The expenditure on education is growing in every civilised country, and the national volte for funds is generally large and liberal as the one for the army and the navy. But education is only one phase of the social question: as it encompasses both mind and body and includes physical as well as moral fitness. But taking the other phases separately we find that health of an individual is as important from the social point of view as his mind. Social efficiency must to a very large extent depend upon the physical fitness and the bodily vigour of the units composing the society...our readers will once realise the close connection between social and political questions in free, independent and self-governing countries. The case is, however, entirely different in countries where a foreign nation holds the sway. In such a country, the question of advancing social reform by legislature is always a delicate on. Bothe the rulers and the ruled approach it with a great deal of natural timidity. While considerations of policy and finance check the zeal of the former, if there be any, suspicion of too much interference in their domestic affairs affects the other. While imperial interest leave no time & opportunity to the former to enter into the sport of the people and to embark on schemes which are likely to involve a great deal of expenditure of money (which can be ill-spared from imperial projects) as well as large representation of the people in the country; legislative and administrative machinery, the latter themselves are very jealous of having their domestic affairs interfered with by foreigners who in their opinion cannot possibly understand them and their institutions so well as to leave no chance of legislative intermeddling doing greater harm and mischief than otherwise. In a country like India, however, where social life is so much mixed up with religion, the difficulties are still greater in the way of any legislative action in matters social. In the West, as pointed out above , the boundary line between mattes social and political is very thin, here the close connection of religion and political is very thick. The safest and the best way, therefore, is this country to effect social reform was and is by universal education, the lukewarm progress of which has so far stood in the way of social reform making the head as it otherwise might have done. The cry for universal free elementary education has several times been raised, but it has met with no or scanty response from the authorities for reasons briefly alluded to above viz. considerations of imperial policy and famine. Indian is, perhaps the only country on the face of the globe where under a professedly civilised system of government (unless Russia ia also included in this category) the percentage of illiterates is so large, and where a system of free compulsory education is not in vogue...

 Modern Review. September 1908

Lajpat Rai on Education



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