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Sa Vidya Ya Vumuktaye


'What is your objective, your aim in education? Surely you train the rising generation for life. What pattern of life do you envisage, for unless you have that clear picture in your mind, the education that you give will be superficial, faulty and aimless...the ideal of education has long been the improvement of the individual... But even that care of the individual must today be considered in terms of the mass of the people or else the enlightened individual will be submerged in the unenlightened mass'. -- Jawaharlal Nehru   Knowledge and hence education in India, which for a millennium was held as a closely-guarded preserve of the few, the brahminical elite, and used as a tool of power to keep the brute majority in subjugation, became, under colonial rule (strictly unintended) a tool of empowerment. Inheriting that legacy, at Independence and in the decades since, education for the masses has ben an asserted goal. Upward mobility in India, so difficult to compute in real terms when the large mass invariably sets results at nouoght, is best illustrated by the huge numbers of children going to school all over the country. So it is that at the beginning of the new millennium we are emboldened to make a commitment to build a 'knowledge society'. When a goal is set, it is inevitable that a brush with realities obtaining on the ground are thrown up in stark relief. That is what is happening in India today, as elsewhere in the world, and a long, hard look is being taken at the thousand and one problems of educating a large population, where that education is likely to take us as a nation and as citizens of the world, and how to ensure that quantity does not continue to dilute quality in terms of the 'education' that we seek to impart.   The Book Review is being published as a special issue on Education to try to provide an overview of this field. The moving spirit behind the idea of this issue has been Narayani Gupta, historian and a member of The Book Review Advisory Board. We have tried, through articles and rejviews of books, to focus on how various subjects are being taught in schools and colleges and what needs to be done to improve the quality of teaching and of textbooks. The areas that have not been covered are many and many ...

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