The relevance of Vidyasagar in education: “Indian culture is syncretic in nature” – West Bengal

Online panel discussion (92 min.)
“Vidyasagar Smarane: Adivasi Unnayan O Matribhasa Sikha”
by The Asiatic Society Kolkata on 30/9/2020
coordinated by Dr. Boro Baski >>

Suranjan Das, vice-chancellor of Jadavpur University Kolkata

Vidyasagar did not want to build India based on religion; instead he wanted India to be the melting pot of all cultures […] Vidyasagar symbolised modernity and he dreamt of India emerging as a modern state. His modernity had no connection with any religion […]

Indian culture does not represent one particular religion or cultural trait. It is an assimilation of various cultural traits; it is syncretic in nature. Surely, Vidyasagar was aware of this trait in Indian pluralistic cultural tradition when he sought to consciously detach the modernising process with any religious thinking. […]

We do not know if Vidyasagar subscribed to any religious belief. In none of Vidyasagar’s texts there is celebration of any particular religion. He was averse to the practice of any religious function in an educational institution. What Vidyasagar remained firmly committed to was humanism. […]

At the core of any higher education policy lies the notion of a university. Thinkers — from Immanuel Kant to John Henry Newman, Wilhelm von Humboldt to Rabindranath Tagore and Mahatma Gandhi — had distinguished the modern university from its medieval forerunners by envisaging for it an autonomous sphere in relation to the emerging nation-state. Universities are thus required to be ‘incubators of ideas and innovations’.

Source: “The relevance of Vidyasagar: He wanted a melting pot of all culture” by Suranjan Das, The Telegraph (Calcutta), 30 September 2020
Date visited: 30 September 2020

Visva Bharati was established […] as part of a unique experiment to have classes not indoors but outside in nature. […]

About religion, [Tagore] wrote, ‘Those who in the name of faith embrace illusion, kill and are killed.’

Source: Atanu Mitra in “Why the decision to cancel historic fairs at Tagore’s university sparked violence and vandalism” ( 17 August 2020)
Date visited: 17 November 2020

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“A teacher can never truly teach unless he is still learning himself. A lamp can never light another lamp unless it continues to burn its own flame.” – Rabindranath Tagore, poet, social reformer and composer of India’s national anthem who founded Santiniketan amidst Santal communities >>

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