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 Material Information
Title: Gandhi
Physical Description: 4 p.port.22 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Williams, Eric Eustace
 Notes
General Note: Gandhi,Mahatma,1869-1948 a broadcast ... on the 90th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi.
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Source Institution: UF Latin American Collections
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 30545778
oclc - 21245973
System ID: AA00012849:00001

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        Front Cover 2
    Title Page
        Title Page
    Main body
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        Page 2
        Page 3
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    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
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GANDHI

A BROADCAST BY


Dr. Eric Williams

On the 90th Anniversary of the Birth of
MAHATMA GANDHI
5 cents

Printed by P.N.M. Publishing Co., Ltd., 90 Frederick Street, Port-of-Spain





It will take many years before
the world gets a truly adequate
and comprehensive conception of
the stature as a human being of
Mahatma Gandhi. Perhaps in
ten years time when the whole
world will join together in a cele-
bration of his 100th Anniversary,
we shall be a little nearer towards
understanding the range and
scope of one of the most gifted
human beings who has ever lived.
If we take the mere outline of
his achievements, we find that
great and solid reputations have
been established and have endured
for centuries in fields of human
endeavour which to Gandhi were
but a single sphere of half-a-dozen
activities of equal scope.
Let us try to enumerate them.
1) He organised and led the re-
volt against British imperialism
which led to the freedom of India.
That alone is sufficient to give
him or any other man a foremost
place in the history of mankind
in the 20th or for that matter in
any other century.
The emancipation of the hun-
dreds of millions of members of
an ancient civilisation from im-
perialism is a great stage not only
in the,history of the people of
India, But of the progressive steps
of human emancipation from dom-
ination of all kinds. India once
more takes her place as an inde-
pendent nation and although only
a few years have passed, it is
abundantly clear that all humanity
has benefitted by it.
This alone'would have been suf-
ficient to ensure Gandhi his place
in history and to give his life an
enduring significance and meaning
for us.
The independence of India has
been the precursor of vast chan-
ges in the whole of the Far East.
The relations which existed be-


tween two continents, Europe and
Asia, for three centuries have
been broken and the world is now
seeking a new orientation, what I
may call a new balance, in the
relations between the West and the
Far East.
2) Like all great revolutions in
human affairs, the freeing of India
brought new social forces on to
the stage of history. Gandhi not
only led the movement for the
freedom of India. He brought on
to the stage of history the Indian
peasant. Gandhi saw the freedom
of India not only as the freeing
of his country and countrymen
from a national humiliation. For
him it was inseparably intertwined
with the opportunity to raise to
his feet the Indian.peasant and
to set him on the road towards
a higher stage of social existence.
Gandhi's way of life, the clothes
that he wore, his advocacy of cer-
tain crafts, all these were part of
his effort to bring to the notice of
the world and of his own country-
men the fact that the peasant was
henceforth to be in the forefront
of India's hope for her future, to
give 'the peasant a consciousness
of himself no longer as the basis
upon which the structure of civili-
sation was built. Instead he was
to be the centre by whose progress
and emancipation from misery and
poverty the standard of Indian
civilisation was to be judged. That
heritage India has absorbed. It
is today one of the guiding tenets
of its plans for economic develop-
ment. Its influence has spread all
over the underdeveloped areas of
the world.
As you study his life, the dif-
ferent phases seem to grow nat-
urally one from' the other. What
is remarkable is the way he seems
to be able to go to the root of
every aspect that he touched, to
1


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create and to leave behind ideas
and indications which, as I have
said, would alone suffice to make
him one of the great figures of
the century. If he led the move-
ment for the freedoni of India, if
he lifted the peasant and placed
.him in the centre of the stage of
history, it seems natural to learn
that he had a conception of edu-
cation for India and the people of
India which would correspond to
these vast projects in which his
mind and his activity move so
easily. Gandhi's idea and educa-
tion make him one of the fore-
most educationists of this or any
other time.
I do not believe that this aspect
of his life and work are as widely
known as they should be, human-
ity being dazzled by his achieve-
ments in more dramatic fields.
One of the fundamental features
of Gandhi's philosophy of educa-
tion is that the process of educa-
tion must centre around some form
of manual and productive work in
the shape of a craft. The craft
chosen should not be any craft, but
a basic craft around which thp
different subjects of the curricu-
lum can be grouped and a craft in-
timately bound up with the life of
the children-spinning in the cot-
ton-growing areas; fruit and vege-
table gardening in the areas where
this industry flourishes; pottery in
clayey regions; carpentry iin the
forest tracts; agriculture in the
areas where land cultivation is
the main occupation.
The basic' craft was to be taught
as a medium of education and not
primarily as a vocational craft.
Here is what Gandhi had to say
to a teacher who merely combined
manual training with literary
training-
"I am afraid you have not suf-
ficiently grasped the principle
that spinning, carding, etc.,


should lie the means of intellect-
ual training. What is being
done thee is that it is a sup-
plementaN course to the intel-
lectual course. I want you to
appreciate ~the difference be-
tween the t.o. A carpenter
teaches me carpentry. I shall
learn it mechanically from him
and as a result I shall know the
use of various tools but that will
hardly develop my intellect. But
if the same thing is taught to
me by one who has taken a sci.
entific training in carpentry, he
will stimulate my intellect too.
Not only shall I then have be.
come an expert carpenter, but
also an engineer. For, the
expert will have taught me
mathematics, also told me the
difference between various kinds
of timber, the place where they
come from, giving me thus a
knowledge of geography and
also a little knowledge of agri-
culture. He will also have
.taught me to draw models of my
tools, and given me a know-
ledge of elementary geometry
and mathematics."
From here Gandhi proceeded to
emphasise the social studies as an
indispensable, prerequisite of good
citizenship. Here are some of the
basic ideas of Gandhi's educational
system in the field of the social
studies. It began with the sAu
gle for independence-


"The history of Indian nation- /
al awakening combined with a
living appreciation of India's
struggle for social, political and
economic freedom should pre-
pare the pupils to bear their
share of the burden joyfully and
to stand the strain and stress of.
the period of transition."
The system went on to stress the
social structure of India-
"Children should be made


I1


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aware of the conflicts andkon-
tradictions which exist in the
social and political life of the
present Indian so cety. They
should, for example, understand-
the relationship of the property
owner and the worker; the Zem-
indar and the peasant; the dif-
ference between the extravagant
and luxurious lives of the prin-
ces, Zemindars and property own-
ers and the lives of the starving
millions of India; the privileges
of the caste-Hindus and their in-
justice towards untouchables ;
and the struggle of the masses
for social, economic and political
freedom' and the high-handed-
ness of autocratic governments."
In Gandhi's system geography
was given a definite social mean-
S ing-
"Geography is not a mere
study of the plant, animal and
Human life; weather phenomena;
maps, means of transport and
communication and occupation.
These must be studied with the
Subject of developing 'in the
pupil a proper understanding of
his social and geographical en
Svironmient; and to awaken the
S urge to improve it.' India has
great potential natural resour-
ces. Geography should aim at
teaching children not only how
this national wealth may be de-
veloped, but also how it may be
utilised for common purposes."
And India's children were to be
prepared for life in a democracy
-hence Gandhi's emphasis on
civics-
"The pupils should become ac-
quainted with the public utility
services, the working of the
panchayat and the cooperative
society, the duties of the public
servants, the constitution of the
District Board or Municipality,
the use and significance of the


LATIN
`Rlte, and with the growth and
significance of representative
institutions . .Self-governing
institutions should be intro-
duced in the school."
The supreme significance of
Gandhi's educational philosophy is
that-
"From the social point of
view, the Wardha Scheme at-
tempts to remove the cleavage
which exists at present in In-
dian society between the learned
and unlearned-the leisured and
the labouring class. 'The intro-
duction of such practical pro-.
ductive work in education, to be
participated in by all the chil-
dren of the nation, will tend to
break down the existing barriers
of prejudice between, manual
and intellectual workers, harm-
ful alike for both.' It will help
in developing a truly democra-
tic society in which useful ser-
vice and worthy leisure will be
equally distributed. It strikes at
the root of the prevailing view
of education which holds that
liberal or cultural education
which is confined to the upper
strata of society cannot have
anything in common with the
education of the masses which
must necessarily be useful or
practical. It eradicates untouch-
ability-the greatest evil in
Hindu society-by recognizing
all kinds of useful work, in-
cluding scavenging, as honour-
able."
In Gandhi's own words:
"My plan to impart primary
education through the medium
of village handicrafts like spin-
ning and carding, etc., is thus
conceived as the spearhead of a
silent social revolution fraught
with the most far-reaching con-
sequences. It will provide a


3





healthy and moral basis of rela-
tionship between the city. and
the village and thus go a long
way towards eradicating some of
the worst evils of the present
social insecurity and poisoned
relationships between the
classes .. And all this would
be accomplished without the hor-
rors of a bloody class war."
Gandhi lived a personal life of
great purity and asceticism in
harmony with the great traditions
of the East; that he managed to
combine with the social and politi-
cal activity second to that of no
man of his time.
Gandhi's life has a special
interest for us as West
Indians, particularly in Trinidad.
He was by profession a lawyer
and as was necessary in
those days, had to go to
Great Britain to study law. He
then went to live in South Africa
and it is in South Africa against
the indentured labour of the In-
dians that he laid the foundations
of his philosophy of life and the
new weapons for the conquest of
freedom and the expansion of
civilisation that he finally gave to
humanity. The traditions against
which he fought in South Africa
and developed his capacities were
in some respects very similar to
those which existed in the Trini-
dad of the time. Gandhi's relations
with the Indians and the Africans
in South Africa should form a
chapter of his history which should
not only be of interest but of profit
to all of us at this particular time.
There are two other matters
concerning Gandhi which I would
like to touch upon, for with a life
of such a scope, any attempt to
present it means that you can
merely indicate the outlines of its
vast and varied range of activities.
Nevertheless, I hope that in these
two I shall indicate the main


characteristics of his life and work W 7
in such terms as will not do them iATNly
injustice. AMF,?:r
Gandhi freed India by means of
a particular method of political
Ievolt, the method of passive
resistance of a whole population.
Students of history and politics are
increasingly inclined to place
Gandhi in the great tradition of
revolutionists, with the men of
the French Revolution, with Marx
and others, in the sense that he
discovered and invented a new
Method of political struggle, car-
ried it through successfully over a
vast area of human activities and
has left it as a heritage which has
been studied and followed in areas
as far apart as Ghana and Mont-
gomery, Alabama.
Such is his place in the history
of political theory and the develop-
.ment of political struggle. At the
same time I have referred to the
highly spiritual quality of his
personal life. No man was more
determined that his country should
be free, undominated by any other
people or nation: He led the
struggle with a tenacity, and a
readiness to sacrifice his life to the
cause which showed that the re-
lease of his country from foreign
domination absorbed the whole of
Shis extraordinary personality and
was the mainspring of his life. And
yet Gandhi was not anti-British.
Rather the reverse. He admired
the British people for their ster-
ling qualities. In the last days of
the British occupation, the friendly
relationship which existed between
him and the last British officials in
India will remain one of the most
lovable aspects of his many-sided
character. He has left behind him
not only the effects but the record
of a great life. To acquaint our-
selves with it, to whatever degree,
can only lead to the enrichment of
our own.


4




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