72 

Rabindra-Bhavana (College 

of Tagore Studies and 

Research) 73 

Vinaya Bhavana (College of 

Education) 73 

Kala Bhavana (College of Fine 

Arts & Crafts) ....... 75 

Sangeet Bhavana (College of 

Music and Dance) 75 

Lok Siksha Samsad (People's 

Education Council) ..... 78 

Sriniketan 81 

Siksha-Satra 86 

Siksha-Charcha Bhavana. ... 88 

Organization of Daily 

Activities 90 

Organization of Curriculum .... 96 

Notes 105 


Impact on Indian Education 

Basic Education and Tagore . 107 

Criticisms 116 

Suggestions for Further Research. . 120 
Contribution to Indian 

Education 121 

Summary 12 4 





Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate Council 

of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the 

Requirements for the Degree of Doctor .of Philosophy 



Radha Vinod Jalan 

August 1976 

Chairman: Hal G. Lewis 

Major Department: Foundations of Education 

This study was undertaken to determine the nature of 
Tagore's educational theory and practice and its impact on 
Indian education. Material for the research was collected 
during a trip to Visva-Bharati, India and the writer's 
knowledge of Bengali was useful in obtaining significant 
data from Tagore's voluminous untranslated writings on 
education. During the course of study a review of Tagore's 
writings on education and others on Tagore was presented. 
A discussion of the major educational problems that existed 
in the British period in India, added to the early educa- 
tional experiences of Tagore is presented to give a com- 
plate background for the basis of Tagore's theory. The 
core of Tagore's educational theory puts greater emphasis 
on the complete harmonious development of individual per- 
sonality. He believed that education should help an 

individual to attain complete manhood, so that all his 
powers may be developed to the fullest extent for his own 
individual perfection as well as the perfection of the human 
society in which he was born. He believed that education 
was not merely a means for the growth and fullness of the 
individual, but it was also concerned with the whole 
physical and social milieu in which his life was lived. He 
wanted the boys and girls to be fearless, free and open- 
minded, self-reliant, full of the spirit of inquiry and self- 
critical, with their roots deep in the soil of India but 
reaching out to the world in understanding, neighborliness, 
cooperation and material and spiritual progress. Tagore's 
concept of ideal education covered the description of ideal 
atmosphere, institution, teacher, and method. Actually 
Tagore's success lies in the fact that he did not try to 
control directly the ideas, feelings, and values of his 
children but imaginatively designed an environment and a 
program of activities and experiences which evoked the 
desired responses. He also believed that the education of 
a country acquires shape and substance only against the 
entire background and it is important that there is a 
strong relationship between education and society. 

Tagore's educational theory was put into practice in 

his school at Santiniketan, which started with only five 
students on the roll. A history of the origin and develop- 
ment of the institution reveals that from such a small 
start the school has grown to a University, Visva-Bharati, 
with different departments in humanities, science, art, 
music, education, Chinese studies, advanced studies in 
philosophy and village welfare. In 1922, the Department of 
Village Welfare at Santiniketan was further developed to 
include extended work on rural reconstruction, village 
education, craft-training, agricultural research and train- 
ing and was named Sriniketan. Tagore ' s practical aspect of 
education also includes a description o:^ organization of 
daily activities in which freedom, games and sports, art, 
and entertainments at night are emphasized. Tagore 's 
organization of curriculum was not narrowed down to only 
textbook learning, but it provided a fullness of experience 
for children from multiple sources. He interpreted the 
curriculum not in terms of certain subjects to be learned 
but in terms of certain activities to be undertaken. 
Tagore 's impact on education in India has not been well 
recognized and through discussion it was found that educa- 
tional work of Tagore deserves more scrutiny. It needs to 
be recognized and evaluated by educationists around the 


world. His impact on education has been felt more but it 
has not been articulated' by researchers, or educationists. 
Present writing open avenues for further research on 
Tagore as an educationist by making further suggestions 
and presenting an extensive bibliography on Tagore 's 
writings on education. 



Rabindranath Tagore, recipient of the Nobel Prize for 
Literature in 1913, is internationally known as a great poet. 
He was born on May 1, 1861, in Calcutta, Bengal, at a time 
when the first uncritical admiration for the West had worn off 
and there was a more balanced appraisal for it. Simultaneously, 
there was increased knowledge of and regard for the values of 
the East. His grandfather. Prince Dwarkanath Tagore, was a 
friend of the great Indian religious reformer. Raja Rammohan 
Roy, and was among the first Indians to travel to Europe. His 
father, Maharsi (great saint) Devendranath, was a deep student 
of Indian and Islamic mysticism. From his earliest days, 
Rabindranath grew up in a house where all the surging tides 
of the Indian Renaissance were flowing around his daily life. 
In Bengal, this Renaissance found expression in three great 
movements, religious, literary and national and all these 
three movements found their votaries in the Tagore family. 
Rabindranath 's eldest brother, Dwijendranath, was a philosopher 
and writer, and a second brother, Satyendranath, was the first 

Indian to enter the Civil Service. Another brother, 
Abanindranath, was a lover of music and drama and he used to 
compose tunes in new styles. His nephews, Abanindranath and 
Gaganendranath, were two great artists of Bengal. Not only 
the boys, but also his sister, Swarnakumari, became a very 
well known writer in later days. In an atmosphere like this 
Tagore himself started writing poems at the age of eight and 
at the age of thirteen his poems were published in a Bengali 
monthly magazine, Bharati , under the name of Bhanusimha. 

Rabindranath ' s poetic career kept on flourishing in later 
years. His book Gitanjali (offering of songs) brought him 
the Nobel Prize and international fame. Actually his fame as 
a poet has so much eclipsed his great contributions in litera- 
ture, education and other aspects of life that the latter have 
rarely received the attention and appreciation that they 
really deserve. His writings which are available in English 
versions do not fully represent his original work in Bengali. 
To a large extent, this was one of the reasons that, in his 
lifetime, Tagore 's reputation in the Western world declined. 
English translations of his writings failed to give a complete 
picture of Tagore as an educator and social reconstructor . 
It seems worthwhile to explore other areas of Tagore 's work 
and give them due attention. 

Although Tagore's literary versatility as poet, dramatist, 
short-story writer, essayist, and novelist has received wide 
attention in his home country, his educational theory and 
practice have been neglected for the most part. Tagore did 
not have any academic degree in education, but he was a great 
educator of his time. He not only advocated changes in educa- 
tion but practiced them in his school at Santiniketan. The 
school started in 1901 under the name Brahmacharyasram, 
was later changed to Brahma vidyalaya and finally to simply 
the Santiniketan School. Later the school was expanded and in 
1921 Vis va-Bharati, the International University, was formally 
inaugurated. In 1922, rural welfare department of Visva- 
Bharati was formally opened at Surul with the name of Srini- 
ketan. Like the other departments of Visva-Bharati, Sriniketan 
grew slowly f ran small beginnings to a great centre of rural 
reconstruction and village education. Actually, Tagore was the 
first in India to think out for himself and put into practice 
principles of education which have now become commonplace in 
educational theory if not yet in practice. At present, when 
India is trying to find appropriate educational direction for 
its development, Tagore's educational work deserves scrutiny. 

The main purpose of this study is to determine the nature 
of Tagore's educational theory and its practice in his 

institute. It is also intended to estimate the impact of his 
program on Indian education. Tagore's thoughts on education 
are not formulated in any systematic treatises. His educa- 
tional writings constitute a voluminous literature, mostly 
scattered in independent essays, speeches and letters, only 
a small number of which have been collected in books and 
educational journals. The rest are either available in the 
pages of old magazines and periodicals or are lying in 
obscurity. To construct a coherent and unified pattern out 
of this mass of diffuse material is no easy task. Moreover, 
Tagore's treatment of his theory has been generally so impre- 
cise and so diffused with poetic abstractions and fine emo- 
tions that to work out an objective rationale of educational 
philosophy from it all is a great challenge. The procedure 
employed in this research is analytical. The research is 
based upon an extensive study of Tagore's writings and lec- 
tures, both in Bengali and English languages. Available 
brochures, reports and publications on Tagore's educational 
theory and his institutions are also carefully examined. 

The study deals with different aspects of the educational 
philosophy of Tagore. Chapter II consists of a description 
of educational readings on Tagore and a description of 
selected works from Tagore's voluminous writing on education. 

showing a gradual development in his thinking. Chapter III 
will discuss the educational theory of Tagore. To understand 
his theory correctly, it is necessary to know the educational 
system in India at that time and the childhood experiences of 
Tagore as a student which greatly influenced the idea of the 
unique school of Santiniketan. His theory has been cate- 
gorized under the titles. Aims of Education . Ideal Education , 
and Conqruencv Between Educational and Social Life . Chapter IV 
will show how Tagore tried to put his theory into practice in 
his institution. In this context, a study has been made of 
the organization and division of his institution into different 
departments and curricula. Chapter V will be the concluding 
chapter showing Tagore 's impact on Indian education and at this 
stage a comparison will be made between Gandhi's Basic 
Education and Tagore ' s system. This will be followed by an 
extensive bibliography of educational writings of Tagore, and 
others on Tagore as an educator. This bibliography itself 
will meet a need in educational literature. 

Material for this research was collected through various 
sources. In addition to professional books and articles in 
periodicals dealing with Tagore 's educational philosophy and 
activities found in the University of Florida library and the 
Library of Congress, others were obtained from the Indian Consulate 

of New York, the Indian Embassy Research Department in Wash- 
ington, D. C. and the Indian Information Service, Washington, 
D. C. Some of the valuable material that could not be located 
in this country was collected during a trip to Santiniketan 
and Calcutta. The publisher at Visva-Bharati kindly made it 
possible to obtain copies of some of these documents for the 
research. On the recommendation of Himangshu Mukherjee, 
professor at Vinaya-Bhavana, the researcher spent considerable 
time in reading some articles in copies of old newspapers and 
magazines at Rabindra-Sadana, Santiniketan, and thus got very 
relevant materials for the work. These will be found in the 

It is important to mention that since a large part of 
Tagore's educational writings are in Bengali and wherever 
something is quoted from these the translations are made by 
the researcher. Also, for the references only Bengali era is 
given for them. Bengali era is 593 years behind Christian 



Tagore's educational writings constitute a voluminous 
literature, mostly scattered in independent essays, speeches 
and letters, only a small number of which have been collected 
in books and journals. The rest either are available in 
pages of old magazines and periodicals or lying in obscurity. 
This has deterred many educational researchers from working on 
Tagore. Also, a majority of Tagore's educational writings 
have been in Bengali, and have not yet been translated into 
English. This automatically narrows down the numbers of workers, 
especially in the West. Besides, Tagore's literary genius has 
almost overpowered his work on education so much that even many 
of his biographers (Kriplani, 1962; Thompson, 1961) do not seem 
to be doing justice to his contributions to education. In 
such a situation, it seems important to locate, identify and 
analyze some of the valuable writings of Tagore in educational 
philosophy, theory and his experiments in education. 

Taqore's Selected Writings 
on Education 

Siksar Herpher (12 99 B.S.) is Tagore ' s very first 
writing which enunciates explicitly some of his fundamental 
educational thoughts although in earlier articles and essays 
his political and social consciousness could be observed in 
spite of the fact that at the time of its publication he was 
only 31 years of age. It is likely that these early ex- 
periences were forming the background for Tagore 's educational 
career. The article Siksar Herpher eloquently pleads for a 
system of education conducted in congenial surroundings and 
in a manner surcharged with the spirit of joy. It argues that 
the ultimate aim of education should be the all round develop- 
ment of an individual for harmonious adjustment to reality. 
It advocated the value and need of the mother tongue in pro- 
viding all the necessary educational nourishment of the child. 
Prabhatkumar Mukhopadhyay , Tagore 's biographer, has noted that 
"it was the first really comprehensive and competent criticism 
of the educational system of the country at that time" (1353- 
1363 B.S. V.I., p. 271) . 

Tagore 's first educational writing attracted wide attention 
in Bengal and for some time Tagore kept on writing about the 
subject in editorial columns of Sadhana under the general 

title Prasanga Katha (Relevant talks) . He was firm on his 
stand for the place of the mother tongue in education, but 
nevertheless he insisted that English may be taught as a 
language, and that from early years, in wise doses, and in 
the proper sequence, only as a supplement to the mother tongue. 

With the advent of the twentieth century Tagore ' s idea 
of the all-round regeneration of the country through national 
self-determination, individual efforts and sacrifice were being 
expressed more powerfully through his writings and actions. 
He was a great believer in the value of education as the most 
fundamental prerequisite of the progress of a nation and he 
joined the National Council of Education which aimed at bring- 
ing reforms in education. But Tagore ' s conception of true 
national education was fundamentally different from the 
official policy of the National Education Council. He heartily 
welcomed the desire for self-determination in education which 
had inspired the movement but he strongly deplored the idea of 
launching the western type of political agitation which 
appealed for favors to the ruling power, especially when they 
were foreigners.^ He appealed to his countrymen to approach 
national problems in an objective and rational manner and to 

turn attention and energy to the prime object of national 


reconstruction with the village as the center. Ultimately, 


he withdrew himself from active participation in the national 
movement in both the political and educational spheres and 
retired to Santiniketan by the end of 1905 to pursue his own 
goal. Tagore's writings of this period reveal his thinking on 
this pattern. 

In 1905, in his address to the students, "Chatrader Prati 
Saitibhasan," Tagore advocated a realistic education acquired 

through independent efforts. In the article "Purvaprasner 

Anubritti, he argued, "it is necessary to remember that if 

we place education in the hands of the government, they will 

attempt through that education to fulfill their own interests 

and not ours. They will so arrange that a farmer may remain 

only a farmer in his village; they will not bother to make him 

a true citizen of India. We can impart education according to 

our desire only if we take education in our hands . It is 

absurd both to beg and to order" (Rabindra Rachanavali, V. XII, 

p. 516). 

A much firmer ground for Tagore's educational philosophy 

is found in the article, "Siksa-Samasya " (June, 1906) — The 

Problem of Education. Though not stating it directly, Tagore 

clearly indicates here for the first time his fundamental point 

of difference with the National Council of Education in his 

repeated statement that no truly national system of education 


in India could be based on any imitation of a foreign model. 
According to him, true national education is one which is or- 
ganically linked with the life of a nation and which is a natural 
process through the accumulated endeavors and the cherished 
ideals and traditions of the people of the land. In this 
article, he gives an elaborate and critical exposition of what 
he regarded as the most important features of a national educa- 
tional system. He emphasized that the primary condition of 
true education should be residence at the home of the teacher 
and a life of discipline (brahmacharya) during the entire 
period of studentship. He maintained that brahmacharya alone 
should not be regarded as sufficient for a full education, but 
it should be reinforced by the wholesome influences of cosmic 
nature. He also believed that such an institution should be 
run on the ideal pattern of simplicity. This essay presents a 
fairly definite and comprehensive exposition of Tagore's own 
constructive plan for a truly national system of education, 
which shaped his educational activity for some years to come. 

After the preliminary excitement of the movement had 
entirely subsided, Tagore started devoting thought and activity 
towards fulfillment of his own evolving ideology. First 
important writing in this direction is "Tapovan"^ (Jan, 1910) — 
Forest. In this article for the first time Tagore introduced 


a new idea of the education of feeling (bodher sadhana) and 
he distinguished it from the education of the senses and the 
education of the intellect. This education of feeling con- 
sists of the realization of man's bond of union with the 
universe through the spirit, through the soul, through the 
deeper intuition of feeling. Through her national system of 
education India should endeavor to discover and attain the 
characteristic truth of her civilization pursued through the 
centuries by her prophets, thinkers and saints and "that truth 
is not mainly commercialism, imperialism or nationalism; that 
truth is universalism" (Tagore, 1351 B.S., p. 100). The 
highly significant point here is that while Tagore is still 
talking in terms of nationalism and swearing by the ideals of 
Ancient India, he is interpreting the highest of these ideals 

in terms of internationalism. 

A letter entitled "Siksavidhi" --The Method of Educatioh-- 

is devoted to the problem of the philosophy of educational 
method in some of the fundamental aspects as well as in the 
context of the existing socio-political and educational con- 
ditions in India. The stereotyped and mechanical educational 
atmosphere of India was obstructing the originality or initia- 
tive of children and he said that education can be imparted 
only by a teacher and never by a method. "Man can learn only 


from a man. Just as a water tank can be filled only with water 
and fire can be kindled only with fire, life can be inspired 
only with life. . . .The mere pill of a method instead shall 
bring us no salvation" (Tagore, 1351 B.S., p. 128). 

In "Strisiksa"^ (August, 1915) — The Education of Woman, 
shedding some light on the philosophy of curriculum, Tagore 
writes, "Whatever is worth knowing is knowledge. It should be 
known equally by men and women, not for the sake of practical 
utility but for the sake of knowing" (Tagore, 1351 B.S., p. 138) 

He makes it clear that knowledge is above the limitation 
of mere utility. He rejects the common notion that in learning 
some common subjects with men, women would lose their femi- 
ninity. Later in the article, he makes his point clear. 
"Knowledge has two departments: one, pure knowledge; the other, 
utilitarian knowledge. In the field of pure knowledge, there 
is no distinction between men and women; distinction exists 
in the sphere of practical utility; women should acquire pure 
knowledge for becoming a mature human being, and utilitarian 
knowledge for becoming true women" (Tagore, 1351 B.S., p. 139). 
Thus, on the basis of pure knowledge there should not be any 
distinction between men and women but a distinction does 
exist in the sphere of practical or utilitarian knowledge. It 
is utilitarian knowledge which should help an individual to be 


successful in that sphere of life to which he or she truly 
and naturally belongs. In his institution Tagore gave an 
equal place to the education of girls and women and had built 
a hostel for girls. This was considered a very radical step 
in Indian society at that time. 

It is not until 1916 that we find something relevant to 
education written by Tagore in English. The major writing 
of this year is "My School" (1916) . It is one of the lectures 
delivered by Tagore in America. It is the first and perhaps 
the most comprehensive writing by Tagore on his school at 
Santiniketan. In the article, we find all the previous 
theories or ideas of Tagore restated and reinterpreted. He 
also discussed some new concepts regarding his school. "I 
know what it was to which this school owes its origin. It 
was not any new theory of education, but the memory of my 
school day" (Tagore, 1917c, p. 138). This is perhaps the 
first categorical statement by Tagore that his educational 
venture had its genesis in his painful childhood memories. 
He also clearly denied here that in founding his school he 
was actuated by any set educational theory and "the growth of 
this school, was the growth of my life and not that of a mere 
carrying out of any doctrine" (Tagore, 1917c, p. 161). 
Finally, he pointed out, that any outward description of such 


a school, as his, would be inadequate, for it is the atmos- 
phere prevailing there that is really important and it is 
by that that the institution should be judged. 

Tagore's philosophy of nature is the subject of "The 
Schoolmaster" (June, 1924) which was a lecture delivered in 
Japan. Tagore based his arguments on the fundamental as sump-, 
tion that nature's own purpose is to give the child its full- 
ness of growth, and that in imposing our own purpose of giv- 
ing it some special direction we are distrusting nature's 
purpose. Thus, it is only through freedom that man can attain 
his fullness of growth. He postulated three kinds of freedom, 
freedom of mind, freedom of heart and freedom of will. Free- 
dom of mind is opposed to the adult's system of concentration 
of mind and a child can grow fully only when he is given free- 
dom to express himself, to explore the world on his own. 
Actually, due to this philosophy Tagore never used any coercion 
or punishment against the naughty boys in his school. He 
interpreted freedom of heart as unrestricted human relation- 
ship. In the school, he feels, teachers should substitute 
for the mother in providing freedom of love to the children 
through their understanding, sympathy and free companionship. . 
Finally, freedom of will or the free activity of soul con- 
sists in creating one's own world. The way to bring this 


ideal into effect, is to invite the pupils to participate in 
the building up of the school and in its development (Tagore, 
Oct., 1924b). 

The next significant educational writing of Tagore is 

"Alochana" (July, 1925) — A Discourse, in which a special 

reference is made to the conduct of the institute's inmates 

in minute practical details. In his code of manners, Tagore 

emphasizes the importance of suitable greetings with different 

persons on different occasions, of the excellent tradition of 

hospitality of the asram, of punctuality, of clean and proper 

dress according to occasions, and of the maintenance of general 

cleanliness of the hostel rooms, furniture and personal effects 

as well as of the surroundings, as a sign of good manners and 

self-respect. Emphasizing the need of the cultivation of 

sociability among the pupils of the institution, he suggested 

that the different student hostels should invite one another 

to social and cultural functions organized by them. He also 

points out that physical education is inseparable from mental 

education. He refers to his idea about "the peripatetic" or 

mobile school, that is, teaching and learning while walking. 

He believes that this not only facilitates learning many 

things through direct observation but it keeps our awakened 

mental faculties constantly alert and receptive through contact 

with ever varying scenes and objects. 


In a speech entitled "Dharabahi" (Dec. 23, 1934) — In 
Continuous Flow, Tagore introduced a point of very great 
importance and mentions it is true that he based the institu- 
tion initially on the ideal of simplicity of the ancient 
Tapovans, which still largely possesses validity in modern 
life but he realizes that it is not the whole truth. "It is 
not entirely true that a simple mode of life within a narrow 
compass is the highest ideal. . . .Rather, that activity has 
to be respected which ultimately retains its vitality in spite 
of all the errors that it may commit in the course of its 
onward progress along a rough and wide path. What is more 
absurd than the desire and the effort to preserve permanently 
the simplicity of childhood" (Tagore, 1370 B.S., p. 136). It 
also indicates that Tagore would not be entirely unhappy over 
the later expansion of the original asram school into manifold 
activities through various departments, which he interprets 
here as a natural culmination of the inner spirit of the 

The book Russia-r-Chithi (May, 1931) —Letters from 
Russia, possesses considerable value as a forceful exposition 
of some of the most fundamental aspects of Tagore ' s socio- 
political philosophy and the objects that impressed Tagore 
from educational points of view. Russian experiments 


interested him more because to some extent they could have 
been used for Indian situations, too. He said that the 
Russian revolution is significant because it is the symbol 
of the awakening of the oppressed and the have-nots throughout 
the world. Tagore expressed pleasant surprise and belief 
that the masses in Russia had attained self-respect and an 
acute sense of responsibility about the future progress of 
the country. He was trying to achieve these goals in 
Sriniketan, and tried to draw the attention of political 
leaders towards this problem but it was to no avail. Russia 
had the same evils as India but education was the only force 
that brought progress there. It was education that raised 
the level of the intelligence of the entire nation. Tagore 
found close similarities in his and Russian educational aims, 
and experiments. Russians also aimed at fullness of life. 
Their educational philosophy included dynamic living and close 
association with life as the main qualities of education. 
Another thing that impressed Tagore was the importance attached 
to all forms of art in education and public life. But Tagore 
did not praise the system blindly. He criticized their 
uniform pattern of educational product, sacrificing individual 
needs and interests for the collectives. Also, Tagore was 
wholly against the principle of dictatorship prevailing in 


the Soviet state. He believed that with good cooperation 
both individuality and general welfare can be achieved. 
Even in the case of Russia, Tagore seems to be hopeful be- 
cause "they have developed their intellectual vitality. 
Therein lies their road to redemption" (Tagore, 1970, p. 84) 

Some Significant Works 
on Tagore 

Considering the amount of writing that Tagore has pro- 
vided and his experiments, in education, the number of signifi- 
cant research or scholarly analysis of his work have been 
numerous. Many of the available writings are as articles in 
different journals but they really do not represent his work. 
One of the oldest writing is Santiniketan by William Pearson 
(1915). Pearson was one of the earliest workers at Santini- 
ketan from England. He came to visit Santiniketan at the end 
of 1912 and in April 1914 he came finally to stay there and 
work with Rabindranath. He learned Bengali very soon there 
and this helped him in communicating to children in the school 
as well as to the tribal communities around Santiniketan. His 
book is the first direct account of the activities at the 
school. The introduction of the book is written by Rabin- 
dranath where once again he mentioned the origin of the school 


and the atmosphere in his school. The book was written during 
Pearson's trip to Japan and he mentioned in the book that 
though he was outside the asram at the time he kept on think- 
ing about it all the time (Pearson, 1965, p. 10). Among the 
things which he described about schools are student committees, 
magazines, open classrooms, excursions, intimacy between stu- 
dents and teachers, sports, and daily routine. There Were 
about 2 teachers and staff for 150 students. There was no 
headmaster, the school was under the management of an 
executive committee elected by the teachers themselves, and 
one of its members was elected each year as the executive 
head. He was entrusted with the practical management of the 
institution. In each subject one of the teachers was elected 
as director of studies and he with the other teachers in the 
same subject discussed the books and methods to be adopted. 
However, each teacher enjoyed perfect freedom to work out his 
own methods in the way he thought best. If Tagore was present 
at Santiniketan he would preside at the meetings and even taught 
classes (Pearson, 1965, pp. 20-21). Though Bengali was the 
medium of education, English was taught as a second language. 
Pearson also commented about the students' love for young 
children and their attitude towards service to others. 

Pearson's book is more of a description of the school than 


a critical analysis. Santiniketan school was still very 
young at that time and the newness of the experiment plus 
Tagore's international reputation attracted many foreigners 
to its campus. 

Another book on the similar pattern is Amader Santiniketan 
by Sudhiranjan Das (1962). Mr. Das was a student at Santi- 
niketan school from which he was graduated. Once when he was 
home on vacation, he fell sick and afterwards his parents 
decided to enroll him in a school in Calcutta. He stayed in 
this school for a year, but by the end he was restless. After 
some time with all his courage he mentioned in the home that 
he would like to go back to Santiniketan, and this time he 
stayed there until his graduation (Das, 1369 B.S., p. 58). 
The book is a memoir from a student talking about teachers, 
students, other staff members, and life-styles of a student in 
the school. He mentioned that initially the school was sus- 
pected of being a center of underground activities by the 
government and the government had issued a circular that 
none of its employees or anybody who was looking for any help 
from the government should send their children to this school. 
Due to this some who wanted to send their children to this 
school could not do so (Das, 1369 B.S., p. 12). 

Das's family knew Tagore's family well and one of his 


aunts reconunended to his father that if he was sent to 
Raviuncle's school both his body and mind would benefit 
(Das, 1369 B.S., p. 14), and his father liked the idea. With 
the approval of his admission he got a copy of the rules and 
regulations of the school. In detail, there was a list of 
what clothing and other materials he should bring with him, 
but the most exciting thing for him in the list was to bring 
a small tool box with some tools in it. 

Mr. Das' account is valuable for it gives a good 
account of the school from a student's point of view. It 
reflects on life style, which was full of freedom, fun and 
festivals. During the presentation of plays Tagore himself 
would direct and sometimes even would do the make-up for 
students. He also used to teach his songs to students even 
before they were published. Life of a student was full of 
activities, and there was very little forced studying until 
the year of graduation. 

The next book in the discussion is Rabindranath Tagore; 
India's Schoolmaster by J. J. Cornelius (1930), which was 
presented to the facility of Columbia University as a doctoral 
dissertation. This was the first scholarly study of Tagore 's 
educational work. After discussing the British educational 
policy, the writer in detail described the different aspects 


of Visva-Bharati's curriculum, Tagore's theory regarding 
education and the daily schedule of the institution. It has 
also mentioned different requirements for different levels 
of studies. The writer feels that "Rabindranath has given to 
India an experimental school based on a synthesis of the 
ideals of ancient Indian education and of modern Western edu- 
cation. It is an Indianized educational institution for the 
formation and growth of social solidarity, on which alone the 
true progress of India depends. The institution spells 
freedom — freedom of mind, freedom of will, and above all, 
freedom of sympathy" (Cornelius, 1930, p. 162). The writer 
is full of praise for Tagore's unique contribution to the 
world and hopes that "just as Rabindranath ' s sympathetic 
response to the cry of the childhood suffering from a system 
of education which is crushing its body and soul, has given 
to India the Shantiniketan school, so also the cry of suffer- 
ing humanity from the world-wide disaster brought about by 
the great war and the mentality which led to it, has caused 
Tagore to bring to India his gift of Visva-Bharati or the 
International University. Here man is to grow in the knowl- 
edge that his own interests are bound up intimately with those 
of other human beings, and also that wealth can never satisfy 
the innermost cravings of the human soul" (Cornelius, 1930, 


p. 193) . The whole book is a nice analytical representa- 
tion of Tagore's work but since the study was performed in 
1928, just six years after the inauguration of Visva- 
Bharati, it is an incomplete study. 

Himangshu Bhusan Mukherjee's Education for Fulness 
(1962) is a scholarly presentation of the subject. Dr. 
Mukherjee is at present a professor at Visva-Bharati in 
Vinaya-Bhavana . His work is valuable in a study of Tagore 
because it covers in detail different aspects of Tagore's 
theory. The book is divided into four parts: The Pre- 
Santiniketan Period, The Santiniketan Period, The Visva- 
Bharati Period, and Review and Estimates. The Pre- 
Santiniketan Period deals with Tagore's background and his 
educational writings from 1892-1898. The Santiniketan 
Period describes the growth and development of Santiniketan 
and educational writings of the period, that is, from 1901 
to 1918. The Visva-Bharati Period starts at 1918 and ends 
at 1941, with Tagore's death. Again in this period major 
emphasis is on educational writings of Tagore and growth 
and development of Visva-Bharati. The last section has 
some essays regarding Tagore's theory of education. The 
book is mainly a detailed study of Tagore's educational 
writings. The major drawback of the book seems to be that 


it is very repetitive and at times boring. The writer 
is so full of respect for Tagore that it irritates a 
general reader. Even with such a detailed study, a cri- 
tical outlook is lacking. The writer has not mentioned 
his viewpoints regarding some major issues, such as why 
Tagore 's approach did not catch on, and what its impact on 
Indian education was. The most discouraging part of the 
book is its bibliography. Incomplete information in bibliog- 
raphy is really a frustrating part for a researcher, who 
is trying to locate these materials. 

Another book is Educational Ideas and Ideals of Gandhi 
and Tagore by R. S. Mani (1964). It was originally written 
for a Ph.D. dissertation to the University of Madras, 
India. Basically in descriptive style the writer has pre- 
sented the educational background, educational philosophies, 
and experiments of two famous educationists of India — 
Gandhi and Tagore. In the book one section discusses 
Gandhi, another is about Tagore and part three is a com- 
parative study of educational ideas and ideals of Gandhi 
and Tagore. In the appendix, a chapter titled "Has Basic 
Education Caught on" is added which reviews the concept of 
basic education critically and the writer feels, "What 
was probably the error in the basic scheme, was that of 


building the whole curriculum around a single craft, 
usually spinning and weaving in deference to Mahatma 
Gandhi's ideas" (Mani, 1964, p. 318). The book does not 
have any bibliography and for any reference the reader has 
to go through pages of text until one could locate it. 
Again, one of the major problems is that the book is very 
repetitive and nonimpressive. Even after discussing two 
such philosophies we do not find any suggestion by the 
writer as to which one of them is or what could be a 
solution for the educational problems of India. 

One important book in understanding Tagore's educational 
philosophy is Tagore's Educational Philosophy and Experiment 
by Sunilchandra Sarkar (1961) . The writer was a teacher 
at Santiniketan for twenty years after Tagore's death and 
had seen how some of the teachers and students of Santi- 
niketan, of different generations have reflected different 
aspects of Tagore's ideals in their personality. He 
mentions that "acutely conscious though he has always 
been of all the lack and deficiency that appeared from 
time to time, of the many grievous trials and troubles 
that come to thwart or deflect the educational experiment 
or to observe its chief purpose, he has also always had 
the satisfaction of seeing the Tagore element, the 


resilient truth of his contribution, emerge again and 
again" (Sarkar, 1951, Preface). The book discusses in 
detail Tagore's educational philosophy in comparison with 
some Western and Indian philosophers like Dewey, Froebel, 
Gandhi, Aurobindo, and Vivekanda. The writer has also 
presented a report of his work which he prepared 20 years 
ago and compared it with current situations. He did 
notice some changes in the curriculum but found that the 
basic spirit is still there. 

All these studies and some others lack a critical 
approach. Most of the writers are so full of respect 
toward Tagore that they are hesitant in pointing out his 
weaknesses. Again, since most of these people are asso- 
ciated with Santiniketan, it is difficult to find an 
impartial objective study among them. The present study 
will try to overcome the weaknesses cited so far and will 
be a significant contribution in the research of Tagore as an 
educationist. It was not Tagore's school atmosphere or his 
personality which has encouraged the research but it was 
his ideas regarding education which impressed us most. 
The discussion of Tagore's theory and his experiment will 
be presented on an analytical basis and Tagore's impact 
on Indian education will be reviewed critically. The 


extensive bibliography of present work has used the style 
recommended by the American Psychological Association and 
this style would make the bibliography more useful for any 
future researcher. 


Tagore, R. N. "Siksar Herpher. " The article was 
originally published in Bengali monthly magazine Sadhana . 
Later it was included in the book Siksa . An English 
translation of the article is available by the title 
"Topsy-Turvy Education, " in the magazine The Visva-Bharati 
Quarterly . Nov. 1946- Jan. 1947. 

^Various articles related to the theme can be found 
in the Bengali monthly magazine Vangadarsan during July 1904 
to Sept. 1905. Some of them are: "Swadeshi Sama j " 
(July 1904), its sequel (Sept. 1904), "Saphaltar Sadupay" 
(March 1905), and "Avastha Vyavastha" (Sept. 1905). 

■^The address was delivered to a gathering of students. 
It was published in Vangadarsan , Vaisakh 1312 B.S. Later 
it was reprinted in the book Siksa, 1351 B.S. edition. 

'^Originally published in Bengali monthly magazine 
Bhandar , Jaistha, 1312 B.S., reprinted in the book Rabindra 
Rachanavali , v. XI I. 

^Originally published in Bhandar , Jaistha, 1313 B.S. 
reprinted in Siksa . 

^Originally published in Bengali monthly magazine 
Pravasi , Magh 1316 B.S., reprinted in the book Siksa . 

"^A letter written to Dhirendra Mohan Sen in Sept. 
1912 from Chalford, England. It was published in Pravasi , 
Asvin 1319 B.S. and was reprinted in the book Siksa . 

^Originally published in Bengali monthly magazine 
Sabui Patra , Bhadra-Asvin 1322 B.S. Later it was re- 
printed in the book Siksa. 



Originally published in Bengali monthly magazine 

Santiniketan . Sravan, 1332 B.S. It was reprinted in 

1342 B.S. edition of the book Siksa . 

■•■^Originally published in Bengali monthly magazine 
Pravasi . Phalgun 1341 B.S. It was reprinted in the book 
Visva-Bharati 1370 B.S. 



Background for Tagore's Theory 

Characteristics of Indian 
Education During Tagore's Time 

In order to understand the educational theory of Tagore, 
it is essential to review briefly the history of the exist- 
ing educational system of India. Indian and Western educa- 
tors, education commissioner's reports, British rulers' 
statements, etc., provide the material for the subject. The 
East India Company and later the British government were 
interested in introducing Western education primarily as a 
means of training a sufficient number of Indians in English 
to make the task of administration easier. Instead of basing 
secondary and higher education on a well-planned and compre- 
hensive system of elementary and secondary education, it made 
elementary and secondary education subsidiary and subservient 
to higher education. The prevailing system of education was 
book centered. Even in the case of young children, it was 



more an exercise of the memory than a development of in- 
tellect, emotions, and character. It often drew the child 
away from his social and cultural milieu and encouraged in 
him a distaste, if not contempt, for manual labor. The result 
was that the child trained in this educational pattern tended 
to become dependent upon a particular type of employment 
especially clerical. Apart from its failure as preparation 
for life, the system was not satisfactory even from a purely 
educational point of view. Instead of aiming at the balanced 
development of personality, it tended to place an undue 
emphasis on the memory. The will and imagination were neg- 
lected and, of the different aspects of the intellect, a 
greater emphasis was placed on memory than on reasoning and 
judgement. The result was that the child acquired information 
but did not gain the assistance needed to become an intel- 
lectual mature human being (Kabir, 1955). 

It was in 1834 that Lord Macaulay came to India to act 
as a president of the General Committee in the government of 
India Officials' Board. In 1835, Macaulay 's minutes on 
education articulated the educational policy of the British 
Government. He wrote: "We do not at present aim at giving 
education directly to the lower classes of the people of this 
country. We aim at raising up an educated class who will be 


hereafter, as we hope, the means of diffusing among their 
countrymen some portions of the knowledge we have imparted to 
them" (Stark, 1916, p. 55). In explaining the objects of 
teaching English he wrote: "We must at present do our best 
to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the 
millions whom we govern: a class of persons, Indian in blood 
and colour but English in taste, in opinions, in morals and 
in intellect" (Edwards, 1968). 

Thus, the policy pursued by the British Government gave 
a decided turn to Indian education. It had far-reaching 
consequences, and the effect was not confined to education 
alone, but extended to the moral, religious and political 
fields. This system created two distinct strata in the 
society — English knowing people and non-English knowing people 
who made up the mass of the Indian population and who were 
looked down upon by the former . 

The educational pattern which was started by the British, 
was continued in India for a long time. During that period 
the program of studies for elementary school was not related 
to the needs and surroundings of the pupils. This was 
particularly so in the case of rural elementary schools. It 
has been clearly expressed in the following press communique 
issued by the Government of Madras on June 26, 1937: "There 


is little or no training in the powers of observation, hardly 
any practical work. . . .The teaching usually tends to 
divorce the pupil from village life and hereditary occupa- 
tions rather than help to train better villagers" (Yearbook, 
1940, pp. 424-40). 

"The Report of the Secondary Education Commission" 
mentioned that in the new high schools the standard of 
achievement in literary subjects was, frcra the very beginning, 
high, but little or no progress was made in training the 
pupils in the practical aspects of science (1953). Certain 
specific problems grew out of the system of secondary educa- 
tion in vogue during the years 1854-1882: The mother tongue 
was neglected as a medium of instruction? nothing was done to 
train teachers for the secondary schools; and the courses of 
study became too academic and unrelated to life mainly because 
there was no provision for vocational, technical courses. 
An Indian government report in 1918 describes the fruits of 
this earlier policy: "From the economic point of view India 
has been handicapped by the want of professional and technical 
instruction; her colleges turn out numbers of young men 
qualified for governmental clerkships while the real interests 
of the country require, for example, doctors and engineers 
in excess of the existing supply" (p. 150). Further, the 


system of education failed to promote a sense of citizenship 
and social efficiency in the student. "The exclusive 
development of the intelligence and the neglect of the 
emotions has over-stimulated the self-regarding instincts and 
has largely destroyed the feelings of social and National 
Dharma, of duty to society and to the nation; hence, the 
decay of public spirit, of social service, of responsibility 
and of sacrifice for the common weal, which characterized the 
good 'citizen' as distinguished from the good 'man'" (Besant, 
1925, pp. 17-18). There had been a great waste and ineffec- 
tiveness throughout the whole educational system. It was more 
pronounced in the case of the girls than boys. It was stated 
by a leading missionary-educator in India that in the year 
1900 only three girls out of every hundred of school age were 
enrolled in any school in comparison to one boy out of every 
five of school age enrolled (Zellner, 1951, p. viii) . 

Thus, by the time Tagore was born, the indigenous system 
of education had been considerably eclipsed by the new type 
of English schools. English had attained the first place in 
order of precedence and importance among the subjects of 
study, gradually driving the study of the vernaculars into 
the shade. Elementary mass education had come to be neglected 
whereas higher education at the secondary schools or the 


universities for the upper class received encouragement 
(Mukherji, 1966, p. 6). The shadow of illiteracy had, thus, 
gradually deepened and spread wider in the country, and an 
ever-widening gulf was created between the fortunate upper 
classes and the vast masses of the people. Education had 
come to be valued mainly because of the economic and social 
advantages it brought. Even university education had acquired 
the same mercenary significance. The English medium of in- 
struction and examination encouraged thoughtless cramming of 
ill-digested subject-matter and joyful free pursuit of 
knowledge largely went by default. 

Taqore's Childhood 
Experiences Regarding 

Even during his early years when he insisted on- accom- 
panying his brothers, Tagore was made aware of the hard 
reality of school life. "You are crying to go to school now," 
said one brother, "you will soon cry much more to stay at 
home" (Sykes, 1943, p. 11) . And soon Rabindranath found out 
school was another prison, much more dreary than home and he 
named it his "Andamans," when he looked back on those days. 
"The rooms were cruelly dismal with their walls on guard like 
policemen. The house was more like a pigeon-holed box than 


a human habitation. No decoration, no pictures, not a touch 
of colour, not an attempt to attract the boyish heart. The 
fact that likes and dislikes form a large part of the child's 
mind was completely ignored. Naturally our whole being was 
depressed as we stepped through its doorway into the narrow 
quadrangle—and playing truant became chronic with us" 
(Tagore, 19l7tv PP- 60-61). Hard benches and dull prison-like 
walls of schools used to confine children from 10 to 4. 
When a child could not repeat his lesson, he was punished 
severely. "The master," says Rabindranath, "looked like a 
cane incarnate." The textbooks of English that were common 
at that time and persisted for more than half a century 
thereafter, made matters worse still. The books without any 
illustrations and with the ugly looking words, spelled with 
divided syllables and 'accent marks like raised bayonets' 
completed the dreariness of the whole pursuit" (Tagore, 
1917b, p. 43) . 

Not only the school environment or books but the teachers 
were similarly bad. Reminiscing about one of the incidents 
of his childhood, when Tagore (1917b) used to act like a 
teacher in front of wooden benches of the house, he explains, 
"I have since realized how much easier it is to acquire the 
manner than the matter. Without an effort had I assimilated 


all the impatience, the short temper, the partiality and 
the injustice displayed by my teachers to the exclusion of 
the rest of their teaching. My only consolation is that I 
had not the power of venting these barbarities on any sentient 
creature. Nevertheless, the difference between my wooden 
pupils and those of the Seminary did not prevent my psychology 
from being identical with that of its school masters" (p. 31). 

During his talks to Victoria Ocampo about schooling, 
Rabindranath mentioned the disparity of school systems of his 
childhood days. "How distasteful so much of my own education 
was when I first went to a school near my home in Calcutta. 
I had no background at all. I was asked to accept masses of 
information for which I was not in the least ready. Nature 
has methods of its own in these matters, but my school- 
masters had theirs which were quite different. In the fight 
between us, we children suffered excruciating pain "(Tagore, 
1963-1964, p. 276). To be successful in this type of 
schooling was the desired goal of Indian society at that time. 
Rabindranath realized in his early youth that not being able 
to keep up with school routine and curriculum had depreciated 
his value in the eyes of the society. He recalls his eldest 
sister saying, "We had all hoped that Rabi would grow up to 
be a man, but he has disappointed us the worst." Still he 


cpuld not make up his mind, "to be tied to the eternal grind 
of the school mill which, divorced as it was from all life 
and beauty, seemed such a hideously cruel combination of 
hospital and gaol" (Tagore, 1917b, p. 108). 

Thus, Tagore 's reminiscences along with other historical 
accounts show that educational reform was a hard challenging 
road on which Tagore had decided to work. His aims of educa- 
tion, and his discussion of ideal education, are inwardly 
related to his memories. They formed the foundation of his 
famous school at Santiniketan, where Tagore tried to overcome 
these weaknesses of the school system in applying his philoso- 
phy of education. 

Aims of Education 

Tagore, not being an educationist in the strict academic 
sense, did not talk about the aim of education in a well 
formulated logical way. His statements scattered in his 
writings do give some idea about his philosophy. In Laksys 
O'Siksa, Aims & Education, a letter written in August, 1912, 
Tagore makes it clear that the aims and ideals in the life of 
a nation should first be clearly apprehended and formulated 
before its educational system is determined for "What we want 
to be and what we want to learn are inseparably connected 


together" (Tagore, 1351 B.S., p. 131). A survey of Tagore's 
educational writings makes it clear that in some places he 
has clearly mentioned the aims but in other places they have 
to be inferred from contexts. It also becomes clear that 
though he never talked about them in a unified way, they have 
an integral unity. Tagore had developed a well integrated 
view of life and of the role of education in it and his object 
in establishing a group of institutions was to find a worthy 
educational medium for the expression and implementation of 
his ideas. These were not just a collection of attractive 
and high-sounding views on various unconnected problems of 
life, but represented an attempt to see life steadily and 
see it whole and interpret the relationship between its 
various fascinating and complex aspects. The aims of educa- 
tion prescribed by him did not emerge from a world outside 
but emerged from his experience, practice and experiments. 
Here for the clarity of subject it is planned to present 
his broad, all-inclusive, comprehensive aim first and then 
his minor aims will follow. 

According to Tagore the broad inclusive aim of education 
is the development of all the potential faculties of an 
individual leading to an all-round, harmonious develoj^nent of 
his personality. This broad aim was the product of his 


philosophy towards life, that is of total acceptance of life. 
This is the reason that he mentioned, "The highest education 
is that which makes our life in harmony with all existences" 
(Tagore, 1917g, p. 142). Harmony with all existences can 
be achieved only when all the faculties of an individual have 
been developed to the highest pitch of perfection. "Man's 
education," he categorically affirms, "aims at keeping alive 
to the last moment of life that infinite aspiration which is 
necessary for developing into full manhood. To attain full 
manhood is the ultimate end of education; everything else 
is subordinate to it" (Tagore, 1326 B.S,.a). Early childhood 
experiences of school life made him believe that the educa- 
tional system of that time was not concerned with the growth 
of children, it was rather preparing children for a society 
of clerks. Since that time Tagore had been aware of this 
discrepancy and tried to build an institution where children 
would have more freedom to explore and learn by themselves 
in the open learning environment of nature. In his very 
first educational writing, 'Siksar Herpher, ' he advocated a 
free, joyous, spontaneous life of impulses for young children 
in the twofold field of nature and imagination so that it may 
serve to make their body alert and develop them in all 
respects (Tagore, 1351 B.S.). In another article, 'Siksa 


Saraasya,' he mentioned the "laying of the foundation of human 
personality as a whole 'to be the aim of education'" (Tagore, 
1351 B.S., p. 51) . 

Thus all other aims prescribed by Tagore at different 
places mainly emphasize the aim of complete personality 
growth. He believed that all faculties of human beings, 
intellectual, physical, moral, aesthetic should be nurtured, 
cultivated in a good educational system. He emphasized the 
cultivation of intellect in order to counterbalance emotional 
immaturity and instability where it exists, and he appreciated 
the contribution that western science can make to the progress 
of India. He strongly believed that if reason, with its 
uncompromising dedication to truth is not reinstated on its 
lonely pedestal, rejecting superstition and the undue cult 
of the supernatural in every field, neither education nor the 
general intellectual life of the people will be released from 
its fetters. However, this intellectual cultivation, power 
of reasoning cannot be gained through mere book reading. 
He was aware that "since childhood, instead of putting all 
the burden on the memory, the power of thinking, and the 
power of imagination should also be given opportunities for 
free exercise" (Tagore, 1351 B.S., p. 12). He not only 
condemned the bookish learning but always stressed the 


importance of the ability to learn directly from Nature and 
Life. This learning cannot be receptive, a person should be 
able to use what he learns through different sources. "We 
pass from childhood to adolescence, from adolescence to youth, 
carrying a load of number of mere words and phrases" (Tagore, 
1351 B.S., p. 13). "True education, " he pointed out, 
"consists of knowing the use of any useful material that has 
been collected, to know its real nature and to build along 
with life a real shelter for life" (Tagore, 1351 B.S., p. 12). 

Not only was Tagore concerned with the education of the 
intellect, but also he was duly conscious of the education of 
the body. In fact, he attached so much importance to the 
healthy physical development of children in early years that 
he eloquently advocated their free, spontaneous movements and 
play in joyous natural surroundings, even at the expense of 
studies, if necessary. "Even if they learnt nothing," he says, 
they would have had ample time for play, climbing trees, 
diving into ponds, plucking and tearing flowers, perpetrating 
thousand and one mischiefs on Mother Nature, they would have 
obtained the nourishment of the body, happiness of mind, and 
the satisfaction of the natural impulses of childhood" 
(Tagore, 1351 B.S., pp. 9-10). 

Tagore has given religion a place of high importance in 

education, but for him it did not involve the formal teaching 
of any religious dogma. True religiousness, he believed, is 
as natural as respiration; it is as much a vital part of our 
being as breathing. Religious training for him is a spirit, 
an inspiration, pervading every aspect of human life, affirm- 
ing its relationship with the highest of values and giving man 
a sense of kinship with the Real. If education fails to 
cultivate the quality of human understanding and strengthen 
the sense of human unity, then that education is considered 
superficial and misguided. Similarly, Tagore emphasized the 
importance of discipline in a moral life and he suggested 
that real discipline means protection of raw, natural impulses 
from unhealthy excitement and growth in undesirable directions. 
Tagore 's moral and spiritual aims of education were varied 
in nature. He advocated the power of self-determination, 
the ideal of peace and tranquility, liberation of self from 
all kinds of slavery, and his educational institutions pro- 
vided opportunity for it. He said, "The character of good 
education is that it does not overpower man; it emancipates 
him" (Tagore, 1351 B.S., p. 62). 

Tagore believed in social aims of education too. 
Sociability and human fellow-feeling was considered as an 
indispensable equipment of a truly educated person. He 


regretted that people were living in an artificial world of 
books and not in the real world of living men and women. 
"We have become learned, but have ceased to be human" (Tagore, 
1351 B.S., p. 71). "Pursuit of knowledge," he said, "should 
be supplemented by living and loving contact. For the 
fundamental purpose of education is not merely to enrich 
ourselves through the fullness of knowledge, but also to 

establish the bond of love and friendship between man and 

man." So long as we do not come down to the level of the 

common man and feel a bond of kinship with the poor and the 
lowly and the lost, he insisted, our education will be sadly 
incomplete. This idea of fellow-feeling was not limited to 
one ' s own countrymen but spread the message of inter- 
nationalism in Tagore 's writing. 

This social aim gets expression in Tagore 's message 
for the education of the feeling or 'Bodher Sadhana ' as he 
puts it. He felt sorry that education of sympathy was 
not only systematically ignored in schools, but was severely 
repressed, because we may become powerful by knowledge, but 
we attain fullness by sympathy. The highest education is 
that which does not merely give us information but makes 
our life in harmony with all existence (Tagore, 1917c, p. 142). 


From the discussion it is clear that Tagore aimed at 
a perfection in education which is not only that of body or 
mind, but also that of soul. "For us to maintain our self- 
respect which we owe to ourselves and to our Creator, we 
must make the purpose of our education. . .the fullest growth 
and freedom of soul" (Tagore, 1917q pp. 157-158). For the 
attainment of this aim, he emphasized on intellectual, 
physical, moral and social development of an individual. 

Ideal Education 

At various places in his writings, Rabindranath has 
mentioned his concept of ideal education. His references 
to ideal education cover the description of ideal atmos- 
phere, institution, teacher, and method. In his famous 
article, 'My School, ' he wrote, "Living ideals can never be 
set into a clockwork arrangement giving accurate account of 
its every second" (Tagore, 1917cv p. 178). Due to this 
reasoning it is difficult to explain his concept of ideal 
education in a purely academic way. While discussing 
Tagore 's educational ideals, Alex Aronson noted that the 
perfect education given to the child should, therefore, be 


like the perfect poem: self contained, unified, and controlled 
by the ever-recurring rhythm of natural growth from childhood 
to manhood, — while the perfect teacher would indeed resemble 
the poet insofar as he gives shape, in complete freedom from 
convention, to the mind of the young by creating images of 
beauty and significance out of the raw material of experience 
and by interpreting nature in its manifold aspects to those 
that are unsophisticated and, therefore, still impressionable 
enough to absorb its meaning and adjust themselves to the 
message (Aronson, 1962, p. 385). 

For Tagore it was not the formal method of teaching 
which was the most important part of an ideal education, but 
it was the atmosphere which surrounded the educational pattern. 
He believed that it is absolutely necessary for children's 
mental health and development that they must not have mere 
schools for their lessons, but a world whose guiding spirit 
is personal love. It must be an ashram where men have 
gathered for the highest end of life, in the peace of nature, 
where life is not merely meditative, but fully awake in its 
activities (Tagore, 1917:, pp. 178-179) . It is due to this 
that any description of such a school would be inadequate. 
It is not some place v^ich can be described in terms of 
fixed rules and regulations or curriculum. Here children 


are living in the atmosphere of culture and school is not 
imposed on them by autocratic authorities. Education is no 
longer instruction, it is a process of inspiration and joyous 
but slow absorption, and in his school Tagore "tried to create 
an atmosphere. . .giving it the principal place in our pro- 
gramme of teaching" (Tagore, 1946, p. 13). 

Similarly, an ideal institution, in his view, should 
provide children with the first important lesson of "improvisa- 
tion" and with "constant occasions to explore one's capacity 
through surprises of achievement." There is no place for 
constant imposition of ready-made ideas and knowledge. "I must 
make it plain that this means a lesson not in simple life, but 
in a creative life. For life may grow complex, and yet if 
there is a living personality in its center, it will have the 
unity of creation, it will carry its own weight in perfect 
grace, and will not be a mere addition to the number of 
facts that only goes to swell a crowd" (Tagore, 1931b, p. 
179) . The more man acts and makes actual what was latent in 
him, the nearer does he bring the distant yet-to-be. In 
that actualization, man is ever making himself more and yet 
more distinct, and seeing himself clearly under ever new 
aspects in the midst of his varied activities. Analyzing this 
particular concept of Tagore ' s philosophy, V. S. Naravane 


in his book talked about Tagore's ethics and mentioned that 
Tagore has advocated a creative middle path between activism 
and asceticism, between God intoxication and work-intoxica- 
tion, between the outer and the inner, between doing and 
arriving. This middle path is the path of self-realization 
or Sadhana and this part has been emphasized most in Tagore's 
ideal institution (Naravane, 1965, p. 131) . 

Ideal education can be imparted only through ideal 
teachers. For Tagore it was difficult to understand "why 
should masters always expect boys to be so exact? 'Don't 
guess,' says the master. But why not? Guessing is one of 
nature's methods of helping us to learn, especially when we 
are young, and we teachers try to kill it. I say to my 
pupils, "Can't you guess? And then I give them three or 
four chances. But the very efficient teachers tell me this 
is sin" (Tagore, 1963-1964, p. 278). According to him the 
greater part of our learning in the schools has been wasted 
because, for most of our teachers, their subjects are like 
dead specimens of once-living things with which they have a 
learned acquaintance, but no communication of life and love. 
"The teacher who merely repeats bookish knowledge mechanically 
can never teach anything and can never inspire, and without 
proper inspiration independent creative faculties can never 
develop"^ (pp. 266-267) . 


Thus, true education, he asserts, develops the power 
of self-reliance, the ability to do without materials and 
the machine. It is essential to realize that the value of 
one's pair of legs which cost nothing is far greater than 
that of the machine which costs much. Tagore explains, 
once when India was rich in culture, it didn't fear about 
material wealth of other countries and was not ashamed of her 
situation because her aim was inner growth and education at 
that time tried to achieve that. It is true that to some 
extent practical knowledge is necessary so that both spiritual 
and practical knowledge can make a full man, but at present 
in education culture, inner growth is lacking and even the 
practical knowledge is limited to certain skills. In absence 
of culture, today's educated is almost like a lame man who 
by riding on a bike feels that there is nothing to worry about 
his leg. Only when his bike is broken that he realizes he is 
helpless. The man who praises possession of materials only 
does not know how poor he is. This does not mean that bikes 
do not have any value, biit two living legs have more value 
than that. The education which strengthens the living legs 
is real education, the education which increases man's 
dependence on materials is only an instrument of stupidity 
(Tagore, 1351 B.S., p. 224). 


The ideal of the Ashram education, for which he stood 
was education for life at its fullest. His ideal was to train 
young men and women in freedom and strength, in courage and 
service. According to him, books make the mind lazy. The child 
should be exposed to an atmosphere of creativity and learning, 
to a world of experiences. "For the first twelve years we 
must educate the child's mind along the line of its own 
natural tendencies and instincts and only then, at twelve 
years old, introduce the books" (Tagore, 1946, p. 13). He 
believed in the increased ability of reasoning, rationalizing 
because "in educational organization our reasoning faculties 
have to be nourished in order to allow our mind its freedom in 
the world of truth, our imagination for the world which belongs 
to art, and our sympathy for the world of human relationships" 
(Tagore, 1946, p. 13). Ideal education should be peripatetic, 
because the best of all education is to come, to know our 
fellow beings intimately. . .what is better for boys than to 
travel, to record facts as they travel, to collect objects 
for their private museums and thereby to teach themselves. 
This will enhance their power of thinking and they will be 
able to store useful facts in their minds easily. "A boy 
with that kind of training can enter the world of books 
fully equipped" (Tagore, 1963-1964, p. 277) . For this 


kind of training Tagore never believed in compulsion, but 
tried to give the best side of human nature a chance to show 
itself. Everything in the school he left to the initiative 
of the pupils, though they were always in close touch with 
their elders. He wrote, "We have to keep in mind the fact 
that love and action are the only intermediaries through which 
perfect knowledge can be obtained, for the object of knowl- 
edge is not pedantry, but wisdom. The primary object of an 
institution should not be merely to educate one's limbs and 
mind to be in efficient readiness for all emergencies, but to 
be in perfect tune, in the sympathy of response between life 
and world, to find the balance of their harmony which is 
wisdom" (Tagore, 1931b, p. 178). 


Tagore 's concept of ideal education included the 
discussion of ideal education, ideal atmosphere, institu- 
tion, teacher and method. For him all these are 
interrelated and one cannot obtain ideal education unless 
other factors are available. His concept of ideal educa- 
tion is in traditions with the ideals of Hindu education, 
in which the main idea was to bring to the humblest man 
the highest products of human mind and heart. It did 


not aim at literacy but it aimed at character formation, and 
for this kind of ideal education undoubtedly, essential 
elements are atmosphere, institution, teacher and method. 

Conqruency Between Education 
and Society 

Tagore has stressed the strong relationship of education 
and society throughout his writings. In Siksar Herpher, he 
wrote, "Education, in order to be living and dynamic, should 
be broad based on and organically linked with the life of 
the community" (Tagore, 1351, B.S., p. 15) . For him education 
did not mean the ability to read and write, it was more like 
a transmission of culture. The process of educating meant a 
knowledge of the past heritage, involvement in living dynamic 
present and construction of future. It is a continuous, 
on-going process and that is one of the reasons he believed 
that "the education of a country acquires shape and substance 
only against the entire background, otherwise, it remains 
vague and incomplete" (Tagore, 1351 B.S., p. 234). 

During his trip to Russia, in 1930, Tagore was very 
much impressed by the educational development of that country 
and letters written to several friends during that period 
shed a light on his social philosophy of education. He felt 


that all the suffering which was standing like a rock on 
the bosom of India was based only on the want of education. 
Russia had the same evils as India but one force alone has 
helped their progress, and that is their education" (Tagore, 
1970). The Russians started their experiment on the primary 
assumption that no reforms would be lasting unless the human 
material was improved, which led them to concentrate on 
educational objectives with so much vigor and thoroughness. 
It is education, he asserts, that infused faith, courage, and 
enthusiasm into the masses. It is education again that raised 
the level of the intelligence of the entire nation, stirred 
their curiosity, emancipated them from age-old prejudices and 
made them receptive to new impulses towards the path of 
progress (Tagore, 1970) . 

Regarding India he believed that along with education, 
economic uplift is necessary. Since economic life covers 
the whole width of the fundamental basis of society because 
its necessities are the simplest and the most universal, he 
suggested that educational institutions, in order to obtain 
their fullness of truth, must have close associations with 
this economic life. . .our university must not only instruct, 
but live; not only think, but produce" (Tagore, 1922^ p. 191) 
It is essential that a center of learning is not only the 


center of intellectual life but also a center of country's 
economic life. "Its very existence should depend upon the 
success of its industrial activities carried out on the co- 
operative principle, which will unite the teachers and 
students and villagers of the neighbourhood in a living and 
active bond of necessity" (Tagore, 1922a, pp. 92-103) . 

Tagore started the school in Sriniketan to put his 
theory into practice and the objectives set for the Department 
of Rural Reconstruction and Village Economics give a good in- 
sight into his theory. Some of the objectives of this 
department are: 

1. To take the problems of the village and field 
to the classroom for study and discussion and 
to the experimental farm for solution. 

2. To carry the knowledge and experience gained in 
the classroom and experimental farm to the 
villages, in the endeavour to improve their sani- 
tation and health, develop their resources and 
credit; help them to sell their produce and buy 

- their requirements to the best advantage; teach 
them better methods of growing crops and vegeta- 
bles and keeping livestock; encourage them to 
learn and practice arts and crafts and bring 
home to them the benefits of associated life, 
mutual aid and common endeavour. 

3. To work out practically an all-round system of 
elementary education in the villages based on 
the Boy Scout ideal and training with the object 
of developing ideas of citizenship and public 
duty such as may appeal to the villagers and 

be within their means and capacity. 


4. To train the students to a due sense of their 
own intrinsic worth, physical and moral and 
in particular to teach them to do with their 
own hands everything which a village house- 
holder or cultivator does or should do for a 
living, if possible, more efficiently. 

5. To put the student in the way of acquiring 
practical experience in cultivation, poultry 
and beekeeping, dairying, and animal husbandry; 
carpentry and smithing, weaving, and tannery; 
in practical sanitation work and in the art 
and spirit of cooperation. 

6. To give students elementary instruction in 
, the sciences connected with this practical 

work, to train them to think and observe 
accurately and to express and record the 
knowledge acquired by them for their own 
benefit and that of their fellowmen. 
(Tagore, 1922b) . 

Tagore tried not only to relate economy and education 
but he believed in the influence of society on children and 
thus education, because all problems of social reform are 
interconnected and no educational experiment can succeed 
unless the vicious circle that connects society and educa- 
tion will be broken once for all and be replaced by a 
virtuous one. "We cannot underrate the great influence 
exercised on the child's mind by the values that prevail 
in the society in which he is born and brought up. If these 
values be perverted, no sort or amount of formal education 
can save the child from their disruptive effect. For these 
values affect the mind as subtly and surely as the physical 


climate acts on the body. Good education of children is not 
possible unless good ideals govern the society. Methods of 
education may be modern and scientific, but they will only 
chain and debase the mind more effectively if the purposes 
they serve are ignoble. Educationists, therefore, must remain 
more or less helpless in an age where collective greed is 
glorified as patriotism and inhuman butchery is made the 
measure of heroism" (Tagore, 1938) . 

Similarly, an ideal education is bound to fail if the 
children brought up in an ideal environment are unable to 
readjust themselves to the actually existing social and 
economic patterns of contemporary society and due to that 
Tagore found it necessary to have a complete program of 
education including art, as well as manual labor or craft- 
manship. Stating at the outset that the prosperity of a 
country depends on the proper education of the common people, 
Tagore postulates the aim of such education as follows: 
"Their education will have to be so devised from the beginning 
that they may understand clearly what is meant by public 
welfare and may also be practically equipped in all respects 
for earning their livelihood" (Rabindra Racanavali, 1939, 
p. 522). 


The complete discussion of Tagore's theory and its 
background reveals that it was a challenging road on which 
Tagore had decided to work. His magnificent genius, his 
incomparably sensitive and catholic mind, and the best 
features of India's noble cultural heritage, have all combined 
to lend to his own conception a richness and profundity 
a range, depth, and fullness that serves to make it a unique 
contribution to educational philosophy in this direction. 
His greatness is realized more when it is remembered that 
these thoughts were developed and largely translated into 
practice under conditions when educational theory in the 
country was mostly confined to technical problems of organi- 
zation and administration and educational practice constituted 
a vast unrelieved stretch of a dreary desert sand of dead 
routine and lifeless formalism. Tagore's theory of educa- 
tion was radically different from the prevailing one and he 
sought to emancipate it from its decadent formalism and 
tragic frustration. He reoriented the educational theory 
with a new purposefulness vitality and freedom. His ex- 
periments, in the school guided the path for regeneration in 
the field of education. 


The report of the Collector of Bellary, addressed to 
the president of the Board of Revenue, Fort St. George, 
mentioned, "The greater part of the middling and lower classes 
of the people are now unable to defray the expenses incident 
upon the education of their offsprings. Of the 533 institu- 
tions for education now existing in this District, I am 
ashamed to say not one now derives any support from the State. 
Considerable alienations of revenue, which formerly did 
honor to the State, by upholding and encouraging learning, 
have deteriorated under our rule into the means of supporting 
ignorance." It was published in Mr. A. D. Campbell's Letter, 
dated 17 Aug. 1823, Vide Minutes of Evidences, etc.. Vol. 1, 
pp. 603-4. 

^This is quoted from the article "Bhartiya Visva- 
Vidyalayer Adarsh" which was reprinted in 1342 B.S. edition 
of Siksa only. 




Origin and Development of 
the Institution 

Tagore's educational theory was put into practice in 
his school at Santiniketan. A short history of the insti- 
tute will reveal how it grew to its present size as a 
natural, continual growth of Tagore's desire to seek full- 
ness in education. The whole institution was not planned 
at the outset but as Tagore felt the necessity to add new 
divisions, it kept on growing, and even after his death 
other administrators tried to do the same, by keeping the 
central goal of the university alive. 

In December 1901, an experimental school known as 
Brahmacharyashram was started by Rabindranath with only five 
students on the roll. About the origin of the school, he 
wrote in The Teacher, "The solitary enjoyment of the in- 
finite in meditation no longer satisfied me, and the text 
which I used for my silent worship lost its inspiration 
without my knowing it. I am sure, I vaguely felt that my 



need was spiritual self-realization in the life of Man 
through some disinterested service. This was the time when 
I founded an educational institution for our children in 
Bengal. It has a special character of its own which is 
still struggling to find its fulfillment, for it is a living 
temple that I have attempted to build for my divinity. In 
such a place education necessarily becomes the preparation 
for a complete life of man which can only become possible 
by living that life through knowledge and service, enjoy- 
ment and creative work" (Tagore, 1931b pp- 165-166) . Thus, 
the founding of the school was part of the education in 
fullness. Beginning with his own unhappy memory of school, 
which he described as a blend of hospital and gaol, he con- 
centrated on children and emphasized creativity, the need 
for atmosphere and natural surroundings. The aim was 
neither ascetic nor revivalistic but integrative. He re- 
ceived blessings from very few of his friends, relatives 
and countrymen, most of whom derided his project as an out- 
come of his poetic fancy, as "something outrageously new 
being the product of daring experience" (Tagore, 1917q, p. 137) 
Nevertheless, he succeeded in gathering around him a band 
of selfless workers and the management of the school was 
carried on along simple democratic lines through a committee 


almost entirely elected by the staff. Education was entirely 
free. The curriculum included English, Bengali, Sanskrit, 
Arithmetic, History, Geography, and Science. All work like 
housekeeping, gardening, except cooking, had to be done by 
the pupils themselves. Life was simple, regular and austere 
and was inspired by the ideals of hospitality, self-help and 
respect for the elders. Rathindranath, Tagore's son and one 
of the oldest students reminisced, "It would now sound as 
exaggeration, but it is none the less quite true that we 
felt some joy in that easy and austere life devoid of any 
material luxury" (Thakur, 1349 B.S., p. 270). During the 
first four years of the life of the institution, management 
changed hands a number of times , each time with little 
success of a lasting character. Notwithstanding these 
administrative shortcomings, the school did enjoy some 
spells of happy and fruitful activities. Free life in open 
nature and intimate contact with its various beauties and 
phenomena were most happy as well as profitable experiences 
for the young children. The recreational hours in the 
evenings spent in story-telling, watching the stars, singing, 
and performing plays, some of them composed by the pupils 
themselves, passed delightfully. 

The number of students in the school continued 


to increase. By 1916 it was about 150 (Pearson, 1916, p. 30). 
This increase in student population necessitated immediate 
extension of school buildings and expansion of grounds and 
facilities. In 1908 the girls' section was added. Although 
according to syllabus prescribed textbooks had to be studied 
at the Matriculation classes, stereotyped textbooks were dis- 
carded and copious upgraded general reading was encouraged. 
Thorough attention was paid to the health of the students. 
Games and gardening were compulsory. Though the school 
unfairly enough enjoyed the unenviable reputation of being 
an exile for problem children, corporal punishment was pro- 
hibited on principle and very seldom actually resorted to. 

Tagore has always recognized the necessity for a close 
association between a country's education and the economic 
life of its people. He bought a big house with about 25 
acres of land at Surul in October 1912 for the establishment 
of a village uplift center and agricultural research and it 
was known as Rural Reconstruction Department of Sriniketan. 
Thus he succeeded in bringing the students and workers of 
Santiniketan into close touch with the daily life of the 
common people through the activities of the centre. 

After his tour of Japan and America in December 1918, 
the poet began expounding the ideas which had been in his 


mind of creating an institution which would be a true center 
for all the different cultures of the East. He thought of 
Santiniketan as a place, where the ideals of life and wisdom 
contributed to the world by the different countries of Asia 
would be cultivated; where the wealth of ancient learning 
might be brought into living contact with modern influences . 
The name Visva-Bharati came into existence at this time and 
its motto — Yatra Visvam Bhavatyekanidam, where the world 
makes its home in a single nest — ^was chosen. 

From 1919, arrangements were made for providing courses 
of higher studies in Buddhist literature, Vedic and Classical 
Sanskrit, Pali, Prakrit and later on the studies in Tibetan, 
Chinese, Jain, Zoroastrian and Islamic. Rabindranath had 
already introduced the teaching of art and music, and now, Kala 
Bhavan (School of Art and Music) was established at Visva- 

The idea of establishing a center of learning where not 

only the East but the whole world would meet in cultural 

communion took a more definite shape during his tour of 

foreign countries immediately after World War I. When he 

returned to India in 1921 he had before him a three-fold 

program: ' 

To concentrate at Santiniketan, within 
the Asrama Vidyalaya, the different 


cultures of the East, especially those that 
had originated in India or found shelter 
in it. 

To lay at Sriniketan the foundation of 
a happy, contented and humane life in 
the village; and finally. 

Through Visva-Bharati as a whole, to seek 
to establish a living relationship between 
the East and the West, to promote inter- 
racial amity and inter-cultural understanding 
and fulfill the highest mission of the 
present age — the unification of mankind. 
(Visva-Bharati, 1961, p. 42) 

The formal inauguration of the Visva-Bharati took 

place in December 1921, at a meeting presided over by 

Brajendranath Seal. Since then Santiniketan has been the 

seat of Visva-Bharati — an international university, seeking 

to develop a basis on which the cultures of the East and 

the West may meet in common fellowship (Visva-Bharati, 1961, 

p. 42). Soon a constitution was drafted for the newly 

formed Visva-Bharati and it was adopted in May 1922. 

According to it, all activities of Santiniketan and 

Sriniketan were taken over by Visva-Bharati, and the main 

school became the Purva-Vibhaga which was later on changed 

into Patha-Bhavana; the institute for higher studies — the 

Uttara-Vibhaga was later on split up into two departments, 

Vidya Bhavan, which concerned itself mainly with research 

work and studies of different eastern cultures, and 


Siksha-Bhavan, imparting collegiate education up to the 
graduation level. The music and art sections were separated 
in 1934 and the music section became the Sangeet Bhavana, 
while the art section retained its old name, Kala Bhavana. 
In the late thirties, two more departments, Cheena -Bhavana 
and Hindi Bhavana were established with endowments for 
Chinese and Hindi studies. 

After the death of Rabindranath in 1941, Rabindra- 
Bhavana was established in July 1942, as a Research Academy 
and Memorial Museum. In 1948, another department, Vinaya- 
Bhavana, was established under the basic education training 
scheme. In May 1951, four years after the independence of 
India, Visva-Bharati was declared to be an institution of 
national importance and was incorporated as a unitary teach- 
ing and residential university by Act XXIX of 1951 of the 
Indian Parliament. During the course of the debate on the 
bill the government with a view to allaying apprehensions 
in the public mind, gave assurance that it was their earnest 
desire that the institution should not lose the uniqueness 
of its character. Jawaharlal Nehru was appointed the first 
Acharya (Chancellor) and Rathindranath Tagore, Ravindranath's 
son, the first Upacharya (Vice-chancellor) of the University. 


Main Divisions of the Institution 

Previous discussion indicates that once the constitu- 
tion was formed, various activities of the school were 
categorized under different sections of Visva-Bharati. 
Though as the institution kept on growing these sections have 
been changing to provide more room for new expanded curricu- 
lum. Patha-Bhavana (Patha-Bhavana, 1939) gives a description 
of various departments in 1939. According to it, Visva- 
Bharati comprised Pathabhavana (school) , Sikshabhavana 
(college) , Vidyabhavana (School of Research and Indology) , 
Cheena Bhavana (School of Sino-Indian Buddhist Studies) , 
Kala Bhavana (School of Fine Arts) , Sangeet Bhavana 
(School of Indian Music and Dancing) , and Sriniketan 
(Institute of Rural Reconstruction and Handicrafts) , with 
general and special libraries attached to the departments. 
One of the many advantages available to students is that a 
student by joining any one of the educational departments 
is allowed the benefit of attending courses in any other 
department, if he or she shows marked aptitude for such 
courses, without having to pay any extra fees. The present 
discussion of different divisions of Visva-Bharati will give 
a detailed account of courses and opportunities offered at 


the institute. Tagore tried to present a wider choice of 
subject matter and activities to his students and by doing so 
he intended to present an integrated education — education as 
an expression of intellectual abilities, aesthetic abilities 
and most of all an education which was related to life also. 

Visva-Bharati maintains the following departments 
which are all co-educational and residential. 

Patha-Bhavana (The School) 

Formerly known as Brahmacharyasrara, this is the nucleus 
around which Visva-Bharati has grown. The school places 
emphasis riot so much on mere acquisition of knowledge as 
on a full and harmonic development of the child. Close 
personal contact with the teacher, the influence of nature 
and environment, the atmosphere of freedom and joy, the 
practical training given in cooperation and self-government, 
the effort made to develop the self-expressive side of the 
child-mind through social, literary, and artistic activities, 
supervision of physical activities and organization of 
excursions — are some of the special features of the school. 
Patha-Bhavana which used to train students up to the 
matriculation' standard of Calcutta University along with 
the Adya Certificate Examination of the Visva-Bharati now 


prepares students for the Higher School Certificate Course, 
which is an 11-year school course (Visva-Bharati, 1973, 
p. 12). 

There is a variety of subjects offered in Patha- 
Bhavana. Among them, Bengali, English, Sanskrit/Mathematics, 
Social Studies and General Science are compulsory. Elec- 
tive subjects include: (a) Humanities — Bengali/Sanskrit/ 
Hindi/Oriya, History, Civics and Economics, Ethics and 
Psychology, Vocal music. Instrumental music. Dancing, Draw- 
ing, Painting and Modelling, Home Science, Geography, 
Mathematics; (b) Science — Physics, Chemistry, Biology, 
Mathematics, Geography. The medium of instruction in Patha- 
Bhavana is Bengali, though special arrangements are made for 
non-Bengali students at a minimal extra-charge. The minimum 
age limit for admission is 6 years and the upper age limit 
is 12 years. Physical training and games are compulsory 
for all students. In the case of students in classes IX, 
X, and XI, the maintenance of at least 75 per cent of 
attendance in physical training and games classes is a 
requirement for admission to the Higher School Certificate 


This particular division of Visva-Bharati has gone 
through several changes over the years. Before the incor- 
poration of the Visva-Bharati as a University, it used to 
provide collegiate education up to the graduation level. 
Although it was not affiliated with the Calcutta University, 
students of Siksha-Bhavana were allowed to appear at 
examinations conducted by that University as private candi- 
dates by special arrangement. It also provided for a Visva- 
Bharati diploma, Madhya and Antya diplomas, which were 
equivalent to the intermediate and graduate degrees of 
chartered universities . According to "Visva-Bharati and 
Its Institutions" (Visva-Bharati, 1961, p. 47), it was a 
college of undergraduate and graduate studies which provided 
(1) instruction for three year B.Sc. (Honors) course in 
Mathematics with Physics and Chemistry as subsidiary sub- 
jects; (2) instruction for three year B.A. (Honors) course 
in Bengali, Hindi, Oriya, Sanskrit, English, History, 
Ancient Indian History and Culture, Economics and Philosophy; 
(3) two year certificate course followed by one year diploma 
course in Bengali, Hindi, Oriya, Sanskrit, Chinese, Japanese, 
Tibetan, French, German, and English; (4) one year preparatory 
course in Arts subjects leading to a three year degree 


course for such students who have successfully completed a 
ten year school course. 

At present Siksha-Bhavana is functioning as the college 
of science (Visva-Bharati, 1973, p. 13) and provides 
instruction for (1) a three year B.Sc. (Honors) course; 
(2) two year M.Sc. course. (Only Honors graduates of Visva- 
Bharati and other recognized universities will ordinarily 
be admitted to the M.Sc. course, subject to availability 
of seats in the respective departments.); (3) two year 
research studies leading to the Ph.D. degree in any of the 
subjects in which instruction is provided by Siksha-Bhavana. 
Subjects taught in Siksha-Bhavana include Mathematics, 
Chemistry, Physics, Botany and Zoology. 


Along with Siksha-Bhavana, Vidya-Bhavana also went 
through several changes. It started with a school of 
research and Indology and was converted into a school of 
post-graduate studies and research offering a M.A. degree 
in Bengali, Hindi, Oriya, Sanskrit, History, Ancient Indian 
History and Culture, Economics and Philosophy, and two year 
research studies leading to a Ph.D. in any subject in which 
instruction is provided. 


Vidya-Bhavana, now also known as the College of 
Humanities (Visva-Bharati, 1973, p. 13), is of diverse 
nature. It offers instruction for: 

1. A two year M.A. course in Bengali, English, 
Hindi, Oriya, Sanskrit, History, Ancient 
Indian History and Culture, Economics, 
Philosophy, Mathematics and Chinese. 

2. (a) Three year b.A. (Honors) course in Bengali, 

English, Hindi, Oriya, Sanskrit, History 
Ancient Indian History and Culture, 
Geography, Economics, Philosophy, Com- 
parative Religion and Mathematics. 

(b) Four year B.A. (Honors) course in Chinese. 

3. Three year B.S.W. (Honors) course in Social 
Work. This course provides instruction in 
Social Work with a foundation in general 
education and social services and equips 
students for careers in the field of Social 
Welfare and community Development. The 
Department of Social Work is located at 

4. Two year Certificate Course in Language 
followed by a one year Diploma Course in 
Bengali, Hindi, Oriya, Sanskrit, Pali, Arabic, 
Tibetan, Chinese, Japanese, French and 

5. One year Certificate Course in Library 

6. Two year research studies leading to the 
Ph.D. degree in any of the subjects in which 
instruction is provided by Vidya-Bhavana, 

Centre of Advanced 
Study in Philosophy 

The Centre provides instruction for the post-graduate 


course in Philosophy and the undergraduate course in 
Philosophy and Comparative Religion and also provides 
adequate facilities for research both in Indian and Western 
Philosophy and Religion. The Centre organizes two All India 
Seminars each year besides weekly seminars for research 
scholars and teachers. The Centre also invites visiting 
professors and scholars from other Indian Universities and 
from abroad. 

Rabindra-Bhavana (College 

of Taqore Studies and Research) 

It provides facilities for the study of and research 
into the life and works of Rabindranath Tagore and his 
manifold contributions to the diverse fields of human en- 
deavor. It provides facilities for research studies leading 
to the Ph.D. degree in accordance with the Ordinance of the 
University governing the same. 

Vinaya Bhavana 
(College of Education) 

The Vinaya-Bhavana started functioning in September 
1948. This department concerned itself mainly with the 
training of specialist teachers for arts, crafts, and music 
for the basic training schools, general teachers for the 


training schools under the basic training scheme, and 
teachers for primary and secondary schools. Now it provides 
instruction for the degrees of B.Ed, and M.Ed. — both courses 
being of one year's duration. A special feature of the B.Ed, 
course is training in crafts and other practical and creative 
activities. In addition to the usual subjects, marked 
emphasis is placed on the practical aspects of the course. 
While the B.Ed, course is open to B.A./B.Sc. or equivalent 
degree holders, preference is given to teachers and to per- 
sons with high academic attainments. Only graduates with 
degrees in teacher training are eligible for admission to 
the M.Ed, course. The College of Education also offers 
instruction in education as a subsidiary subject to those 
who take up Honors in any subject offered by the Vidya- 
Bhavana. It also offers two-year research studies leading 
to the Ph.D. degree in Education to candidates who hold the 
M.Ed, or M.A. degree in Education. 

Through a Department of Extension Services it conducts 
in-service courses of various types for teachers of 
Secondary Schools in the neighborhood. This department 
organizes from time to time seminars and conferences of 
teachers, study circles, exhibitions of visual aids, 
science fairs, film shows in schools and also runs a 


library service for teachers, maintaining contact with the 
neighboring schools on demand from them. It also promotes 
intensive work for total school improvement in a few 
selected schools. 

Kala Bhavana (College 
of Fine Arts & Crafts) 

Education in the academic sense of mere acquisition of 
knowledge or information never appealed to the comprehensive 
genius of the poet. Education to be real must be of the 
whole man, of the emotions and senses as much as of the 
intellect. He said, ". . .in order to lay before our educa- 
tional authorities the petition that they should try and 
make it natural for our educated people to reverence art. 
Anything else that it may be necessary for me to do I have 
already started in my own institution, in spite of many 
handicaps" (Tagore, 1947c; p. 45). Actually, from the very 
beginning Santiniketan gave a large place to art, and now 
Kala Bhavana has developed into a well-known Centre of 
Indian Art. It maintains a museum, a library of books on 
art and allied subjects and an exhibition hall. It provides 
instruction for the following courses : 

1. Five-year Degree Course in Fine Arts and Crafts 
imparting integrated training in painting. 


sculpture, graphic art, history of art and 
crafts with specialization in any one of the 
following — painting, sculpture, graphic art 
and history of art. The qualification for the 
entrance is a Higher School Certificate or an 
equivalent examination. 

2. Five-year diploma course in painting, sculpture, 
graphic art and crafts. 

3. Two-year certificate course in artistic 
handicrafts in the following subjects: 
embroidery, leather work, weaving, batik and 
dyeing Alpana, Bandhani design, ornamental 
Fresco, and design. Only women students 
(not below 15 years of age) are eligible for 

4. One-year post-diploma course for students who 
have passed the diploma course in Fine Arts 
and Crafts of this University or possess 
equivalent qualification. A very small number 
of students are admitted on the basis of their 
high attainments in the subjects. 

Sanqeet Bhavana (College 
of Music and Dance) 

Tagore always gave music and dancing a priority place 
in his scheme of education. A large part of man, he 
believed, cannot wholly be expressed by the mere language 
of words. "Man has not only discovered scientific truths, 
he has realized the ineffable. From ancient times the gifts 
of such expressions have been rich and profuse.. Wherever 
man has seen the manifestation of perfection, — in words, 
music, lines, colours, and rhythm, in the sweetness of 


human relationship, in heroism — there he has attested his 
joy with the signature of immortal words. I hope and trust 
that our students may not be deprived of these messages. . ." 
(Tagore, 1947q p. 45). He, thus, regarded the language of 
sounds and movements to be the highest means of self- 
expression without which people remain inarticulate. 

Sangeet Bhavana offers instruction in Rabindra Sangeet, 
classical music (vocal), Manipuri dance, Kathakali dance, 
si tar and esraj, and tabla. Students are allowed to take up 
to two of the above subjects. There are part-time two-year 
certificates, four-year senior certificate course, and four- 
year diploma courses offered by the school. In the four- 
year senior certificate course even a non-matriculate student 
with aptitude can be considered for admission, whereas in 
the four-year diploma course matriculation is essential. 
Besides, the college does offer a four -year degree course in 
music and dance in which matriculation with aptitude is 
essential for admission. Subjects taught for this degree 
are : 

1. General papers: English, Bengali/Hindi, 
Aesthetics/Psycho logy/Rabindra literature. 

2. Music papers: Rabindra Sangeet, classical 
music (vocal) , Manipuri dance, Kathakali dance, 
sitar and esraj (any two to be selected) . 


Sangeet Bhavam also of f ers two-year research studies 
leading to the Ph.D. degree in music. 

Visva-Bharati also maintains two research departments: 
(1) Cheena Bhavana and (2) Hindi Bhavana which organize 
teaching and research in Chinese and Hindi respectively. 
Hindi Bhavana brings out a quarterly research journal in 
Hindi — Visva-Bharati Patrika — and also has a research publi- 
cation series — the Halvasiya Granthamala. The Cheena- 
Bhavana helps in conducting the B.A. (Honors) and post- 
graduate courses in Chinese studies. 

Lok Siksha Samsad 

(People's Education Council) 

The Lok Siksha-Samsad is an examining body formed with 
a view of encouraging home study among those who cannot 
afford to continue their study in schools or colleges. At 
the education conference during the Bengal Education Week 
celebrated in February 1936, Tagore made some proposals and 
among other observations made therein, he stated, "if 
examination centers are started in towns and cities of 
different states for those men and women in the country who 
are for various reasons deprived of the benefit of school 
education, then many will feel encouraged to educate them- 
selves at home in their leisure hours. Their education 


can be properly directed if their syllabus and textbooks are 
clearly prescribed from the lowest to the highest stages. 
The degrees that will be awarded through these examinations 
will be valuable insofar as they will bring social prestige 
and will be useful for earning a livelihood. It can, 
therefore, be hoped that all its expenses will easily be 
met through the fees received from candidates all over the 
country. On this occasion, the field for preparing text- 
books will be extended, and the material for mass education 
will increase. It will also provide the means of liveli- 
hood to numerous authors" (Tagore, 1936, pp. 38-39). He 
also added that this desire could not materialize at Visva- 
Bharati for want of funds, but once the proposal was turned 
down by the education ministry of Bengal, he placed it 
before the authorities of Visva-Bharati who undertook to 
organize mass education on the lines suggested by him. 
Initially there were three examinations, "Adya, " "Madhy, " 
and "Upadhi, " roughly corresponding to the Matriculation, 
Intermediate and B.A. standards, respectively. Later, 
some more examinations were added, corresponding to pre- 
Matriculation standard. The syllabus included Bengali 
language, Bengali literature. History, Geography, Arithmetic, 
General Knowledge, Elementary Hindi, Hygiene and Science in 


different combinations for different standards. Under 
Tagore's direction and editorship, Visva-Bharati undertook 
the publication of a series of books in Bengali known as 
Lok-Siksha-Granthamala, on various subjects of scientific 
and general interest, specially written in easy language for 
the general public. 

From this discussion of different divisions of Visva- 
Bharati it can be said that in accordance with Tagore's 
thought, Visva-Bharati is growing up in three concentric 
circles. The innermost circle is the circle of India. With 
the variety of programs offered in the institution he tried 
to strengthen the cultural ties of different parts of 
India. His curriculum included Manipuri dance from Assam 
and Kathakali from Travancore; Rabindra Sangeet, modern 
Bengali music; as well as traditional Indian music,- beside 
Bengali, a variety of languages like Hindi, Oriya, Sanskrit, 
Pali, The Art Museum displayed works of artists from all over 
the country. The second circle is the circle of Asia. 
The department of Chinese studies was established with this 
in mind. This department arranged for the study of Chinese 
and Tibetan civilization, offered courses on their languages 
and provided research facilities too. The third circle 
seems to be the world circle which along with Asia includes 


the civilizations of the West, of Europe and America. 
Studies of different European languages, scientific studies 
in the schools, different visiting professors, guests 
students from the Western world helped in attaining this 
goal. The atmosphere at Visva-Bharati also contributed 
to the institution's higher goal. Students from anywhere 
in India or the world lived together, shared the same food 
and thus indirectly learned about each otherte cultures. 


Any description of Visva-Bharati is incomplete without 
Sriniketan. Tagore believed that an important part of the' 
work of a university should be to gather accurate knowledge 
about village conditions and discover how to use that 
knowledge to solve village problems. On February 6, 1922, 
only a few weeks after the formal opening of Visva-Bharati, 
the center at Surul was formally opened with the name of 
Sriniketan. The word "Sri" contains the idea of prosperity 
and thus the name Sriniketan reveals Rabindranath 's hope to 
make this place a center of village prosperity and welfare. 
Prabhat Kumar, biographer of Tagore, wrote about the opening 
day of Sriniketan, "This day is memorable in the annals of 
Visva-Bharati. The long cherished dream of TagOre about 


rural reconstruction was, on that day, on its way to ful- 
fillment through the initiative of an Englishman and the ' 
financial assistance of an American" (Mukhopadhyaya, 1353- 
1363 B.S. 3_, p. 93) . In fact, the movement started under 
very promising circumstances. "What more could be wanted, 
when these three great personalities were brought together 
in the cause of humanity — Tagore with his visions and 
dreams penetrating into the very souls of the peasantry 
around him; Elmhirst with his leadership, sympathy and love 
for the poor villagers of this part of Bengal; and Mrs. 
Straight with her gift of money, without which neither of 
the other two could proceed with any work of this kind" 
(Lai, 1932, Ch. 3). The program started with two objectives 
in mind, first to survey the economic, social and scientific 
needs of the cultivators in their home, village and fields, 
and second, to try out laboratory experiments in health, 
education, craft, cultivation and animal husbandry (Elmhirst, 
1957, p. 9) . Accordingly, the activities of Sriniketan 
were organized under four departments: (1) Agriculture, 
including Animal Husbandry, (2) Industries, (3) Village 
Welfare, and (4) Education, and the unified program was 
given the name of Institute of Rural Reconstruction~"Palli 
Samgathan Vibhaga." The ideal of the institute, in the 


words of Tagore, is "The object of Sriniketan is to bring 
back life in its completeness into the villages making them 
self-reliant and self-respectful, acquainted with the cul- 
tural tradition of their own country and competent to make 
an efficient use of the modern resources for the improvement 
of their physical, intellectual and economic condition" 
(Sriniketan, 1928, p. 1). Like different divisions of Visva- 
Bharati, the Institute of Rural Reconstruction has also 
expanded and its activities have been grouped under different 
departments and different names, though still maintaining 
the original objectives. Viewing the activities of the 
institute at the time it started will convey Tagore 's com- 
prehensive approach to village education. 

Village welfare was one of the major objectives behind 
Sriniketan and through its Village Reconstruction Department 
Tagore tried to generate in villagers the spirit of self- 
help so that they themselves could undertake the work of 
improving their own villages through mutual aid and common 
endeavor (Sriniketan, 1928, p. 5). To gain this object a 
multidimensional program was followed under different units 
of Economic, Educational, Health and Relief Work. 

(1) Economic activities. Tagore always stressed the 
importance of rural surveys before undertaking any serious 


constructive program. Under this unit research was con- 
ducted on land and its problems. The economics of paddy 
cultivation, the economic condition of the various classes 
of tenants and many other subjects related to the economy 
were studied. In addition, Tagore wrote, "In our country, 
in every village, let the cooperative principle prevail in 
producing and distributing wealth — this is my desire" 
(Tagore, 1970, pp. 116-117). Accordingly, cooperative 
organization such as Rural Banks, Health Insurance and 
Irrigation Societies, Paddy Stores, Weavers Associations 
were established very early in the history of the Institute. 

(2) Educational activities. This department 
initially provided the elementary education for boys and 
girls of the villages by establishing night and day schools. 
The syllabus included the three R's, some useful crafts and 
some useful recreational activities. In the girls' school 
an emphasis was placed on house-craft and gardening. Besides 
the children's school the department also provided oppor- 
tunities for adult education through circulating libraries, 
lantern lectures and conferences, recitations from Epics 
and scriptures . . 

One of the major organizations of the department 
was Brati Balaka Organization — Boy Scouts. Miss Sykes 


noted, "The Brati Balaks are an excellent example of the way 
in which Rabindranath used good ideas from all over the 
world in the building up of his Indian centre of education 
and service. The Brati Balak troops owe a great debt to 
the genius of Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the 
English Boy Scouts, and his insight into the needs of the 
boys. Rabindranath studied his methods, saw where their 
value lay, and adapted them to the needs of the Indian 
village boy" (Sykes, 1943, p. 98). A training camp is held 
each year for the training of the village boys as leaders 
of Brati Balkas in their own villages. The general aim of 
these camps is to introduce a boy to a wider conception of 
the art of living, which is taken to include the Art of 
Livelihood with its house-craft and handicraft, the art of 
thinking and coordination of experience, and the art of 
expression through games, songs, and the drama (Sriniketan, 
1928, p.: 6). The Brati Balakas also help in the organization 
of anti-malaria and village sanitation campaigns. 

Another important activity of the department was 
training camps for social service workers. The prescribed 
syllabus included camp-life and house-craft. Elementary 
Agriculture and Handicrafts, scouting, cooperation, sani- 
tation, hygiene and first aid, and also recreational 


activities like games, drama, singing and story-telling. 

(3.) Health related activities. The workers of the 
Village Welfare Department of the Institutes developed a 
program to improve the health of neighboring rural popula- 
tion. The program included an outdoor dispensary, supplying 
expert advice and help from doctors and nurses, prevention 
of diseases by inoculation, anti-malaria measures, and 
training of village midwives . 

Village reconstruction department also organized 
activities around relief work against famines and epidemics. 


Besides the educational activities of the Village 
Welfare Department, Sriniketan maintains a high school, 
Siksha-Satra, mainly for rural children. It seems Tagore 
was not completely satisfied with the programs and activi- 
ties at Santiniketan and made it clear that, "This was 
not sufficient, and I waited for men and the means to be 
able to introduce into our school an active vigor of work, 
the joyous exercise of our inventive and constructive 
energies that help to build up character and by their 
constant movements naturally sweep away all accumulations 
of dirt, decay and death. In other words, I always felt 


the need of the Western genius for imparting to my educa- 
tional ideal that strength of reality which knows how to 
clear the path towards a definite end of practical good 
... .Fortunately help came to us from an English friend 
who took the leading part in creating and guiding the rural 
organization work connected with the Visva-Bharati " (Tagore, 
1946, pp. 9-10). Thus, with the cooperation of Elmhirst, 
Siksha-Satra was started in July 1924, about two and a half 
years after the establishment of the institute. About its 
origin, Elmhirst said, "Siksha-Satra is the natural outcome 
of some years of educational experiment at Santiniketan and 
at the Institute of Rural Reconstruction at Sriniketan. 
Principles upon which it is based are little more than 
common sense, deductions from the failures and successes of 
the past" (Elmhirst, 1946, p. 17) . 

The school is organized as a miniature community and 
students do everything that a village householder is 
expected to do, on a small scale but with greater effi- 
ciency and understanding. The literary education is not 
ignored but more attention is given to the building up of 
the whole man. The extra-curricular activities of the 
Siksha-Satra include: (1) Industry (weaving, carpentry, 
book-binding and leather works), (2) Gardening, (3) 


Health and sanitation, (4) Housecraft and general manage- 
ment, (5) Sports, games and Brati-Balaka activities, (6) 
Educational trips to places of interest, (7) Literary 
society, (8) A monthly manuscript magazine — Chesta (Effort) . 
A child can enter the school as soon as he is six years old 
and not later than twelve years. He enters the Siksha- 
Satra as an apprentice in handicrafts as well as housecraft 
and then slowly along with his experiments in crafts, 
gardening, etc., a child is given elementary academic 
training. Always a close relationship between the two is 
established in programs of Siksha-Satra. Here an attempt 
is being made to give an all round education to village 
children and provide them with training which will not only 
enable them to earn a decent livelihood but also to equip 
them with the necessary training and creative imagination 
with which they may help to improve the rural life of Bengal 
in all aspects (Siksha-Satra, 1936, p. 1) . 

Siksha-Charcha Bhavana 

Educational activities at Sriniketan also included 
a training school for teachers of village primary school 
which is known as Siksha-Charcha. It provides instruction 
in both theory and practice for teachers. Practical 


training in one village craft is considered essential. At 
present the instruction is provided for one year and it 
leads to a certificate. 

After Tagore's death a new department was added in 
Sriniketan, Palli SikshaSadana, College of Agriculture. 
It is designed primarily to equip rural youth with the 
knowledge of modern methods of farming. Besides, in- 
struction in the basic sciences like Chemistry, Physics, 
Mathematics, Botany and Zoology, it also provides specialized 
courses in Agronomy, Goat Keeping, Agricultural Economics, 
Agricultural Chemistry, Horticulture, Entomology, Agri- 
cultural Engineering, Plant Pathology, Genetics, Plant 
Breeding and Farm Management. Practical training in 
agriculture and dairy farms and field work are integral 
elements of the course. 

The complete program at Sriniketan is an effort to 
uplift the rural community and an integral program like 
this can bring dynamic change in Indian Society. For 
his efforts Tagore said, "I cannot take responsibility 
for the whole of India. I wish to win only one or two 
small villages. We have to enter into their minds to 
acquire strength to work in collaboration with them. That 
is not easy, it is very difficult and will require austere 


self-discipline. If I can free only one or two villages 
from the bonds of ignorance and weakness, there will be 
built, on a tiny scale, an ideal for the whole of India. 
This is what came to me then and what I still behold" 
(Tagore et al., 1958, p. 7). He believed that our aim must 
be to give these few villages complete freedom — education 
for all, the winds of joy blowing across the village, music 
and recitations going on, as in the old days. Fulfill 
this ideal in a few villages and only if that is done, will 
India be truly ours (Tagore et al., 1958, p. 7). His 
institutions, their activities and curriculum thrived for 
this object. 

Organization of Daily Activities 

The daily routine of Tagore 's school is quite in- 
teresting and it is there one sees his educational ideas 
and ideals at work. The students are awakened into the 
beauty and calm of early dawn by a band of singers who go 
around the school singing the poet's songs. As soon as the 
students get up, they clean their rooms and make up their 
beds. Fran the beginning the children are taught not to 
despise manual work and a spirit of self-reliance is 
cultivated in them (Cornelius, 1930, p. 132). 


Then out in the open air they have their physical 
exercise followed by their morning bath. After the bath 
fifteen minutes are set apart for meditation. Students 
carry their mats and take their places under some se- 
cluded tree for the purpose of contemplation. Tagore was 
a great believer in meditation, but he knew that all 
students will not meditate and get its complete joy. Yet 
he considered meditation as having self-disciplinary value. 
"I insist on this period of meditation, not, however, ex- 
pecting the boys to be hypocrites and to make believe they 
are meditating. But I do insist that they remain quiet, 
that they exert the power of self-control, even though 
instead of contemplating on God, they may be watching the 
squirrels running up the tree^' (Tagore, 19l7q p. 176) . 

To the sound of a musical song all the students rise 
from under the trees where they had been meditating, and 
move reverently to the school temple, where there is no 
image and no altar. All the students gather together in 
this temple and after an opening prayer in Bengali, they 
chant in unison the Sanskrit verses. Here regular worship 
was conducted twice a week by the poet when present, by 
the teachers of the institution, in his absence. 

After breakfast the classes begin at about 5:30. 


Open door life of the ashram has helped to do away with 
elaborate furniture and classroom equipment. Even the 
students are taught to be simple in habits. Immediately 
after breakfast students carry their mats, spread them 
under the trees or on the verandahs of the buildings and 
begin their lessons in different subjects. Only when they 
study physics and chemistry do they go to the physical or 
chemical laboratories. The classes are not definitely 
fixed; students are allowed to attend classes, higher or 
lower, according to their achievements. Students as well 
as teachers are provided freedom for trying different ways 
of learning. 

The morning school session ends at 10:30 and since 
the afternoons are quite hot in India, most of the subjects 
which call for hard mental work are got through in the 
morning hours. Then it is time for the mid-day meal. 
Serving at the meals is undertaken by students in turn. 
Thus it teaches them the dignity of labor and also lightens 
the burden of kitchen service. Boys and girls in 
Santiniketan are thus trained in every possible way to be 
useful and active citizens. By an ingenious arrangement 
the elder girls take charge of the little children of the 
junior school and thereby learn a great deal that is 


useful in mothering and housekeeping. After lunch students 

spend their time as they like; some rest and some prepare 

their lessons with the help of tutors. Classes begin 

again at 2:00 and continue until 4:30 in the afternoon. 

i In the early evenings before dinner, the boys rush 

to the playgrounds to play football, cricket and other 

games. There are outdoor games organized for girls also. 

Often students go on long walking excursions with their 

teachers, spending the whole day in the open air, singing 

and playing games. Instead of joining the games some of 

the older and stronger boys go to the neighboring villages 

to carry on a well organized program of social service. In 

his famous Gitanjali, Tagore wrote: 

Come out of this meditation and leave aside 
thy flowers and incense. What harm is there 
if thy clothes become tattered and stained? 
Meet Him and stand by Him in toil and in 
sweat of thy brow. (Tagore, 1914, No. 11) 

Inspired by the poet's life and teaching, many of these 

boys deprived themselves of the pleasure of enjoying the 

evening games and went among the Santhal tribes and other 

poor people in the neighboring villages, who lived in 

pitiable unsanitary conditions and in appalling ignorance 

and superstition. They held evening schools for them, 

organized their sports and amusements, taught them 


handicrafts and helped them in many other ways in their 

After games, students would have their baths and 
then their evening meditation for 15 minutes followed by 
the chanting of Sanskrit verse in the temple. Immediately 
after this short temple service, it was time for dinner. 
The work of the day, begun with prayer, is thus brought to 
its close again with prayer. The whole life of the school 
is permeated by a spiritual atmosphere. This is all the 
more striking since Tagore did not believe in teaching 
religion. He expressed, "Teaching of religion can never be 
imparted in the form of lessons, it is there where there 
is religion in living. . . .Religion is not a fractional 
thing that can be doled out in fixed weekly or daily 
measures as one among various subjects in the school 
syllabus" (Tagore, 1917c, pp. 163-165) . Hence no dogmatic 
teaching is given in Santiniketan. The religious atmos- 
phere of the place helps the pupils to learn to respect 
religions other than their own by living in close contact 
with boys and teachers of other faiths . 

When the evening meal is over, the scholars have an 
hour of entertainment such as story-telling, singing, a 
lantern lecture, a circus perfoimance or enacting a play 


composed by the boys themselves, to which the masters are 
invited. This pleasant time, however, is not shared by 
the older boys who need extra hours of work. For all the 
rest of the boys and girls, evening study is forbidden. Why 
Tagore planned it this way he answered, "Books tell us that 
the discovery of fire was one of the biggest discoveries 
of man. I do not wish to dispute this. But I cannot help 
feeling how fortunate the little birds are that their 
parents cannot light lamps of an evening. They have their 
language lessons early in the morning and you must have 
noticed how gleefully they learn them" (Tagore, 1917b, 
pp. 39-40) . 

The bell for retiring sounds at about nine o'clock 
and a choir again goes around the school singing. Thus the 
day which began with a song ends in a fitting manner with a 
song. This schedule at Santiniketan was drastically 
different than what Tagore had experienced in his child- 
hood and that was one of the reasons he tried to create an 
atmosphere in his school, where freedom flourished, 
creativity got a special recognition and students as well 
as teachers together participated in the process of 


Organization of Curriculum 

Alexander and Saylor stated, "Curriculum encompasses 
all learning opportunities provided by the school" (Saylor 
J. Glen & Alexander, W., 1966, p. 5), and it seems Tagore's 
approach to curriculum fits this definition aptly. 
Education according to him aimed at the development of 
complete manhood for the attainment of a full life and the 
curriculum envisaged in his educational thought also partook 
of that idea of fullness and referred to all aspects of 
human life. He advocated a fullness of experience for 
children so that they might acquire knowledge from multiple 
sources, even through the sub-conscious process and tried 
to provide opportunity for this in his school. He ob- 
served that though a human being is only three cubits and 
a half in height, none can live and grow happily within a 
space only just as high. An ample space is necessary for 
free and healthy development and this is as true in the 
intellectual sense as in the physical (Tagore, 1351 B.S., 
p. 7) . Such ample space can be provided only through a 
full and wide curriculum that would ensure a fullness of 
experience to the growing children. "It was my desire," 
Tagore pointed out, "that I would establish in the 


Santiniketan Asram, a field for the pursuit of culture on 
a wide scale. We shall admit as part of this culture, not 
merely the cultivation of knowledge within the narrow 
limits determined by the textbooks prescribed in our schools 
but also all kinds of arts and crafts, dance, music and 
play, as well as knowledge and skill necessary for render- 
ing service to the villages" (Tagore, 1370 B.S., pp. 148- 
149) . 

In fact, after a description of Santiniketan 's 
program and activities, it seems justifiable to call this 
curriculum an open school curriculum. According to 
Anderson, "The greatest opportunity for learning in the 
Open System. . .is found in infancy and the pre-school 
years when there are few environmental demands no curricu- 
lum and little systematic teaching. It is at this period 
of no curriculum and little pressure that the greatest and 
most rapid learning takes place and that creativity is most 
universally manifest. The Open System permits originality, 
experimentation, initiative and invention; it constitutes 
the propitious environment for creativity" (Anderson, 
1961). Santiniketan provides opportunity for exploring the 
world by the student himself, encourages him to be more 
creative than just memorizing the facts. Actually Tagore 


interpreted the curriculum not in terms of certain subjects 
to be learned but in terms of certain activities to be 
undertaken. That is one of the reasons that in Santiniketan 
besides the regular academic subjects, emphasis was placed 
on drama, excursions, gardening, regional study, and original 
compositions. In addition, so called extra-curricular 
activities like games, social services, and student self- 
government formed a regular feature of the normal working 
of the institution in order to bring into play all the 
essential faculties of the children. 

Tagore was not a believer in the sanctity of a static 
curriculum and it is impossible to find a well organized 
curriculum plan for his school. For him, ideals per- 
meating the life and activities of an institution are more 
important than the subjects taught and activities pursued 
therein. "What subjects we are teaching to our students 
here, " he pointed out, "whether the teaching has been 
agreeable to all or whether the department of higher 
studies has been started and research work conducted after 
the pattern of an ordinary college — let these not consti- 
tute our permanent sighs of glory. They exist today and 
may, not exist tomorrow. I am afraid lest what is small 
should suppress the great, lest wild plants should cover 


the corn field" (Tagore, 137GB.S., p. 107). It seems 
that Tagore really had no fixed curriculum in mind. His 
emphasis on ideals of life and his aim — his institution's 
aim — -to achieve them made the curriculum of the school 
a unique curriculum. He believed in the flexible and 
dynamic character of curriculum and relied on the ideals 
that inspired its adoption. Hirendranath Datta wrote, 
"It was to be borne in mind that there was nothing extra- 
curricular in Gurudeva's scheme of education. He had no 
curriculum of studies as such. He had, instead, a 
curriculum of life. The emphasis all the time was on 
learning to live rather than on living to learn" (Datta, 
1957, p. 38). Devoid of proper background, the subject of 
study in itself had little significance or effectiveness. 
Similarly, though Tagore was opposed to mere bookish 
knowledge in his school but he always encouraged free and 
independent reading in a copious manner. He had expressed 
his regrets since the days of his earliest writings in 
education that there were few good books for young children 
in Indian languages, and whatever few existed could not be 
read because the children were over-burdened with a 
narrowly utilitarian curriculum (Tagore, 1351 B.S., p. 10). 
Keeping this in mind, he and his colleagues wrote many 


children's books which were published by Visva-Bharati in 
series of Lok-Siksha Granthamala and Visva-Vidya-Sangraha. 
Even the library in the institution gave an important 
place to children's literature and children enjoyed it too. 

While criticizing the prevailing curriculum in the 
schools of India, Tagore mentioned its unrealistic nature, 
non-congruency, too many books and very little or no 
creativity, no imaginations. In his school, he tried to 
get rid of these problems. His curriculum offered a wide 
variety of subjects and activities from which students could 
select what they wanted. He tried to cultivate both thinking 
and imaginative abilities of students. "There is no doubt that 
the faculty of thinking and the faculty of imagination are 
the two most essential faculties for the purpose of living. 
. . .It is, therefore, a truism that if thinking and 
imagination are not cultivated from childhood, they will 
not be available for use in the future" (Tagore, 1351 B.S., 
p. 11). Tagore ' s concept of realistic curriculum attained 
its fullest expression in the Siksha-Satra experiment at 
Sriniketan. Assisted by Elmhirst, a disciple of Dewey, 
he introduced there an integrated and co-related pattern 
of activity which is very similar to the Project Curricu- 
lum developed by Kilpatrick (Kilpatrick, 1952). 


Tagore had a liberal mind and in the whole of his life's 
philosophy and therefore in his educational thought, there 
is no room for any narrowness, any partial, restricted 
or one-sided views. It is reflected in his elucidation of 
the contents of the curriculum. Its variety and richness 
stand out in striking contrast to the narrowness of 
the prevalent concepts and practices. The hard-headed 
realist who sought the quick way out of the educational 
stages by concentrating on the essential and marketable 
branches of knowledge, was doing justice neither to the 
child's nature nor to the manifold needs of society. Tagore 
not only gave a new orientation to academic work but also 
pleaded for the education of man's emotions, for giving 
music, painting and other fine arts and crafts their due 
place as a means of self-expression and fulfillment. Side 
by side with his insistence on the cultivation of emotions, 
he showed a full awareness of the role of intellect and 
reason and was appreciative of the contribution of Western 
science. History, as a study of man's cultural legacy, 
was for Tagore another significant part of the curriculum. 
He believed in one history, history of man, and taught 
that to his students. He was anxious to find room for as 
many languages as possible so as to throw open the doors 


to many cultures of the world. He was convinced that, if 
a well-balanced and stimulating environment is planned in 
school— natural as well as social — half the battle of 
training character and personality will be won. His success 
lay in the fact that he did not try to control directly the 
ideas, feelings and values of his children but imaginatively 
designed an environment and a program of activities and 
experience which evoked the desired responses. "I tried 
my best, " he explains, "to develop in the children of my 
school the freshness of their feeling for nature, a 
sensitiveness of soul in their relationship with their 
human surroundings with the help of literature, festive 
ceremonials and also the religious teaching which enjoins 
us to come to the nearer presence of the world through the 
soul, thus to gain it more than can be measured" (Tagore, 
1946, p. 9) . 

The history and growth of Visva-Bharati reveals that 
the historic process of the modern world, tending to a 
unification of the globe and mankind found place and 
partial fulfillment in the institution. The school started 
as a true center of Indian culture and afterwards extended 
the scope to include Asia and the whole world. At present 
though the atmosphere in the school is still the same with 


the free and healthy life in nature, simple coininunity life, 
the close association and intimate relationship between 
teachers and pupils, the rich atmosphere of constructive 
and creative activities exercising and encouraging the 
spontaneous self-expression of the pupils in various direc- 
tions, but due to the extended curriculum towards degrees 
there has been a loss of original spontaneous studies. 

Visva-Bharati entered an entirely new chapter in its 
career when it was converted into a statutory university 
under the central government of free India in May, 1951. 
Since the reorientation of the institution, many of its 
departments have been reorganized partly for administrative 
reasons and partly for bringing them in line with other 
regular universities in the country. The new status has 
also helped the institution financially. The tremendous 
financial strain of running an expensive institution like 
Visva-Bharati was borne mainly by Rabindranath, and in 
parts by generous donations of cash and services, but after 
his death the institution had struggled for its existence 
on its own resources and ultimately the governing body of 
the institution decided to hand it over to the government. 

During the conversion of the institution into its new 

status, and a number of times thereafter, several Indian 


leaders sounded a note of warning that Visva-Bharati in 
its new role, should not become another average Indian 
university but should retain its distinctive features which 
had given it a special place in the educational setup of 
the country. The preceding discussion indicates that though 
changes have occurred to make Visva-Bharati a more practical 
university, Tagore's ideals regarding education still per- 
meate the environment. 


■•■On Dec. 24, 1924, Tagore was talking to Madame 
Victoria Ocampo and during his talk he mentioned, "board- 
ing schools are still very rare in India. Parents retain 
their faith in the well established day schools around 
them. I didn't blame them for not trusting a poet to take 
over the full care of their children, and as a result I 
got some of the worst type of boys." The conversation 
is available by the title Schooling in the magazine 
The Visva-Bharati Quarterly . 1963-64, 29^(4) 273-279 pp. 

^During Nov. 1920 - Jan. 1921, Tagore was in New York 
where he met Leonard K. Elmhirst, an Englishman of 
realistic disposition and a graduate of Cambridge Univer- 
sity, who took agricultural training in America. Elmhirst 
was deeply impressed by Tagore 's passion for village uplift 
work, and sometime later wrote to him from England that he 
wanted to assist him in his rural reconstruction project. 
He also informed Tagore that Mrs. Straight, a rich American 
widow (who later became his wife), ted promised an annual 
recurring grant of about Rs. 50,000 towards the project. 




Discussion in the previous chapters, concerning 
Tagore's educational philosophy, its practical application 
at a time when education in India was restless, lifeless, 
and in most cases meaningless, does bring out one signifi- 
cant point. That is, among Indian educators of the first 
half of the twentieth century Tagore was one of the most 
outstanding figures. He waged a ceaseless battle to uphold 
the highest educational ideals before the country and con- 
ducted educational experiments at his own institutions which 
made them the living symbols of what an ideal and full 
education should be, not only in the Indian but also in the 
world context. He surcharged his ideas with such lustre 
of his mighty personality that many of them have become an 
integral part of the aims and achievements of Indian 
education at the present day, even though his name may not 
always be directly remembered in this context. 



Impact on Indian Education 
Basic Education and Tagore 

To find out about its impact on Indian education, it 
is essential to compare Tagore 's experiment in education 
with some other similar experiments in India. One of the 
major forces in Indian education, which started during 
Tagore 's period, was that of Basic Education, initiated by 
M. K. Gandhi. In 1937, for the first time, Gandhi's ideas 
regarding Basic Education were published in an article in 
the magazine Harijan . His theory of Basic Education was 
later adopted as the national policy of elementary education 
in India. The educational philosophies of both Gandhi and 
Tagore originated as a reaction to the book-centered, too 
theoretical clerk- producing British education. The 
educational systems they envisaged were thoroughly imbued 
with their respective life philosophies. The unhappy 
memories of Tagore 's early education caused him to start 
the Brahma vidyalaya with a handful of boys and practically 
no teachers. Gandhi's educational program started as a 
part of a political program. He realized that village 
reconstruction had to be the center of nation building. 
Education, as he conceived it, is no less a struggle for 
freedom — freedom from ignorance, inefficiency, insecurity. 


oppression, exploitation, injustice. His plan to impart 
primary education through the medium of village handicrafts 
like spinning and carding is conceived as the spearhead 
of a silent social revolution fraught with the most far- 
reaching consequences. It would check the progressive 
decay of 700,000 villages of India and lay the foundation 
for a more just social order in which there would be no 
unnatural division between the haves and have-nots (Gandhi, 
1951, pp. 63-64i. 

The essence of Gandhi's educational theory puts a 
greater emphasis on the education of the three H's; these 
are: culture of the Heart, culture of the Head, and culture 
of the Hands. To him character formation is one of the 
foremost aims of education. "I had always given the first 
place to the culture of the Heart or the building of 
character, and as I felt confident that moral training 
could be given to all alike, no matter how different their 
ages and their upbringing" (Gandhi, 1929, p. 408). He be- 
lieved that education is not an aim in itself, rather, an 
instrument, and only that type of education can be called 
real education which helps in the building of sound 
character and morality (Gandhi, 1962, p. 3) . 

Gandhi also attached great importance to knowledge. 


culture of the head, in his educational plan. He strongly 
opposed the idea that intelligence can be developed only 
through bookish knowledge. Real education has to draw out 
the best from the boys and girls to be educated. This can 
never be done by packing ill-assorted and unwanted informa- 
tion into the heads of the pupils. It becomes a dead 
weight crushing all originality in them and turning them 
into mere automata (Gandhi, 1953, p. 50) . 

Gandhi's scheme of Basic Education is a process of 
learning through activity. The two basic principles 
around which the Basic Education scheme has been centered 
are that, (1) education should be woven around a suitable 
craft, and (2) education should be self-supporting. The 
principle of intellectual training in and through a craft 
is the most fundamental feature of the scheme. For, it is 
a craft which is capable of being manipulated by the child, 
that sets problems to him and calls out in relation to 
them, his thought, character and artistic sense (Gandhi, 
1951, p. vi) . 

In Basic Education, every handcraft has to be taught 
not merely mechanically, but scientifically, i.e., the 
child should know the why and wherefore of every process 
(Gandhi, 1953, p. 53). The idea is that handicrafts are 


to be taught not merely for productive work, but for 
developing the intellect of the pupils (Gandhi, 1956, 
p. 13). The second major principle of Basic Education 
is that the craft chosen should be so taught that besides 
developing all-round personality of the child, it can make 
education self-supporting. The self-supporting aspect of 
education may be considered in two senses: (1) education 
that will help one to be self-supporting in later life, 
and (2) education which in itself is self-supporting 
(Gandhi, 1951, p. 58) . Gandhi was also a firm believer 
in the principle of free and compulsory education for seven 
years (from ages seven to fourteen) for all citizens, male 
and female. He said, "If we expect, as we must, every 
boy and girl of school-going age to attend public schools, 
we have not the means to finance education in accordance 
with the existing style, nor are millions of parents able 
to pay the fees that are at present imposed. Education 
to be universal must therefore be free. . . .It follows, 
therefore, that our children must be made to pay in labour 
partly or wholly for all the education they receive. Such 
universal labcur to be profitable can only be (to my 
thinking) hand spinning and hand weaving" (Gandhi, 1953, 
p. 49). 


Besides, he made several other important suggestions 
in his educational theory. All education must be imparted 
through the medium of the mother tongue. In education 
there should be no room for giving sectarian religious 
training. Fundamental, universal ethics will have full 
scope. Also, since millions of students receiving this 
education will consider themselves as citizens of the whole 
of India, they must learn an inter-provincial language. 
This common inter-provincial speech can only be Hindustani 
written in Nagari or Urdu script (Gandhi, 1951, p. 65) . 
The development of the sense of freedom, initiative and 
responsibility should be achieved through the self- 
government and self-help of children inside the school 

Thus, it is clear that in the urgency of village re- 
construction programs both Tagore and Gandhi agree. Tagore 
was very happy when he found out about Gandhi's involvement 
with rural regeneration programs. In a letter to Amiya 
Chakavarty he pointed out, "Mahatmaji has undertaken this 
work after all these years. He is a colossal figure and 
his strides are very long. . . .With my meagre resources, 
I have not been able to achieve much. . .and reform of 
education and revival of the village — these are the chief 


missions of my life" (Tagore, Pravasi, Jyaistha, 1342 B.S.). 
In a way, Gandhi undertook the plan which Tagore had in 
mind but it started as an independent program, and due to 
their different philosophies, Basic Education has a 
different approach for village reconstruction from Tagore 's 
program. Tagore frankly expressed his doubt and disagree- 
ment regarding certain fundamental principles behind the 
scheme as, at any rate, it appeared on paper. He said, 
"As the scheme stands on paper, it seems to assume that 
material utility rather than the development of personality 
is the end of education; that while education in the true 
sense of the word, may be still available for a chosen 
few who can afford to pay for it, the utmost that the masses 
can have is to be trained to view the world they live (in) 
in the perspective of the particular craft they are to 
employ for their livelihood. It is true that, as things 
are, even that is much more than what masses are actually 
getting, but it is nevertheless unfortunate that even in our 
ideal scheme, education should be doled out in insufficient 
relations to the poor, while the feast remains reserved 
for the rich. I cannot congratulate a society or a nation 
that calmly excludes play from the curriculum of the 
majority of its children's education and gives in its 


stead a vested interest to the teachers in the market 
value of the pupil's labour" (Tagore, 1938) . Tagore hoped, 
however, that Mahatmaji's incomparable love for children 
of the poor as well as his remarkable practical genius 
would ultimately set right whatever drawbacks the scheme 
seemed to have at that stage. 

It is interesting to know that Shri E. W. Aryanayakam 
and Asha Devi, the two persons who have been in close 
touch with Basic Education from its very inception as 
formulated by Gandhi, and who have been throughout at the 
helm of this work since then, have both worked for long 
years at a stretch at Santiniketan and at Sriniketan in the 
responsible office of directors. Thus both of them came 
into close contact with Tagore 's method of work and his 
basic principles of education. At the invitation of 
Sri Jamanalal Bazaz, a devoted and well-to-do disciple 
of Gandhi, they left Santiniketan and went to Wardha as 
directors of the Naba Bharat Institution founded by him. 
They were entrusted with the responsibility of developing 
this institution into a work-centric school. This phenome- 
non does emphasize that indirectly Gandhi's Basic Educa- 
tional activities were influenced by Tagore's work pattern. 
Gandhi was a national, political figure and his thinking 


and ideas had wide impact. His Basic Education philosophy 
was part of the national movement and in time it got 
recognition as the national policy of elementary education. 
In a national seminar on Gandhian Values in Education 
which was held on the 9th to 11th of February at Sevagram, 
Wardha, Professor V. K. R. V. Rao made some major recom- 
mendations for improving Basic Education pattern in the 
schools. A close study of his recommended program will 
indicate that most of these activities were already under- 
taken by Tagore in his institutions. 

This program should cover all stages of 
education and many, for instance, include: 

(a) Safai, and maintenance of the campus; 

(b) participation in sowing and harvesting 
operations through suitable adjustment of 
vocations; (c) participation in productive 
work in agricultural operations in the 
school, family farm or the neighbourhood 
(d) teaching of crafts; (e) cultivation of 
hobbies; (f) adoption of new methods of 
teaching which provide opportunities for 
work with hands to the maximum extent possi- 
ble in every subject; (g) establishing 
close contacts between the educational in- 
stitutions and the community through pro- 
grammes of mutual service and support; 

(h) participation in programmes of relief 
in times of famine, flood, epidemics and 
other natural calamities; (i) beginning the 
school day by an assembly with a silent 
and/or common prayer and provision for teach- 
ing of moral and social values; (j) organi- 
zing suitable programmes of adult education, 
including the spread of literacy, and (k) 
involvement of students in programmes which 
will train them in responsibility. 
(National Seminar, 1970) 


Tagore's Brati-Bulak Organization (Boy Scouts), 
Lantern Lecture, night schools, fulfilled such requirements 
in his school. Actually, Tagore ' s scheme is free from the 
criticism levelled against the productive and self-support- 
ing principles of Basic Education. Furthermore, his emphasis 
on play, art, music, and the free creative activities of 
children rather than the compulsory productive aspect, 
is reflected in the recommendation program. It is clear 
that Tagore's impact on Indian education has been much more 
than has been acknowledged or that he has been given credit 
for. It seems, to some extent, that a lack of research on 
Tagore is responsible for this situation. In the absence of 
it, even recommendation committees are hesitant to acknowledge 
Tagore's impact. Unless they find strong evidence, i.e., 
Gandhi or his co-workers mentioning that at some stage 
a program was influenced by Tagore's pattern, they don't 
want to commit themselves on the subject. Also, Tagore's 
experiment survived through years (before 1951) without any 
kind of state or national support. It was basically one 
man's educational philosophy against the rulers' educational 
plan and still in such unfavorable circumstances the school 
not only survived but also flourished. Again it seems 
writers in the field of education in India are still not 


convinced as to how much significant impact this kind of 
isolated effort can have on national policies. Actually 
a thorough research on this aspect can be the subject of a 
major study. 


As in the case of any new program, Tagore's educa- 
tional works have also been subjected to criticism from 
different points of view. One of the most important among 
them was voiced by Professor Jadunath Sarkar, the eminent 
Indian historian, touching some fundamental aspects of 
educational ideals and activities of Visva-Bharati. The 
correspondence between him and Tagore, which took place in 
May- June, 1922, was published long afterwards in the maga- 
zine Pravasi, in Chaitra, 1352 B.S. (1945) issue. According 
to the correspondence Professor Sarkar alleged that while 
the elementary and research stages at Visva-Bharati were 
well provided for, the intermediate undergraduate stage 
was very deficient. The undergraduate students there 
lacked the general academic background, exact knowledge 
and intellectual discipline, which were necessary for 
higher studies and research later on. This is true be- 
cause, according to him, the hyper-aesthetic and emotional 


atmosphere of the institution, specially under the power- 
ful influence of the poetic personality of Tagore himself, 
was inherently "hostile to the scientific method and exact 
knowledge." In his reply, Tagore forcefully contradicted 
the allegations and asked Professor Sarkar whether he had 
any positive evidence in support of his contention. Actually, 
Tagore 's own long-standing personal admiration for scientific 
and disciplined pursuit of truth, his persistent advocacy 
of the cultivation of scientific knowledge within the 
institution, the establishment of an agricultural and an 
industrial department at Sriniketan for practical research 
and production contradict Mr. Sarkar 's allegations, at 
least in Tagore 's theory. As to Professor Sarkar 's charge 
that the atmosphere of Santiniketan overstressed the 
aesthetic and emotional aspects of life, Tagore asserted 
that he valued beauty and the emotions as much as the 
scientific outlook, because he regarded the former as much 
necessary for and conducive to the full mutual development 
of the pupils as the latter. Regarding the charge of the 
unwholesome influence on the pupils of the poet's per- 
sonality, which was essentially emotional and fanciful. 
Professor Sarkar did not have much basis. It is true, that 
in India, most poets are considered so but Tagore ' s 


personal life did not offer the example of vapid emotion- 
alism but presented a record of hard thinking, strenuous 
endeavor, concrete service and selfless sacrifice. 

There have been several other criticisms also of 
Tagore's educational work but they are not pronounced by 
one or more specific persons. They are more like general com- 
ments, rather than strong criticisms based on logical 
grounds. These have been skepticisms regarding the con- 
cepts of Asram ideal, and stress on spiritual values. 
It has been also criticized for the effeminate and im- 
practical nature of training. It is alleged that the hyper- 
aesthetic atmosphere of the institution and the hyper- 
aesthetic quality of culture which exist there serve to 
produce romantic aesthetes, who may be good in the fine arts, 
but they are entirely unfit for the hard struggle for 
existence in the modern world. Again, all these allega- 
tions are also based on mere assumption rather than on 
any research findings. 

It is surprising that while so many people have talked 
about Tagore's educational work and some have indirectly 
criticized the plan on the basis of assumptions, yet nobody 
has stopped to think why this program did not appeal to 
public or to national educational programmer. From the 


foregoing discussion, the program seems to be based on a 
sound all-rounded educational philosophy and yet it did 
not attract many people. Even now in India many people 
associate Visva-Bharati mainly as an institute of art and 
music education. To some extent Tagore societies, which 
are scattered all over India and throughout the world, with 
their performances of Rabindra-plays and music also help 
in creating that partial picture. It is time that re- 
searchers start working on this problem of non-popularity of 
Tagore 's educational system. Regret about this situation 
has been expressed by some people like Lt. Col. Yeats- 
Brown who noticed that "behind Santiniketan there is not 
yet the driving force of a great popular movement, but 
only a great man" (Yeats-Brown, 1936). One reason for this 
seems to be that Tagore ' s scheme lacked the political 
sanction which Gandhi's Wardha Scheme possessed (Chatterjee, 
1348 B.S.). It seems to the present researcher that the 
residential nature of the school might have been a dis- 
couraging factor for parents of young children. Once the 
school was established and well-reputed, it was no more an 
exile for problem children and its residential nature 
probably discouraged parents. Also due to this the school 
seems to be more expensive than an ordinary parent of 


India can afford. Since Bengali is the medium of instruc- 
tion all festivities, atmosphere around the school is 
enlightened with the culture of Bengal. In this respect the 
school has too many local qualities to be appreciated by 
a parent from distant parts of India with a different 
language. Bengali, as a medium of instruction, which was 
once a major strength of the institution, seems to be a 
limiting factor now. Any revolution to get strength in 
India has to be based on a more commonly spoken language, 
like Hindi. At this stage, it seems essential that in 
different parts of the country many centers should be 
opened on the same principles but representing the culture 
of that particular region. This kind of program can 
strengthen the nature of Visva-Bharati and its ideals will 
be accessible to more people. 

Suggestions for Further Research 

An immense amount of Tagore's educational writings 
and his pioneer work in education deserves more attention 
than what has been really paid to it. It can provide the 
basis for many research which will be able to explore 
more on Tagore's educational work and which can provide 
new guidelines for a significant educational plan for the 


country. Due to the lack of critical approach in Indian 
culture for a respectable personality, like Tagore, most 
of the writings available now are descriptive and full of 
admiration and respect for Tagore 's program. Some good 
extensive research on Tagore will help in understanding his 
work more critically. Some of the suggestions for the 
research can be as follows: 

1. Eastern and Western educational philosophies 
in Tagore, 

2. Different educational experiments in India and of 
Tagore . 

3. Tagore 's contribution to the history of educa- 
tion of the modern period in India. 

4. How Tagore could be used in Indian education 
in the future. 

5. Comparative studies of Tagore and Dewey and/or 
Tagore and Gandhi, and what they can offer to 
each other. 

6. Critical analysis of Tagore ' s impact on Indian 

Contribution to Indian Education 

Tagore was one of the greatest prophets of educational 
renaissance in modern India, in his relentless revolt against 
the unrealistic, alien, mercenary and mechanical system of 
education that had obtained a deadening hold on the country 
since the introduction of the western system of education 


under the British. In his educational thought, within a 
single compass, he tried to present the best educational 
thoughts of the world, past and present. "He built up a 
'forest school' which was really suited to the needs of 
modern India" (Sykes, 1943, p. 58) . Through his institution 
he brought the cultures of the East and West together, 
specially at a time when international amity and under- 
standing are sought to be achieved through a comparative 
study of the educational systems of all the countries in 
the world. 

Tagore's contribution in the field of aesthetic 
education also has been remarkable. From the very beginning 
of his school he gave a special place to music. With the 
foundation of Visva-Bharati, however, art and music in- 
cluding dancing began to be most systematically, widely 
and enthusiastically cultivated by the students and 
teachers of the institution, until the tradition of aes- 
thetic culture of Visva-Bharati acquired a unique reputa- 
tion throughout the country and even abroad. Great 
Western philosopher, Sidney Hook once said, "Without a 
liberal-arts education to undergird or accompany or inter- 
penetrate vocational or professional education, the latter 
cannot be- adequate. Art, literature, history, philosophy. 


religion, the natural and social sciences are not frosting 
on the cake of education. They are part of its very 
being, ignored at the price of our civilization, and 
possibly — in an age in which the sudden death of cultures 
is a genuine threat — of its very survival" (Hook, 1975). 
In this perspective Tagore's contribution really looks very 

Tagore has contributed to the meaning and purpose of 
education content and significance which appear to be 
richer and fuller than what it was previously. K. G. 
Saiyadin noted, "Tagore raised, at least potentially, the 
whole status of the teaching profession; he elevated the 
child to the pedestal where he thought God had placed him 
originally; he visualized the educational process in terms 
so rich and comprehensive that the existing educational 
system could not assimilate them, could not perhaps even 
take them seriously. . . .Because Tagore lived and actually 
worked as an educator, education has gained a new depth 
and dimension which we must cherish as a priceless trust" 
(Saiyadin, 1967, pp. 56-57). In fact, part of Tagore's 
greatness as an educationist lies in the fact tha t he 
actually translated many of his ideas into practice. He had 
a keen and clear appreciation of the relationship between 


the useful and the beautiful and he insisted that students 
should experience the creative thrill of converting the 
useful into the beautiful. 


This study was undertaken to determine the nature of 
Tagore ' s educational theory and practice and its impact on 
Indian education. During the course of study a review of 
Tagore 's writing on education and others on Tagore was 
presented. A discussion of the major educational problems 
that existed in the British period in India and how it 
helped in forming Tagore 's theory was also reviewed. This 
was added to the early educational experiences of Tagore 
to give a complete background for the basis of Tagore 's 

The core of Tagore 's educational theory puts greater 
emphasis on the complete harmonious development of in- 
dividual personality. Tagore believed that education 
should help an individual to attain complete manhood, so 
that all his powers may be developed to the fullest extent 
for his own individual perfection as well as the perfection 
of the human society in which he was born. He believed 
that education is not merely a means for the growth and 


fullness of the individual but it was also concerned with 
the whole physical and social milieu in which his life is 
lived. Education can become dynamic and vital only when it 
is "in constant touch with any complete life." He wanted 
the boys and girls to be fearless, free and open-minded, 
self-reliant, full of the spirit of inquiry and self- 
criticism, with their roots deep in the soil of India but 
reaching out to the whole world in understanding, neighor- 
liness, cooperation and material and spiritual progress. 
With a discussion of the aims of education, Tagore's concept 
regarding ideal education was also studied. He believed 
that for the growth of an ideal education it is essential 
to have an ideal atmosphere, ideal teacher and ideal train- 
ing. Actually, Tagore's success lies in the fact that he 
did not try to control directly the ideas, feelings, and 
values of his children but imaginatively designed an 
environment and a program of activities and experiences 
which evoked the desired responses. Inspired by the ideal 
of the old Indian ashrams he opened his school in a forest 
glade and envisaged an integrated view of education in 
which the physical and the intellectual, the social and 
the moral were not seen as separate from one another, but 
as interrelated, as parts of a single comprehensive truth. 


A description of practical aspect of Tagore's theory 
included the growth and development of the institution, 
its different departments, daily activities, and the or- 
ganization of curriculum. The description covered a broad 
range of years to show the development through these years. 
Through his program at Sriniketan Tagore tried to bring to 
villages not only more money, but also more enjoyment. 
He believed that there could be no real independence for 
the nation except through the independence of spirit of all 
its countless villages. His work at Sriniketan longed to 
make the village a home of welfare and beauty. His 
activities at Visva-Bharati included academic education in 
Humanities, Science, Music, and Art. It also included 
extensive programs on Chinese culture. It tried to bring 
the cultures of India and the world together in one place. 

Tagore's impact on education in India has not been 
well recognized and through discussion it was found that 
educational work of Tagore deserves more scrutiny. It 
needs to be recognized and evaluated by educationists around 
the world. His impact on Indian education has been felt 
more, but it has not been, articulated by researchers, or 
educationists. Some suggestions have been made to pursue 
further research on Tagore as an educationist. Krishna 


Kriplani has summarized Tagore's educational work and 
contribution. "He was never an armchair idealist; what 
he believed in he did himself, pouring all his energy and 
his heart into it. He not only supervised all the details 
of the school-and-asram administration but participated 
in all its activities and himself taught the children" 
(Kriplani, 1962). 


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Tagore,, R. Udyogsiksa. Santiniketan , Asvin-Kartik, 1326 
B.S. (f). 

Tagore, R. Siksar milan. Pravasi , Asvin, 1328 B.S. 

Tagore, R. Atai Paus 1329. Santiniketan , Paus, 1329 
B.S. (a) . 

Tagore, R. Patra. Sreyasi , Bhadra-Asvin, 1329 B.S. (b) . 

Tagore, R. Visva-Bharati katha. Santiniketan , Bhadra- 
Asvin, 1329 B.S. (c) . 

Tagore, R. Navavarse Mandirer Upades. Santiniketan , 
Bhadra, 1330 B.S. (a) . 

Tagore, R. Satai Paus, Dvitiya Vyakhyan. Santiniketan , 
Magh, 1330 B.S. (b) . 

Tagore, R. Sudama Purivasider Prati. Santiniketan , Asadh, 
1330 B.S. (c) . 

Tagore, R. Yatrar Purvakatha. Pravasi , Kartik, 1331 B.S. 

Tagore, R. Acharyer Abhibhashan. Santiniketan , Phalgun, 
1332 B.S. (a). 

Tagore, R. Alochana. Santiniketan , Paus, 1322 B.S. (b) . 

Tagore, R. Purvavange Vaktrita. Pravasi , Vaisakh, 1333 B.S, 


Tagore, R. Dharmahodh. Pravasi , Sravan, 1334 B.S. 

Tagore, R. Library-r-Mukhya Kartavya. Pravasi , Paus, 
1335 B.S. (a). 

Tagore, R. Vis vavidyalaye Samgeet Siksa. Pravasi , 
Agrahayan, 1335 B.S. (b) . 

Tagore, R. Dhyani Japan. Pravasi , Bhadra, 1336 B.S. 

Tagore, R. Karmer Sthayittva. Vichitra , Jaistha, 1337 
B.S. (a). 

Tagore, R. Rabindranather Kayekti Patramsa. Pravasi , 
Agrahayan, 1337 B.S. (b) . 

Tagore, R. Sahajpath I and II . Santiniketan, West Bengal: 
Santiniketan Press, 1337 B.S. (c) . 

Tagore, R. Kuru-Pandav . Santiniketan, West Bengal: 
Santiniketan Press, 1338 B.S. (a). 

Tagore, R. Siksar Sarthakata. pravasi , 1338 B.S. (b) . 

Tagore, R. Maktab Madarsar Bang la Bhasa. Pravasi , 
Bhadra, 1339 B.S. 

Tagore, R. Asram Vidya layer Suchana. Pravasi , Asvin, 
1340 B.S. 

Tagore, R. Dharabahi. Pravasi , Phalgun, 1341 B.S. 

Tagore, R. Bhasa-Siksay Sampradayikta . Pravasi , Paus, 

1342 B.S. (a) . 

Tagore, R. Chatrader Prati. Pravasi , Agrahayan, 1342 
B.S. (b) . 

Tagore, R. A letter to Amiya Chakravarty. Pravasi , 
Jyaistha, 1342 B.S. (c). 

Tagore, R. Siksar Dhara . The New Educational Fellowship, 
Santiniketan, West Bengal: Santiniketan Press, 

1343 B.S. 


Tagore, R. Asramer Adarsa. Pravasi / Bhadra, 1347 B.S. (a). 

Tagore, R. Bangla Siksar Pranali. Pravasi , Bhadra, 1347 
B.S. (b) . 

Tagore, R. Bankuray Cha trader Uddese. Pravasi , Vaisakh, 

1347 B.S. (c) . 

Tagore, R. Asramer Rup Vikas . Santiniketan, West Bengal: 
Visvabharati, Visva-Bharati Bulletin No. 29, 1348 
B.S. (a) . 

Tagore, R. Chithi Patra. Pravasi , Asvin, 1348 B.S. (b) . 

Tagore, R. Santiniketaner Sisu Bibhag- Pes , Agrahayan, 

1348 B.S. (c) . 

Tagore, R. Patravali. Visva-Bharati Patrika . Agrahayan, 

1349 B.S. (a). 

Tagore, R. Patravali. Visva-Bharati Patrika, Magh, 
1349 B.S. (b) . 

Tagore, R. Patravali. Visva-Bharati Patrika, Chaitra, 
1349 B.S. (c). 

Tagore, R. Rabindranather Chithi. Pes . Sravan, 1349 
B.S. (d) . 

Tagore, R. Rabindranather Chithi. Pes . Asvin, 1349 
B.S. (e) . 

Tagore, R. Rabindranather Patravali. Pes . Vaisakh, 
1349 B.S. (f) . 

Tagore, R. Rabindranather Chithi. Pes . Asvin, 1350 B.S. 

Tagore, R. Siksa. Calcutta: Visva-Bharati, 1351 B.S. 

Tagore, R. Patra. Pravasi , Chaitra, 1352 B.S. 

Tagore, R. Santiniketan Brahmacharyasram . Calcutta: 
Visva-Bharati, 1358 B.S. 

Tagore, R. Visva-Bharati : A Collection of speeches at 

Visva-Bharati. Calcutta: Visva-Bharati, 1370, B.S. 


Tagore, R. Palli Prakriti . Santiniketan, West Bengal: 
Santiniketan Press, Bulletin No. 10, undated. 

Tagore, R. . Imraji Sopan, V. I. II. Santiniketan, West 
Bengal: Santiniketan Press, 1906 (first ed.). 

Tagore, R. Gitanjali . New York: Macmillan, 1914. 

Tagore, R. Viehitra Path . Santiniketan, West Bengal: 
Santiniketan Press, 1915. 

Tagore, R. Indian Students and western teachers. The 
Modern Review . April, 1916, 416-422 (a). 

Tagore, R. On art and aesthetics . Calcutta: Orient 
Longmans, 1916 (b) . 

Tagore, R. The medium of education . The Modern Review , 
Oct., 1917 (a). 

Tagore, R. My reminiscences . London: Macmillan, 1917 (b) . 

Tagore, R. Personality . New York: Macmillan, 1917 (c) . 

Tagore, R. Vernaculars for the M.A. degree. A letter. 
The Modern Review , Nov. 1918. 

Tagore, R. Towards the future. The Modern Review , June 

Tagore, R. The centre of Indian culture . Adyar, Madras: 

Society for promotion of national education, 1921 (a). 

Tagore, R. Letters. The Modern Review . May 1921 (b) . 

Tagore, R. Creative unity . New York: Macmillan, 1922 (a). 

Tagore, R. Letters from abroad. The Modern Review , June 
1922 (b) . 

Tagore, R. Notes and comments . Visva-Bharati Quarterly, 
October 1923 (a) . 

Tagore, R. Visva-Bharati. Visva-Bharati Quarterly , 
April 1923 (b) . 


Tagore, R. The guest house of India. Vis va-Bha rati 
Quarterly . April 1924 (a). 

Tagore, R. The schoolmaster. The Modern Review . 
October 1924 (b) . 

Tagore, R. Letters to a friend. The Modern Review , 
July 1925 (a) . 

Tagore, R. My school. The Modern Review , May 1925 (b) . 

Tagore, R. Rabindranath ' s last tour. Visva-Bharati 
Quarterly , July 1925 (c) . 

Tagore, R. Talks in China . Santiniketan, West Bengal: 
Visva-Bharati, 1925 (d) . 

Tagore, R. To the child. The Modern Review , May, 1925 

Tagore, R. An eastern university . Santiniketan, West 
Bengal: Visva-Bharati, Bulletin No. 7, July 1927 

Tagore, R. Our founder president in Malaya. Visva-Bharati 
Quarterly , October 1927 (b) . 

Tagore, R. The Saraswati puja in the City College hostel. 
The Modern Review , May 1928. 

Tagore, R. The function of a library. Visva-Bharati 
Quarterly , January 1929 (a). 

Tagore, R. Ideals of education. Visva-Bharati Quarterly , 
April-July 1929 (b) . 

Tagore, R. Rabindranath Tagore in Russia . Santiniketan, 
West Bangal: Santiniketan Press, Bulletin No. 15, 

Tagore, R. The educational mission of the Visva-Bharati. 
Visva-Bharati Quarterly , November- January, 1930-31 


Tagore, R. International goodwill. Visva-Bharati Quarterly , 
November- January, 1930-31 (b) . 

Tagore, R. My educational mission. The Modern Review . 
June 1931 (a). 

Tagore, R. The religion of man . New York: Macmillan, 
1931 (b). 

Tagore, R. My ideals with regard to the Sreebhavana . 

Santiniketan, West Bengal: Visva-Bharati, 1934 (a) . 

Tagore, R. The parrot's training. Asia , February 1934, 
110-112 (b) . 

Tagore, R. Religious education. Visva-Bharati Quarterly , 
November 1935. 

Tagore, R. Education in India. New Era , June 1936, 151- 
154 (a). 

Tagore, R. On dancing. Visva-Bharati News , February 
1936 (b) . 

Tagore, R. Praktani . Santiniketan, West Bengal: Asramika 
Sangha, December 1936 (c) . 

Tagore, R. Siksar Svangikaran . Santiniketan, West Bengal: 
Santiniketan Press, Bulletin No. 20, February 1936 (d) . 

Tagore, R. Address at the annual convocation. Calcutta 
University. February 13. 1937 . Calcutta: Calcutta 
University, 1937 (a). 

Tagore, R. Making education our own. In A new education 
fellowship Bulletin No. 1 , Santiniketan, West Bengal: 
L Santiniketan Press, 1937 (b) . 

Tagore, R. An address. Visva-Bharati Quarterly , August, 
1938 (a) . 

Tagore, R. Message to the new education fellowship con- 
ference at Calcutta . Visva-Bharati News, January 
1938 (b). 


Tagore, R. New education. New Era , 1938, 19^, 222-235 

Tagore, R. The diffusion of education. The Modern Review , 
July 1939. 

Tagore, R. Visva-Bharati Loksiksasamsad, adarsh prasna . 
Santiniketan, West Bengal: Santiniketan Press, 
Bulletin No. 27, 1940. 

Tagore, R. Art in education. The Modern Review . January 
1941 (a). 

Tagore, R. Convocation address . Haridvar: Haridvar Gurukul 
Visvavidyalaya, 1941 (b) . 

Tagore, R. Crisis in civilization . Visva-Bharati: Visva- 
Bharati bookshop, 1941 (c) . 

Tagore, R. City and Village . Santiniketan, West Bengal: 
Santiniketan Press, Bulletin No. 10, 1945 (a) . 

Tagore, R. My boyhood days. Calcutta: Visva-Bharati, 
1945 (b). 

Tagore, R. A poet's school . Santiniketan, West Bengal: 
Santiniketan Press, Bulletin No. 9, July 1946. 

Tagore, R. Topsy-turvey-education. Visva-Bharati Quarterly , 
November 1946 - January 1947 (a). 

Tagore, R. Education for rural India. Visva-Bharati Quar - 
terly , May - October 1947 (b) . 

Tagore, R. The place of music in education and culture. 
Visva-Bharati Quarterly , May - October, 1947 (c) . 

Tagore, R. Nationalism . London: Macmillan, 1950. 

Tagore, R- The religion of an artist . Visva-Bharati: 
Visva-Bharati Bookshop, 1953. 

Tagore, r. Asramer education. Visva-Bharati Quarterly , 
Winter, 1957-58. 

Tagore, R. Towards universal man . London: Asia publishing 
house, 1961. 


Tagore, R. Schooling. Visva-Bharati Quarterly . 1963- 
1964, 29.(4) . 

Tagore, R. Russia-r cithi . Calcutta, Visva-Bharati 
bookshop, 1970. 

Tagore, R. Chatraganer Prati Upades. Tattvab? dhini 
Patrika , Magh, 182 3 Saka. 

Tagore, R. and Andrews, C. F. The Visvabharati . Madras: 
G. Natesan, 1923. 

Tagore, R., Andrews, C. F. , Elmhirst, L. K. and Bagchi, 
P. C. On Sriniketan (1st Ed.). Santiniketan, West 
Bengal: Santiniketan Press (Reproduction), 1958. 

Tagore, R. , and Elmhirst, K. Rabindranath Tagore, Pioneer 

in Education : essays and exchanges between Rabindranath 
Tagore and L. K. Elmhirst. London: J. Murray, 1961. 

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October-November, 1951. 

Tan, Y. S. Twenty-years of the Visva-Bharati Gheena- 

Bhavana, 1937-1957 . Santiniketan: The Sino-Indian 
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1349 B.S. . 

The Indian National Bibliography . Calcutta Central Re- 
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Rev. by Kilidasa Nag. Calcutta: Y.M.C.A. Publishing 
House, 1961. 

Thompson, E. Rabindranath Tagore — poet and dramatist . 
Oxford University Press, 1948. 


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Jubilee Number, 1957. 

Varkey, C. J. The Wardha scheme of education . London: 
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Social Sciences . New Delhi: Book Hive, 1970. 

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Santiniketan Press, 1973. 

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Bengal: Visva-Bharati, 1961. 

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Bombay: Vora and Co., Publishers Ltd., 1954. 

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Pakistan, Ceylon , New York: American Institute of 
Pacific Relations, 1957. 

Wilson, P. A survey of bibliographies on South Asia . 
Journal of Asian Studies, 1959, 18., 365-376. 

Wilson, R. Santiniketan: Unique Place of Learning. 
Eastern World . 1956, 10, 37-38. 

Wint, G. Santiniketan — An abode of peace. Searchlight , 
May 4, 1958. 

Yearbook of Education, 1940 Annual . London: Evans, 1940. 

Yeats-Brown, Lt. Col. The Bengal lancer on Santiniketan, 
Visva-Bharati News , November-December, 1936. 

Zellner, A. A. Education in India , New York: Bookman 
Association, 1951. 






Modern Review 




Sabuj Patra 
















Bangla Samvat--593 years behind 

Christian Era 
Bengali Monthly mazazine 
Bengali weekly magazine 
English monthly magazine 
The School (Elementary and Secondary 

School at Santiniketan) 
A Bulletin 

Bengali monthly magazine 
Bengali monthly magazine 
Bengali monthly magazine 
Bengali monthly magazine 
Name of a place 
Santiniketan School 
Name of the rural welfare department 

of Visva-Bharati, after it was 

formally opened at Surul 
Bengali monthly magazine 
Bengali monthly magazine 
Name of the University of Santiniketan 
Name of a book 
Name of publisher 
English monthly magazine 
Bengali quarterly magazine 

Quarterly English quarterly magazine 


Radha Vinod Jalan (nee, Sonthalia) was born October 25, 
1946, in Calcutta, India. She attended schools in Calcutta 
and graduated from Seth Soorajmal Jalan Balika Vidyalaya 
in June, 1961. She received the degree of Bachelor of Arts 
with honors from the University of Calcutta in 1964. She 
received the degree of Master of Arts in 1967 from the same 
institution. After coming to the United States in June, 
1968, she enrolled at the University of Florida and received 
her Master of Education degree in 1970, and the Specialist 
in Education degree in 1971. She was a teaching assistant 
in the Department of Foundations of Education for the entire 
term as a graduate student. She is a member of Kappa Delta 
Pi and American Association of University Professors. She 
is married to Vinod Motilal Jalan and is the mother of a 
daughter, Anjula. 


I certify that I have read this study and that in my 
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly 
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, 
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. 

Hal G. Lew igv"^ Chairman 

Professor of Foundations of Education 

I certify that I have read this study and that in my 
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly 
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, 
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. 

Vynce A. Hines 

Professor of Foundations of Education 

I certify that I have read this study and that in my 
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly 
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, 
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. 

Austin B. Creel 

Associate Professor of Religion 

This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of 
the College of Education and to the Graduate Council, and 
was accepted as partial fulfillment of the requirements for 
the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. 

August, 1976 l/^)\M „ ,-, ^^. ^ '/L 

Dean, College of Edud^tion 


Dean, Graduate School